Friday, June 7, 2013

Haze Launch with Paula Weston

Last night I attended the launch for Haze the second book in the Rephaim series and had such a blast (so much fun). Marianne de Pierres (author of the Night Creatures YA series, among others) lead the conversation with Paula at Riverbend Books in Brisbane.

Paula opened with a reading from chapter two of Haze which involved bungee jumping and Jude <3

Paula Weston doing the reading

Marianne and Paula were so natural together and the conversation felt intimate and organic and fun.

Here's me, paraphrasing some of the things Paula and Marianne discussed:

Marianne opened by asking Paula about her writing life, habits and how she got started. Paula was writing stories all through primary school and high school. She shared that her mum even sent one of her primary school picture books into the Women's Weekly (LOL. Classic!).

It wasn't until Paula was in her early twenties that she decided to actually give writing a go as a serious pursuit (realising it was what she loved to do best). Paula sent off her first manuscript and received her first rejection in 1995. Over the next 16 years she went on to write and polish five full manuscripts.

She came very close to finalising a deal with an adult fiction world fantasy series and then it fell through. At this point, frustrated with the whole publishing and rejection stuff, she decided to just write for herself and Shadows was born out of this (yay!) She had never planned to write YA, or imagined that it would be her thing (trust me, it is very much her thing. Shadows and Haze are such a fab addiction to the upper YA market). And has since been careful to market her series as upper YA (due to the profanity and violence and sexiness).

The idea behind Shadows began with two characters: A girl and a guy. The girl had lost her memory but the guy hadn't. And they have a complicated history that he remembers and she doesn't and that history puts them on opposing sides despite their attraction between them (and. obviously, THE TENSION). When Paula was exploring this idea she tried to uncover what that history was and she entertained ideas of vampires, and other kinds of creatures but in the end the only thing that worked was angels. She had been trying to avoid fallen angel mythology.

Before Shadows she had only been familiar with a couple of fallen angels series, and they were all romance. And she knew she did not want to write romance. Well, there is some raomnce, but her romance is an antagonistic romance (a lot of people grinned/chuckled at this. Rafa and Gaby are so deliciously antagonistic. All that angst and sexual tension).

She also knew she wanted to create a complex society -- so finding/reading the Book of Enoch really gave her something she could work with (regarding the fallen angels and their history and their offspring).

It wasn't until Shadows was out and she saw it on a list of angel books on goodreads that she realised just how much angel fiction was already out there. Although Shadows really comes into the angel scene from a completely different angel (not as a forbidden romance, and not angels with a purpose).

Paula mentioned how vibrant the Aussie YA market is. How many Australian authors writing for teens are at the forefront in the world, leading with unique and brilliant and amazing writing (I so concur, I think we all do ;))

Marianne and Paula chatted a bit about the current publishing industry, and how things are changing and how hard it is for Australian writers to secure an international deal. Paula's series has been picked up both in the UK and the US. The series will all have the same titles and covers across UK, US and Australia (minus the original Aussie edition of Shadows -- though when it goes to reprint it will match the current UK cover of Shadows), although the release dates are staggered (Lucky for Australians we get the books first ;), then the UK and finally the US).

By day Paula works as a journalist for her own business. Yes, it's true, Paula is often still in her pyjama's at 11am :). This is what her day often looks like: Day job until 2-3pm. Then a couple of hours of writing before dinner. Then a couple more hours of writing after dinner, then finish the evening with a TV show or a bit of reading.

She says it is so important to write everyday, to keep the scenes flowing organically (and so to avoid needing rereading back her work to get in the mood). She does not have the luxury of time for writer's block. She can always write something -- even is it's crap. At least then she has something on the page that she can work with. (Marianne inserted here "It's a bit hard to work with a blank page." haha). Paula often has ideas bubbling away in her work hours so by the time she sits at the computer she is ready to go.

Her preferred writing place is in the recliner in front of the TV, her laptop balancing on the stable table. (That way her husband is blessed by her company ;) and she's not squirrelled away in some room).

She loves Buffy. (That's just a freebie I am chucking in. I can't remember the context...)

She also is obsessed with loves The Foofighters. (I think we all knew this already...)

Of the angel fiction she has read she recommends Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which is just beautifully written and compelling.

And she revealed to us the title of the third book in the Rephaim series: Shimmer. All the titles work together as a series, they are all plays on quality of light. The Rephaim series will be a four book series, of these Haze is Paula's favourite title :)

What else you should know: There was popcorn. And wine.

Paula was signing books and chatting and the atmosphere was great.
Michelle, Paula Weston, Amanda and me

I drove down from the Sunny Coast with my friend (and Shadows fan) Amanda. We met up with Michelle of Maree's Musings who had just finished reading Shadows on the ferry on the way to the event (she liked it! Also -- she can read while on a ferry. I am always envious of people who can read while in motion). We had dinner across the road beforehand. It's always so awesome meeting up with other bookish people and chatting books and hanging out. Michelle had just found out her application to be a judge for the inky's was successful! Yay! Huge congrats, being an inky judge is such an awesome opportunity. (Here's the twenty books on the 2013 inky longlist)

Amanda, me and Michelle. Under the breakfast menu at The Coffee Club, haha

Amanda and I got pulled over afterwards for Random Breath Testing. Amanda was quietly nervous (after we had been sampling the wine at Paula's enthusiastic urging) ... haha. It was all good :)

Any mistakes in the recap are all mine :)

And thanks to Amanda who took all the pics on her phone (sorry for poor quality...)

My review of Haze (which is out in Australia now)

UK and US edition
the series will follow this theme
for the upcoming covers 
Original Aussie edition


  1. Oh my gosh, so jealous!

    I love, love, love the Rephaim series (RAFA!!!!) and 'Haze' made me fall in love with these books even more.

    Great summary :)

  2. I agree with Danielle - great summary! :) It was lovely to have you and Amanda there, and to meet Michelle too. Let's do it all again next year.

  3. Wonderful overview, Nomes!!! It sounds like you had a great time! And thanks for adding the pictures LOL its always nice to put a name with a face :)

  4. I love this recap post Nomes! I like how Paula fell into writing the Rephaim series, despite there being so many angel themed books out there, I like how this series provides so much more. I'm glad that you and Maree had so much fun! :)

  5. How cool, Nomes! This sounds like a fab series. I'd not heard of it yet. I love when you go to events and share your notes-- it's so fun for those who are far away. :0)

  6. AH. This sounds like such a fun launch -- one worth getting pulled over for. Haha. I love the giant bottle of wine in the picture. Antagonistic romance is the best. :) Thanks for the recap, Nomes. And Amanda for the pics!


  7. This is definitely a kickass recap Nomes! So so so lovely to meet you, Amanda and Paula :) I love the pics too! Xx

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  10. Great post! Looks like you had so much fun. I haven't read Paula Weston's series yet, but from your rec, I'm going to look into it! New follower via Bloglovin' :)

  11. Yay for the event and for meeting up with Michelle! It sounds like a great night and I love the title Shimmer. I highly approve of Paula's love of the Foo Fighters ;)

  12. How cool, Nomes! This sounds like a fab series. I'd not heard of it yet.


Thanks for the commenty love :)