Paula F. (Pfeiffer) Winskye, a North Dakota native, began writing stories about horses at age 12. More than 30 years later, in 2003, she published her first novel. Poachers in the Park is her 26th and second book for younger readers.

Winskye has also penned twelve Tony Wagner mysteries, three Randy McKay mysteries, two Lunar Enforcement science fiction mysteries, three romances, and four volumes of the Collins family saga.

Winskye and her husband, John, live near Snowflake, Arizona, where she is a Navajo County Sheriff’s Auxiliary Volunteer.

“Some of my earliest memories are of laying awake, thinking up new plots to my favorite cartoons. I was a writer even before I could write.

Genres: Though I have published other genres, I now only write mysteries. My protagonists are straight arrows. They are flawed but strive to do the right thing.

Locations: Most of my locations are real, with a few exceptions. Tony Wagner’s hometown is fictional. And, if one of my protagonists is dealing with corrupt or incompetent law enforcement, I will set that in a fictional town. I won’t disparage real law enforcement agencies.

Current project: My current project is Tony Wagner mystery 13. The first, The Reverend Finds His Calling, reached number six on Amazon for serial killer mysteries. Why “The Reverend?” In that book, Tony is a seminary student who gets drawn into the hunt for the National Park serial killer. Though he decides to go into law enforcement, people still call him “reverend.”

Tony is by far my most popular character. Fans are always looking for the next in the series. Tony has been compared favorably to C.J. Box’s Joe Picket.

When I finish the first draft of this novel, I’ll set it aside and begin working on my fourth Randy McKay mystery. Tony will make an appearance there, too. This is the second crossover featuring both characters.

Outline or not: I also have the plots for Lunar Enforcement number three and the second mystery for younger readers. I am a pantser. Fortunately, my brain can store detailed plots for several novels, even some dialog. I have a notebook where I sometimes write the general idea for a story but never an outline.

Challenges to writing: Life is the biggest challenge I face in my writing career. I stepped away from some of my responsibilities to give me more time. I’m a morning writer. The earlier I can get to work on my story, the more I accomplish. If I have to leave home early, I may not get any writing done that day.

Writing advice: I used to deal with writer’s block by working on another project. Now, it isn’t a problem because I’m not afraid to write badly. If I push through that tough spot, writing a scene I consider not so good, it can be revised. You can’t edit a blank page.

That is one of the best pieces of advice I give to beginning writers. Don’t be afraid to write badly. Perfectionism is the enemy of the first draft. A bad first draft is better than only a perfect first page.

Other advice. Jot ideas when they come to you. Use waiting time (before appointments, waiting for the kids) to take notes. If you don’t have an idea for your novel, use writing prompts or free write. Don’t just talk about writing. Write.

Join a writers’ group. If there isn’t one in your area, start one. Put up signs at the local library or bookstore to recruit others. Use local social media.

Organizations: I belong to Sisters in Crime and its Tucson chapter. It has given me opportunities which I never would have had otherwise. I recently joined the Arizona Professional Writers and look forward to working within that organization.

Promotion: For those of you who are published authors, you are your book’s best advocate. As writers, getting out and talking to the public is usually not our thing. It wasn’t mine.

From the time I published my first novel, I knew that I would have to be the one to sell it. Even getting your books into bookstores involves salesmanship skills. I signed up to sell my books at craft shows, fairs, and swap meets. My best venues are book or arts festivals. Still, after consistently attending other events for years, people look for my latest novel.

I recently heard two speakers giving separate presentations offering the same advice. “The best advertisement for your first book is your second book.” I couldn’t agree more.

My goal for the next year is to sell on a broader scale, specifically to expand my internet sales. My books are available on Amazon. I’m starting to branch out to other sites and expand my advertising.

I believe that if more people try one of my novels, many will be back for more. For that reason, the e-book edition of The Reverend Finds His Calling is free on Smashwords, Kobo, and Amazon.

website– Author Paula F. Winskye (winskyebooks.com)

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