An Interview with Paul Swearingen
Why did you want to participate in the Community Novel Project?
I wanted to be a part of the joint community effort and to help out with editing as well as writing.
What do you like about the premise and characters of this year’s Community Novel Project Speak Easy? What challenges you about them?
The characters seem quite believable and at the same time vulnerable (except for the evil ones, of course, which are evil beyond evil).
What was your first reaction when you saw the chapter before yours?
Not so much a reaction, but I thought, “Wow. How am I going to be able to tie all this together?”
What is your favorite and least favorite addition that you contributed to this novel in your chapter?
Most favorite would be the fate of the jewels – both buried under Topeka High and palmed by Julia and Hal. Least favorite? Killing off Julia. Had to do it, though.
What do you hope happens or doesn’t happen in the chapters that come after yours?
I hope the author doesn’t have to close any gaping plot holes that I may have left?
How did you write your chapter – in a burst of inspiration or carefully outlined?
Both, sort of. I read through the entire novel, took notes, slept on it, and then in a burst of inspiration and confidence just started writing. A couple of hours later, I finished. And breathed a big sign of relief.
Any memorable stories to share about your writing experience?
Not about mine, in particular, but I was quite pleased to see how closely each author followed the previous author’s plot line while still managing to toss in a few curves.
What have you learned about writing fiction from participating in this project?
To trust my instincts and not to over-analyze plot lines.
What is your writing background? What do you usually write? How was this project different?
I have written ten YA novels, seven of which I have published (so far) as e-books, one of which I’m flogging around to agents, another which I’m letting “rest” for now, and another which I’m rewriting into first person, present tense – which is quite a challenge.
Has this experience convinced you never again to participate in a community novel project?
Heck, no! Bring on the next one!
Paul Swearingen is a retired English/journalism/Spanish teacher who managed to survive 34+ years in public, private, and government schools. He also was a radio newsman and disk jockey, a newspaper editor and photographer, a personnel manager for a large retail store (now defunct), a long-time publisher of the National Radio Club’s magazine, “DX News”, and during a short, dark period was a telemarketer and sold cemetery lots. He lives in Topeka, Kansas, where his main current duty, besides writing, is to keep his garden under close control. Swearingen has e-published seven young adult novels via Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and the usual e-book outlets.