Blakely’s Friday Interview with Ronald Paxton

Please give a warm welcome to Ronald Paxton, author of Winter Songs, Deep Water, and Haven.

photo[1]Tell us a bit about yourself and what you’re currently working on or promoting.
I’m married and Live in Newport News, Virginia. I’ve been writing seriously for about ten years and have published over forty short stories. I have also written five novels, three of which are currently available on Amazon. I’m in the process of developing ideas for my next book.

“Soul Man,” is scheduled for release by Moonshine Cove Publishing in April 2015. “Broken” is scheduled for a January 2016 release by Deer Hawk Publications. “Haven” was released on 7/1/14 by World Castle Publishing and is available on Amazon. I am currently working on “Silent Waltz,” the fourth novel in the Salem Matthews series.

What genre is your book? Do you write in other genres as well?
My first two novels are categorized as Contemporary. I would describe my other books as Suspense with mystery, family drama, and romance elements.

Do you have an agent and/or publisher or are you self-published? If self-published, do you use a professional editor? If traditionally published, who is your publisher?
I don’t have an agent. I do have a traditional publisher. My first three novels, “Winter Songs,” “Haven,” and “Deep Water,” are with World Castle Publishing. “Broken” and “Soul Man” are with Bar Publishing. My books are professionally edited.

Do you use test readers? If so, how many?
I don’t use beta readers. I’m happy to hear what readers think of my books, but I also realize their opinions are subjective. I have to trust my own instincts when it comes to developing characters, plot elements, and a compelling story.

What advice do you have for writer’s just starting out?
This isn’t an easy business. It took me several years before I sold my first short story and over a year to find a publisher for “Winter Songs.” Don’t give up. Do it because you love it. Don’t expect to get rich from your writing.

Do you set writing goals and if so, what are they?
Once I have a project underway my goal is to write at least 500 words each day. I also set monthly word count goals. This gives me an approximate timeline for completion of the book and helps me stay on track.

Do you outline your stories or just go with the flow?
I create a synopsis, including a list and brief description of my primary characters, and work from that. It’s a helpful checklist for writing my characters into the story. I don’t like the idea of elaborate outlines or story boards because I don’t want to force my characters to conform to them. Once they hit the page my characters come to life and sometimes go in unexpected directions.

Who is your favorite author and why?
John Sandford is probably my favorite writer. I enjoy thrillers and his Prey series is superb. I also enjoy the Doc Ford books by Randy Wayne White and the Anna Pigeon novels by Nevada Barr. I read everything by these authors.

What book are you currently reading?
I just finished reading “Innocence” by Dean Koontz. I usually pick something from my bookshelf related to southern history to read in the evening.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing I’m usually thinking about my next project, editing, or trying to promote my writing! I also love to read both fiction and non-fiction, particularly southern and Civil War history. I like to walk and enjoy listening to music (classic rock).

How much time a day do you spend on social media?
Too much! I focus mainly on Facebook and LinkedIn. I belong to a number of writing groups and try to participate as much as I can. I also try to help my fellow authors by commenting, liking and sharing. I have a blog where I regularly post my thoughts on topics that are related to writing.

What do you do to stay sane as a writer?
I’m very methodical. I jot down a few notes to get me started on each chapter and I don’t force the writing. That doesn’t work for me. I’ll take a walk or do something else to clear my head. I’m not the guy that stays up half the night and writes 6000 words a day. I probably average a little over a thousand words a day. That adds up when you’re writing seven days a week.

Do you read your reviews and if so, how do you cope with a bad one?
I do read reviews because I want to know what my readers think about my work. Bad reviews are hard on me. I try not to dwell on it. I’ll read the review once and then attempt to put it behind me. I sometimes re-read my 5 star reviews to boost my spirits.

I have found the writer’s community to be very supportive and welcoming. Please share writers that you recommend for us to check out.

  1. Judith White
  2. GR Holton
  3. Alisha Guenzel

You can find Ronald on his website, blog, and Facebook.

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