Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Author Interview with Paula Hrbacek

Paula Hrbacek

1. Please tell the readers a bit more about you.

I’m a Lutheran preacher’s kid, so talking about religion comes naturally to me.  We didn’t have dinner table conversations when I was growing up, we just listened to my dad preach another sermon.  I grew up in the mid-west (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri) and after I was married, my husband, our four children and I moved to Florida where we’ve lived for the last 24 years. 
I double-majored in journalism and art because I wanted to work for a craft magazine.  Instead, I worked for Christian Board of Publication in St. Louis for five years as a copy writer and graphic artist.  My first two books were published by CBP.  When I became a mother, I free lanced for magazines, and started trying to write a novel.

2. What types of books do you write?  I’m in love with both fiction (romance with a touch of mystery) and how-to.  I’m writing for the Christian Inspirational market because I like to keep it clean, and I think people should be motivated by what they believe.

3. Who's your main audience?  Stars Shine After Dark is women’s fiction.  It doesn’t fit neatly into a romance category because the characters get married in the middle of the book.  Then they start having some real life problems and have to get the relationship back on track.  I wrote the story because someone I care about was getting a divorce.  I felt helpless about it, so instead of sticking my nose in where it didn’t belong, I put my feelings on paper.  It’s supposed to show that there is more than one side to any story, and if both people are willing to bend, a couple can weather the storms that come their way.  I suppose my main audience would be people who are afraid to commit, and people who want to make it last and make it past, and people who want a deeper motivation.

4. When it comes to writing- what are your strong points? What are your weaknesses?
I’m not sure which category this fits into, but the people who have read it say it’s too intelligent to be a romance novel.  I like fiction that has “social redeeming value” that is, something to learn or think about.  I like motivation to run deep, and for problems to make people examine what they really believe.  My weakness?  Well, I’m a preacher’s kid.  My dad did all the talking, so I’m not real good at conversation.

5. What do you think of this term- Writer's Block? How do you overcome it?
I fold the laundry.  You’d be amazed what will go through your mind when you’re faced with six baskets of underwear.  Weeding the garden is good, too.  One is nearer to God in a garden than anywhere else on earth…

6. How many books have you written? I think the correct question is how many were good enough to get published.
I’ve been attempting to write a novel since Junior High School.  My latest effort is being considered by an editor as we speak (let us pray…)

7. How many are published? I have three traditional books
St. Louis Is for Families, Bethany Press, a tourist guide.
Bible Verses for Young Children, CBP Press, a coloring book.
Created in Faith, Concordia, crafts based on Christian symbols.

Stars Shine After Dark is a print on demand book, Kindle and Nook.  It is also available in other ebook formats from
Day Camp in Hawaii is a Kindle and Nook and  It is a collection of activities, crafts, games, songs and skits with a tropical theme that can be used by a summer camp, summer school or after school care program.  I was in charge of Cub Scout Summer Day Camp for two years, and wrote my own program because it was easier to write something new than to spend hours searching for something old.
Caring After School is a Kindle.  It’s a beginner’s guide for doing after school care.  It can be used by a new employee to get ready to do the job, or by a director to cut costs, improve the program and train employees.

8. Are you self published or traditionally published? Both.  Of the two, traditional is by far much better.

9. What's the hardest part of the writing process for you? Marketing and selling.  Writers face a 99 percent rejection rate.  After a while, it gets to you.  I tried to quit writing and become an art teacher, but it didn’t work.  I’m too introverted to teach.  But then, like manna from Heaven, the opportunity to write a newspaper column about arts and crafts dropped into my lap.  I never get rejected by The Examiner, so I’m in hog heaven now.  I’m using all my past experiences in Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, after school care and teaching to write an entirely different kind of craft column that’s geared for youth groups and teachers.  So now, when the rejections get to me, I just publish another craft article, and my computer screen says “Congratulations! You’re published!”  Those are the words ever writer longs to hear.

10. What type of books do you enjoy reading?  My mother gives me Love Inspired, and Heart Song Presents.  But the books I really enjoyed most recently were the Heavenly Daze series published by Nelson.

11. Who's your favorite Author? I don’t really have one.  I like to try something new to see if I can learn something new.  I also like to read several books by one publisher to see what they are accepting.

12. What's your all time favorite book? The writing bug bit me because of Nancy Drew, but I was also captivated by The Pearl of Great Price.  Pearl gave me the idea that stories are more interesting when they aren’t superficial.

Thank you Paula for your time. It was a pleasure having you here on The Writing World. 

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