Wednesday, March 5, 2014


An interview with Stephen Paul, author of The Perfect Game.


Hi! Welcome to Zigzag Timeline. Can you tell us about your background as an author?

Thanks for having me, Mary! As with many authors, I’ve always had an affinity for reading, writing and just creating stories (I think my first book was titled “Super Bear,” which I wrote when I was six or seven).

Once in law school, I focused my energies on my career and never seriously picked up writing again until I’d already been practicing law for six years. At first, I started taking film classes at NYU, but the time constraints were too much to juggle with my career obligations. So I turned to writing novels, where I could fix my own schedule and shelve a project when work obligations became too pressing.

My first book was an accomplishment simply because I was able to finish it. For my second, I landed an agent. The book was well received by editors, but didn’t fit their lists. My third was also well received and garnered second-reads, but also missed the cut. For my fourth, I’d already made up my mind that I was going to publish independently if the book was well received again but didn’t land with one of the big publishers, which is what happened and here we are.

What got you into writing?

I love to create and find writing to be the best outlet for molding and shaping the ideas and thoughts that continue to pop up in my mind. I’ve also dabbled in inventions and some entrepreneurial ventures, but only as a loose hobby. For more about my thoughts on imagination, I’d love for you to check out the guest post I wrote for my editor’s website. Here’s the link -

What was the first idea you had for your book, and how did the story grow from there?

I hate to give any spoilers, so I’ll just say that the first idea came from a rather popular controversy in the sporting world and snowballed from there.

Among your characters, who's your favorite? Could you please describe him/her?

I don’t know if he’s my favorite character in terms of liking the guy, but Eddie was definitely my favorite to write. He’s a wisecracking tough guy with a heart of gold who, in an odd way, is a cross between Jiminy Cricket and Tony Soprano. His scenes are definitely some of the more colorful ones in the book.

What's your favorite scene from your novel? Could you please describe it?

My favorite scene is only a few lines long. It’s in the second half of the novel at the very end of one of the chapters when Kyle, the main protagonist, receives the worst possible news he could have ever imagined. I compare the scene to someone taking a hammer to a window. It shatters everything and starts a thrilling race that doesn’t let up until the very end. I love everything about it; the emotional impact, the new direction, the flood of twists, and the break-neck pace from that point until the end.

What's your favorite part of writing? Plotting? Describing scenes? Dialogue?

I love creating the story. I love when the ideas flow so fast your fingers can’t keep up with your brain. I also enjoy the research stage. I feel like I’m taking a college course on a new subject every time I go through it. Just learning about things I never would have otherwise known makes the process worthwhile.

How long does it take you to write a book? Do you have a writing process, or do you wing it?

It depends on so many factors; life events, work obligations, the particular plot I’m working with. On average, taking into account the research, first few drafts, beta reading, editorial feedback, agent input, and proofreading, it usually takes a good few years for me to fully complete a novel from an idea in my head to final form.

What is it about the genre you chose that appeals to you?

The genre encompasses all of what I love in books; real-life characters thrown into thrilling and suspenseful stories with an incredible supernatural twist.

Are there any books or writers that have had particular influence on you?

I think every writer and book I’ve read has had an impact on me. Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff taught me how to make non-fiction entertaining to the point of thinking you’re reading fiction and so many thriller writers, such as Michael Crichton, Dan Brown, Greg Iles and many more taught me how to thrill while teaching at the same time. I’m also in the club that believes Stephen King’s On Writing should be mandatory reading for every single writer. It’s a gift to authors.

Did you ever surprise yourself when you were writing your book? Characters who took on lives of their own? Plot elements that took unexpected turns?

I always surprise myself when writing as I don’t start with a firm ending or a detailed plot, and the loose plot I do start with always deviates from its course.

Thanks for stopping by!

Twitter: @StephenPaulTwts

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