Hey Pauline! So, tell us a bit about yourself and your books.
Well, I’m eighteen years old and am just about to start my freshman year of college with a major in English. When school isn’t taking up the majority of my time, I like to write mostly science fiction books dealing with pretty much any aspect of sci-fi.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing stories when I was about seven years old and I have lots of those stashed away on my computer, but I was twelve when I wrote my first novel. And it’s just escalated from there.
You’re probably best known for your Mechanical trilogy. Where did the inspiration for the series come from?
One of the main things I get my inspiration from is titles. For me, a title for a book is what really pulls me in, so I’ll frequently think up cool titles that would interest me and then try to find a story to fit them. So one day I came up with the title, MECHANICAL, asked myself what the book would be about and I decided on androids. And it just went from there.
What’s your writing process like? Any tricks or tips you can share with us?
It’s funny but I don’t really follow that rule that EVERY SINGLE piece of writing advice likes to tell you: write every day. I’m more of a binge writer. I write nonstop for three months or so to complete a book and then I take two months off and write absolutely nothing. My writing advice is to have fun with it and figure out what works for you. People say to write every day and to write what you know, but I write about impossible science fiction worlds, and I obviously haven’t lived in any. So pick what advice to take and what to ignore.
How long does it take for you to complete a story, from the initial concept to completion?
The fastest I’ve ever written a book was three weeks (thanks to NaNoWriMo), but normally it will take me about a month or two to come up with a plausible concept and then three months to actually write it.
Can you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I can. I remember actually printing it out and taping it together so it would look like a book, and it’s still sitting on my bookshelf in my room. It’s a four page mystery story very much along the lines of Nancy Drew. Nancy Drew was all I read when I was seven years old. 😉
Which author(s) have been your biggest literary inspirations?
Well, the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson is what really got me into writing. I remember reading his books and saying to myself, “I wish I could write something this amazing.” So then I went and tried. Obviously it wasn’t as good as James Patterson, but it started me writing. Another author I totally love is Veronica Roth. Meeting her is on my bucket list.
You write mostly science fiction – what do you love about writing in that genre and what would you say is the most difficult aspect of it?
I love that science fiction deals with a completely made up world, but at the same time is still rooted in reality. Although I love contemporary, there’s something so exciting and adventurous about dystopian societies and spaceships.
The hardest thing about writing sci-fi is definitely the world building. You have to do research about technical things you include in your books, as well as making up technology that sounds plausible. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve grabbed family members and sat them down just to quiz them on random sci-fi ideas.
Without giving us any spoilers…you find yourself face to face with Penelope, the protagonist from your new title Puppet. What would you say to her and what might she want to say to you?
That’s such a great question! Hmmmm… I think I’d tell her not to take life for granted and to look around and realize what it is you have and what it means to you. I think she’d save a lot of time in the story if she’d heard those words from somebody. 😉 But if I just happened to see her in the street in OUR normal world, I’d probably grab her and go for ice cream and just hang out. She’s a little crazy, but I think she’d be an awesome friend.
And finally, what can we expect from you in the near future?
Right now, I’m completely in love with fairytale retellings. I’m writing one right now and have another idea in the works, as well as some more hard sci-fi/dystopian stuff. And I have an early (very early!) idea for a contemporary novel. In other words, if I didn’t have other stuff keeping me busy (mainly, college) I’d be writing nonstop and trying to get as many books as possible out into the world.
Pauline C. Harris is the author of middle grade and young adult science fiction novels and published her first book at the age of fourteen. She’s currently working toward a degree in English. Other than writing, her time is consumed mainly by reading, playing the violin, watching old black and white movies, and trying to survive her college classes. You can find her on Twitter at: @PaulineCHarris