Sunday 5 April 2009

I met Paula Brackston in a Book shop in the city of my birth, Cardiff, Wales, while visiting family. It was pure coincidence that I happened to be there and come across her amazing novel 'Book of Shadows'. I loved the book and read it on the plane back to Austria.

So please welcome Paula to Amberkatze's Book Blog for her first ever blog interview! Make sure you check out the book review I wrote and get yourself a copy. It really is an amazing read.

If you are lucky you may even win a copy in this weeks contest (see below)


Amber -  Welcome to Amberkatze's Book Blog!  I came across your book totally by accident when we met in the Cardiff Borders while you were signing books!  I really enjoyed Book of Shadows and I am sure a lot of my blog readers would too. Maybe you could start things off by telling them a bit about the book?

Paula – Hello, Amber. Hello, everyone. Book of Shadows tells the tale of immortal Witch, Elizabeth Hawksmith. We follow her story through 17th century Wessex, Victorian London, Passchendaele in 1917, and the present day.

Amber - Book of Shadows it quite unique.  How did you come up with the idea?

Paula – I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that there is magic going on all around us, even now, but not everyone can see it. I wanted to create a character who could be a modern day Witch, but who would have her origins deep in the past.

Amber -  With a lot of magic and history you cover a wide range of subjects in Book of Shadows. What kind of research did you have to do for the book? 

Paula – I read heaps. I really enjoyed losing myself in the different periods I was studying for the book. And I discovered so many enthralling things about witchcraft! The house was full of pictures, books, and objects relevant to the subject. I find it helpful when I am writing to have things around me that push my imagination in the direction it needs to go for a particular story to develop.

Amber -  Are you anything like your main character Elizabeth?  Or is she based on someone else?

Paula – Ha! I wish I was more like Elizabeth. I’m such a wimp, and she is so strong and determined. That is one of the best reasons for writing, I think – to be people we are not, just for a while. That said, there are surely elements of a writer in all their characters, I suppose. Which means there is something of me in Gideon, too, or vice versa, which is a little worrying.

Amber -  Do you intend on writing a sequel to Book of Shadows?

Paula – I’m considering it. A number of people have said they would like to see one. You know how when you finish reading a really good book you miss the characters quite badly? Well, it’s the same when you finish writing a story. It would be good to spend another year or two with old friends.

Amber -  What are you working on at the moment?  When is your next release due out?

Paula – Ah, that’s a little complicated. I’ve just finished a book that is in the same vein as Book of Shadows. It’s set in the present day and the 13th century – two parallel stories which ultimately converge (I never was any good at geometry). There’s a good deal of magic in that one – Merlin is one of the central characters. That will probably come out next winter/spring. The title isn’t confirmed yet.

Meanwhile, I have a new book due out in August, but this is a completely different animal – a contemporary comedy entitled ‘Nutters’. Snowbooks are publishing that for me under my pen name, PJ Davy. It’s challenging working on such different projects, but I hope it keeps my writing fresh. I’m currently working on a comedy-horror screenplay about werewolves, which I am developing with the Film Agency for Wales. Well, you did ask!

Amber - Book of Shadows is paranormal, historical, a little romantic and also slighty Young Adult.  What genre would you class it?  And why did you pick that genre to write about?

Paula – It’s fantasy, or historical fantasy, albeit in a pretty mainstream way. I don’t ever pick a genre. I just get an idea in my head and then write that story.

Amber -  Do you think it is harder being a British author than being an American author? 

Paula – Can’t answer that, I’m afraid, although I should imagine it’s tough wherever you are.

Amber -  Book of Shadows is your first book.  What was the process like for you?  Did you have any say in the title? Book cover? etc?  What did you love about bringing your first book into the world? and what did you hate?

Paula – The process was long coming – I had been writing for nine years before getting my first full-length work of fiction published. During that time I sold short stories and wrote a travel book and had non-fiction anthologised several times. Then everything seemed to happen very quickly. I signed with Snowbooks last July, and Book of Shadows is already out, which is incredibly speedy. Snowbooks made a fantastic job of the cover, don’t you agree? I get a real buzz seeing my book in shops now, and I love getting feedback from readers.

Amber -  What have been the good and bad times of being an author?  Any advice to anyone to anybody out there thinking of writing a book?

Paula – If you want to write, just do it. And keep doing it! Don’t expect to get it right first time. Perseverance is key. Even Doris Lessing attributes a large part of her success to being able to ‘stick at it’. It is miserable having your work rejected, but you learn to cope with it, mainly by writing more. And more, and more…

Amber -  What did you do before you became an author?  Do you still have a 'normal' job? 

Paula – I’ve done all sorts. I’ve worked as a travel agent, a nanny, a secretary, run a riding school, been a goatherd, and taught English as a foreign language. For the past three years I have worked part-time as a script reader, which has been really instructive, and I run creative writing workshops and classes. I did an MA in Creative Writing in 2004.

Amber - What books do you read when you have the chance?  Any must have authors or series?

Paula – I’m a promiscuous reader. The book I’ve just read is invariably my favourite – very fickle of me, I know. That said, I love reading Sebastian Faulkes, Martin Amis, Rose Tremain, David Mitchell, Magnus Mills… I feel a very long list coming on.

Amber - What music, TV series or films do you like and do any of them influence your work? 

Paula – When we were children my brother made me stay up late and watch horror films with him, so perhaps that’s how I’ve ended up writing a screenplay about werewolves! I like films, but don’t watch much TV, apart from Frasier, which always makes me laugh. If I’m feeling stressed I re-watch a favourite movie – Pulp Fiction, Withnail and I, something absorbing and well-written.

Amber - If you could write any book you wanted about any subject.  What would you write about?

Paula – I’m lucky to be able to say I am doing exactly what I want with my books now. Thank you, Snowbooks!

Amber -  You are stuck on a desert island.  What 5 things do you hope to have with you?

Paula – Assuming I’m not allowed my children, partner, or dog (or are they there with me?)… let’s see. OK, my laptop, solar powered, of course; gallons of mosquito repellent, or I’d be eaten alive; a wind up radio; a feather mattress; and one fine bone china tea cup and saucer. I’m no Ray Mears, but I could tolerate most things if I could spend some time in a comfortable bed with something like tea out of a decent cup listening to a play on Radio 4. Good grief, now I sound about 95!

Amber -  Thank you so much for being a guest on Amberkatze's Book Blog!  I hope you will come back again!

Paula – Thank you for having me here. I’ve really enjoyed my first ever blog interview.


Contest Time!

Paula has kindly said she will send the winner of this weeks contest a signed copy of 'Book of Shadows'! and because I loved the book so much I am going to pick a second winner who will get a copy of 'Book of Shadows' as well! So that means there are 2 copies up for grabs!

Oh and as always...more sales through Amberkatze's Book Blog Amazon site means more prizes!

Feeling lucky? How do you enter? Post a comment letting us know which authors you have or/and would like to meet!

No author = No entry!

Earn another entry for each place you link this contest on the net. Make sure you add links here for me to confirm your entries!

You can also earn extra entries by emailing your friends about the contest. Just make sure you send a copy to me at Amberkatzes_book_blog at gmx dot net.

The contest will stay open until Sunday April 12th 2009 4pm CET and the winner will be picked by a randomizer. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.

If you are claiming a prize, have emailed me and have not heard back before the 7 day limit is up then post a comment here on the blog. Your email may get sucked into my spam filter.


Labels: , ,

posted by Unknown at Sunday, April 05, 2009 |


At 5 April 2009 at 12:38, Blogger Donna

Book of Shadows sound very interesting, I need to check this book out. Magic is one of my favs to read about next to all things vampire.

Authors I would like to meet off the top of my mind:
Kelley Armstrong
R. A. Salvatore
Margaret Weiss
Jeri Smith-Ready
Gena Showalter
Anne Bishop
Dean Koontz
Stephen King

umm, I guess I could probably just keep going but I'll stop here. :D


At 5 April 2009 at 14:59, Blogger Vickie

I am looking forward to this book! Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

Authors I've met:
Jan Burke and Karin Slaughter

Authors I'd love to meet:
Kat Richardson
Jim Butcher
M R Sellars
Jeanne C Stein
Mario Acevedo
Mark Henry
Richelle Mead
Elizabeth George
Martha Grimes


At 5 April 2009 at 15:45, Blogger Vickie

Amberkatze: You have added so many books to my Wanton Book Yearn list, I have given you an award.


At 5 April 2009 at 17:18, Blogger Simply Stacie

I haven't met any authors yet. I would love to meet Stephenie Meyer and Jodi Picoult.


At 5 April 2009 at 17:45, Anonymous adelina

Book of shadows sounds awesome. Can't wait to read it.

I would love to meet Ilona and Gordon who write the Kate Daniels series as Ilona Andrews. I love their books!


At 5 April 2009 at 17:50, Blogger Unknown

I would love to meet Kim Harrison or Karen Chance.


At 5 April 2009 at 18:33, Blogger Kimberly B.

I worked at bookstores for 6 years, so I've met a lot of authors, and even introduced some of them when we were hosting a signing. Some of the ones I've met were
Charles de Lint,
Barbara Hambly
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Philip Pullman
Sharyn McCrumb
I'd love to meet Jeri Smith-Ready, Ann Aguirre, Diana Wynne Jones, Elizabeth Peters, Kim Harrison and Kelley Armstrong (just for starters! Thanks!


At 5 April 2009 at 20:35, Blogger Dawn M.

Through book signings, I've met: Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey, Jody Lyn Nye, Jeri Smith-Ready, Rachel Vincent, Melissa Marr & Rachel Caine.

I'd like to meet: Kelley Armstrong, Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Kim Harrison, Charlaine Harris, Stephenie Meyer, Jennifer Rardin & Carrie Vaughn.

Thanks! :0)


At 5 April 2009 at 21:01, Blogger Llehn

OOooo ... author I want to meet : Neil Gaiman!



At 5 April 2009 at 21:41, Blogger Starfire

Hi Amber - this sounds like a great book! As a Pagan, I'm always interested in reading the different ways that Pagans and Witches are depicted in fiction, and I especially love it when the story shows that they've done their research :-)

Authors I've met include Anne McCaffery, Mercedes Lackey, Orson Scott Card and Alan Dean Foster (all at conventions). Authors I'd *LOVE* to meet include Marjorie Liu, Michelle Sagara/West and Nalini Singh (whom it looks like I'll be lucky enough to get to meet at this year's NatCon in New Zealand.


At 5 April 2009 at 21:43, Blogger donnas

I have not met any authors yet. The ones I would most like to meet are:

Neil Gaiman
Michele Bardsley
Dakota Cassidy
Kelley Armstrong


At 5 April 2009 at 22:58, Anonymous Anonymous

I'd love to meet, off the top of my head:

J.K. Rowling
Rick Riordan
John Flanagan
Tamora Pierce
Stephenie Meyer
Stephen King
Dan Brown

And several others. Unfortunately, I live in Alaska, which isn't exactly a major meet-and-greet location.


At 6 April 2009 at 04:15, Blogger Margay Leah Justice

Authors I would like to meet are Julia Quinn, Meg Cabot, and Stephenie Meyer.



At 6 April 2009 at 05:28, Blogger Charlene

I am looking forward to reading Book of Shadows. It has been on my TBR list ever since I first heard about it. The authors I would love to meet are
Heather Graham
John Harwood
Ariana Franklin

Blessings of Peace


At 6 April 2009 at 06:42, Blogger Pamk

I've met alot of authors and have been to several gettogethers for reader/writers. But I would love to meet
JK Rowling
Diana Palmer
Johanna Lindsey
The last two are old favs from the time I started reading. Love their alien books. Just wish they'd write more.


At 6 April 2009 at 07:02, Blogger Kathy

Book of Shadows sounds wonderful and I plan on adding it to my wishlist (if I don't win here of course)

I have met Barbara Kingsolver and Amy Tan, both of whom were wonderful. I attended an ALA (American Library Association)conference several years ago and met dozens of children's authors. Wish I could go again someday, but since I went into medical librarianship rather than children's I doubt that will be anytime soon.

I would love to meet Stephen King, Dean Koontz or Charlaine Harris.


At 6 April 2009 at 07:08, Blogger Kathy

Forgot to add that I posted the contest on my blog at :


At 6 April 2009 at 08:23, Anonymous Anonymous

I'd like to meet J.K. Rowling, Diana Palmer, and Christine Feehan.


At 6 April 2009 at 09:43, Blogger Anita Yancey

There are a lot of authors I'd like to meet. Some of them are.
Janet Evanovich
Nora Roberts
Dan Brown
Karen Rose
Kim Harrison



At 6 April 2009 at 10:15, Blogger M.A.D.

zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

Not only would I love to win a copy of this book, but (among many of the authors) I'd also enjoy meeting Karen Chance!


At 6 April 2009 at 10:22, Anonymous Anonymous

I went to a book reading by Robert R. McCammon several years ago. i brought along a copy of one of his books to be signed. I was too shy to meet the man myself so I had my husband do it for me. I'd welcome the opportunity to meet the man myself one day. I would give my left arm to meet Stephen King. I'd also love to meet Jill Connor Browne, author of the Sweet Potato Queens books.


At 6 April 2009 at 10:49, Anonymous Anonymous

This sounds awesome.
I think I've only met one auther, Mark Murray, but I'm going to a Mystery Festival in May, and over thirty authors are scheduled to be there, so hopefully I'll be able to add to the list. Thanks for entering me.


At 6 April 2009 at 12:20, Anonymous Anonymous

Oh, and I included this in a post on my blog,


At 6 April 2009 at 14:20, Blogger tetewa

I've met Sherrilyn Kenyon! Would love to meet Christine Feehan, Charlaine Harris and Janet Evanovich.


At 6 April 2009 at 20:20, Blogger Katiedidtoo

Katherine Dunn

just read Geek Love and it blew me away. An older read but definitely an urban horror story.


At 7 April 2009 at 02:35, Blogger Unknown

Great interview with a fellow Snowbooks author - hello Paula! Good to see Withnail and I on your list - my all-time favourite.

I would very much like to meet Raymond Carver, but I'm too late for that, so Anne Lammot would come a close second.

Thanks for entering me into the competition!


At 7 April 2009 at 09:53, Blogger Lady Roxi

Love to have this.
I would really like to meet Laurell K. Hamilton and Stephen King.




At 7 April 2009 at 09:54, Blogger Karen

Sounds very interesting.

ktgonyea at


At 7 April 2009 at 11:13, Blogger Sunnyvale

I haven't met any, would like to meet JK Rowling


At 7 April 2009 at 11:43, Blogger chey

Hi Paula,
Nice to meet you. I like "meeting" authors. I will add Book of Shadows to my tbr list.
Authors I'd like to
Diana Gabaldon
Jack Higgins
Madeleine Hunter,
Lauren Royal
Tom Clancy
Nora Roberts
Dan Brown
Karen Rose
Daphne Clair
Carla Neggers
Linda Conrad
Len Deighton
the list goes on!


At 7 April 2009 at 12:22, Anonymous Anonymous
I'd love to meet James Patterson and Mary Higgins Clark!


At 7 April 2009 at 12:41, Blogger catslady

There are so many but I am going to say Suzanne McMinn and Jill Shalvis - I go to their daily blogs and they both have such a great sense of humor and seem just so nice!


At 7 April 2009 at 15:18, Blogger sweetsue

The only author I have met was Jean Auel at a book signing. I would love to meet Elizabeth Berg!
smchester at gmail dot com


At 7 April 2009 at 15:25, Blogger AmandaK

There are 2 I would love to meet:

Christopher Moore
Charlie Huston

Those are my most 2 favorite authors at the moment!!



At 8 April 2009 at 05:52, Blogger Asylumgirl

I haven't met any authors, but would love to meet and discuss the Sookie Stackhouse series with Charlaine Harris and the Twilight series with Stephenie Meyer.



At 8 April 2009 at 07:19, Blogger Deirdre

I've met and chatted with - C E Murphy (who is great fun); Terry Pratchett; Anne McCaffrey; John O Donoghue; Juliet McKenna; and several other Fantasy & SF authors as I'm a regular at some Irish SF Cons.

I'd like to meet Mercedes Lackey. I'd love to have met Andre Norton and have visit the library at her house.


At 8 April 2009 at 13:06, Anonymous Anonymous

I met Andrew Davidson, author of Gargoyle, when he was speaking at our public library. He was very nice!


At 8 April 2009 at 13:36, Blogger Nickolay

I have met Shel Silverstien, but I have always wanted to meet Dean Koontz


At 9 April 2009 at 05:36, Blogger Michelle M.

I've met Joshilyn Jackson and loved talking to her. She's so funny.
I'd love to meet Pat Conroy. His books are some of my favs.



At 9 April 2009 at 10:03, Blogger utahups

I would like to meet Dean Koontz.


At 9 April 2009 at 18:15, Blogger Ginny

Hard, I'd love to meet Janet Evanovich!


At 9 April 2009 at 18:19, Blogger Ginny



At 10 April 2009 at 02:37, Anonymous Paula

Hi - Great to read your comments. There are so many authors I would like to meet I daren't start the list...! I think I'd be a bit star struck. I'm having a book signing of my own tomorrow at my local WH Smiths branch. Hold back those crowds!
Thanks for having me on your blog, Amber.


At 10 April 2009 at 05:20, Blogger Smooshy

i really want to meet stephen king, just have the chance to shake his hand and thank him for giving me so many awesome nightmares!


At 10 April 2009 at 15:04, Anonymous Anonymous

Authors I need to meet would be Stephen King, Jim Butcher, Ilona Andrews and Patricia Briggs.



At 10 April 2009 at 15:22, Blogger susan1215

I would like to meet Ann Rule.


At 10 April 2009 at 15:33, Anonymous Anonymous

I blogged about this contest in my LJ:



At 10 April 2009 at 21:09, Blogger Unknown

maggie shayne , she is the first paranormal author i knew of for a very long time
before internet


At 10 April 2009 at 22:02, Blogger wgbc1446

The authors I would like to meet include Steven King, John Grisham, and Dean Koontz. wgbc1446[at]yahoo[dot]com


At 11 April 2009 at 00:22, Blogger chromiumman

i'd love to meet terry pratchett


At 11 April 2009 at 00:23, Blogger wanda f

The two authers I would love to meet are Kelley Armstring and Lyndsay Sands .I love their work


At 11 April 2009 at 07:04, Blogger Kim (Randominities)

I would like to meet Clive Barker, but at a distance. Like to hear him talk somewhere. He scares the socks off me!

I would also like to meet Charlaine Harris, just to hang out. She sounds like a fun person.


At 11 April 2009 at 08:41, Blogger D Q

I haven't met any authors yet. I would love to meet Stephenie Meyer and Nora Roberts.


At 11 April 2009 at 11:13, Blogger Robin T

I would love to meet Stephen King, Dean Koontz, or Tom Clancy


At 11 April 2009 at 12:38, Blogger LuAnn

I would love to meet Toni Morrison. She's been in the news so much lately and is a wonderful writer!


At 11 April 2009 at 14:55, Blogger djgroz

I would like to meet
Sue Grafton
Selma Eichler
Sara Paretski


At 11 April 2009 at 16:25, Blogger Candie L

I would like to meet John Grisham. he seems like he would be an everyday person. Thank you.



At 11 April 2009 at 20:02, Blogger Jinxy and Me

I met Helene Stapinski, author of Five Finger Discount. She is super cool!


At 11 April 2009 at 22:04, Anonymous Anonymous

I have met David Sedaris!


At 11 April 2009 at 23:30, Blogger Betty C

I would love to meet James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Patricia Cornwell, Andrea Kane, Sue Grafton, Sarah Graves and oh so many more.


At 12 April 2009 at 06:11, Blogger Unknown

I would like to meet James Patterson, Stephen King and John Grisham.


At 12 April 2009 at 06:38, Blogger Sheila Hickmon

I would love to meet Stephen King, Andrea Kane, Stephanie Meyer, Dan Simmons, and James Patterson! Thanks for the chance!


At 12 April 2009 at 06:42, Blogger blogggggg

My top three authors that I would like to meet are:

Sarah Vowell
Augusten Burroughs
David Sedaris

They all make me laugh with their writing.


At 12 April 2009 at 07:34, Blogger lilyk

My fiance is an author. ;0D


At 12 April 2009 at 10:39, Anonymous Janice Wright

I used to work out with a writer of short stories, Phyllis Mills.

I would love to meet Suze Orman


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