I’m pleased to be joined by Paul Barrell today who is answering my Author in the Spotlight questions. His novel, The Girl In The White Dress is available now in ebook format. You can order a copy online here: The Girl in the White Dress.
Thanks for joining me Paul. First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?
I’m 57 and I have been writing for 15 years on and off. I live in the Surrey Hills with my wife and rescue dog. My children have grown up and flown the nest.
What inspired you to start writing?
The trigger was a visit, to a remote farmhouse while on a family holiday in the S.W. France . One of the rooms had been converted into a library that contained a diverse selection of both French and English literature and over the next two weeks inspiration took hold and I begun to write. My early writing efforts were sent to a copy writer at Channel 4 who rashly said my work although rough and ready, showed promise. His comments spurred me on. Since then I have written three contemporary stand alone novels, a Ghost story titled 18, and, I have just started work on a much darker novel, ‘The Bleed ‘ set in the drug world of South London. I write from memory ; about people, places, and relationships. that have shaped my life . The underlying themes are a sense of mystery and the idea that our past and present are all inexplicably linked by invisible threads.
I also have a gift – an amazing eidetic memory which sort of helps the whole process.
Tell me about your journey to publication
I am an indie author. I self publish. It has been a huge learning curve but I have found the best people to help me and I have learnt all the skills necessary to publish and market books on a regular basis. Many mistakes made along the way btw. Postcards from Pimlico book 1 was a huge achievement because I had to do so much of the work on my own. I now have a team of experts.
What is your latest book about?
Every Family has secrets. Imagine discovering you were guilty of something you can’t remember.
A young family from London take a trip of a lifetime to the Caribbean aboard the cruise liner Oriana.
2002 The Peak District.
Following the death of his wife, Paul finds a menu card from the Oriana covered in personal messages from the ghosts of his childhood.
One particular address catches his eye , and memories are stirred as he begins to dream about a girl in a white dress.
Gradually with his mother’s help he starts to unravel the identity of a long forgotten childhood sweetheart, and the disturbing truth about an incident that took place on the ship. Something that would implicate his whole family, a Pandora’s box of lies and deceit.
Paul never saw the girl again after the cruise. Their shared guilt had remained hidden for 30 years. That was until today…
It is a remarkable story about loss and grief, and one persons quest for the truth. Sometimes in life things happen to us that are beyond our control; you don’t need to believe in ghosts or the supernatural, just believe in the Universe and the threads of random chance that link us all together.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
It was originally called Oriana after the cruise ship featured in the story. I changed it to The Girl In The White dress very close to publication. I just woke up one morning and I had the new title in my head.
How did you celebrate publication day?
I had a big book launch party in the Kings Road for Book I. But I wouldn’t keep doing it. I’ll celebrate if The Girl In the White Dress gets a number one ranking. It’s a personal thing at the end of day. My ego is ok without the back slapping.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
I am finishing first draft of a horror novel titled 18 . Its about kids messing around with spirits. I’m going after Lucy Foley’s crown. Stephen King meets Sixth Sense. Still based on a true story. I hope I never run out.
I have another work in progress The Bleed. It is set in South London my place of birth and is about the underworld and drugs a little bit of a change in pace for me but I want to write something gritty and I’ve met some colourful characters through the years.
Tell me about some of your favourite books
Favourite of all time – The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
Favourite before I started writing – A Dark and Broken Heart By RJ Ellory
What are you reading just now?
Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce – Legal shenanagins with a dose of sex, and drugs.
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
Something expansive! The Passage Trilogy by Justin Cronin (quite apt at the moment!) Lord Of the Rings – Worth another read probably if I had endless time.
Is there a book you’d like to see made into a film? Who would be in your dream cast?
I am planning a film trailer for Postcards from Pimlico book 1. I always saw the 1980s setting working well on the screen. Everyone always said it was very visual and would make a great TV drama (it’s how I write). We’ve been working on it for a while now, but its not easy and a colleague just passed away which means we’ve put it on hold at present. It will get made some day. Dream cast – Jude Law and Hugh Lawrie. Sort of joking , but they would be great.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: @PaulBarrell author