About the Author
Palessa started reading her first romance novel, at the age of 11. Then she got introduced to V.C. Andrews, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Anne Rice and many more notable contemporary authors as well as some of the classics, A Tale of Two Cities, Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Great Gatsby and others. It was during her teenage years that she dabbled in writing. First, it was in her diaries, then she started creating characters, stories about romance, the supernatural and much more.
It would take almost 20 years, a radical move from the city she grew up in, Miami, FL back to her Caribbean birthplace, and a chance Facebook meeting with Sable Hunter to start the fiction juices flowing again. After some fits and starts, the Baxter Family Saga was born. Unchained Hearts is Palessa’s first published fiction book with Beau Coup Publishing. Book 2: Portrait of Gray was released April 2014 and Book 3: Story of Us was released August 2014
She considers herself just a storyteller who sees no reason to shy away from the juicier romantic elements. She currently lives in the mountains of Jamaica with her crazy, cracker-munching-mutt Ivy and a farm, primarily managed by agribusiness partner, also known as Dad.
What inspires you to write romance books?
I tend to think of myself writing a story and not just a genre. I don’t shy away from romantic elements but I tend to follow where the story leads and in some cases, it’s a bedroom. Love is universal need, I think and people tend to focus on that exclusive romantic relationship element and it’s fascinating. The mentality, the drama, all of the emotions that go into that. So for me, it’s about being human, satisfying certain needs, and the journey that entails.
Tell us about how you write:
I know a lot of others write daily. I don’t really. It starts with an outline of an idea, broken into sections with general notes on the direction. If there are certain elements that stick out, then I make note of it. Then I start building piece by piece. Some times it’s a little at a time; other times it’s a pretty strong pour. Usually as I’m putting things on paper I get surprised by the story and I like that because if I’m surprised or moved then others will be. Basically, the stories pull and my first draft never quite looks like my outline. The self-edits happen so that it’s presentable and then I go from there. It’s a process that is unique to each author and this is just my way.
Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I listen, I ask questions, I give them time to tell me their story. It’s coaxing, asking and in some cases begging.
What advice would you give other writers?
I would give this advice to anyone who writes regardless of the genre: focus on the story. Don’t pigeonhole it, classify it before you put word one on the page. Just focus on the story and classify afterwards. If you’re stuck, take a break and work on something else for a bit. You will get called back to the story. Write your way out of your block. I know that sounds counter-intuitive but I find that writing helps to clarify thoughts and if your brain is in knots, it can help you straighten things out. But at the end of the day, my focus is and always will be on the story and getting it out and right.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I was writing non-fiction and it was published with my current house but then I decided to just take a chance and revisit fiction writing after over two decades away from it. Really, it was just an idea that kept nagging at me to write it out and when I realized that I actually liked what I wrote, I mean enjoyed it, I knew there was a chance it could pass the mustard. So I showed it to Sable and got a positive response as well as some guidance. So I’ll say that I was chosen more than anything.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I’m still learning about this industry and it’s still very wide open. I know we think EL James is the norm; she’s not. Neither are JK Rowling or Stephenie Meyer. They are the exceptions. I think we’ll see the same cropping of new indie publishers and authors coming up and the big guys will be there still but I also think the “little guy” will be redefining publishing success in a way that is influenced by readers and not by marketing pushes. I know that’s vague but targeted social media is key here and I’m glad to be on this train.
What genres do you write?
Contemporary romance, romantic suspense with more to come
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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