Richard Paolinelli Interview

Born in Turlock, California in 1964, Richard Paolinelli began his writing career as a freelance writer in 1984 in Odessa, TX and gained his first fiction credit serving as the lead writer for the first two issues of the Elite Comics sci-fi/fantasy series, Seadragon.

What inspired you to write?
I started writing little stories as a young child and just kept on creating them as I grew older.

Did the inspiration to write come to you suddenly, or had you been thinking about it some time?
I'd been thinking of making a go of it as a novelist for a few years as my newspaper career was winding down. I came across a novel written by Jack McDevitt and started checking out his story and discovered he was the same age back when he too decided to try his hand at novel writing as I was. I figured if he could do it that late in life, I certainly could give it a shot as well. Eight books, two anthologies and two novelettes later, here I am.

How did you tell your story? In other words, did you use an outline, or just write your story from start to finish?
I wrote the first chapter, then the last chapter. Then I went back to the end of chapter one and set sail for the destination. I do use a very general, very basic outline.

Did you receive any encouragement from family and friends, or did you work on your book alone?
Encouragement from family and friends and it has helped a lot when things looked gloomy ahead.

What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
Trying to get all of the aspects of the story to fit together the way I wanted. Escaping Infinity is a mix of many genres: sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, suspense, thriller, horror, romance, western and a few others. It sometimes seemed that I opened the genre cabinet and tossed in a little bit of whatever I could find in the cupboard.

What was the most enjoyable aspect of writing your book?
Telling the story and creating the characters that the reader connects with as if they really were real-life people.

Did you experience any personal transformation after the book was published?
Relief that I had finally finished this book and released it. I originally had the idea for this story 20 years ago. It wasn't until now I was finally able to finish it.

What’s something that gets in the way of your creativity?
The post-release aspect of writing a book. Marketing. That takes so much time and energy and sometimes it drains you so much you just can't write a single word.

What strategies do you use to deal with criticism?
I try not to let them get me down too much. I understand not everyone is going to like what I write. But I do try to find some nugget out of even the worst critique to use in a positive way going forward.

Where did you grow up and what is your favorite/worst childhood memory?
All over the western United States. My dad was in the drilling business and we went were ever business was booming. I don't really have a favorite or worst memory, but I do have a favorite place. Steele, North Dakota. That was a great place to live as a kid and we were there for a little over three years. The worst place we lived when I was a kid was Deming, New Mexico. Fortunately, we were only there for three months.

Do you have a favorite quote?
"Six times down, seven times up."

What is your favorite show on TV?
Sleepy Hollow

Favorite movie?
Forbidden Planet from the 1950s. Great classic sci-fi film.

Favorite book?
A Talent For War by Jack McDevitt.

Who would you want to meet if you could? Dead or alive.
Edgar Allan Poe.

Is there a talent you wish you had?
I wish I could sing without scaring every living creature within 20 miles and being served a court order to cease and desist.

What’s something about you that would surprise us?
I hate flying.

Describe yourself in 3 words!
I'm kinda complicated.