Interview with Pauline Baird Jones

Pauline Baird Jones writes wonderful humorous romances. Her first book was an e-book with the title "Pig in a Park" and later was released as a hardcover with the title "The Spy Who Kissed Me". As the title says, a spy novel. Her second book "The Last Enemy" is a fantastic mystery which just won a RT Award.

Please visit her website at http://www.paulinebjones.com for her new releases and booklists. Or write an e-mail: pauline@paulinebjones.com

Isolde: Pauline can you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you live, your family and so on?

Pauline Baird Jones: I'm originally from Wyoming, but I live in New Orleans. I have three children, two I gave birth to (a son and a daughter), one we unofficially adopted and now claim as our own. My husband is a geologist with Exxon and a total sweetie. My birth daughter graduated from BYU last year and got married this early this year; my son is 15 and is an independent scholar; and our adopted daughter is about to graduate from UNT in graphic design.

Isolde: Do you always want to become an author? Why do you write romances?

Pauline Baird Jones: I don't remember a time when I didn't want to be an author. First I loved to read, then writing sort of grew out of reading, until it became a compulsion I could no longer resist. As for why I write romance, well, I've been happily married for 25 years and my parents just celebrated their 50th. How could I not be a romantic?

Isolde: "The Spy Who Kissed Me" (E-book title: Pig in a Park) was one of the  funniest books I've ever read. How did you get the idea for the book?

Pauline Baird Jones: I was watching the Gulf War on television and the idea just came to me whole, when I asked myself, what if someone got their hands on a smart bomb? I have always liked stories that puts ordinary people in unusual situations, so it seemed a natural for me to put my story in Isabel (Stan's) suburbs and let it go. That book was pure pleasure to write, it just flowed out of me so fast I could hardly keep up.
 
Isolde: I simply love spy novels. I bought "The Spy Who Kissed Me" because it was said it's similar to the famous Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. But you have your own writing style which is wonderful. Do you plan to write more such "spy" books or was it just this one book?

Pauline Baird Jones: I hadn't planned to write more about Isabel, simply because it took me so long to find a publisher for her story, but now that it is out there, I get many requests for a sequel and the ideas are bubbling up for a sequel. I had so much fun with them, I'd like to revist their lives.
 
Isolde: How could you write such a witty story like "The Spy Who Kissed Me"? Wasn't it difficult to put humor in a book? Are you in person also very humorous?

Pauline Baird Jones: Well, people tell me I'm funny. <g> I grew up in a big family, which is good preparation for either being dysfunctional or witty or both. <g> I didn't plan it to be funny, but when Kel dives through the sunroof,
well, it just happened. And when I made it first person, it left it wide open for Isabel's thoughts and feelings to be funny in contrast with what was going on around her.

Isolde: Why do you publish your books as e-books? How did you find a publisher? Was it very difficult?

Pauline Baird Jones: I published initially in electronic because I couldn't get a paper publisher to bring my books out. I loved SPY so much, I just couldn't give up on it and when I learned about e-publishing, I decided to give it a try. I was amazed at the response I got for that book. Jill Smith at Romantic Times Magazine gave it a rave review and nominated it for a Reviewer's Choice Award, which really helped propell it into the public eye. Then I learned about Five Star and sent it there. Initially, my editor didn't want to read it because she didn't like the original title (Pig in a Park), but after she read it, she offered me a contract if I'd change the title.

And yes, it was very hard to get published because I mix my genres and do unexpected things in my books. One editor told me that humor and suspense don't mix. Hopefully I'm proving her wrong. <g>

Isolde: Do you have living persons in your mind then you create your heros and heroines?

Pauline Baird Jones: Quite often I cast my guys using actors, but I don't my women. I'm not sure why I don't cast the women, maybe because the women are easier for me to write, since I am one. Casting my men helps me see them move and their expressions. I also read male authors and watch male oriented movies to keep close to how men think and feel.

Isolde: What did you do then your first book was published? Did you celebrate?

Pauline Baird Jones: Actually, it didn't seem real to me, I'd been trying for so long. <g> But yes, my hubby took me out to dinner and I called all my friends and family and probably spent more than I made at first. <g>

Isolde: How does your daily life looks like? What do you do all day?

Pauline Baird Jones: First, I'm a mom. I still have one child at home and he schools at home, so our days are mostly relaxed and fun. We both work on our stuff, have lunch together and then some days I take him fishing. Mostly my life is very quiet. I live in a lovely neighborhood in New Orleans. Out my window I can see trees, oak and cypress and people coming and going.

I'm also active in my church and have to emerge from home to shop and promote my books. I love watching movies and reading, hate housework and do it only when forced to by circumstances. I collect Lilliput Lane houses and pewter wizards and dragons.

And when I'm not writing books, I write screenplays.
 
Isolde: How long does it takes you to write a book?

Pauline Baird Jones: It depends. Some books come easy for me, some are like a difficult delivery. <g> If average my four books and the time since I started the first one, it comes out to one book every two years. My goal is to make that one book a year. We'll see how I do.
 
Isolde: You don't have sex scenes in your book, why not?

Pauline Baird Jones: I try to write from my strengths and I'm just not good at it. I keep getting stuck on the reality of how it really is and not the fantasy. <g>

And I'm afraid my mom would read it. <g>

Isolde: Your second book "The Last Enemy" is totally different from your first one. It's a fantastic mystery. How did you get the idea for this book?

Pauline Baird Jones: That one grew out of several different things. I went online early in the 90's and became fascinated with the connections people made with people they didn't know. I saw THE FUGITIVE, liked the US Marshals Service and wanted to write about them. I sort of threw those two things in my head and Last Enemy came out.

I worried that people would buy it expecting another SPY, but people mostly seem to be happy with it, despite the differences.

Isolde: You have a wonderful "biker babe" scene in "The Last Enemy". And your heroine is a romance writer and she knows a lot about internet. Are you very good with your computer or did you have to do a lot of research for this book?

Pauline Baird Jones: I did and I didn't. Most of it came from my online experiences, but I did some research on hacking. I started that book in '94 or '95 and had to keep going back and updating the internet elements because things were changing so fast. Eventually, I tried to anticipate the curve a bit to try to keep it current.

I had editors tell me readers would never believe a romance writer could be a heroine, but all the romance writers I knew were very brave and very funny. I wanted to write about women like them, women who face hard things with all their courage. I also wanted her to solve her problems the way real women would--and not become this macho woman kicking tush and stuff.

Isolde: What are your favorite books and authors?

Pauline Baird Jones: Oh wow, how long do you have? Mary Stewart is my first love and probably the reason I write romantic suspense. Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, Helen McInnes, Alastair Mclean, DE Stevenson, Elizabeth Cadell, Mary Jo Putney, Nora Roberts, Jill Churchill, Anne George, Joan Hess, Patricia White, Ann Bachman, Tracey Cooper-Posey . . . .

Well, I could go on and on. My favorite all time book is THE MOONSPINNERS

Isolde: So far I havn't read "Do Wah Diddy ... Die" but I plan to do it as soon as possible. Can you tell us in your own words what the book is about?

Pauline Baird Jones: Oh my. Do Wah Diddy...Die is about an eccentric young woman who goes to New Orleans in search of the father she didn't know she had and gets in the way of a con artist's last scam. It's a wild ride, but I had fun writing it.
 
Isolde: Then can we buy your newest book "Byte Me" and what is it about?

Pauline Baird Jones: Byte Me is the next in my "Lonesome Lawmen" series. It features Jake Kirby, Matt's little brother (The Last Enemy's hero) who is tracking a fugituve. The trail leads him smack into Phoebe Mentel, the fugitive's mysterious and enticing partner in crime. I made a tough job for myself, getting a thief and a lawmen together, but I had a great time doing it.

The hard cover edition of this book will be available Dec 1 and the ebook is available now. It will be reviewed in December Romantic Times. My advance quote from Jill Smith can be seen on my website.

Another interesting note, my adopted daughter's big sister did the cover for this book. I think she did a great job.
 
Isolde: Can you tell us something about your plans for the future?

Pauline Baird Jones: I'm working on a romantic mystery series set in New Orleans. I'm also working on a sequel to SPY and the last book in my "lonesome lawmen" series: Luke's story.

And I'm hoping that the script adaptation of Do Wah Diddy...Die will go into production soon. Anyone can find out about me and what's going on by visiting my web site.

And I'm always happy to hear from people who have read my books.

© Isolde Wehr, November 2000, Die romantische Bücherecke

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Dieses Interview entstand im November 2000 zwischen Isolde W. und Pauline Baird Jones für:



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