What is your writing life like?

I write at home in my bedroom. I am not very disciplined about it. I go in fits and spurts. I get inspired by the young people in my life. They make me think of an idea and a story springs up around it. It feels like I’m growing a living thing, one that takes years of tending before it can leave me and go out in the world. 

What is your writing routine?

Routine? What’s that? (I write sporadically, usually only when I am inspired.)

What advice do you have for folks?

When I was young, I wrote the way other people write. Now I write the things I have experienced and the way my family talks. People seem to like it better the way I write now.

What is your preferred time of day to write?

Evenings are the best, but really whenever I’m not momming or teaching. 

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m a pantser, through and through. 

Do you have any writing assistants (cats, dogs, other pets?) If so, names and pics please!

My dog, Jaq, likes to sit by me when I’m writing. But we also have two chinchillas and a bearded dragon. They’re cute but aren’t much help.

Where do you work best?

My bed. Incredibly, I never fall asleep while writing. 

What have you been working on?

I’m working on my middle grade novel about a biracial (Dakota and white) boy who learns how to control his out-of-body experiences, using his power to go look for his father who has been missing for four years. I also have a couple of ideas for making this into a series. 

What are you grateful you learned at MFAC that you’re applying now?

I am so grateful for learning about psychic distance. I’m still working on how to negotiate it smoothly. 

What is your favorite genre to write?

I love picture books the best! I can see the illustrations in my head, and I fall in love with them. 

Have you explored outside of that genre?

If so, what has that been like? Yes, I have explored nonfiction (both in picture books and middle grade), poetry, and middle grade fiction. I have really enjoyed all of it. Poetry is hardest for me, and I have yet to try a young adult novel. 

Paula lives in St Louis Park, MN with her partner (Kirk), 10-year-old daughter (Maya), and her zoo: two chinchillas (Fuzzy and Chewy), dog (Jaq), and a bearded dragon (Scales). For her first career, she teaches English learners at an elementary school, and she spends evenings and summers creating unusual characters, many with hidden powers. She hopes to bring them forth into the publishing world in the near(ish) future.