Paula Boer is a writer with an interest in nature and travel. She lives in New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and a variety of animals. When she is not writing, she loves exploring the countryside, reading and playing the piano.
It is my pleasure to welcome Paula Boer on Center Stage.
I ‘met’ via the internet and through her debut novel THE OKPAI PROMISE. I was intrigued about the novel. Well, what did I think? Paula knows how to spin a story. I am African and shook my head at all that happened in the forests. I am not so sure I agree with the doctor in withholding the promise of the Okapi to humanity. I took with a dim view his pretensions that he would like us to remain savages for long. He played the classic Zeus complex. I was hurt at the unnecessary murder of Derik and felt Paula did not show us the proper justice that was coming to Cheryl. Okapi promise had my full attention from being a simple and interesting travelogue to a chilling murder thriller. Like the African weather Paula was unpredictable and took me through a variety of emotions but I was held by her expertise. Loved the story and felt sad about tragedy- prone Derik. Then I heard through our joint publisher IFWG Publishing that Paula has done it again, she is about to launch her second novel BRUMBIES so felt it appropriate to invite her to Center Stage for a chat. Please enjoy the interview.
2. Who is Paula really?
I've had a number of careers, starting with farming in England when I left school at age 15. After a while I decided I would like to own my own farm, so went into computing to earn better money. After twenty years (a lot longer than I thought), I did end up with a hobby farm, where my husband Pete and I had up to thirteen horses at one stage. Then we retired early as we decided to simplify our lives and sold everything up to travel around Australia. During that time I started writing; now I consider that my third career.
3. Would it be right to make the outrageous submission that you love animals a little teeny bit more than humans?
No. I think you should say A LOT more! Animals and wilderness are my passions. I love my close friends, but can happily live without people en masse.
4. In the Okapi promise, one could surmise that you have misgivings about the effect of civilization on the human mind and behavior, is that true?
I don't have misgivings about the effect on humans per se, more the impact of so called civilisation on the planet. Personally, I think living in balance with nature is preferable to exploiting the earth's resources.
5. Okapi promise was a travelogue/suspense/crime thriller, Brumbies promises to be different, it is a shift from the previous genre? Why?
I was taught 'write about what you know'. The Okapi Promise was based on my own travels in Africa and my concern about the widespread nature of rabies across the world. The Brumbies series expresses my years of experience working with and enjoying horses. I loved The Silver Brumby series as a child, and have heard many young people wish for more horsey books, so I targeted that age group, but the series can be (and has been) enjoyed by adults too.
6. You wrote Okapi promise from the view point of a benevolent person that seemed to respect the norms of the Okapi people, but one came away from the book that there was something primitive and naive about their acceptance of the tourists which would thus indicate they already had contact with the symbols of civilization, wasn’t the doctor playing god in refusing the rest of humanity the opportunity for healing?
Each reader is likely to have a different take on that (and there were four points of view used in the narration). I try to put forward all sides of a story and let others decide what is right or wrong. I can only present the information as I understand it. I try very hard not to preach through my writing.
7. What genre of writing has had the most impact on you and thus influenced your writing?
I think the biggest influence has to be that I don't stick to a single genre in my reading. I read both fiction - science fantasy, historical drama, thrillers and so on) and non-fiction - coffee table books, 'how-to' books, essays, even dictionaries!
8. There is a growing sense that the written word is going out of fashion, yet it had shaped millions of people in the past, what do you think as an author of e-books, electronic libraries as against the traditional library of the printed word.
I believe there is room for both. Personally, I only read paper books. However, I recognise that other people prefer an electronic medium. It's good to have a choice.
9. As we await the imminent launch of Brumbies, what do you hope it will achieve for you as well as the readers you intend it will benefit.
I hope the Brumbies series will be successful in numbers of sales, both for my personal gratification but also to promote IFWG Publishing. As a small independent publisher that looks after their authors, I would like to see IFWG do well and rise up to be respected and recognised by the industry.
For the readers, I hope they will enjoy the same thrills that I have in sharing the outdoors with horses, whether that be only in their minds or results in them experiencing Australia's high country and wild horses first hand.
10. The developing world has a lot to catch up with particularly in the widening of their horizons through reading, yet the reading culture is dead on arrival in my neck of the woods, books are expensive and publishers are worried about making returns on their investment, do you have any suggestions for us on how we can access your books fairly moderately?
I have only visited Nigeria briefly, so can't claim to be able to solve local problems in Africa. However, I do believe that schools and libraries (state based and charitable as well as private) should play a significant role in making books accessible to a wide as audience as possible, both young and old. I believe education is the key to understanding the problems facing the world and hope that through an informed populace we can fix the damage done by previous generations.
11. Are there plans to market Brumbies to reach the African market?
As for all IFWG publications, Brumbies will be available online, so should be available wherever there is access to the Internet (subject to countries' import conditions). If I make another journey to Africa, I will be happy to do book signings wherever I am invited!
12. You are an established author, please give advice on how one can maintain a sustainable writing career.
Write, write, write. Listen to advice (but only act on it if either three or more people tell you or you wholeheartedly agree with it). Don't give up – be self-motivated and determined. And, despite writing at times being work, enjoy the process! We (should) write by choice, or because we feel compelled to do so, not because of any desire to achieve fame or fortune, sell a message or because we feel obliged to share our story.
13. Do you worry about how your next book will be received?
Of course! The process of writing from experience is very personal. But I hope that I can take any criticism constructively and use it to improve future writing.
14. Most authors look forward to seeing their books become a success even being adapted into a film, which of your books will you like to see as a film one day?
All of them. Seriously, I believe either The Okapi Promise or the Brumbies Series would make fabulous films – great scenery, lots of action, and hopefully characters that viewers can relate to. Bring it on!
You can buy THE OKAPI PROMISE online at amazon.com. Kindle, Barnes & Noble, and most online stores anywhere. BRUMBIES is scheduled for release in a matter of days WATCH OUT!!
Thank you Paula for coming on Center Stage.