Interview with author Pauline Wiles
Posted by britrish
I’ve had the privilege of meeting some delightful anglophiles and expats online through my blog – like Pauline Wiles. Pauline is a Brit by birth, but has since settled in the San Francisco Bay Area. Last week, she released her first published novel – “Saving Saffron Sweeting,” which is a quarter finalist in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.
I asked her a few questions about her British homeland, her love of writing and this American life. Here’s what she had to say:
Q: What prompted your move to the States?
A: My husband was working for a U.S. tech company in the U.K. They re-organized his area and an opportunity at head office came up. I was miserable in my job at the time, so moving to the San Francisco area was an easy decision!
Q: What do you miss most about British life?
A: Apart from friends and family, silly things like National Trust houses and their tearooms, John Lewis, the BBC and bonfire night. And many unhealthy foodie items, of course. It’s no coincidence that most of those found their way into my book.
Q: What do you love most about American life?
A: We’re lucky to live near the San Francisco Bay where the climate is wonderful and being outdoors is a joy. Since moving here I’ve definitely become more active and healthy. San Francisco is a great city to have on our doorstep: whenever I’m there, I have to pinch myself to believe I’m a local.
Q: Tell me about “Saving Saffron Sweeting.”
A: The very short description would be: Leaving her cheating husband in California and fleeing home to England seemed like the obvious choice for Grace, but putting her life back together in the charming village of Saffron Sweeting isn’t as simple as she’d assumed.
Q: Your protagonist is a Brit, who moves to the U.S. How much of her character is like you?
A: There is indeed a fair bit of me in Grace, although I hope I’d stick around to give a cheating husband an earful, rather than jumping on the next plane to Blighty. I don’t share her dread of public speaking either, and I’d like to think I have better taste in shoes. However, we are both dog-lovers and inclined to over-indulge whenever sticky toffee pudding crosses our path.
Q: How long did it take you to write this book?
A: I started the book a little less than two years ago, but progress was slow until I quit my job last spring. I figured, if I was going to be unemployed by choice, the least I could do was complete the novel. It was such a treat to be able to focus on it; I am nervous of attempting the next book alongside a day job and really admire writers who can do that.
Q: What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?
A: I’m humbled even to be asked this question! But, to point out the obvious, you can’t enjoy success – whatever that means to you – unless you finish your work. Just get your poem, story or book written, and you’ve overcome a huge hurdle. And you stand a greater chance of reaching completion if you’re passionate about what you’re writing. If you’re not in love with the characters, the setting, or the issues (or ideally, all three), then you’re going to find it hard to make it to the end. Then, once you do finish, ask yourself what’s standing in the way of your goals for your work? We’re so lucky that in the last ten years, many of the traditional barriers to publication have fallen. Chances are, the biggest obstruction now is you.
Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: As mentioned, California has made me more outdoorsy than I was in England. I run regularly – albeit slowly – and love zumba. I figure, if I burn enough calories doing those, I’m allowed to curl up on the sofa with tea, cake and a chick flick.
“Saving Saffron Sweeting” is ‘on tour’ with various bloggers through May 6. Details are here. Readers can get a personal message for their Kindle copy at www.authorgraph.com/authors/PaulineWiles and she will gladly send a signed stickie for a paperback copy to anyone who emails her at firstname.lastname@example.org.