Speculative fiction
Five Questions for Pauline Yates

Five Questions for Pauline Yates

Author of “In the Absence of Time” (Hard Science Fiction)


What is your typical writing process? Do you outline or let things grow organically? Do you prefer writing in public (coffee shops or libraries) or in private? Do you listen to music?

I try to write everyday even if it’s only to jot down ideas. Most of my stories start from a line or a title I’ve thought of, and then I develop the characters and scenes around that. I do like to know where I’m heading when I start writing a new story, but I’m open to letting the story take control and show me where to go next. My writing space is anywhere I can park my computer but when I really get going, I need uninterrupted space which is usually the privacy of my home. Thus, my best time to write is late at night, or first thing in the morning when my not-writing life does not need attention. I do have a favorite coffee shop which I consider my other office and I have written many stories in that space. I don’t listen to music while I write, but I do attach the stories to particular songs. I find it useful to get back into the mood of the story. My favorite music for writing action scenes is anything by Dire Straits; Cold Play for intense, Jimmy Barnes for romantic scenes. I also get to know my characters better by wondering which character would sing a song that comes on the radio. It’s quite an interesting exercise in character development.

What are you working on right now? And which of your stories would you recommend to someone new to your work? 

 I’m currently editing a black comedy piece which is due to be published late 2018. I’m also outlining two new stories, one flash fiction introspective piece, and one longer sci-fi. My novel is my major project and it is in a state of chaos as I strip it to the bare bones to rework sections so I expect to be busy with that. As to which story I would recommend, I’d say my last one, whichever that may be. My writing is in a constant state of improvement.

What are some of your literary influences?

I love Stephen King, in particular his earlier works such as Carrie and Cujo. I like how he can bring a whole town to life. But my favorite story of his is The Long Walk written under his pen name Richard Bachman. I also admire writing by Maggie Stiefvater. Her novel, The Scorpio Races, is one of my favourites. I can’t imagine writing a better story involving horses, which I love, than this.

What are you reading right now? What’s on your to-be-read list?

I’m currently reading How Not to Write a Novel by Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark. It’s providing comic relief as I work through my own novel. I’ve also just finished Divergent by Veronica Roth and Stolen by Lucy Christopher. I’d like to read more Maggie Stiefvator novels. I lean towards Young Adult books.

In your “On writing” piece, you mention your relative inexperience with “hard” science fiction. After having completed this project, would you consider writing more stories in this genre?

 Absolutely. The current idea I have would fall into the Hard Sci-fi genre, so I’m keen to target this market again, especially as I now have a better understanding of how to tackle the genre.

You can read Pauline Yates’ story in Metaphorosis Magazine, “An Aftertaste of Earth,” for free online. 

For more about Pauline Yates:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pauline.mcauliffe


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