Today we sit down with Author Palessa. She began reading novels at an early age and was influenced by several authors.
She sat down to answer my twenty questions. Please enjoy learning about her and her work.
Q1) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I think it happened when I was here in Jamaica. I just decided that I was going to do what it is that I always wanted to do but I had to figure out what that was. It turned out that the one thing that I’ve been doing all this time was that thing that I was supposed to be doing. It took me a while to really understand how I was going to do this but when I met Sable Hunter, I was reading her work and I came up with this idea that wouldn’t go away. That was when it hit me that this was happening. I was definitely going back into writing fiction.
Q2) How long does it typically take you to write a book?
That depends on a variety of factors. I have recently adopted the habit of writing in bulk, which means that I’ll be writing two or three stories successively so it takes me a little bit longer now. Before, I would write one at a time and sometimes it would take two months. My historical women’s fiction, Eyubea Girls, took me four months to write. Sometimes my ideas are so complex that it does take me longer to write the story out plus I also have some other obligations to take care of so right now I’m looking at close to a year for writing the first drafts of three stories.
Q3) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
My schedule varies depending what I have to do. There are times when I will write in the morning just because the idea is that powerful have to get it out of my head before I do anything else. Then there are times when I’m writing later in the day because I have some other things that I need to get done earlier on and it’s just not possible for me to get to the story until later.
Q4) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know that I have anything that would be classified as a quirk. I think I just do my thing and I don’t really classify anything. To me it’s all kind of normal, me figuring out my prices. I will say that I need silence to write but I wouldn’t necessarily call that quirky.
Q5) How are your books published?
I did have a publisher. In Jan 2016 they decided to close their doors and now I’m completely self-published.
Q6) Where do you get your ideas for your books?
I get ideas from a variety of sources such as books I’ve read and shows I’ve watched. These are stories I’d enjoy so I figured that if I liked these then others will too.
Q7) If you don’t mind sharing, how old were you when you wrote your first book?
I think I wrote my first book when I was about 19. It was the longest story I’d written but I thought it was just terrible. It was a supernatural/paranormal story, which I would love to get back to one day.
Q8) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing I’m doing teasers, which are fun for me. I’m also doing some other business stuff, which can be a lot of fun. I’m also reading more. That’s something I want to do more of because I feel like I have really slacked off because I’ve been writing. I want to build that up because there are plenty of great books out there.
Q9) What is your favorite book?
I have a lot of books that I just have enjoyed. When I think of my favorite books to come to mind: Barbara Taylor Bradford’s A Woman of Substance and Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour. Two completely different genres, two great books to enjoy. There’ve been others as well over the years and there continue to be more but those are the two that really come to mind when I think of great stories.
Q10) What do your family and friends think of your writing?
You know, they’re happy for me. They like the fact that I’m writing. Some say they would buy it but you know it’s nothing like I’m pushing them. I think one day some will get curious
Q11) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I learned that there is a process and I’m still trying to figure it out. There are different processes for different books and some books will take me a little bit longer to finish than others and it’s completely normal. It’s not one straight away to do every story.
Q12) What do you hate most about the writing process?
One thing I don’t like about the writing process, and it’s part of the process, but there are times when go slower than you want them to. It’s burnout and it’s part of the process I’m not too fond of but I found that if I just kind of let myself to take a break I’ll work through it. There are times when things are just so intense. You’ll work then you hit that wall. That’s when you say, “Okay, I gotta back off a little bit.”
Q13) How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
So far I have actually written more than ten. They will be published eventually. The one I’m currently working on is my favorite. I don’t think I really could pick which one would be my favorite; they all have different significance to me. Unchained Hearts is my first published book, Eyubea Girls was my first historical women’s fiction. Tobey Fine is my first sports fiction so they all have their special place.
Q14) Do you have any suggestions to help us become better writers? If so, what are they?
I’m still working on that myself so that is interesting. I do find that the more I read, whether it’s an article, a book, it doesn’t have to necessarily be fiction but it can be any kind of book. Reading really does open you up a lot more to new ideas and different understanding. I’d say to be better at writing or telling a story, read more.
Q15) Do you get feedback from your readers much? How and what kinds of things do they say?
Sometimes I do have readers contacting me and chatting about a particular character or something about the story they wanted to understand. I’ll get the readers who say they like the story. Other times, I get somebody who’s really into the story and that is kind of exciting
Q16) What is your preferred reading audience?
I don’t have a particular preferred audience. It’s more like anybody who wants to read independent authors or anyone who wants to read a story. I think over time I may develop a preferred audience, which would be more for marketing purposes.
Q17) What do you think makes a good story?
A good story is one that really draws in the reader and helps them to see the story. Readers feel for the characters and the book stays with them for a bit.
Q18) As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I have no idea. It’s been so long and I was considered tomboyish.
Q19) Where can we find your books?
My books are on Amazon while most of the others are on Kobo and Nook.
Q20) Will you give us an excerpt from one of your favorite works?
This is an excerpt from Eyubea Girls, my historical women’s fiction that takes place during the early 1900s:
With trembling hands, he closed the door, gripping the door knob hard until Patrick felt his knuckles would burst through the skin. His mouth was dry and there were jolts prickling the skin all around his neck and shoulders, which were tight. After watching them leave and finding enough strength to breathe through the trembling, Patrick turned his narrowed gaze to the top of the stairs. With a second wind fueled by adrenaline and fists curled into balls, his legs practically launched him up the stairs two steps at a time.
Before he knew it, he was in front of their door. He thrust door against the back wall and there it stayed. “Wake up!” he bellowed. When Vivian didn’t stir, he strode to the bed and shook her awake a couple of times.
She wailed, fighting against hands that threatened what little peace she had. It took her a moment but she realized where she was and whose hands they were.
“What is it, Patrick?” her voice was thick as she licked her lips. “I’m trying to get some sleep.”
“Get up,” his voice was low and dangerous. Vivian gingerly raised herself from the bed and looked at her husband. Her blurred vision eventually focused enough for her to see darkness in Patrick’s face. “Just when I thought you couldn’t do anything to make me hate you, just when I thought I could find a way to…”
“What are you on about?” she muttered flatly.
“This,” He held up the crumpled piece of paper between his curled fingers and for a moment Vivian stuttered, squinting and blinking. Her face changed from confusion to recognition as she looked at Patrick blankly. “You placed our daughter up as collateral in one of your games. You practically sold her into slavery to a pair of blokes who would do whatever to her…”
Despite the shame she had the good sense to feel, Vivian was indignant. “She’s practically a woman. It’s time that she knew what the world was like.” Vivian pressed the back of her hand against her mouth and grimaced.
Patrick’s blood was like lava and he could feel his heart pounding in his chest. Letting out a wrathful growl, he curled his fingers into a white knuckled fist and raised it to her. He stopped suddenly seeing his wife shake with fright as she cowered behind her hands, murmuring unintelligibly. His chest heaved as he gathered his senses and slowly lowered his hand. What he was about to do, what he did, was not like him. Vivian had successfully drawn him into her degenerative madness that caused her own father to beat her mother into a bloody pulp day after day. He had vowed to love and cherish her all the days of his life in spite of her drunkenness, in spite of her gambling, in spite of everything that she had done to make him stop. He fought every test she administered until now. All it took was that one moment when he had raised his hands to his own wife for him to realize that he had already lost the fight. He didn’t know when. He just knew that he was done.
Palessa started reading her first romance novel, at the age of 11. Then she got introduced to V.C. Andrews, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Anne Rice and many more notable contemporary authors as well as some of the classics, A Tale of Two Cities, Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Great Gatsby and others. It was during her teenage years that she dabbled in writing. It would take almost 20 years, a radical move from the city she grew up in, Miami, FL back to her Caribbean birthplace, and a chance Facebook meeting with Sable Hunter to start the juices flowing again. After some fits and starts, the Baxter Family Saga was born. Unchained Hearts is Palessa’s first published fiction book with Beau Coup Publishing. She is currently a self-published independent author who considers herself just a storyteller who currently lives in the mountains of Jamaica with her crazy, cracker-munching-mutt Ivy (who’s had puppies), a cat named Kushi, chickens, goats and a farm, primarily managed by agribusiness partner, also known as Dad.
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