What inspires you to write?
Music can play a big part in finding inspiration. With certain songs or instrumentals, I am able to create a kind of trailer for the story in my head and how I would see it play out. It also helps to set the mood and tone when getting into the mindset to write.
Books and films are my other two massive influences. When I write, I tend to focus on it as a more visual experience. I need to know what every scene looks like, what it feels like. Books are great in the sense of gradually building that up as films are more of a direct and immediate representation.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The first time I started to consider myself as a writer was after I got confirmation that I had made it into the quarter finals of an international screenplay competition with the second script I ever wrote. It gave me validation to call myself a writer.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
Originally, when I first got into writing, I was writing sci-fi. I gravitated towards that genre at the beginning because it gave so much creative freedom to me to write. The world and the way in which it operated was dictated by me and not by contemporary settings, laws or technology.
I chose crime fiction because firstly, I am a huge fan of the genre. I have always been drawn to it’s gritty realism and fast pace. I pursued this genre in order to create stories with certain tones and ideas that could also be set in my native Northern Ireland.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
Yeah, I do. As with anything, the more you do it, the more you grow. I’ve definably learned a lot along the way. I approach stories differently that I would have at the start. I’ve also sped up in terms of creating them.
I’ve also learned a lot about formatting and editing along the way so that my submissions to publishers look polished and more professional.
I like to think that I am becoming a better writer as I progress and put out new material.
What have you written so far?
I have written three feature-length screenplays. Two of which got into the quarter finals of a screenplay competition. I have also written four crime novels, two of which are out now. My third should be out in the spring and I have just completed the fourth which is currently being submitted to publishers.
My debut novel was, Layla’s Song. It is a kidnap thriller set in Belfast, Northern Ireland. But it also travels as far as Dublin. I’ve always loved good kidnap thrillers, especially when the outcome is not so predictable. When I set out to write this book, I had that in mind.
My second book is a detective/serial killer thriller called, Where Crows Land. Both of these titles are available on Amazon.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
I would stay to stick true to your vision. Don’t change your stories or writing style to try and impress anyone and don’t write what you think will sell because of current trends. Trends change all the time and what’s hot right now might not be when the book is ready. Also, write for yourself. Write stories that you enjoy and think hit the mark. Like any creative industry, there are lots of different opinions and tastes, so don’t get too bogged down when someone isn’t into or doesn’t get what you are trying to do.
The last piece of advice I would have is to realize that even professionals in the industry can give bad advice. I’ve experienced this. Take advice and critique with a grain of salt. Apply what is useful and what keeps being brought to your attention and discard what you believe to be useless or not applicable.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
Where Crows Land is my second novel. It is a detective thriller, also set in Northern Ireland. I had always intended to stay away from writing a detective story because I felt that so much had been created within the genre, that new stories seemed to be regurgitated versions of what had came before. But I couldn’t stay away and I wanted to pen my own version of what I envisioned as a detective novel.
If your book was made into a movie, who would you cast?
If this book was made into a movie, I would cast Jim Sturgess in the lead role. He would be perfect and he is also the only non-native actor that, in my opinion, has ever actually nailed a Belfast accent in a film. He played the lead role in a Belfast-based film before called, Fifty Dead Men Walking, alongside Ben Kingsley. It’s a great watch and highly recommend.
What is your next project?
I have a few things in the pipeline. I have another crime novel which is about 40% complete but needs work. I also have the beginnings of two others, one of which is a complete change-up for me as it is more of a drama. But for right now, I intend on taking a break and focusing on promoting what I have out there.
Want to learn more about Paul and buy the book?
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