AOTW- Elizabeth Vaughan

Elizabeth Vaughan

About the Author:
Elizabeth A. Vaughan is an author, barrister, and mistress of the worlds.  In her latest book, Destiny's Star (April, 2010) she returns to the.  world of the Warlands with an epic story of passionate love and wild magic.

She's always loved fantasy and science fiction, and has been a fantasy role-player since 1981. By day, Beth's secret identity is that of a lawyer, practicing in the area of bankruptcy and financial matters, a role she has maintained since 1985.

Beth is owned by three cats, and lives in the Northwest Territory, on the outskirts of the Black Swamp, along Mad Anthony's Trail on the banks of the Maumee River.


Interview with Elizabeth Vaughan

Elizabeth Vaughan is author of the Chronicles of the Warlands, a new fantasy romance trilogy from Tor Books. She is also author of the Star series and wrote a story in the anthology Chicks Kick Butt (Shifters #6.5).

HP: You recently published Warcry the fourth novel in your Chronicles of the Warlands series. I really want to talk about that but before we get into it can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Elizabeth Vaughan: Honestly, I am kinda dull and boring.  Get up, feed the cats, go to work, go home, eat dinner, write.  <g> The fact that I have a cast of characters in my head that constantly tell me their stories just makes me odd.

HP: When and how did your interest in writing begin?

Elizabeth Vaughan: I think I knew I wanted to write the first time I read a book.

HP: Your first book Warprize (Chronicles of the Warlands, #1) was published in 2005 you went on to publish the second novel Warsworn in 2006 and the third, Warlord in 2007. Where did the inspiration for this series come from, what motivated that first novel?

Elizabeth Vaughan: I read a short story where a woman surrendered herself to a conqueror.   I didn’t like it – it didn’t feel honest.  I started thinking about why any woman would do that to herself, and Lara started to tell me her story.

HP: Going on into 2008 you published your first book in a second series Dagger-Star (Epic of Palins, #1). A book that from just the name and cover catches one's attention. Can you tell us a little about this series and the world you have created?

Elizabeth Vaughan: Isn’t that cover amazing?  Red Gloves was born from a desire to write a take-no-prisoners woman warrior.  Little did I know that the two series, Chronicles of the Warlands and The Epic of Palins (also known as the Star Series), would end up being in the same world, and would come together in Destiny’s Star.

HP: In all your books, which came first the plot and idea for the book/series or the characters? I know some authors let the characters lead but other have a plot first and the characters come later.

Elizabeth Vaughan: For me it starts with a scene involving two characters, and a line of dialogue.  Then I start asking questions, and develop an outline before I write the book.  My outlines tend to run about 20 pages, single spaced, and they rarely survive the actually writing of the book because the story changes as I write.

HP: Are you reading any interesting books at the moment?

Elizabeth Vaughan: Oh, yes.  I’m reading quite a bit of non-fiction doing research for my next book.  Steal from history, I always say.  <g>  And no, I am not going to give you any hints.

As far as fiction, I just finished Dana Stabenow’s Though Not Dead.  She is a wonderful writer – if you have never read her mystery series, you need to pick them up.  They are fabulous.

HP: Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?

Elizabeth Vaughan: A writer is no one without someone to read her words.  Thank you for reading!

HP: Thank you for taking the time to have this interview and give us a little insight into your world(s)! :)


Books by Elizabeth Vaughan
Chronicles of the Warlands Series
#1: Warprize
#2: Warsworn
#3: Warlord
#4: Warcry

Star Series
#1: Dagger-Star
#2: White Star
#3: Destiny's Star

Chicks Kick Butt (Shifters #6.5)

Up-coming appearances:
Elizabeth will be attending the Gen Con Game Conference 2011
August 4-7, 2011
Indianapolis, IN

You can also find Elizabeth at:
Her Website



Elizabeth Vaughan has offered to giveaway one (1) copy of Warprize (Chronicles of the Warlands #1) and a bar of soap!!

*Above may not be the exact cover of the book you receive. 

Book Description:


Xylara is the Daughter of the Warrior King, Xyron. With her father dead and her incompetent half-brother on the throne, the kingdom is in danger of falling to the warring Firelanders.

Before she was old enough for a marriage-of-alliance, Xylara was trained as a healer. She can't usurp her brother or negotiate a peace--but she can heal the brave ones injured in battle.

But not only her countrymen are wounded, and Xylara's conscience won't let Firelander warriors die when she can do something to save them. She learns their language and their customs and tries to make them as comfortable as possible, despite their prisoner-of-war status.

She never expects that these deeds, done in good faith, would lead to the handsome and mysterious Firelander Warlord demanding her in exchange for a cease-fire. Xylara knows must trade the life she has always known for the well-being of her people, and so she becomes...

The Warprize"

Giveaway Details:
  • Giveaway is open to US & Canada & International!
  • Giveaway will run from July 25th 2011 - July 31st 2011.
  • The winner will be chosen randomly and announced August 1st 2011.
  • The winner will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be chosen.
  • One entry per-person please!
  • If you enter, you are acknowledging that you read and accept the giveaway/contest policy.
  • This giveaway is provided by the author.
To Enter:

AOTW- Nancy Gideon

Nancy Gideon

About the Author:
With over 50 sales to her credit since her first publication in 1987, Portage, Michigan author Nancy Gideon’s writing career is as versatile as the romance market, itself.  Her books encompass genres from historicals and regencies to contemporary suspense and the paranormal. Her works have been published overseas in Romanian, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Danish, German, Icelandic and Chinese, among other languages.

Also listed on the International Movie Database (IMDB), she collaborated on the indie horror films In the Woods and Savage with screenwriting and ADR script credits, and even played the character “Bar Extra.”

A national speaker on writing in general and romance in particular, Gideon is a Western Michigan University honors grad with a major in journalism and minors in history and communications.  She’s a member of Novelist, Inc. and the Mid-Michigan, Greater Detroit, PASIC and FF&P chapters of Romance Writers of America®, and is former vice-president, published author co-liaison and award-winning newsletter editor for MMRWA.

The mother of two grown sons, one married and proud producer of her grandson and the other shanghaied into being her assistant, she also works full time for the law firm, Redmond, Redmond & Yokom.

A prolific writer, Gideon attributes her creative output, which once peaked at seven novels in one year, to her love of history and a gift for storytelling.  She also credits the discipline learned through a background in journalism and scheduling writing time around diaper changes, Scout meetings, band lessons and outings to the Zoo Boo . . . and, of course, OCD.  The due date for her third book and her second son were on the same day . . . and both were early!  When on deadline, she turns on the laptop between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m. to get a chapter in before work.

While the pace is often hectic, Gideon, a Gemini, enjoys tackling diverse projects.  One month it’s researching the gritty existence of 1880’s Texas Rangers only to jump to modern themes of intrigue and possibly a legal thriller or two.  Then, it’s back to the shadowy netherworld of shape shifters, vampires and movie serial killers.  When not working on her latest plot twist before sunrise or arranging medical depositions, she enjoys indulging in Netflix, hosting her critique group, and feeding a variety of wildlife on her fourth-floor balcony including a yearly family of raccoons.  And, of course, reading.

Pseudonym's, Rosalyn West and Dana Ransom.


Interview with Nancy Gideon

Nancy Gideon is the author of the sizzling dark paranormal By Moonlight series for Pocket Books and has also written contemporary suspense for Silhouette, and the award-winning Midnight vampire romance series for Pinnacle and ImaJinn Books.

HP: I know you have a new book coming out this month but before we get to book talk, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Nancy Gideon: Aside from my 50+ book career, I’ve also worked full time as a legal assistant for the past eleven years, coming back into the work force after a 15 year absence to raise two sons. Now I’m a doting grandmother who’s addicted to Netflix, loves to cook but has no kitchen to speak of in my apartment, and is a sucker for all things fur, feather and fin (and have raised and fed them all, including a yearly family of raccoons on my 4th floor balcony!) At the moment, I’m trying to catch up on the Social Media craze with a new blog. Check it out at

HP: What is your favorite quality about yourself?

Nancy Gideon: I’m tenacious. I’ve had to be to stick with this mercurial business for over 25 years! And I’m flexible enough to survive in the ever-changing market (that trait is good for my bad knees, too!)

HP: I know you said one of your favorite parts of writing was research, Do you ever travel for research? If so, what is your favorite place you have traveled and why?

Nancy Gideon: I have a journalism major and history minor so I LOVE research. I’ve written many books based on places I’ve been, but the only place I specifically went to do research was to New Orleans for my By Moonlight series. I’d been there for several conferences and had gotten a taste for its laissez les bon temps roller style, but last April two of my critique partners and I rented a condo in the French Quarter for a week and really had time to explore and get a feel for the people, the atmosphere and the culture. Check out my travel diary on the Pocket After Dark website. I can’t wait to go back. It’s wonderfully exotic, just like Charlotte, my heroine.

HP: Do you recall how and when your interest in writing originated?

Nancy Gideon: I’ve always been a storyteller and an avid reader of anything in print, but the minute I saw my name in the sixth grade newspaper under a fractured fairytale based on Cinderella, I knew all I wanted to be was a writer.

HP: You write in a lot of genres but do you have a genre that you are more comfortable in?

Nancy Gideon: Anything with action and adventure! I love a plot that races along like a rollercoaster from page one to page end with larger than life characters, a touch of suspense and a happily-ever-after. That’s why I write romance. The options are infinite.

HP: What genre are you least comfortable in?

Nancy Gideon: Straight romance makes me twitchy. I love the added elements of suspense, paranormal, and adventure. I did an early contemporary for Zebra where my hero and heroine were alone on an island resolving their relationship problems. I was the one going stir crazy and ready to risk life and limb in a swim to shore to escape them.

HP: Did writing your first book teach you anything about yourself?

Nancy Gideon: That I had a LOT to learn. When I started out, I didn’t know any other writers. This was before the Internet, and my only connection to the publishing world was the Fiction Writers Market at the local library. Looking back on how ignorant I was about both the craft and the business, I’m amazed I got published!

HP: You have a new book coming out July 26th 2011, Bound by Moonlight (By Moonlight, #4). Can you tell us a little about this fourth book and what Detective Charlotte Caissie and shape-shifter lover Max Savoie, are up to?

Nancy Gideon: Along with its serial killer storyline, Bound by Moonlight concludes Max and Cee Cee’s four book romance arc. They had a lot of baggage to take care of, from being on opposite sides of the law to being from two different species. Book 4 digs deeper into their pasts, and what they find there together allows them to get beyond it to that happily-ever-after they’ve been struggling to obtain. I’ve taken a wonderful and unique ride with them and hope readers have enjoyed it. This book delves deeper into the Shifter mythology and introduces the two main characters for the next book, Hunter of Shadows (11-29-11). Max and Cee Cee will appear as strong secondary characters in Books 5 and 6 (7/12) so they aren’t ready for retirement yet.

HP: Can you tell us about your By Moonlight series in general? What was your inspiration for the series and your two main characters Charlotte and Max?

Nancy Gideon: The series started out as a simple werewolf tale over ten years ago that never found a home. When I pulled it back out, it needed to be totally refitted for the modern reader. That simple werewolf story quickly morphed into a huge world containing a Shifter hierarchy, heroes and villains in both human and paranormal realms, and secondary characters I couldn’t wait to bring to life in their own books. Max and Cee Cee are both incredibly strong yet vulnerable characters who are total opposites in all but their swoon-worthy love for one another. They could handle anything I threw at them and dish it back, and what began as one book, expanded into four. I was so lucky Pocket and my editor took a risk with that concept which is common in Urban Fantasy but very rare in Paranormal Romance so I could develop it.

HP: Who designs the Moonlight and Midnight covers?

Nancy Gideon: My Midnight vampire covers for ImaJinn were designed by one of my critique partners, Pat Lazarus who now is doing covers for Tell-Tale Publishing and also freelances. She did lots of the graphics on my website as well, and is tremendously talented. With Pocket, I was thrilled to participate in the cover process. Associate Art Director Min Choi, whom I just met on a tour of Simon & Schuster in New York in June, took my suggestions for the series theme and made them almost too hot to handle on four linking covers. The next By Moonlight book, Hunter of Shadows, which comes out November 29, 2011 has a different tone because it features a different hero and heroine. All in all, I’ve been blessed by the covers gods!

HP: Unlike your Moonlight series, your Midnight series focuses on different main characters in each book and on vampires where as Moonlight focused on shape-shifters. Can you tell us about the Midnight series?

Nancy Gideon: I was one of the originals in vampire romance back in the ‘80s when paranormals had their first huge surge. I’d grown up on Dark Shadows and loved the whole dark, tortured hero thing so when my Zebra editor asked during an RWA conference if I’d ever thought of writing a vampire romance, I had a three book proposal on his desk before he got back to the office. The central character, Louis Radman does appear as the hero in three of the books as he searches from the Regency era to the present for a cure to his curse, and he has three very different loves. Like the By Moonlight series, many of the plots and characters wind through the nine book series, which was continued by ImaJinn Books after the first three were released and went out-of-print at Zebra/Pinnacle. The ImaJinn books are still available and just came out in e-book form. After nine books, I was kind of over vampires and was quick to warm up to shape-shifters. But absence does make the heart grow fonder…

HP: How important do you think villains are in a story?

Nancy Gideon: A novel is only as good as its villain. Rudger Hauer said of his beautifully villainous character in the Stallone movie Night Hawks that true evil is attractive which makes it all the more terrifying. I try to give my villains reasons for their action (maybe not rational reasons, but understandable nonetheless) so you can almost empathize with them. Almost. Some of my favorite heroes came from villain stock.

HP: Who is your favorite author and why?

Nancy Gideon: Dean Koontz, hands down. He pulls me right in from page one so I’m living his stories right alongside his marvelous characters. Every time I travel, I take one of his books along for the trip there and back. Other favorites are Lisa Gardner and J.D. Robb. Action, adventure, suspense.

HP: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers?

Nancy Gideon: Thanks for hanging in there! I’m still amazed by how many readers remember my early books under the different pseudonyms. Now with e-books so prevalent, maybe I can give them those final books in the series that they’ve been begging for. Everyone needs closure. Fans can keep up with what I’m doing on Facebook, Twitter and my blog, or on my website at I love you guys!

HP: Looking back on all of your books is there anything you would change about them?

Nancy Gideon: I still enjoy reading all of my old books and am very proud of them. For the early ones, I wish I’d had the technology I do now. I wrote the first six in long hand then typed them up on a Smith Corona using correction tape! I can compose and edit so much easier these days via computer.

HP: I want to thank you for being an Author of the Week and doing this interview with me. It is a pleasure to have you on my blog! :-)

Books by Nancy Gideon
Moonlight Series

#1: Masked by Moonlight
#2: Chased by Moonlight

#3: Captured by Moonlight  

Midnight Series
#1: Midnight Kiss
#2: Midnight Temptation
#3: Midnight Surrender
#4: Midnight Enchantment
#5: Midnight Gamble
#6: Midnight Redeemer
#7: Midnight Shadows
#8: Midnight Maqyerade
#9: Midnight Crusader

Single Titles
Tempest Waters
For Mercy’s Sake
Let Me Call You Sweetheart
Warrior Without a Cause
Warrior Without Rules
Warrior’s Second Chance
Warrior for One Night
In the Woods – Horror Film Novelization 

Coming soon
Bound by Moonlight (Moonlight #4)-- Expected publication: July 26th 2011 by Pocket Star
Hunter of Shadows (Moonlight #5)-- Expected publication: November 29th 2011 by Pocket
Untitled (Moonlight #6)-- Expected publication: July 2012 by Pocket Star

  • Romantic Times Magazine “Career Achievement for Historical New Reality,” “Best Historical Fantasy” and “Best Vampire Romance” nominee
  • “Horror Bestseller”
  • “Bestselling Books” list
  • Waldenbooks “Top Ten Series Romance Bestseller’
  • Bookseller’s   “Bestselling Paranormal Romance”
  • Reviewers International Organization/RIO “Dorothy Parker Award of Excellence” honorable mention
  • Multiple Prism “Best Dark Paranormal” finalist
  • Laurel Wreath finalist for “Romantic Suspense” 
Nancy's up coming appearances in July:
  • 30 Days of New Orleans photo tour on my Face Book page
  • Pocket author signing at RWA in New York City on 7-1-11 from noon to 2:00. Stop by for my Romance Trading Cards!
  • Interview and giveaway at Write by Bethany on 7-21-11.
  • Interview at Cheaper Than Therapy on 7-22-11
  • Eye on Romance 5-day Special Edition Romance Previews Newsletter with BOUND BY MOONLIGHT on 7-25 through 29
  • Excerpt Monday at Paranormality Universe on 7-25-11
  • Launch party for BOUND BY MOONLIGHT with interview, chat and giveaways at Literal Addiction on 7-26-11.
  • Interview and excerpt at Southern Fried Gothic on 7-26-11
  • BOUND BY MOONLIGHT release date on 7-26-11
  • Blogging at Riding With the Top Down on 7-27-11
  • Interview at Borders True Romance on 7-28-11

You can find Nancy at:
Her Website 


Nancy has offered to giveaway one (1) copy of her up coming release, Bound by Moonlight (Moonlight #4) with a set of her Romance Trading Cards!!  (Thank you Nancy!)

Book Description:

"The 4th book in Moonlight series

They swore they’d be together forever
Detective Charlotte Caissie is suddenly sharing drawer space and making media news with her shape-shifter lover Max Savoie.
Knowing the reformed mobster is determined to be accepted by her peers, how can she ask him to return to his criminal roots to help her solve a complex case?

But those they trust the most . . .

Going undercover to find the vicious serial killer who kidnapped a colleague’s daughter, Cee Cee is caught between the partner whose integrity she relies on and her fiercely possessive lover. In calling on Max to use his preternatural talents to aide a hated enemy, she crosses a line that strains their relationship to its limits.

Will do anything to tear them apart

With his secret spreading beyond those he can trust, Max is forced to make dangerous alliances to protect his family and his clan. The only certainty he has is his love for his human mate, until the loyalties that define them threaten to divide them forever."

Giveaway Details:

  • Giveaway is open to US & Canada only.
  • Giveaway will run from July 18th 2011 - July 24th 2011.
  • The winner will be chosen randomly and announced July 25th 2011.
  • The winner will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be chosen.
  • One entry per-person please!
  • This giveaway is provided by the author.

To Enter:

  • Go to giveaway here.

AOTW- Paula Coomer

Paula Coomer

About the Author:
Biography/Paula Coomer

Paula Coomer's fiction, poetry, and non-fiction have appeared in many journals, anthologies, and publications, including Gargoyle, Knock, and the acclaimed Northwest Edge series from Portland's Chiasmus Press.

Ms. Coomer has been a nominee for the Pushcart Prize, as well as writer-in-residence for Fishtrap, Oregon's advocacy program for writing and literature in the American West. Her books include Dove Creek (2010), Summer of Government Cheese (2007), Devil at the Crossroads (2006), and Road, a single-poem chapbook (2006).

An instructor in the English Department at Washington State University, Ms. Coomer is a regular presenter at regional writing conferences and is a long-time Visiting Scholar for the Idaho Commission on Libraries.

 Interview with Paula Coomer

Paula Coomer is a writer and a poet and the author of such titles as Summer of Government Cheese, Devil at the Crossroads and her newest novel, Dove Creek.

HP: Paula can you tell us a little about yourself?
Paula Coomer: I am originally from Kentucky, the mother of two grown, very handsome and brilliant sons and grandmother to three beautiful and brilliant grandchildren. I have been living in the West for more than 30 years. I teach English at Washington State University and am a program reviewer for Head Start, the federal preschool program. I am also a visiting scholar for the Idaho Commission on Libraries and a presenter at regional writing conferences and workshops

HP: Tell us a bit about your family?

Paula Coomer: I come from a very historically rich, if isolated, culture. My parents both were from the western Appalachian region of Kentucky--200 years of it. I am in the first on either side of my family not to be born in one of those mountain shacks. My father was magnificent carpenter and builder before he retired. He is one of those genius people who is constantly saying, "All you have to do is . . ." then goes out to build whatever it is he needs or dreams up. My brother is equally brilliant in this way. My sister, well, she is two years younger than I. We are estranged. Addiction is difficult on families. My mother is a recluse, a disabled woman who for years worked as a 700 Club counselor, talking to people on the phone about their problems. I am the oddball in my family. I am the one who left. Everyone else is very conservative, mostly fundamentalist Christians. I see religion as a means of avoiding the work of exploring and understanding the self. I see my life as one big, constant test case, taking risks, exploring, defying the odds. As Emily Dickinson said, "I dwell in possibility." And God, well, I think God is that thing we also call nature. I think we've pinned a masculine image on the planet's life force. A planet I happen to think is feminine.

HP: What got you interested in writing?

Paula Coomer: There is not one moment in my conscious life when I did not know I was different from everyone else. My earliest memory is of having pulled myself to stand while my mother, my father, and my father's stepsister talked about something very serious. Even at that very early age--9 months or so--I was aware of being apart, of being the one who was watching and recording.
It took me a long time to get around to devoting myself to writing, however (I was in my thirties). Life almost seemed to be working against me taking that path. One misstep after another, mostly in form of abusive men who were determined to keep me from writing. As if they thought I was going to write about them.
Mainly I am interested in writing because I don't know how to paint and am too lazy to learn. Words let me create images, which is what I enjoy doing: saying a lot with a little, blurring the lines of reality and propriety. It's a drug. A means of being here without being here, a means of offering up various forms of salvation to the world without having to have a prophet or a god.

HP: How long have you been writing?

Paula Coomer: I constructed my first book when I was 4. I was always telling stories to my sister, so I decided to make one of them into a book. I drew pictures, copied lines of text from the newspaper. Those lines of text did not match the story as it came from my mouth, but still, it LOOKED like a book, and the pages turned like a book. Beyond that, I was in trouble constantly in my early grades for writing stories and drawing pictures instead of my school work. Of course, my teachers couldn't exactly chastise me when they saw that I'd actually finished my assigned work already. Still, in my report cards they wrote, "Paula has difficulty staying on task." A few teachers gave me paper to take home at the end of the school year because we were very poor, and I think they felt sorry for me.
HP: How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
Paula Coomer: I did not start college until my late twenties, mostly because of my father's attitude toward education. Grandpa went to prison when my daddy was 13, for reasons I'd rather not discuss here, so he had to leave school after 8th grade and always has held disdain for education in general--despite the fact that his mother was a licensed teacher and ran a one-room school house in the mountains. By then I was on my second marriage and had two small children. My college teachers pleaded with me to abandon the nursing idea and focus on writing and literature--even the nursing faculty. But my husband at the time insisted I finish the nursing degree so I'd have a means to support our children, since he was planning to divorce me as soon as I graduated and found a job. I was not actually published until I was 33, and that was just an article in a nursing journal. You have to understand that I was from a culture which had no relationship to the outside world. I was not socialized as a child. Life was all about dreaming while looking at the Sears and Roebuck catalog. It took me a year of therapy as my second marriage was crumbling before I understood I had a choice about anything in life. I didn't know I could actually be a writer. I didn't know I could be anything other than what my husband told me I could be. I also didn't know that my IQ was 146 until my parents told me late in my 30s. I thought I was stupid, since that was what my mother had always told me. Conversely, she also told me I could be Miss America--appearance was so important to her, probably because her body was deformed. Her legs were misshapened and had to be broken when she was three years old. She was in casts forever. I don't know how old she was before she learned to walk. My family mostly was focused on the fact that I was overweight. Always. Except for a few short periods of time when I starved myself for months on end to try and fit in.

HP: What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?

Paula Coomer: The acres of sticky notes plastered all over my walls. No, I'm kidding. I don't know. I love being in the writing space, so I don't think in terms of the challenges--although it is challenging to try to make other people understand what it is that I do and why I don't work a 40-hour-a-week job making enough money to buy the same stuff they buy. Publication is tough. It took me forever to understand that publication is not the goal. Creativity and living inside art and the effect that has on my day-to-day life, on my soul, and on the kind of human I am is what's important. The research part can be tough on me. I have to go experience things. Get up in the middle of the night staring into space waiting for the knowledge of what the story needs next to come to me. The diary sections in Dove Creek were written while traveling cross-country twice on a Greyhound bus. My knees have never been the same. The scenes on the Lostine River were written while I tried to do the very thing Patricia Faye so feared--sleeping alone in the woods. The things I have done and the places I've been just because story was drawing me! Getting up and grabbing nothing but my keys and wallet and driving who-knows-where until I see the thing or the person or the sign or the inspiration the story is demanding. The novel I'm trying to finish now, Jagged Edge of the Sky, has been terribly frustrating because parts of it are set in Australia, and plans to go there were thwarted by major life stuff, so I had to do more or less academic-style research. I couldn't go lay my body down against the Outback soil like I wanted to. Still, as also often happens, life keeps bringing the information I need to me. It's almost uncanny the number of films my husband and I have rented, only to get home and discover they were set in the very area in which my novel is set. Books, articles, people. It's almost frightening the way information I needed for that story just showed up. It came to me rather than me going to it.
Sometimes the aloneness of a piece of work gets to me. There is no one with whom to share it. No one understands what it's like, although my husband, bless him, is starting figure out how to be inside a story with me. (We've only been married a year.) I live in an area where there is virtually no high art or high culture. Yet I need to be here because I write about people who have no relationship to high culture. But I get to feeling starved sometimes, the only cure for which is a trip to a large city and an art museum. I don't have a writing group. My few soul-level friends live in other places. It does teach you to be emotionally self-sufficient. For a long time I was an affirmation junky. I sought out the approval of others to the point of driving them away. The aloneness of writing teaches you to be a solitary oak. It's not a bad ability to have.

HP: How did you come up with the title for your novel Dove Creek?

Paula Coomer: Dove Creek is a town in SW Colorado which I visited in the early 1990s quite by accident. At the time it was a nearly abandoned mining town. A place where saloon girls--whores, really--dropped their opium vials between the wallboards back in the day. I felt something so extraordinary in that town, but I do not know what it was. I kept going back. When I decided to devote my life to writing, I even traveled there to mail myself a card so it would have the Dove Creek postmark. The card had a wolf on the front. Inside I wrote, "Follow your dreams." I vowed to myself that if I ever was tempted to give up on writing, I would open the card. Eventually I had a dreamed which featured a book with the title Dove Creek. My sons and I were sleeping in our car in the Redwoods. They say they don't remember it, but they both woke up saying they'd dreamed about a book, too. The result is Patricia Faye's story. The fact that they dreamed about it told me the book had to include them. It's been 16 years now, and I've never had to open the card.

HP: Can you tell us a little about Dove Creek?

Paula Coomer: Dove Creek is the story of a woman from the mountains of Kentucky who is cast on the hero's journey by life circumstances. She ends up as a nurse on an Indian reservation in Idaho. She is a mixed blood, as so many Americans from the Appalachian country are, and finds herself intrigued by the culture to the point of trying to fit her life into a myth known as "The Lesson of the Seven Directions" as a way of ferreting out her identity and dealing with the raising of her two children. The story winds its way through her work with both the Nez Perce and the Coeur d'Alene people and gives a close glimpse at the issues those people were facing in the early 90s. Much of the humor in the book is Native American-style humor. Indian people love to laugh. They also love to make you feel uncomfortable. Patricia Faye learns to deal with all that. She also struggles with self-destruction in the form of relationships with men, as well as alcohol. My sister has been a terrible alcoholic for much of her adult life. I have at times worried about the effect of alcohol in my own life, not because of my own consumption, but because I am drawn to alcoholic men. It was a place to work out my own pain over the issue. 

HP: Who designed the cover?

Paula Coomer: Don't you just love it? Greg Simanson in Seattle. My publisher commissioned the artwork. You can actually buy a copy of the original on Greg's website, which is listed on the book's back cover.

HP: Where can we purchase the book?

Paula Coomer: I like people to order books from independent bookstores, but of course there are the usual mass-market places like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can also order it from the Booktrope website. You can actually read it there, as well, but you cannot download it.

HP: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Paula Coomer: Break free from what you've been taught is right and real. Study yourself. Learn about yourself. Know yourself. Find out who you are. Don't listen to anyone else's opinion about your purpose in this life. Follow the still, soft voice of yourself that lives--not in your brain--in your gut.

HP: Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot?

Paula Coomer: Much of Dove Creek is an exploration of my own past. My mother is 1/4 Cherokee. My father 1/8. I have a great-great grandmother who was the daughter of freed slaves. The bones of Patricia Faye's story come from my life, and the characters are amalgams of people I've known. Obviously from the lengthy acknowledgment she book is dedicated to members of the Nez Perce and Coeur d'Alene tribes, and the book would not exist if it weren't for the relationships I had with those people.
But the details are mostly fabricated. Little in my life happened the exact way it happened to Patricia Faye. Also, she comes from much deeper in the Appalachian Mountains than did my family. She had a more harsh disconnect between the modern world and the world she was born to. When I sent copies of the book to my parents, I sent a 3-page letter explaining what was not true. I've never been an alcoholic, never been to an AA meeting. I've actually been married 3 times to her 1. My ex-husband did not make me have an abortion, although as a nurse, I counseled many women who were making that decision. Also, Patricia Faye has a much different thought process than I, a much more intense inner life than I. My inner life is all about imagining details of story. Always has been. She has much more of a long-term sense of herself than I ever had. Every day is a new day for me.

It is interesting that after I finished the last section of the book, I did meet the man who would become my 3rd husband. He is not an antiques dealer, but he does love browsing antique stores. In some ways, the book predicted my husband's arrival.

HP: I know on your webpage it says you are in the progress of "...finishing a second novel, Jagged Edge of the Sky and a second book of poetry, Nurses Who Love English, both of which are looking for homes." Can you tell us a little about Jagged Edge of the Sky?

Paula Coomer: I am so excited about Jagged Edge of the Sky. It is a much more ambitious book than Dove Creek in some ways. It tells the story of the first caravan (RV) park in Australia and the family who owned it and is somewhat experimental in the way it works with time and place. Primarily it is the story of two half brothers who are sired by a hired hand and who do not learn of each others existence until later in life. The book looks at the way familial patterns repeat themselves. I like to compare it to T.C. Boyle's World's End in which every generation of a family features someone losing a foot. Although in Jagged Edge of the Sky, people don't lose feet, the men unwittingly sire babies.

HP: What was your inspiration for it?

Paula Coomer: I met a young Australian man on one of those bus rides I took in order to draft the "My Mother's Eyes Dancing" section of Dove Creek. During the ride from Chicago to Minneapolis, he told me his family story. Weeks later, I met another man in a coffee shop who reminded me very much of the Australian guy. Those two people, and their stories, merged together to become the character Martin Tuor, the protagonist in Jagged Edge of the Sky.

HP: Did you enjoy writing Nurses Who Love English? Is there a certain theme to the poetry book?

Paula Coomer: I wrote the poems for Nurses Who Love English when I went back to nursing for a couple of years. I made a rather questionable but personally necessary move in 2006, leaving a contracted professor's job to have more time to write. Things fell apart, as things do, and I was forced to renew my nursing license and take a hospital job. In retrospect, I think I did it on purpose, because that hospital job became the foundation for the next novel after Jagged Edge of the Sky, which I don't want to talk about too much yet. So, yes, I loved exploring the two sides of myself--the nurse and the poet/author. So the book is about dichotomies. It is very political and at times very critical of the U.S. government. I am very angry at our government for not taking better care of us and our democracy and at us as a people for not demanding better of those we elect. We've let ourselves become mesmerized by capitalism.

HP: You said they are looking for homes, can I assume you mean publishers?
Paula Coomer: Yes, I am looking for publishers for both books. Although, recently I cracked open the narrative on Jagged Edge of the Sky to return it to an earlier draft stage so that I could do what I wanted to with the time issue. I listened to a couple of people who read it and who didn't like having to keep up with the back and forth of characters over time. To be blunt, I was trying to write a mainstream novel, hoping to make a little money. Oh the weight of unpaid student loans. But I decided to go with my own instinct and stick to a more experimental form. To stay true to the art of the work. I wanted to show the relativity of time in terms of occurrences and their effects on a life. The way the generations of our families affect us and the way the things we don't know about ourselves affect us. I'm getting ready to hole up in a hotel--in a big city!--for a week to finish it.

HP: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers?

Paula Coomer: Take chances with your reading. If you mostly read supermarket paperbacks, try a classic or a literary work. Don't give up reading it just because it seems hard to understand. Even if you only interpret half of what you read you will have brought yourself to a new level of being. If you mostly read classics and literary work, try something in the realm of innovative or speculative fiction. If you like genre work--mystery, science fiction, fantasy--go back and read the earliest writers in those forms. And read poetry. Don't try to "understand" it. Let yourself feel the words. Let yourself own them. Let them hold you in that unacknowledged meaning. Don't be afraid of not understanding. Write down the images they create in your mind. And for goodness sakes, if you are going to write something, learn how to use your own language correctly. Our culture has gone to hell in that regard. Computerized word processing has made us into idiots when it comes to knowing how to punctuate. Our grandparents would be mortified.

HP: Do you have any upcoming appearances that you would like to share with us?

Paula Coomer: I'll be signing books in Clarkston, Washington, on Aug. 4 at And Books, Too, at Alive After Five from 5-8 p.m. I'm scheduled to read from Dove Creek on Aug. 16 at St. Helen's Bookshop in St. Helen's, Oregon. Check my webpage at for time updates on that and for events in October. Otherwise, I am available throughout the month of September. As much as I love writing, I love talking to people about writing, and so am always happy to hold a workshop in conjunction with readings. 


Books by Paula Coomer
Dove Creek
Summer of Government Cheese
Devil at the Crossroads

Coming Soon
Jagged Edge of the Sky
Nurses Who Love English

Find Paula at


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