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Paula Roe answers Juliet’s Ten Awkward Author Questions!

In this new segment, authors will be subjected to a list of awkward questions that may reveal more about themselves than they really wish to share, and they will receive a score on the ‘Braveometer’. If they choose to answer only five questions, they are a ‘Brave Author’, if they answer 6 to 9 questions they are a ‘Mega-Brave Author’, and if they answer all 10 questions they are an ‘Ultra-Brave Author’!

Today I’d like to welcome Paula Roe, award-winning romantic fiction author!


1. If only one of your books could have been / could be published, which one would you choose? (C’mon, I don’t want to hear ‘Oh, I love them all, there’s no way I could choose.’ Time to be ruthless, these are the Ten Awkward Questions after all!)

The first one, definitely. Needed to get that off my chest!


2. Okay, now which one of your children/family members would you… nah, just kidding! Which of the following words most accurately describes your best personality trait (you must pick only one!): Punctual. Good listener. Neat. Graceful. Generous. Cheerful.

ONE??? I would say generous, but I’m pretty sure the general consensus from others is ‘cheerful’ 🙂


3. Which of the following words most accurately describes your worst most challenging personality trait (even if you’re perfect, you must pick one):

Always late. Blabbermouth. Slob. Complete klutz. Scrooge. Grumpy pants.

The keyword here is ‘challenging’. I would say slob, but I completely own up to that one… which means it’s not really challenging, right…? The next one would probably be ‘blabbermouth’, then. Don’t say you weren’t warned.


4. Have you ever had a romantic crush on one of your characters? Who and why?

I think Jake Vance from Boardrooms & A Billionaire Heir. Because I wrote him with Seeley Booth (from Bones) in my head and I just loooove David Boreanaz :-*)


5. When writing an important scene, do you act it out to allow you to better describe what’s happening?

No, but I do read it aloud, especially the dialog scenes. I can edit out a lot of repetition that way.


6. Do you talk to yourself when writing or coming up with plot ideas?

Oh, yeah. But only in the car, where no-one can hear me. But of course, other drivers can *see* me, which can be quite disturbing… although probably not as disturbing as watching me belt out a song at high volume…


7. Who would be ideal to play YOU in a movie of your life?

Sandra Bullock 😀


8. If you could be any book character for one day, who would you be and why?

Scrooge McDuck – for all the money, of course!


9. You’re about to be left on a deserted island for a year, and while your basic food and water needs will be met, you can only bring one extra thing from the following. Which would you choose?

a) A pen and notepad that never runs out

b) An unlimited supply of books

c) An unlimited supply of chocolate, coffee, or alcohol (your choice)

d) A gorgeous man/woman depending on your preference

ARRRGGHH!! Toss up. The pen and notepad, which would be awesome? Or the man? Does he have to do my bidding? Because *that* would definitely tip the scales in his favor…


10. If you had the attention of the whole world for two minutes what would you say?

Stop FIGHTING, people!! Don’t you know there’s a climate change crisis?!


Thanks Paula, you have been awarded Ultra-Brave Author status!

Paula will be special guest speaker at the Australian Romance Readers Awards on 11th Feb. You can also check out Paula’s website here.

From Here To Eternity – RWA 20th Anniversary Conference

I was one of the lucky 350 attendees of the Romance Writers of Australia’s conference, held in Melbourne on 12th-14th August. The organisers did a fantastic job, and everything ran smoothly and professionally, allowing us writers to sit back and enjoy the event.

This was my first writer’s conference, yet I felt like part of a family, and was never without an interesting person to talk to. It was great to meet many of my online writing friends face to face, and I’m sure they were surprised to see that I am in fact a real person and not the cartoon avatar they’ve seen online!

I’m incredibly grateful to have met many wonderful authors, and the support and encouragement they gave me was amazing. There was no ‘us and them’, or ‘published and unpublished’, we were all united as writers, no matter what stage of the journey we’re at.

The venue (Hilton on the park, Melbourne) was lovely, and simply being child-free for four days without having to think about housework or real life in general was absolute bliss! I always love the feeling of arriving home, but I also love being able to think solely about writing and publishing for a few days without the distractions of daily life. Is it too early to book for next year’s conference?? 😉

I took as many notes as possible. Some information was new to me, some reinforced things I’d already learned but needed to be reminded of. Most importantly, I left feeling inspired, empowered, and dedicated to this path I’ve chosen.

The speakers were all fantastic, and I enjoyed listening and learning from Bob Mayer, Susan Wiggs, Lisa Heidke, Nikki Logan, Jane Porter, Christine Stinson, and all the authors, agents, and editors who enlightened, informed, and entertained.

Here are some of the key learnings I got from various speakers at the conference:

  • Writing is an entertainment business – emotion & numbers
  • Always stay one book ahead of your contract
  • Have SOP’s – standard operating procedures, for organising your writing time, social media, emails…etc
  • Write about what scares you most – the emotion will show through
  • Write what you WANT to know
  • Get ideas by thinking, ‘What if?’, ‘What if something is not what it appears to be?’
  • Dissect plots in movies by looking at ‘scene selection’ and scene titles on DVD’s
  • Show a character’s true nature through crisis
  • Find time for writing by tracking how you spend your time over one week – where can you cut back on time wasters and devote that time to writing?
  • Use twitter hashtags to attract target market, eg: ‘If you like #nameofsimilarbookormovie, you’ll like #nameofyourbook
  • Characterisation: Consciously communicate subconscious behaviour that the reader will subconsciously get
  • A book series can be unified by concept, theme, characters, setting
  • Sell a few .99c ebooks as ‘hooks’ to introduce readers to your other books
  • Women’s fiction for the 40+ age group is a hot market
  • Self help books can be useful for researching character issues and how they overcome them
  • Children in books – must bring something out in the characters
  • Technique for endings – try mirroring the opening of the book, unites beginning to end
  • Don’t wait until publication to think about a ‘brand’, do it now
  • A brand is a promise, a symbol, and triggers an emotional response and recognition
  • Can brand yourself as an author, or your books, or a character
  • When stuck with the writing process, do something else within the story – research setting, visual prompts, write a letter from your character to an old friend in first person
  • Content is king, promotion is queen
  • And much more!


Apart from the conference sessions, the social part was memorable too. The 1920’s themed cocktail party was a lot of fun, as was the awards dinner (congratulations to all the award winners!), and I was happy to do my bit for the fundraising for the Otis Foundation, a charity I hadn’t heard of until now, who plays an extremely valuable role in providing retreats for women and men going through breast cancer.

Thanks to the RWA team, my fellow writers, the speakers, agents, editors, sponsors, and hotel staff for making it a conference to remember.

I’m looking forward to a successful lifelong writing career – from here… to eternity.

~ Juliet

Reading In Bed – an extreme sport?

Yesterday, July 24th, saw the birth of the first ever ‘Global Read In Bed Day’, an initiative of mine to raise funds for literacy charities (and give participants an excuse to spend a relaxing day curled up with a good book!).

The GRIBD Facebook group has around fifty members so far, and I hope this will grow as word gets out, so the next time we have another ‘Read In Bed Day’, even more people can participate!

But what’s this about reading in bed being an extreme sport? Well, throughout the day, injuries, exhaustion, and obstacles were reported.

Injuries: I fell down the stairs on one of my ‘reading breaks’, resulting in a swollen wrist and aching leg muscles (I have been hobbling around today as though I’m ninety-five!).

Exhaustion: Some participants reported almost falling asleep, and one (yours truly) actually did.

Obstacles: Some participants had to navigate around work committments, taxi duties, parenting responsibilities, and the dreaded ‘that-which-must-not-be-named’ (aka: housework), in order to have a few minutes here and there of reading time. One participant even had the distraction of being in the beautiful South of France. Talk about difficult!

Who said Reading In Bed was easy? If you’re planning on participating in the next event, do so at your own risk!

Some of the books read by participants included:

Just Breathe, and Lakeshore Christmas, by Susan Wiggs.

Sushi For Beginners, by Marian Keyes.

Books by Agatha Christie and PD James.

The Bet, by Jennifer Crusie.

Nadia Knows Best, by Jill Mansell.

Alice Bliss, by Laura Harrington.

The Good Girl’s Guide To Getting Lost, by Rachel Friedman.

Something Borrowed, by Emily Giffin.

Even the Sunday newspapers and a writer’s work-in-progress got some love!

To join the Global Read In Bed Day Facebook group, click here and log into your Facebook account.