Tuesday, March 15, 2011

with P.A. Baines

Welcome to The Barn Door Book Loft, Paul!
Tell us about your epiphany moment when you decided you were going to seriously pursue writing and eventually publication.

For me that moment happened about thirteen years ago. I was looking for something I could do for God and I spent a lot of time in prayer. Not long after that, an idea for a Christian speculative novel started rattling around in my head and wouldn't go away. I decided to write it down and was surprised that it wasn't as dreadful as I thought it might be. It wasn't polished but I sent it out anyway. It was accepted by a well-known agency in New York but, although it "came close" (their words) they could not sell it. By then I was hooked and have been writing ever since.

Which of your books (published or upcoming) has been the most fun for you to write and which character is your favorite? Why?
I am busy writing a humorous space opera called "Hanzet, the Universe, and Everything" which I am enjoying way too much. I enjoy writing humor because you get to have fun while you work. My favorite character in Hanzet has to be Malcolm, an ordinary Earth human six million years from now. His life revolves around television and food, until one day he gets caught up in an adventure that takes him to the farthest reaches of the universe. He is flawed but has a good heart and ultimately ends up saving the day in spite of his best efforts to avoid trouble.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
I struggle to get started. I'm fine once the first few words hit the page, but I really have a problem with that first sentence. I get around this by reading a few lines from one of my favorite authors at which point the urge to write usually grabs me.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
Alpha Redemption has two main characters. Brett is an astronaut taking part in a prototype mission to Alpha Centauri. Jay is the computer program that controls the ship. Although the story centers around Brett's physical and emotional journey, Jay stole the show for me. He is like an innocent child with an insatiable appetite for knowledge. Brett treats him badly at first and I really found myself feeling sorry for Jay. One aspect of the story I enjoyed the most was exploring life and the human experience through the eyes of a computer.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Singing "Climb Every Mountain" from the Sound of Music on stage during a school play is probably the quirkiest thing I have ever done. This is for two reasons. Firstly, I am normally a shy person. Secondly, I cannot sing.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
I tend to like peace and quiet, so a trip into a busy town center is something I will try to avoid if at all possible. Filling in my annual tax return is something I dread and always end up leaving until the last minute. I find any kind of formal occasion a chore and will drag my feet when going to one of those (not so much dread as discomfort).

What would a perfect day for you look like?
Realistically or in my dreams? Well, maybe I'll settle for a mix of the two. Waking to the sound of birds singing on the first day of a long summer holiday. A blue sky on a warm day spent at the beach with my family followed by a barbeque under the stars. Later, on our return home, an envelope is waiting on the doormat containing a publishing contract for my latest novel. Add cheesecake in there somewhere and you have my perfect day.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I write Christian speculative fiction but don't read very much in the genre. I tend to look for any story that is well-written with a strong voice. The story is paramount to me, no matter what the genre. As an example of the kinds of books I like, I recently finished A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. Both of these stories pulled me in and made me think about life and my place in the world. I think a good story becomes part of you and changes you a little bit.

Are there certain foods or snacks keeps the words flowing for you?
I used to nibble a lot of biscuits when I first started writing. These days I don't nibble much when I write, but I do like to keep some mixed nuts and raisins handy.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
I think redemption is a big theme for me. I am drawn to imperfect characters who believe but who have doubts about their faith. Life has pulled them away from God but He still has a plan for their lives. I like to show the unfolding of that plan as God reveals His perfect love. I don't identify with flawless characters because people like that do not exist in the real world. We have all fallen short of the glory of God, yet He is always faithful. This, to me, is an amazing thing.

What lesson is the Lord teaching you right now or recently taught you?
Something He has been teaching me for a long time now is to trust Him, even when things seem to be going wrong. I used to think that, as a Christian, I should never have problems and that my life would go smoothly if only I prayed. Now I understand that what I think should happen and what God wants to happen do not necessarily agree. Through this I am learning to align my will with God's. I used to get irritated if something happened to break my daily routine. Now, instead of getting annoyed, I thank God for whatever the reason is for the delay. Simply put, I am learning to let God take the reins of my life and not fretting when we take a route I did not expect. I have a lot more peace now.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
I have a finished novel that I hope to show to my publisher soon. It is called Hour and involves the discovery of another planet just like the Earth on the other side of the Sun. A team is sent to explore the planet where they discover a civilization caught up in a terrible ecological disaster and harboring a secret that has spiritual consequences for everyone on Earth. For this story I spent a lot of time and effort researching space travel to make it as authentic as possible, including reading through an actual Shuttle accident report. I like this story because it has an ending that I think many Christians will enjoy.

You can purchase Alpha Redemption from Amazon.

Paul is giving away a copy of Alpha Redemption. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


Jo said...

I am thinking that my hubby might enjoy this book. Please enter me.


Linda said...

A new genre for me--would like to give a try. Please enter me. Thanks.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Courtney said...

Me and my husband looked at this book and he think it sounds great, please enter me in the drawing, thank you.


Charlotte Kay said...

Thanks for the opportunity to win this book:)
Many Blessings and Smiles:)
Charlotte Kay
charlovesmark at gmail dot com

Meredith said...

Great interview. This books looks very interesting!!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

windycindy said...

I have to agree with Mr. Baines about what God is teaching him in
his life! Many times, it is
difficult for me to let go and
let God...
Thanks bunches!

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