Monday 12 August 2019

Blog Tour: Guest Post from Paullina Simons Author of A Beggar's Kingdom.

Today I am lucky enough to be part of the blog tour for A Beggars Kingdom by Paullina Simons. The book is out now and you can click here to order a copy. I have a guest post from Paullina for you today on the writing process. Don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour for more exclusive content and reviews. Here's what it's all about...

A stunning sequel to The Tiger Catcher, Paullina Simons’ dazzling time-travelling adventure continues in A Beggar’s Kingdom, the second novel in the epic End of Forever saga.
Sometimes a second chance is your only hope.

Follow Julian as he stumbles back in time to reconnect with Josephine – the woman who propelled him through a series of dizzying exploits and turned his entire world upside down.

But travelling through the past has its drawbacks and the journey is never simple.

Julian and Josephine embark on an incredible adventure across time and space. They live amid beauty and ecstasy in the pages of history, facing bloodshed and betrayal, countless dangers and deadly enemies. Destitution, crime, pestilence, disaster, and ancient tribal clashes are among the trials they must survive. 

Desperately searching for a way out, they struggle to hold on to the love that binds them together even as it rips them apart.  But each time they cheat death, Julian and Josephine draw nearer to an unthinkable sacrifice and a confrontation with the harshest master of all…fate.

And here's what Paullina has to say on her own writing process...

The Five Stages of Writing a Novel
By Paullina Simons
 Writing a novel, like any long-term, complex endeavor is a process and happens in stages. The process and the individual stages vary, but for me, the journey has a few predictable benchmarks.
There’s the initial inspiration, then the inevitable doubts and problems that arise—both practical and creative—followed by an extended period of years of work, and hopefully a finished book at the end. Or three.
That’s the short version.
As I write this, I am looking at the final proofreading stage for Inexpressible Island, the third book in my new saga, End of Forever. This story is unique for me because all three books were written in one single, super long stretch. I usually approach my books one at a time, and if you’ve followed my work, I’m rarely quick about it.
Here’s a glimpse behind the curtain into the stages of my writing “process.”

Stage 1: Denial
All my books started with an initial flash of inspiration. Some fragment of a scene or fraction of a character revealed itself to me during inopportune moments. For Tully it was the experience of a friend at a restaurant in Kansas where we both worked, struggling to choose between two men she was involved with.
For Red Leaves it was an image of a naked body frozen in the snow.
The Bronze Horseman and all its subsequent sequels and prequels and cookbooks and memoirs came from a single brief vision of a petite young woman and a tall soldier on the wartime streets of Leningrad.
End of Forever was unique because the entire saga, which now clocks in at half a million words, came to me from beginning to end in a single two-hour sitting. The characters and the bones of the story arrived on my doorstep nearly fully formed.
So if you’re looking for intense inspiration for your own projects, I highly recommend How to Train Your Dragon 2.
It was a first for me. Like a gift.
But my first thought was “No. Please no.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m always grateful for inspiration, but I had many other books in the pipeline I was planning to write. I had in mind another historical love story set in the Ukraine and during the Great Depression. For years, I had been thinking about going back to Spencer and Lily the characters from my earlier novels: I was also contemplating a foray into the Bronze Horseman world.
I couldn’t get side-tracked by a new story, I simply couldn’t. It wasn’t a good time. It couldn’t be real. It couldn’t happen…

Stage 2: Bargaining
My first instinct was to make deals with myself, or with God, or with whatever force sends me on these absurd quests.
If the inspiration was real and the story really needed to be told, it could wait until my other work was done—the work I had been preparing for.
If this inspiration could just wait a gosh darn minute and not cut in line, I would put it on my list and get to it in good time.
But stories are like toddlers—no patience at all.
Now Mom?
How about now?
Okay, I said to myself, I won’t write it, I’ll just sketch it out a bit, maybe jot down a few scenes that are fresh in my mind. This will make it easier to come back to the story later when its turn comes.
If fact, I reasoned, it would be a waste of my creative energies not to make the most of the inspiration, an insult to my muse…

Stage 3: Anger
But as with a child or a persistent suitor, we know from Breaking Bad that those half measures are never enough.
Before I knew it, I was full-measure drowning in Julian and Josephine’s world.
But I wasn’t happy about it.
It wasn’t in the plan!
As the reality of what was happening set in and along with it the painful realization that all the other books dimmed and became black and white, while the End of Forever saga burned in brightest Technicolor, I became angrier and angrier.
I resented the intrusion of this book, and then was upset at my husband, my life, my publishers, my characters, my kids, my houseplants and every living thing under the sun.
The story was huge in scope, vast in breadth. It required extensive research and constant revision and agonizing self-doubt, which led to…

Stage 4: Depression
This was the longest stage.
I was both depressed and anxious. Months went by, and then years. It was taking far too long to write it! My readers would be disappointed not to have another book from me quickly.
I worried it would be too long between books. My readers would forget about me.
I worried that that the story was too big, too unwieldy.
I worried that my meager powers were not enough to bring it to life, to do it justice, to make my readers feel what I was feeling for my doomed lovers and their adventures filled with passion and suffering.
These anxieties were broken up by bouts of writing and hand-wringing over the inevitable problems that arise from working on any book, but especially three books with so many moving parts and which were set both in historical and modern times.

Stage 5: Acceptance
In every story, there comes a point when you see the light. Even though the work is still somewhere between overwhelming and completely insurmountable, you glimpse that the end might be possible.
For me that moment came a few years ago and a few years into the End of Forever when I finally and with reluctance gave up on the notion that I could somehow re-invent storytelling and invent a new language to convey in shorthand the necessary complexity and detail of an epic saga that spans time and space, epochs and centuries, continents and divides.
Acceptance came when I surrendered myself to my story and agreed to just tell it.
End of Forever was always in three parts. But when I finally accepted that it would be in three books, I was able to tell this story.
There was still plenty of backsliding into anger, denial, deal making, and depression.
But there were also longer and longer periods of getting lost in the story itself. And when it was finally finished, I didn’t feel that I had cheated myself, my readers, or my characters.

It’s been five long hard years since I started this journey with Julian and Josephine. Everything else in my life, including my actual life, was put on a backburner in another house while I’ve thought about little else.
But soon the third book, Inexpressible Island, will be at the printers and at last I can return to Spencer and Lily, and my historical love story, and that Bronze Horsemen tale.
I can get back to my plan.

Here’s the problem.

A month ago I was in London, at the Imperial War Museum, visiting a special exhibit of Robert Capa’s previously unseen photographs of the D-Day Normandy invasion, and I saw two words that for some reason stuck with me and then drove their talons into me. What two words, you dare ask? Okay, I’ll tell you.
It was the name of one of the beaches at Normandy. To me it read like poetry. It was magic. Easy Red suggested depth, drama, danger. It suggested a nickname for a soldier who gets lost in enemy territory and requires help from a young Belgian woman in order to survive.
The idea was brand new. Yet it had some of my favorite things in it: war, life and death, thrilling adventure, and passion that must end.
It was too good an idea to pass up. If nothing else I owed it to myself to make a few notes…maybe write a few scenes that were fresh in my mind…
Of course, I would stick to my original plan, but what could it hurt to explore something new for a few days?
And so it goes.


Paullina Simons is the author of thirteen novels, a memoir, a cookbook, and two children’s books. Born and raised in the Soviet Union, she immigrated to the United States in the mid-seventies. She graduated from the University of Kansas and wrote her first novel, Tully, at twenty-nine. She has lived in Rome, London, and Dallas, and now lives in New York with her husband and half of her children.

For more information please visit and follow her on Twitter @paullinasimons or join her no Facebook @PaullinaSimonsAuthor

Thank you so much to Paullina for stopping by the blog today and pleas remeber to check out the other blogs on the tour for more awesome content!

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