Author: Paulie Rainbow
Best Known Works: The Goddess of Denver
Top Writing Tip: I advise you to write, right now. Every day. Write fragments, write plots, write down conversations that struck you as funny, or poignant, or profound. Confess your fears or else have a character take them on for you. Pose challenges to yourself: what is the scariest thing, the best thing or the most comfortable thing? Find other writers and form a little group. Read to each other, accept criticism, keep writing. The theme of the last NaNoWriMo was “The world needs your story.” This is true.
Thank you, Paulie, for sharing a little bit about yourself. We always love to hear from writers!
Tell us a little about yourself, what are the main life experiences that have led to this book?
I am a long-time member of the Pagan community in Denver, Colorado and the founder of a small, private Celtic Women’s Circle. As a life-long learner and a priestess I want to open the path to those who seek it and share what I have learned. I feel so blessed to live in such a magical place and in a city with so many opportunities for community. I love my community; its idiosyncrasies and its diversity. I have been energized by the magic of the Celtic path and the strength of the images for contemporary women. As much as I believe in magic, in the Goddesses and the Gods, I believe in the power of love and friendship.
When did you realize that you were Pagan?
I realized that I was a Pagan when I was 13 years old. I had experienced myself as magical and had experiences of being psychic, but when my best friend gave me a silver and gold rune on a silver chain as a birthday gift, and I read on the little gift card about the runes being given to Odin, a Norse God, I suddenly realized that there were other Gods, other faiths; and the whole world opened up for me.
When and why did you begin writing?
I have been telling stories and writing since I could speak and form letters. I’ve written poetry and journals and short stories my whole life, but when a friend introduced me to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month www.nanowrimo.org) I was ready to meet the challenge and to try out the amazing process of noveling.
Are you published or self published, and what has been your experience of this process?
I am self published through Create Space. I sent off inquiries to agents, but got nowhere. This story is about contemporary, modern paganism. It’s Wicca 101 in a novel. I couldn’t find an agent who wanted to represent that, but I knew that local booksellers would be interested. The process was quite simple, but the quality of the outcome depends a great deal on how well you are able to understand and follow current printing conventions. It wasn’t hard, but trying to self-produce something of quality took focus and patience.
Is this your first published piece or have you had work published before?
I have had poetry published before, even internationally, but I didn’t have a strong enough portfolio to entice an agent.
How did the topic of your book(s) come to you?
I have had a small, private circle for a number of years. Not surprisingly, one warm summer night the entire ritual just fell apart and I found myself sitting in the grass around the altar with my sisters who entreated me to tell a story. The story I told formed the heart of this book and I used that story in a chapter where the character Isis follows the Goddess through the night across the many spaces that are Denver.
Who encourages/inspires you?
I believe firmly in the Muses, both the classical Greek Muses and the spirits of my own Celtic path that long to be expressed in this current time. We are so blessed to have the Goddesses and Gods around us, so incredibly accessible, right now.
Tell us a bit about your story, key characters and plot.
Practical Kathleen Sullivan is the gracious hostess of a small, struggling, Celtic circle in Denver, Colorado which has a tradition of taking on a question at Yuletide and working with it throughout that year; but this year holds an adventure that no one expected.
Kathleen has three desires; to host perfect rituals and perfect feasts, to make it to Ireland, and… James, the local magician-rock star who prefers to entrust his own desires to nameless groupies. But her first responsibilities are to guide her circle and seek her Goddess. She keeps the Circle book where she has carefully gathered all the information needed to keep the little group running smoothly. She is the teacher of two young priestesses chaotically bursting into adult lives. She is the best friend of a thoughtful mother who is opening up a magical heritage for her young daughter. In the end, with books at her fingertips, a loving heart and a quick wit, it is Kathleen who gathers members of the group to build magic strong enough to counter an impulsive and dangerous spell cast by someone whose life is now on the line. When a real threat breaks through and stalks a beloved friend, magic races against mayhem to the final end.
What are your future plans for writing?
I have a new novel that I will publish this year called The Redemption of Jelzie Talon. After that, I will continue working on other novels that I have begun.
Do we see some of you in your book?
There’s a little bit of me in a lot of the characters in my book. I write from the inside of the characters and so I have to be able to experience their desires, flaws and challenges. In particular, I have ambitions similar to Kathleen and I have walked the alleys of my city as a young woman like Isis. I have backpacked in the wilderness area that I describe in the chapter where Inéz goes into the mountains with her daughter and I have met the witch I describe as the Magisterium, and I love her.
How long does it take you to write a book, are you a fast writer or a slow writer?
I started The Goddess of Denver in 2007, as a part of NaNoWriMo and finally published it in 2011. The first fifty thousand words were the easiest, writing with a community is helpful. It was harder to write the ending of it, alone. Also, it was challenging to learn what I needed to learn to self-publish in a way that had the level of quality that I wanted to achieve. It was important to me that the book look right, feel right. The tough part about writing is just doing it.
Do you socialize with other writers or are you a solitary author?
I love being a part of the madness of NaNoWriMo, but I also get a lot out of writing with a small group throughout the rest of the year. It provides me with support, structure and encouragement.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you most like a writing retreat?
I retreat to the mountains and the forests. I recharge and find inspiration in the places you can only reach under your own power, in places where the eyes can rest on the things of nature and not be interrupted by the things of man. However, I would love to go on a writing retreat to Ireland, to stay somewhere in the company of other writers, wholly removed from my regular life and write and share for a week, or maybe two, to write as though it were meditation, breaking for meals and walks.
Thank you for taking the time to share yourself and your book with us. We hope you have every success with your series and future projects.