Monday, August 27, 2018

Q&A with Paula Houseman author of Odyssey in a Teacup

1.      What inspires you? 
With my first book, I didn't have to look past my own childhood and adolescence for inspiration. But the more I unearth the innate comedy in the tragedy, the more I understand just how absurd life is. And it's that ridiculousness that inspires me.

2.      What’s the best thing about being a writer?
Giving voice to all the noise in my head and fleshing it out in the form of characters! With writing, I can totally be myself. Or, my many selves. It’s healthy. There’s a lot of shame attached to our intrusive, immoral thoughts and maybe that’s why writers (and actors) get applauded (instead of arrested). I think it makes people feel better about their own noise when they read stories where the characters are expressing similar thoughts and feelings.

3.      Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Not telling! Seriously, though, I know that many authors’ characters are adaptations or composites of people in real life. But the not-so-nice ones wouldn’t recognise themselves because bad behaviour is usually the lot of those who aren’t even aware they’re behaving badly!

4.      What did you enjoy most about writing these books?
I'm not a plotter; I'm a pantser—I fly by the seat of my pants. So I didn't feel bound by a specific plan. I let the characters and the story lead me. Not knowing where I was going to be taken or end up made the experience mysterious and much more interesting. And I loved being moved. If I'm laughing or crying or raging as I write, I know I'm on the right track. If my writing isn't stirring my passions, I can't expect it to stir the reader's.

5.      What’s your view on happy ever after? We all need a bit of escapism, and it’s probably fair to say the desire for HEA is a given for readers of the romance genre. My books have that, but my HEA is more of a feet-on-the-ground kind. I recently read another author’s take on this approach: ‘Happy for now’ they called it. It’s going to leave the reader smiling, but she’ll know that realistically, the couple is not going to ride off into the sunset.

Odyssey in a Teacup
Encounters with a pair of supersized Y-fronts; a humourless schoolmarm with an unfortunate name and monstrous yellow incisors; and a tut-tutting, big-breasted, modern-day gorgon are the norm for Ruth Roth. She’s used to crazy.

Her mum squawks like a harpy and her dad has a dodgy moral compass. Add in daily face-offs with a relentlessly bitchy mirror, and Ruth’s home life feels like a Greek tragicomedy.

She hankers for the ordinary. But blah is not a good fit for someone who doesn’t fit in. And isn’t meant to.

Ruth’s vanilla existence is an issue for her besties—her hot-looking, obsessive-compulsive cousin and soul mate (who needs to do everything twice-twice), and her two closest girlfriends.

With their encouragement and a good homoeopathic dose of ancient mythology, Ruth embarks on an odyssey to retrieve her spirit. She’s confronted with her biggest challenge ever, though, when one of these friends sends her spiralling back into a dark place.

The decision she must make can either bring her out or launch the mother of all wars in her world.

Author Bio – Paula Houseman was once a graphic designer. But when the temptation to include ‘the finger’ as part of a logo for a forward-moving women’s company proved too much, she knew it was time to give away design. Instead, she took up writing.
She found she was a natural with the double entendres (God knows she’d been in enough trouble as a child for dirty wordplay).
As a published writer of earthy chick lit and romantic comedy, Paula gets to bend, twist, stretch and juice up universal experiences to shape reality the way she wants it, even if it is only in books. But at the same time, she can make it more real, so that her readers feel part of the sisterhood. Or brotherhood (realness has nothing to do with gender).
Through her books, Paula also wants to help the reader escape into life and love’s comic relief. And who doesn’t need to sometimes?
Her style is a tad Monty Pythonesque because she adores satire. It helps defuse all those gaffes and thoughts that no one is too proud of.
Paula lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband. No other creatures. The kids have flown the nest and the dogs are long gone.

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