My latest interview is with author Paul Maitrejean who is a Minnesota-born Wisconsin resident and home school graduate. Currently, he is married with three children, living near La Crosse, WI. He manages to write between work, family, reading, and occasional games of paintball or Halo.
Books & Writing: What got you interested in writing?
Paul Maitrejean: I think it started at an extremely young age. My parents read stories to me even when I was an infant, and I loved it! When my education first introduced me to the art of writing I realized this was my opportunity to tell stories of my own. I hit the ground running and never stopped. By the time I was 20 I’d written at least five novels (which likely won’t see the light of day, but were a great educational experience), published articles and essays, and even tackled poetry.
Books & Writing: Do you remember the first short story you wrote?
Paul Maitrejean: I honestly can’t be sure, but the earliest short story I remember was a little one-page account of a family car trip. Of course, I wrote on wide-ruled notebook paper and illustrated it. I wouldn’t be surprised if my mother has it stashed away in a box somewhere at this very moment.
Books & Writing: What attracts you in short stories, because you have published a few of them?
Paul Maitrejean: I like to work on shorts between bouts on longer pieces. I consider them an exercise in writing concisely. It’s easy to ramble and get carried away with words when writing a book-length work, but when my word count is restricted I’m forced to practice word economy. I have to create characters with depth, with whom readers can empathize. I need to craft a plot that snags readers right away. It’s a serious workout! Besides, sometimes it’s nice to write “The End” only a few days or weeks after starting a story, rather than months later.
Books & Writing: What attracts you in Horror?
Paul Maitrejean: I’m attracted to soft Horror for the same reason I like Fantasy, Suspense, Thrillers, Adventure, or anything supernatural: They’re stories about an ordinary person thrown into the middle of extraordinary events. That person literally has to adapt or die. I like watching an “ordinary person” character evolve due to their circumstances and eventually overcome — or simply survive — the ordeal.
Books & Writing: Can you tell us something about your book “Devil’s Creek”
Paul Maitrejean: “Devil’s Creek” is about a small town in northern Wisconsin that receives a visit from the Angel of Death every seventy years. Each time he visits, someone dies. The night in which the story is set is exactly seventy years from the Angel’s last visit. Most of the story is about skeptics and believers in the legend waiting the night out — and then a couple of twists to give the reader a few jolts.
Books & Writing: What’s Erika Marsh’s role in the book?
Paul Maitrejean: Erika is a freelance writer on her way home from conducting research near Lake Superior. Her car has broken down in Devil’s Creek. That and a vicious storm have forced her into spending the night in town. Erika, being a writer, is pretty open-minded about the supernatural, and so she serves as the reader’s eyes and ears as she tries to determine if the legend is the real thing or just that — a legend.
Books & Writing: Is she based on someone you know?
Paul Maitrejean: I try not to directly base characters on anyone I know, to avoid the possibility of offending people, but I do steal traits from various folks and cobble them together into a character. In the case of Erika I drew a little from myself (she’s a writer, drives a Ford Taurus, and likes to be open-minded) and a little from others.
Books & Writing: What inspired you to write this book?
Paul Maitrejean: I’ve been intrigued with legends and the unexplained since I was a teenager. A few years ago I read about a logging town in northern Wisconsin where (the legend claimed) the Angel of Death visited when the men were away working in the forest. The story stuck with me and became the nucleus for “Devil’s Creek”. When you read Fillmore Schwartz’s description of the Angel in my story, it’s largely drawn from the description given in the actual legend.
Books & Writing: Are you working on anything new at the moment?
Paul Maitrejean: I have a couple of projects in the works. Currently I’m wrapping up an adventure/suspense novella titled “The Eyes of Ishtar”. Two more novellas, titled “Ward” and “Kurznil”, are due out from Bluewood Publishing in the next year. I’m also occasionally spitting out a bit of flash fiction, which I hope to one day compile into an anthology.
Books & Writing: Which writer(s) inspires you?
Paul Maitrejean: I’m a pretty eclectic reader. Any writer who presents a well-written story with a great plot inspires me to do the same. I’m not sure if they encourage me or make me jealous, but at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter — the result is me cracking down and writing as best I can.
Books & Writing: What’s the last book you read?
Paul Maitrejean: The Codex, by Douglas Preston. I haven’t read a whole lot of his books, but that one reminded me I should get out and buy a few more.
Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Paul Maitrejean: I think my biggest piece of advice is STUDY THE CRAFT. I can’t emphasize this one enough. If you’re busy writing a great story, it won’t get nearly the recognition you’d like if it isn’t written well — you’re just wasting your effort. I’ve told aspiring writers to study the art of writing, only to be told, “I don’t have time.” If you have time to write, you most definitely have time to learn how to do it. It’s an investment you owe yourself. And with the great books and affordable correspondence courses available today, learning writing can actually be a lot of fun.
Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?
Paul Maitrejean: My work is distributed through most major online distributors, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?
Paul Maitrejean: Folks can visit my website, paulmaitrejean.com, which links to all my internet presences. You can also find my blog at paulmaitrejean.blogspot.com, where you’ll also find links to my Facebook page and Twitter feed. Facebook and Twitter are good ways to stay abreast of my latest releases and giveaways.
Books & Writing: Thanks Paul for your answers and i wish you all the best!