Interview with Frances Pauli, author of Twelve Dances


Frances Pauli writes speculative fiction with romantic touches. Her books are published through Mundania Press LLC, Awe-Struck, and Devine Destinies, and her short stories are featured in various anthologies. More information on her worlds and writing can be found on her website and blog, where she also offers free online stories, web serials, and podcasts. More info on Frances and her writing can be found at: http://francespauli.com.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Frances.  Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Twelve Dances?

Thank you for the welcome. I’m happy to be here. I began writing very young, but only recently became serious about finishing my stories and pursuing a career as an author. My first acceptance came in 2009 and my first book came out in 2010 through Devine Destinies. I’ve written six books for them since that one and one short story. Twelve Dances was my holiday release for 2011, and is my second seasonal themed book through Devine Destinies.

Q: How did you choose your title and was it your first choice?

Twelve Dances was my first choice. The story is a tribute to the Nutcracker and Twelve Dancing Princesses. In it, a woman who collects Nutcrackers begins to have recurring dreams where they come alive. Each night she dreams of dancing with one of the “princes,” and she has twelve nights, or dances, to find the one that she can fall in love with. 

Q: We all know that publishers can’t do all of the publicity and that some lies on the author.  What has your publisher done so far to publicize the book and what have you done?

The folks at Devine and Extasy are marvelous for supporting their authors. First and foremost, they get the books visible through a lot of distribution channels and booksellers. They request book reviews and purchase advertising as well as promotional opportunities for our authors to make use of, like a very nicely functioning chat room, the house blogs and even this book tour. For my part, I blog regularly and make as much use of social media sites as possible without losing too much writing time. I participate in the Romance Trading Cards site and offer cards of my book covers to readers. I also attend science fiction conventions and try to do panels and classes at online and in person events.

Q: Open to a random page in your book.  Can you tell us what is happening?

Claire is in the dream world dancing through the mist with one of the nutcracker princes. Tonight, however, instead of the whimsical fairy tale, her dance partner has turned hostile. The dream princes have noticed her favoritism toward their newest member and have turned dark and dead set against letting her anywhere near the one she truly wants. Instead of a crystal dance floor, they waltz across a mosaic of swords and muskets and Claire’s partner’s arms are as rigid and unyielding, his face suddenly flat and lifeless…

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

Twelve Dances is a standalone story, but I absolutely do have plans for more books. I am working on a series of stories now that are set in a post-apocalyptic, fantasy world.

Q: What is the one thing you learned about your book AFTER it was published?

Once you let that story out into the world, it must stand on its own, and you have to let it go. I liken it to parenthood in the sense that you can prepare your child as much as possible, give them all the strength and skills you can, but once they are out the door you have to stop messing with them and let them shine on their own. I almost always find something in a story I would still tweak or alter after publication, but the book that went to print is the one you stand by and are proud of.

Q: What is your most favorite time of the day or night to write?

I prefer to write in the evening, but I produce far more words in the morning. I suspect that is due to less distraction in the early hours.

Q: What is usually better – the book or the movie?

The book, hands down. If a movie has been adapted from a book, I try to read the book first for exactly that reason. When I read, I can insert the faces and descriptions that my imagination chooses. The movie decides all of that for you. So skipping the book, to me, is losing out on that co-creation with the author—the merging of their words and my fancy.

Q:  You’re about to write your next book.  What did you learn from your previous book to help you write your next book?

I am in the process of learning more and more about structure. I came to the writing process as a very seat-of-the-pants style writer, but I have learned with each book, that having that skeleton of organization, pacing, plot points etc. really deepens the book itself. I try each time to incorporate that depth and new understanding of how story unfolds.

Q: Finally, what’s your best tip you can give to writers who want to be published?

Don’t stop writing. That means even after you’ve finished, polished and sent your novel out to submission. Write another one. Keep writing material while you wait. You may find your craft improving a great deal through practice, and the worst that can happen is you have even more inventory to offer when the yes finally comes in.
  
Q: Thank you for your interview, Frances.  Do you have any final words?

Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate the opportunity to join the tour and any chance to support a fantastic publisher. The crew at Devine Destinies are amazing, professional and supportive of their authors. I feel very privileged to work with them.

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