Q&A With Paulette Kennedy

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Q&A With Paulette Kennedy 

Our mutual friend Megan Chance, whom I recently did a Q&A with, was kind enough to point me in the direction of Paulette Kennedy who is the author of Parting The Veil, & The Witch of Tin Mountain, coming out February 1st


Q: So Paulette, when did you realize that writing was your calling in life? What made you want to write historical fiction with magic in it?


A: I’d always been an avid reader, from childhood, so writing seemed a natural progression for me. I started crafting short stories and such in elementary school, and my teachers told me I had an aptitude for writing. As I got older, life and my career in photography sometimes got in the way of writing. I didn’t begin seriously pursuing getting published until my forties. My first book was published when I was 46! It’s never too late.

I didn’t necessarily intend to write historical fiction with magic. The magic in The Witch of Tin Mountain is a very grounded, natural magic based on folkloric practices. I’m more of a gothic fiction author than a fantasy author, but there are elements of the speculative and the supernatural in everything I write.


Q: What is your advice to anyone wanting to write amazing fiction?  What is your advice to anyone dealing with writer’s block?

A: I’d say the advice I give the most often is to read widely and often. It’s almost impossible to become a writer without first being a reader. And with writer’s block, realize that it’s okay to take breaks—to do something besides writing. Take a walk. Or a bath. Watch a movie. Do another creative hobby that inspires you. Often, a “block” is just our mind letting us know it needs space to contemplate and roam.


Q: Where do you get the ideas and the research for your novels?

A: My ideas often come from my research! I’ll be reading a piece of non-fiction for a book I’m writing, and I’ll see a tidbit that interests me. Many times, these unexpected delights will spur an idea for the next book, or a plot point I hadn’t considered in my current work-in-progress. When I research, I tend to read entire books on my subject of interest, for this reason, instead of skimming. I highlight, make copious notes in my notebooks, and flag things with post-its. Research is my favorite part of being an author. 


Q: If you’re working on a new novel now, can you reveal any details?

A: Yes! My next novel, The Devil and Mrs. Davenport, which will be out in early 2024 from Lake Union, is a domestic gothic set in the 1950s about a homemaker who develops psychic abilities after a short, viral illness. She’s a reluctant medium whose gifts lead to a crisis of faith and cause her to question her marriage–but her abilities also open the door to self-acceptance and liberation. It’s been an extremely cathartic book to write. I’ve just finished the first draft and will be sending it to my editor at Lake Union soon. 


Q: What’s your advice to new authors on how to deal with negative feedback, online trolls and people in their lives who are not supportive of their writing goals? 

A: Keep going. Don’t give up. If people are talking about you and your writing, that means you’ve shaken things up. You’ve gotten their interest. Those are good things! Negative reviews still sell books. Everyone who has ever accomplished anything of importance has had critics and “haters.” And as for the people who don’t support your writing, it’s incredibly gratifying when you do accomplish your goals. Spite can be a great fuel for creative success! 


Q: Does a studio in Hollywood have the rights to any of your novels?

A: Not yet! Although I’ve had film interest for Parting the Veil. I hope to sell film rights someday, but that’s out of my control. I try to focus on the things I can control as an author. There’s so much about this industry that comes down to luck and timing. It’s all a bit like standing in front of a craps table. The odds are better than a lot of the games in the house, but everything about publishing is still a gamble. The thing you can control is to write the best story you know how to write.