Exclusive Interview with
Paula D. Tozer
When did you start writing?
I've been writing stories and poetry since I was a kid. I got more serious about writing in the 90's when I joined the Writer's Federation of New Brunswick and began entering their contests. I placed well in a number of contests (short fiction) at that time but took a 10-yr hiatus during a particularly difficult period in my life. The deaths of my parents were the impetus for me to begin an introspective journey...a journey that ignited my creativity in a profound manner. At that time I began writing blogs and songs. It felt so liberating that I progressed to writing books! Life is good!
What makes writing your passion?
Creativity is our birthright as human beings. We are worthy of this wonder simply by being born!
When I began my introspective journey with the intention of healing from profound loss and grief I realized the true power of the written word! You can, quite literally, write yourself free!
As a Creativity Coach, I have created a process that I call Contemplative Writing. It is designed to assist people in accessing and exploring their personal creativity with their best life in mind.
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing since I was a child but became more serious about my creativity when I turned 50. I call it serious play!
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
I self-published my first book, Saving Your Own Life: Learning to Live Like You Are Dying. It was a lot of work, especially to promote the work.
My 2nd book, An Elegant Mind's Handbook, was published by DeVorss & Company in 2021. Becoming a traditionally published author has been one of the most satisfying achievements of my life.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
My current works are in the non-fiction genre. I am the only "character" involved!
I have a work of literary fiction that I am now pitching to publishers. It is called Enchanting Treve. Treve is based on a beloved dog that went missing when I was at university. We never found her. I describe this book as Marley and Me meets Big Fish. It is a love story that transcends time, with the main characters being three women and two dogs.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I don't believe in writer's block. I don't get too caught up in perfection - I simply write and eventually the beauty is revealed. Each day I begin by being open to inspiration - from any and all sources. I have never been disappointed. I believe that a person can be stressed out of "flow" and that when we have created a Sanctuary in which to write the words flow like water.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
Write because creativity and self-expression are your birthrights as a human being. Write from your heart. Write about what you love. You are a storyteller - please share your beauty with us.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Paula, you receive what you called "flashes of brilliance"...but you can't hold onto the feeling. This is your Muse prompting you to write. Writing will be your source of healing as well as beauty. You are a born storyteller. Never stop writing, my dear!
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I haven't had a bad review, but I guess I will take it in stride. Crap happens.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
I take it as an "atta-girl" and celebrate!
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Yes. As I mentioned above, Elegant Treve, is based on a beloved dog that went missing in the 70's.
My non-fiction work is also based on my introspections and explorations of self - very close to my heart.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
The character of Tessa in Elegant Treve is based on me.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
A compelling book cover is the first attractor that an audience has to your book. On Amazon, or any of the platforms, you will be smothered by a deluge of books, good and not so good, so you must stand out with an attractive cover.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I am also an Aspirational speaker and Toastmaster. I enjoy conversing with readers - it was a delight to have a book club recently take on An Elegant Mind's Handbook and ask me to be their guest during that time.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
It feels great! What is a beautiful story, poem, or song if it is not shared? I share what I love in order to keep feeling the love!
Haven't been recognized in public much yet!
Who is your favorite author? Why?
For fiction I love Hemmingway. I appreciate his clean, spare style.
For non-fiction I love Wayne Dyer's work. He had a way of connecting with his readers that gave you a glimpse into his beautiful heart.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
I would love to follow in the footsteps of Wayne Dyer.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
No. They are complete.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
Wayne, I love you but you are deceased...
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
Trolls aren't worthy of an artist's time.
What would you say to your readers?
Thank you for reading my book! I am delighted to be part of your life and would love to hear from you through the Contact page on my website!
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I live just outside of Fredericton, the capital of the province of New Brunswick in Canada. My husband and I share our abode with 5 rescued dogs and cats. My adult children, Tairie and Michael, live close enough to visit regularly.
What is your day job if you have one?
My husband and I operate a professional lawncare business. I also have a coaching business, Express Yourself Coaching.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
When I'm not writing? In summer we cycle and kayak and hike mountains. In winter, when the weather allows, we snowshoe and cross-country ski.
We also hit the gym regularly in winter and play Squash.
Did you have a happy childhood?
My childhood is rich in memories. I had the privilege of having many critters to love. I grew up understanding the value of creativity!
My dad was an innovator and entrepreneur. I learned the value of achievement from him.
My mom, a high school teacher, never met a stranger. I learned that a stranger is a friend you haven't yet met from my mom.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
The deaths of 15 friends and family members in a little over a decade prompted me to begin writing to understand my grief.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
I have a couple. One is a non-fiction work called Power Moves. It is based on a program that I developed to help coach Toastmasters and I am now adapting it for the general public.
The other I mentioned above, called Elegant Treve, is a work of fiction that I am actively pitching to publishers now.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
The freedom to be creative! In a study done by Dr. George Land (see his Ted Talk) his findings indicated that by the time we are teenagers our creative genius has been "trained" out of us. Only 2% retain their ability to truly be creative into adulthood. We need to nurture our artists, not devalue them.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
What is your favorite music?
I love writing and arranging and performing my own original work.
I also love Hard Rock and Blues and Baroque.
Share a secret with us 🙂
In order to see it to be it, you must first believe it is possible...for you.