Name My real name is Pauline Rendall, but I write crime as Paula K. Randall
Age That’d be telling!
Where are you from: Sheffield originally, but I’ve lived all over the UK, from the Orkney Islands to Cornwall. I now live in Essex.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc I’ve worked in education most of my professional life. I started out teaching infants and ended up teaching University students. I have one son, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I guess my latest news is that I’ve just finished my second novel.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve written for as long as I can remember. I began writing animal stories, then wrote adventure stories in the style of Biggles. In my twenties I had a couple of stories published for pony mad teenagers.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’m not sure I do! I don’t know at what stage one starts to say that. It sounds terribly grand.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first full-length novel was a police procedural. I was inspired to write it by hearing someone talk about a horrific incident in his teens, and it just sort of grew from there.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I think my style keeps developing.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Well, the title for my first novel is ‘Hangman’s Wood’. It just sort of came about because that’s the location where the incidents happened. For the current one I chose ‘Vera’s Choice’ because the whole action occurs as a result of a choice that the main character made years ago.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I’m not sure there’s a message in that particular novel, but in the one I’ve just finished the message is definitely that all actions have consequences.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Well, my books do seem to grow out of real-life incidents that I’ve heard or maybe read about, but after that they are definitely fiction.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
As above. Though in ‘Vera’s Choice’ there is an irritating little boy who is definitely based on someone I used to know!
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
I don’t know where to start! I’ve had to shake off a lot of 19th century influences, to be truthful, because that’s not what people want to read these days and they don’t really suit the modern crime genre.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
That’s difficult. There’s no particular writer that I would say was my main influence. I read voraciously and eclectically, and I draw inspiration from many sources. Writers that I admire today are those that are able to really structure a novel, and I’d list Val McDermid, Michael Connolly and James Lee Burke among those.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’ve just finished James Ellory’s ‘Black Dahlia’ and am going to start Cormack McCarthy’s ‘No country for old men.’
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Not actually new, but new to me, was Yrsa Sigurdadottir’s horror story ‘I Remember You’. The most terrifying book I’ve ever read. And she’s such a mild, pleasant person as well!
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m editing ‘Vera’s Choice’ ready to send to my agent.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My writer’s group. I can’t emphasise enough the importance of finding a group that can act as critical friends.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It would certainly be nice.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Probably, but I’m not quite sure yet.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Probably from reading.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Well, Vera’s Choice is a thriller, I suppose, but it’s not the guns and helicopter type, more of a slow burn. Fifteen years ago Vera discovered her late husband had been blackmailing a group of well-connected paedophiles. At the time she did nothing with the information, and now it’s come back to threaten her life.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
A tendency to tell rather than show. I have to really work at that.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I really haven’t got a favourite. But I love books that make me feel the author really likes their characters, books with a strong human touch.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, I try to use locations tht I know well. But for a novel that I didn’t finish (though I intend to, soon) I did make a few journeys to identify the best place to dump a body so that it would wash up on a particular beach.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I’ve used a professional agency for the cover of Hangman’s Wood. For Vera’s Choice it will be up to the publisher.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Just getting on with it! I’m a terrible procrastinator.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learnt a lot about the craft of writing. It’s hard to be specific.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just keep at it. Don’t worry too much about the quality of writing until you’ve got something finished, then you can go back and refine it. Don’t over-write, in other words keep your writing simple and straightforward. And don’t be afraid to discard writing that doesn’t work.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I don’t think I’ve got any great message.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Yes, I do. It was Black beauty and I was seven years old exactly. On my birthday my mother took me to join the library and I’ve never looked back.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
What makes me laugh is silliness. What makes me cry most of all is cruelty to animals or children.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I’d like to thank Harold Wilson for setting up the Open University.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
This is something I’ve never given any thought to. But all that’s on Benjamin Britten’s headstone is his name and his dates. If it’s good enough for him……
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I’m a keen photographer, and I enjoy opera and ballet. I also love to travel, and I’m learning Spanish.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I enjoy crime dramas and also political thrillers. I don’t go to the cinema much, but I did recently see the live transmissions of Coriolanus and A Streetcar named Desire. I often go to live transmission of opera and ballet; I think this system is fantastic.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I don’t have an actual favourite food, but I do love to eat out or cook for friends. My musical tastes are pretty diverse. I’m keen on opera but I also like the Stones, the Kinks and the Eagles. What I don’t like is all the vacuous stuff that seems to be in the charts nowadays. And I think my first musical love is traditional folk music.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Well I used to want to be a vet.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it? I’m a member of a joint blog. It’s www.wivenhoewriters.blogspot.co.uk