Author Spotlight: Paul and Paula (Scribes Unlimited)

  • Writers with cats

Readers, thanks for checking out another Author Spotlight Interview. Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to this week’s guest!

Two people, distant cousins, with eyes for books, movies, music, and fine art. We always wanted to be movie directors and producers, and perhaps we still could reach that goal someday, but for now, we are novelists instead.

We’ve been writing together for over 25 years as a company called Scribes Unlimited, and apart from our non-fiction and fiction books, we’ve helped hundreds of people with projects such as grant proposals, business plans, marketing plans, technical writing, ghost-writing, editing, and research.

Paul and Paula, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most author spotlight interviews start off with the boring stuff, but I know what readers REALLY want to know.

If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?

Paula: A flying horse!
Paul: Oh God, why?!
Paula: Because I could fly anywhere I wanted!
Paul: You realize you’d need a flight pattern, right?
Paula: I would just tell airports around where I’d be. And I’d fly below the radar anyway.
Paul: Are those things even safe?
Paula: Sure! I’d have a little seatbelt. Besides, if it was a dragon, I’d accidentally set fires all over.
Paul: Me, I would like a Gremlin.
Paula: You want a car…?
Paul: No, I mean an actual Gremlin. And I would take the utmost care of him. I’d never feed him after midnight, or stick him in water, or shine a light on him.
Paula: Well, the light isn’t a big problem, he just doesn’t like it.
Paul: I never got the whole time-zone thing though. If I feed him in a place like Hawaii and fly back home the same day, and it’s after midnight when I return, did I screw up…?
Paula: Probably.

Hmmm, I might need to get some accident insurance before visiting either of you!

What do you write? And how did you get started?

Paul: You may as well ask what we DON’T write.
Paula: We really have had an interesting clientele over the years. In one instance, after writing a market research paper, we became experts in sugar and sweeteners in Finland. We were quoted.
Paul: The Church of Scientology sent us a threatening letter for an article we ghost-wrote.
Paula: Oh, that was fun. They didn’t like my answer, did they?
Paul: Don’t piss off the Greek lady.
Paula: How about the cookbook we wrote for the Nigerian chef? She was so terrified of our cat, we had to lock him in a room when she visited.
Paul: We edited an outlandish far-right book for someone once.
Paula: I had to take a shower every time I looked at it.
Paul: The gun-runner in the trailer park that needed a Windows 98 manual written?
Paula: You made me drive BACK there to get my purse!
Paul: So don’t leave it behind next time!
Paula: And there’s a manual we were asked to edit detailing some highly classified military information. They gave us the manual and we never heard from them again. We still have it,
Paul: Yep. I’ve no idea what to do with it.
Paula: Anyhow, I started writing with my best friend Laura. We were only kids and we would make up stories and plays. We even reimagined “Guys and Dolls”, thinking it was about a horse. “I got a horse right here, his name is Paul Revere!”, well, we thought the whole play was about a horse! So when it wasn’t, we re-wrote the play so that it was. Also my uncle Mike would read bedtime stories to me and I really wanted to write stories for him too. My grandmother also told us stories.
Paul: I didn’t have a storyteller growing up. Mom just chucked a picture Bible at my bed when I was two, so I started reading it. I was able to read words like “nevertheless” in no time, and I was reading college-age material by 8 years old. I started reading whole books and that was it, I wanted to write and entertain too. So, here I am.

What a wild career!

What do you like to read?

Paula and Paul: Everything!
Paul: If it has an awesome story, if I love the characters, if the plot really moves me, I’m in for almost any genre. People can’t look at books by genre these days and hope to be an expert writer. You have to sample the whole tray, folks.

So true!

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you

Don’t use adverbs. & Set aside a specific time to write.

Paula: What in the Hell is wrong with adverbs? They’re perfectly lovely.
Paul: I just can’t set aside a specific time to write. Scheduling and deadlines have been tough for me when it comes to writing. I need the mood. I can’t force the mood.

So true! I do love a good adverb, and while I aim for writing at 9pm when I’m drafting or editing, it doesn’t always happen.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice they can pry out of your cold, dead hands

Write something every day. & Let your writing flow like a river.

Paula: Write something every single day. Whether it’s a jumble of thoughts and ideas, or a recipe, or a journal, or whatever, just write it.
Paul: Your writing must flow like a river current. It needs to go in a direction and stay there. Keep it fresh and crisp. There’s a fun quote from “Ocean’s 11” I love: “Don’t use seven words when four will do.” I wish I could tell every single author that. Don’t write just to impress people that you can write. Do it smartly and efficiently, like a German train.

Well, some writing styles are more verbose than others, but I try to make sure my writing is clear and doesn’t repeat itself.

Shameless Self-Promotion time!

Shadows in Light

Paula: Let’s stick with “Shadows in Light”. This is the story…
Paul: Of a man named Bra-dy-
Paula: Stop that! “Shadows in Light” is a cross-genre fantasy crime-thriller, about a multi-
dimensional serial killer pursued by a group of demi-god detectives and a perceptive and dynamic would-be-detective from Earth named Maia. The highly-technological and magical island kingdom of Nysi Affalon holds many secrets among its residents of gods, mythological creatures, and legendary beings. As Maia digs deeper into the history of the place, she realizes she has a connection to it, and that she too can learn magic.
Paul: And she’ll need to learn quite a bit of it if she’s going to help save the people of Nysi Affalon, and the man she’s fallen in love with. It’s all very romantic and gory too. Plus the mystery is really quite well-done, featuring layers of plots, multiple clues, and several startling discoveries and twists. Plus probably the most unusual chase scene that has ever been written.

Check out them out as Scribes Unlimited or as P M Amaras and Paul Driggere across the web!

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