I’m excited to introduce you to P. R. Castle. She is a YA Sci-Fi author with a lot to say and great advice to give to new authors out there.
Q1. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
PAM: What can I say about myself? I am a huge Harry Potter fan! I’m Australian. I studied Chemistry at university because I wanted to wear a lab coat. As luck would have it, I loved it and everything science. My admiration for science has really influenced my writing and so has Harry Potter.
MAY: I did 2 years in Science (Chem, Bio, and Biochem) and 3 years in Comp Sci. I really did miss wearing the lab coat when I transferred. There is just something special about wearing a lab coat and walking around the halls.
Q2. What made you want to become an author?
PAM: It all happened when my TV died. I had so much time on my hands, I didn’t know what to do. My brother told me to write a blog, but I really didn’t have anything to blog about, so I started writing the first few paragraphs of my now completed trilogy, and the rest is history…
I pretty much discovered that I love to write! And I have many stories to tell. What keeps my pen going is wanting to write something that is thrilling and entertaining but, at the same time, makes people think about the deeper questions, to mull over what makes us human and reflect.
MAY: I think that writing a story that has a deeper meaning will make it stay in the reader’s mind for longer. Though, I have to admit. Not all readers pick up on the nuances that the authors try to wriggle into the story.
Q3. If you could pick one place to take a free holiday to, where would you visit and why?
PAM: Scotland! Please don’t make me admit it is because of a certain boy wizard. But also, it’s stunning.
MAY: I haven’t yet been to Scotland, but I did see photos of the sights, and they’re breath-taking.
I think if I had to pick a holiday, it’d have to be some tropical island (hopefully without mosquitos) that’s surrounded by the blue sea, like The Maldives. It’s way too cold and humid in Ireland.
Q4. What is your greatest fear, aside from spiders (no one likes those buggers)?
PAM: Heights. I even struggled to climb stairs as a kid. I’ll never go back to the Giant Prawn in Ballina, New South Wales. Scarred for life!
MAY: Me too! Oh my gosh, it’s so nice to find a soul-mate for this kind of thing. I can ride rollercoasters because it all happens so fast and I can scream my way through them, but God forbid I have to walk across a glass bridge over some kind of ravine or forest. I’d have to hold someone’s hand.
Q5. Tea or coffee?
PAM: Bubble tea all the way, but with aloe or lychees jelly, no bubbles!
MAY: I don’t think I’ve ever had bubble tea, but it sounds yummy. I prefer the classic varieties like green tea, black tea, etc.
Q6. Do you have any writing advice for aspiring authors?
PAM: Oh, that’s a tough one. I have learnt many things on the way. Here are my top three:
- Get a writing group together, there is nothing better than getting feedback from other writers and having a group to hold you accountable!
- Show, don’t tell—a classic rule, but makes your writing much more interesting.
- To make a really fast-paced story, you need to ensure each scene achieves two to three outcomes. For example: they are falling in love, at the same time as working out her secret power.
MAY: These are solid and good advices. In the past, I have tried to do the writer group thing, but it didn’t work out for me. The group wasn’t active enough and soon died down. But, I think I prefer being a lone ranger and letting my betas and reviewers to butcher me with critique instead of other writers.
Q7. In your writing career, what struggles did you have to overcome and what helped you through them?
PAM: There were many struggles. If I knew how hard it was going to be, I don’t think I would have started. One of the hardest struggles was, I had an editor, who was a mentor and friend. She disappeared —she can’t be reached by phone, email, or anything. It dragged out the very painful editing process and delayed the launch of my trilogy. My writing partner (who had the same editor) held my hand throughout the whole thing. She helped to edit my work and encouraged me to trust my own writing and judgement. We pieced together what we learned from the editor to polish my work and get it out there finally, after 14 years.
MAY: 14 years? That’s a very long time. I think it took about 3-4 years before Russian Roulette went from draft to published. I can’t imagine sticking to it for 14 years, though. It would drive me crazy. Actually, it already may have after 17 drafts, different editors, and different people’s advice being injected. I started to wonder, where does my work start and theirs ends? Lol.
I had to self-teach a lot of grammatical rules, the differences between Oxford and Chicago Style manuals. Gosh, there was a lot of stuff to go through, and I still keep on looking things up when I’m unsure about something. Doing this has helped me a lot and saved my current and future editors from pulling their hair out.
Q8. In your opinion, what is the tastiest food?
PAM: I don’t know about tastiest, but I like eggs. I just think the number of ways you can have them is mind-blowing. There’s nothing better than dipping bread sticks (heavily buttered, of course) into a soft-boiled egg.
MAY: I’m going to go along the same vein and say, cake. Because there is simply an almost infinite amount of them and most are simply delish. Om nom nom.
Q9. As someone who spends a lot of time with your characters and sees their struggles, you’ve come to know a lot about them. Imagine you were sent into the world where they live. What would you like to tell your main characters?
PAM: In my books, my characters learn a lot about the power of choice. They use their intellect/mind to get out of a lot of sticky situations. I’ve learnt a lot more now about the subconscious and the body. I would like to tell my characters to also listen to their bodies; if it’s tiered, allow it to rest, if it’s hurt, mend it, if your body feels sad, have a good cry. Sometimes, we listen too much to our minds and not enough to what our body is trying to tell us.
MAY: I can wholeheartedly agree. The brain just likes to get things done. It’s not very patient but great at compartmentalising things. I guess that’s why I can put up with backpain and still do my work every day.
If I was sent to Helena’s world, I think I’d like to tell my characters that I’m proud of them for overcoming so many things and still being able to come out as good people (well, most of them). I’ve lost count of how many times they have surprised me with their choices, completely diverting the plot a different way from what I planned. In a way, I think there is much I could learn from them.
Q10. Do you have any ongoing projects or new releases you’d like to share with the readers?
PAM: I’ve just released the last book in my trilogy, Conclusion. The titles in the trilogy are, Aim, Method and Conclusion, just like the sections of a scientific report. It feels like the end of a huge milestone in my life. I’d just like to share that with you.
Aim is available for 99 cents, at the moment, if you would like to give it a try.
Thank you, Pam for participating in this interview. I hope the readers had as much fun getting to know you as I did!
If you’re interested in Pam’s work, feel free to follow her on social media by clicking on the links below: