Author Paula Paul stops by to chat with Annabell about her first YA book, Wizard. We discuss the characters, the reason why she placed the subject of bullying into the content and advice she has for those being bullied, and which actors she would want to play the three main characters (Meghan, Ryan, and Tyler) if Wizard became a movie.
Annabell: Tell our readers a little about yourself:
Paula Paul: I am the author of 25 novels, and WIZARD is my first YA. I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I have two grown children. I grew up on a farm/ranch in west Texas and started my career as a journalist and working for newspapers in both Texas and New Mexico. Writing novels is my passion, though. Everywhere I go I see life through the eyes of a novelist, wondering how I can work this scene or that character or situation into a story.
Annabell: What made you decide to venture into the writing world? What was the first story you ever wrote?
Paula Paul: Like most writers, I got into writing because I love to read. I would think, I wish I could write a story like that. And finally I began to think I CAN write a story like that. The first story I wrote was a really bad fairy tale that included a lot of plagiarism when I was nine years old.
Annabell: What inspired the concept behind Wizard? Why did you decide to use the myth of Merlin?
Paula Paul: When my agent challenged me to write a YA novel, I started thinking that not much was known about Merlin’s family, and especially nothing about the females in his family, so when I sat down to write, it seemed natural to explore that.
As I started writing, I knew that I wanted the teenage girl , whom I had already decided was Merlin’s sister, to come to twenty-first century America. I had to devise a way for her to get here and a reason for her being here. The way she got here was easy—through magic, albeit botched magic. The reason took a little longer. I came up with the idea that she was bullied and looked down upon because she used a wizard’s wand instead of a witch’s wand as girls are supposed to do. I almost abandoned that idea because it seemed such an illogical reason to bully someone. Then I started thinking ALL reasons for bullying are illogical, and that gave me my story.
Annabell: What do you hope readers take away from Meghan’s character? What was one of your favorite scenes to write with her?
Paula Paul: I hope readers can see how being different from others is not always a bad thing. I also hope they can learn from her bad decision not to defend Tyler. As for my favorite scene to write, it has to be the flying skateboard scene in which Ryan falls off his skateboard.
Annabell: Wizard explores bullying, harassment, and hate crimes. What made you decide to explore those topics within the plot of Meghan’s story?
Paula Paul: Bullying and hate crimes seem to be very much on the public mind, and I know from my own experience how hurtful and damaging they can be. I wanted to present the subject in an unexpected way, that is, through a humorous fantasy story. I guess I thought of it as a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down.
Annabell: Will there be a sequel to Wizard? Will Meghan continue her adventures in the twenty-first century with Ryan? Will Ryan and Meghan’s relationship progress?
Paula Paul: Yes, Meghan will continue her adventures here in the twenty-first century, and Ryan will be a part of the story.
Annabell: If you could go on an adventure with Merlin, what would that adventure entail and where would you two travel to?
Paula Paul: I would go back to Merlin’s time as a child in old England and Wales so I could examine his development. I want to know about the mistakes he made on his journey to become the most important wizard in the land.
Annabell: If you were a wizard, what kind of powers would you want to have?
Paula Paul: My dream has always been—even as a child—to have the power to stop war. Now that I’ve written that down, it seems naïve, but I still have to say that would be my wish.
Annabell: What advice would you give to a person (child or adult) being bullied?
Paula Paul: Oh, this is hard, because when you’re being bullied, it messes with your mind. I would have to say, though, don’t stop believing in yourself. Don’t let anyone except you decide your worth. There are others out there who have gone through what you’re going through, and they have risen above it. You can, too. You MUST rise above it because you have something the world needs. That’s why you were created.
Annabell: Now for some fun questions:
Favorite ice cream flavor:
Paula Paul: At the risk of sounding boring, it’s vanilla. But has to be quality vanilla, home made with fresh ingredients.
Do you cook? If yes, what’s one of your favorite dishes to make? If no, what would you like to learn to cook?
Paula Paul: Of course, as a mother I cook, although not as much as I used to before my children grew up. I like to cook comfort food: beef stew with corn bread, cupcakes, blackeyed peas (I’m a Texan, remember?), and, of course home made ice cream. I absolutely LOVE homemade ice cream! I think I’ll go make some now!
What type of content do you love to read in books?
Paula Paul: I love to read literary novels like the one I’m reading now about a convent in France that is closing because no one goes to a convent anymore. I also like to read historical novels like Phillipa Gregory writes, and I love the YA fantasy novels that Terry Patchet writes because the characters are so unexpected and unusual.
Favorite King Arthur movie:
Paula Paul: The old movie Camelot
If you could choose who would play Meghan, Tyler, and Ryan in a movie, which actors would you choose to portray them?
Paula Paul: I had to get help from two of my teenage grand daughters for that, but we decided upon Jennifer Lawrence for Meghan, Zac Efron for Ryan, and Liam Hemsworth for Tyler.
Annabell: Thank you so much to Author Paula Paul for the wonderful interview! I would definitely like to see Jennifer Lawerence, Zac Efron, and Laim Hemsworth in a movie adaptation of Wizard. Would be a lot of fun to see how they would bring the fictional characters to life.
If you want more info on Author Paula Paul and her books, check out her site at: http://www.paulapaul.net/