Today I’m excited to introduce you all to a wonderful Australian author, Ainslie Paton. I’ve been talking to Ainslie online now for quite a while, and finally got to meet her last year at the Romance Writers of Australia (RWA) conference in Melbourne. Between you and me, you will not find a more talented, friendly and open person than Ainslie, who is happy to talk craft and bookish problems .
Ainslie Paton is an Australian based romance writer who lives in Sydney. Her writing is varied, but not less brilliant than her corporate mind and she is such a fun person to talk too. According to her website, she likes to refer to herself in third person and has written a hilarious introduction to herself which you can all read here. Sadly it’s too long to post here, and I can’t choose snippets because it wouldn’t make much sense without the entire context! But make sure you check it out at some point.
So without further ado, everybody meet Ainslie Paton!
What are you currently reading?
I’m currently sampling from Amazon’s top 100 romances. There’s a reason for that.
What was the last book you bought?
Lionel Shriver’s, The Mandibles: A Family 2029-2047.
Do you prefer to read books in print or electronically?
I’ve given up hard copy. I’m all digital, baby.
What do your bookshelves look like? Do you have an organisation system (genre, colour, author…) or are you just happy to go with the flow?
I used to have books everywhere, stacked all over any appropriate flat surface, until I had to move them and realised they’d become impossible at same time as the books carefully stored had been eaten by bugs. Bugs! After much lamenting, binning, culling, donating and gifting, I’m down to a manageable pile of favourites in print and a totally out of control digital shelf. Totally out of control!
How often do you read?
Every day. It’s an odd day when I haven’t read something in novel form.
Describe what you would expect to find in your dream book?
Elements that I can’t guess at, that surprise me, but not in a shock value way, in a didn’t see that coming way and it’s amazing.
How do you choose what to read next?
That depends on what I’m working on. If I’m editing, I can choose anything from the totally out of control digital shelf. I save up prize reads for editing periods. They’re like a reward. If I’m writing, I have to choose carefully. If I read an author I’m in awe of I find it harder to get into my own work. It’s a kind of confidence paralysis. When I’m drafting I tend to choose books outside my genre, unknown authors, or I sample from bestseller lists. See above.
So you’ve started a book and discover it’s not for you. Are you more likely to discard it or finish it?
I used to finish everything. Print books were expensive, so if I bought ‘em, I finished ‘em. Now I tend to sample and don’t purchase unless a sample has me hooked, so I finish far less these days. It’s ruthlessly efficient. Occasionally I’ll get tricked but it would be rare for me to abandon entirely, even if it means I scan to the end. And yes, I have hate-read a few books end to end.
If you could read any book again, for the first time, what book would you choose?
Tell you a secret, I never re-read. I never re-watch movies either. There is so much out there, I’m not tempted to go back when I could go new to me. Yes, yes, I’m a heretic, but the idea of a re-read is not in the least enticing.
What is it about books that appeals to you so much? What is your favourite part about reading?
Two things: escape and re-imagining. Books let me go somewhere else, be someone else, and learn new things. I also like the alone centredness of reading. It’s all mine!!!
Can you tell us a bit about your writing style. Are you a pantser or a plotter? Do you prefer to write in 1st or 3rd person? Are you an early riser writer or a late night owl writer?
I write both first and third person pov. I’m a night owl by preference. Never unhappy if I’m still drafting at 2am. In terms of style, I’m somewhere between a pantser and a plotter. I’m a sign-poster. I map key highlights and destinations for a novel and then stutter and stumble between them. I usually know my beginning, middle, black moment and end. Much of that mapping is in my head. I might have a page of notes and a file of research, but that’s about it. I don’t necessarily write in order. I’ve written a last scene first and a middle last. I hear pantsers talk and I think, yeah that’s me. I hear plotters talk and I think, yeah that’s me but without all the hard copy notes.
Was there any particular book that inspired you to start writing?
All the books from my childhood, from Black Beauty to Trixie Belden. There was such magic in books to me as a kid, it was impossible not to want to be able to understand how it all worked and try it out for myself.
Do you have any advice to other writers out there?
I want to say no, because no is the right answer. It sounds disingenuous, but it is no, because other than start and finish, what works for me is about me and my training, skills and background and not about anyone else. The way I work might not work for anyone else, nor is it necessarily the best way, assuming there even is a best way. Which is an untidy way of saying there is nothing special in any advice I can give that’s not simply the tried and tested advice we hear so often from dozens of sources better placed than me. Read extensively, write knowing it’s a journey and perfection is a destination we’ll rarely reach, finish what you start because there are as many lessons in finishing as there are in starting. Nothing original in that. I’m such a disappointing heretic.
I would add, take care where advice comes from. This industry had no immunity to instant experts and some advice does more harm than good.
And lastly, what are you currently working on?
I’ve just completed a series called Sidelined. There are three books: Offensive Behavior, Damaged Goods and Sold Short. It’s set in Silicon Valley and it’s about a group of friends who have a ragingly successful start-up business together and it’s also about all kinds of virginity and doing things for the first time.
Offensive Behavior is available now. Damaged Goods comes out end July and Sold Short is due out October.
I’m working on my next thing, it might be journalism meets dating, but it’s a fragile flower and I’m not ready to expose it to the light of day yet.
Thank you so much for stopping by and talking books with me Ainslie.
To learn more about Ainslie Paton and her books, visit the following social media sites:
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