Interview with Paul Martin Midden, Author of 'Riley'

Paul Martin Midden is the author of five previous novels, each of which explores different writing styles. He practiced clinical psychology for over thirty years. Paul’s interests include historic restoration, travel, fitness, and wine tasting. He and his wife Patricia renovated an 1895 Romanesque home in 1995 and continue to enjoy urban living.


What got you into writing?

I started writing about fifteen years ago when my clinical obligations lightened. I had always wanted to write, but my professional career as a psychologist entailed considerable non-fiction work that dampened my desire to spend more time writing. Finally, after reading some books about writing fiction, I began.

What do you like best about being an author?

So many things. The freedom to go wherever my characters take me is a big one. The creative process itself has always felt like a gift to me. The fact that I can write every day for a limited about of time and over some months produce a novel-length work is something in which I take great delight. And I love hearing what readers think about my work.

When do you hate it?

I don’t think there is anything about writing as such that I hate. Probably the biggest turn-off is the whole self-promotion thing. It runs against both my temperament and my experience, since, as a psychologist, I was accustomed to flying under the radar and not revealing much information about myself or my patients. So turning that around and talking about myself and my writing is a huge contrast.

What is a regular writing day like for you?

When I am in the midst of a project, I write every day for about an hour. Occasionally I will do this twice, but I usually only do it once. It is essential for me to write every day. I know some people write all day long, but that is not my way. I enjoy the gradual development of a narrative over time.

Do you think authors have big egos?

I suppose some do. But for most of us, I don’t think so. I find writing to be, if anything, a non-ego thing: I am not writing (directly) about myself but about people outside of me. I suppose that my feelings about my success as a writing waxes and wanes to some extent on the nature of reviews: sometime it is exhilarating and sometimes sobering or even humbling experience. I suppose for those writers who love promoting themselves, they can be seen as egotistical, whether or not that’s accurate.

How do you handle negative reviews?


How do you handle positive reviews?

Wonderfully! I send them to family and friends; sometimes I put them on my website.

What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance that you’re an author?

Some version of, “Really? What have you written?” and “I don’t know any writers.”

What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break?

I do not take days off when I am writing.

Any writing quirks?

Not taking a day off when I’m writing.

What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously or see it as a hobby?

I am not in control of what people think in that regard. In addition, it would be understandable if someone concluded that it was something like a hobby. After all, I have another career, a ‘day job’ so to speak. And while I am happy to sell books, I decided long ago that I write for the pleasure of it and for those who enjoy what I write.

What’s on the horizon for you?  

After I wrap up this marketing campaign, I will probably start another novel.

Leave us with some words of wisdom about the writing process or about being a writer.

While it’s a good thing to start when one is young, it may be easier when one is older. I am older. Young or old, I think the first task of a good writer is to find his/her voice, no matter the genre. I encourage young writers to test their limits, take risks, and experiment with multiple styles and genres. It’s a big literary world out there.

Genre:   Contemporary adult fiction

Author: Paul Martin Midden
Publisher: Wittmann Blair Publishing

About the Book:

Riley, a young writer, finally divorces her husband and begins a novel about a fictional couple in conflict. Supported by her best friend, Jennifer, she begins her life of freedom. In a complicated turn of events, she meets and beds Edward, a shy young man who falls for her instantly. She does not want to continue the relationship, however, and her refusal lays the groundwork for a series of dangerous events. Her conflicts and those of her characters play out in this psychologically intriguing story.

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