Stephen Paul, author of ‘The Perfect Game’, is joining us today on Terraverum to talk about his book and let us see a glimpse into his writing habits and share some of his thoughts on books, characters and several other things. I enjoyed this interview and I’m sure you all will as well.
Tell us a little bit about your book.
I’d be delighted to, and thanks for having me. The Perfect Game is a fast-paced suspense thriller with a supernatural touch. The protagonist of the book, Kyle Vine, is a psychology professor who is thrust into the middle of a mystery when the young student he was about to start an affair with suddenly collapses from a brain hemorrhage. As more hemorrhages continue to strike, Kyle soon finds himself teaming up with the student’s eccentric uncle to unravel a mystery unlike any the world has ever seen in order to find out who’s behind the lethal attacks and how they’re connected to the sudden success of a journeyman pitcher.
How did the idea come about?
I hate to give out any spoilers, so I’ll just say that the idea first came about during a rather popular controversy in the sporting world and snowballed from there.
What is your writing process like?
I typically write in the morning before getting ready for work and before my wife and son wake up. I find it’s easier to create in the mornings as opposed to the night when my mind is usually cluttered and stressed from everything that took place during the day. However, since the mornings only provide so much time, I do wind up editing and researching at night. I also always need coffee. Even if I’m not drinking it, I need a cup nearby.
Was there a lot of medical research to do?
Quite a bit, yes. From the mechanics, statistics and effects of brain hemorrhages to the general overall workings of the brain, there was plenty of medical research performed. And it wasn’t just limited to mainstream medicine. Holistic methods play a very large role in the book and it was a fascinating subject to research as I hadn’t been all that familiar with the practices beforehand.
What did you find to be the most challenging issue or part of the book?
Believability. Making the twists and turns believable and the supernatural elements seem as if they could actually happen. Getting this right was probably the most difficult part but also the part I take pride in most. It’s not an easy task to make these elements believable but, to me, if a thriller or mystery isn’t believable, it doesn’t work.
How did your main characters come about?
I enjoy starting with an ordinary character thrown into an extraordinary situation. That’s how the main protagonist, Kyle Vine, came about. I then like to make those surrounding him a bit more colorful, which is how Liam (the eccentric uncle) and Eddie (the boisterous best friend) came about.
Your book seems incredibly intriguing and like quite a ride, do you enjoy reading as well as writing this genre?
I do. I enjoy thrillers where the pages seem to fly by and the book gains speed as you race to find out what’s next. Throw in a little supernatural twist and I’m hooked.
What authors have been inspirational to you and why would you think so?
I think every author and book I’ve read has had an impact on me. Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff taught me how non-fiction could be just as thrilling and entertaining as fiction. Michael Crichton, Dan Brown, Greg Iles, and so many other thriller authors taught me how to thrill and teach at the same time. And Stephen King’s On Writing is simply a must-read for anyone even thinking about becoming a writer.
What five books should every person have in their library and why?
Tough one. I think the five books should be ones that bring fond memories just by looking at the covers alone. For instance, the books I keep aren’t necessarily my favorites, but they’re special to me. I keep a very worn paperback edition of The Cardinal and the Kremlin because it makes me think of my dad (he was a huge Tom Clancy fan). I keep Chuck Yeager’s autobiography because he was the first real person who seemed like a super hero to me. I keep Interview with a Vampire because it made me realize the importance of a book’s title. I keep State of Fear because it makes me think of my honeymoon (but not the title! It just happened to be what I was reading on the beach with my wife). And I keep a Calvin and Hobbes collection because it keeps me young.
Where do you write and do you prefer music or silence?
It depends. For the past few years, I’ve largely written at home. But I used to write at cafes all the time. I can also write with music playing or without. Background noise usually doesn’t have an impact on me when I’m writing creatively, but I do need quiet when I’m editing.
What advice would you give up-and-coming authors?
Do it because you love it, or don’t do it at all.
Do you have any other books that you are working on?
I’m working on a new thriller about a young man’s discovery that he has an ability to heal a finite number of people. Once the draft is complete, I may start editing two other works I’ve already completed. One is about a psychologist’s treatment of a young man who thinks he has extraordinary abilities and another is about the discovery of the staff of Moses.
You can find the book on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IKU2GY0). Thanks for having me!