Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Author Interview: Paulina Ulrich

Paulina Ulrich, author of Flightless Bird. Self-published using CreateSpace. 

And the last post of my self-publishing fest is here. Later on today I'll post a round up of all the articles, but for now, here's a love story with a twist of magic.


The summer of her seventeenth birthday Livy Eckels was faced with something she wasn't ready for. In the midst of a crumbling family, devastated, she grabs her bicycle and heads out of town to escape the heavy atmosphere at home. Livy unexpectedly crashes into the lives of two mysterious people living on the outskirts of town. 

As she prepares to start her final exhaustive year of high school, she already has enough on her plate. Then with the entrance of Gregory Mason, her life becomes even more complicated. Tall, handsome, and ever so annoying, Livy can't stand being around him until she finds herself being pulled closer and closer to things she cannot explain. She was determined to understand why Gregory Mason was so interested in her until she discovered something that may put her curiousity to an end. Before she knows what is happening Livy becomes entangled in the mystifying plots of a secret society, a vengeful ex-lover, and a situation she never expected to find herself in: falling in love with a boy whose secret she should have never known.

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Tell us a bit about your novel.

Flightless Bird is hard to describe in a nutshell! It focuses on a teenage girl named Livy, who never expected to be thrown into a world of danger, secrets, and time travel, but when she met Gregory Mason, there was no stopping what she least expected: falling in love. Embarking on a treacherous path, Livy and Gregory must escape his past before the lies, a secret society, and the deadly consequences catch up to them.


How long did it take you to write Flightless Bird?

I started writing it in August of 2008 and it came out in 2011, so three years. I had varying versions, but the characters and the time travel theme always remained solid. There were lots of ups and downs while writing it, but it was an unbelievably fun story to write!


Where did you get your inspiration from?
I find a lot of inspiration in nature and my roots trace back to the Pacific Northwest. It's a beautiful place and I love it so much. Music is inspiring to me during the writing process and will help me if I'm writing varying scenes, whether they be action, emotional, or light-hearted.


When did you realise you wanted to be an author?

There wasn't a precise moment where I realized everything I wanted to be. As cliche as it is to say this, I'd been writing since I was 6 and have the home video to prove it. I didn't realize it then, but I have no doubt writing has been my calling my entire life. I even have a B.A. in creative writing from college. I suppose I've always known I wanted to be one.


What was the hardest part about writing Flightless Bird?

The difficulty of anything you write can change over time. Depending on the plot, setting, characters--anything can challenge an author in context of the story they're writing. I believe you can't be a good author unless you challenge yourself to write something that is hard or new. If you end up stuck writing the same boring stories with the same flat characters, you're not doing any one a favor. Be as original as possible.


When did you decide you would choose self publishing, and what made you opt for that route?

I chose self-publishing as my first route of publishing because it’s an industry one can work through as well as still querying for agents at indie houses or big publishing houses. There are so many avenues and it’s best not to strap yourself down to one industry, but to dabble in them all and find the right fit for yourself.


What kinds of things did you do to prepare yourself for self-publishing?

Research. I can’t emphasize that enough. Self-publishing is not this easy pass where you can publish your work and everything is all perfect. Its hard work and you have to research to find the parts of self-publishing that fit with your own writing. Finding your fellow writers that you connect with are important too. I found a writing group and stuck with them because it’s always good to have feedback from other writers who know what they’re doing. There was so much I did to prepare that if I explained it all, that would be its own novel!


Would you do anything differently for your next novel?

Flightless Bird is the first in a series and it has two more following books. I also have CHOSEN, the first book in my other series, the Fighting Fate series, that has come out. At this point, I’m not sure I would do anything different. But who knows! Things can always change.


What was the hardest part of self-publishing – what surprised you?

The hardest part in the beginning was the marketing aspects. Starting out, getting your name out there is hard but it’s doable with help! I was surprised to find out how many fellow book nerds and writers are willing to help market each other.


What is your best piece of advice?

Do your research, work hard, and be original in context of your own work. Don't write what's popular just because that's what everyone is reading. Trends fade fast. Stay true to you and your writing, no matter how cheesy that sounds.


Who would you recommend self-publishing to, and who would you deter?

Self-publishing is a serious industry just like indie and traditional publishing. If you aren’t taking your work seriously, no one else will. If you want to publish an article or short story, then focus on publishing on a blog or journal publication. Journals are great ways to have your work showcased to the world.


What publisher did you use and how would you rate them?

I never particularly sought out a single publishing company. I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and after fulfilling the goal, recommendations for CreateSpace came up. I started to investigate it and other avenues of self publishing. My conclusion was CreateSpace was user friendly and the quality of the books was what you paid for. I’ve used them for all my novels so far. Their paperbacks aren’t super durable but then again, what paperback is? I’d recommend them for use, but still do research to do what is best for you. CreateSpace is one of many options!

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Author Profile

Paulina Ulrich is the author of Flightless Bird, which can be purchased from Amazon. For more details on Paulina Ulrich, check out her personal website.