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January 22, 2016

Interview with Rajdeep Paulus, Author of SOARING THROUGH STARS


Rajdeep Paulus, award-winning author of the Swimming Through Clouds trilogy, has a lot to say about love. From her authentic portrayal of the highs and lows of teen romance to her advice on writing sensitive scenes, this tremendous writer is an authority on crafting tales full of romance and the strength of the human spirit.

Below, check out our interview with Rajdeep, where she talks about what makes her tick as an author, her social media obsessions and her advice to budding writers. What inspired you to write the Swimming Through Clouds trilogy?

Rajdeep Paulus: I wanted to create a world of extremes: extreme pain and extreme joy, extreme heartache and extreme love, extreme despair and extreme hope --- and then put my characters in that world and write their journeys as they figure out how to navigate and survive.  

TRC: The two main characters, Lagan and Talia, have an “opposites attract” dynamic. What inspired you to write this type of love story?

RP: My goal was to create a tender love story that took its time to develop, because the teenage years are awkward as it is, and when romance enters the picture, nothing is ever smooth and predictable. I think Lagan and Talia’s tension of not knowing where theother stood fueled the pursuit and gave the reader something to hope for. I also wanted to demonstrate a romance built on friendship, trust that had to be earnedand perseverance despite challenges that seem to just keep coming. Because only after love is tested does it grow in depth.

TRC: Are there any aspects of Talia and/or Lagan that you drew from personal experience?

RP: No guy ever flirted with me using Post-its, but my now hubby used to say the phrase, “For what? For you? Forevah,” when we were dating. And my hubby is a big Bulls fan. Other than that, the story is fiction.

TRC: Heavy themes such as domestic violence are covered within this trilogy. Did you find it difficult to write about such a sensitive topic?

RP: The difficulty lied in finding the balance between writing accurately without getting gratuitous. Even now, some readers will point out scenes where they felt as though they were watching a movie and had to look away. As the author, you almost have to look away emotionally to write certain scenes so you don’t shortchange the experience that your characters go through. And yes, those scenes still make me cry when I read them.

TRC: What is the main lesson that you hope readers take away from your books?

RP: In one word: kindness. And how there is so much hope in a tiny act of kindness.

TRC: What is your writing process like? Do you have any specific habits or rituals you follow?

RP: Ha! Confession time: I totally binge on Social Media for about an hour before I start writing, and much of this time is spent watching Youtube videos by Lilly Singh, AKA Superwoman. That’s why sometimes I move my writing space to a place WIFI isn’t available. That forces me to stay on task for longer periods of time. Oh,and coffee is a must.

TRC: What has been your most rewarding experience as an author?­­­­

RP: The feedback from reviews has been wonderful so far, as was being interviewed by an editor from Amazon. But even more special was the first fan letter I received. I carry it around with me, and the words, “Please keep writing!” from two sisters who stayed up all night reading SWIMMING THROUGH CLOUDS keep me going on days when I have my doubts.

TRC: Do you have any specific authors you look to for inspiration?

RP: The list is too long, but I especially appreciate authors who don’t follow a trend and create unforgettable characters. I read a lot of YA, but I also love the classics, and William Faulkner is my all time favorite and the reason I wanted to become a writer.

TRC: What piece of advice would you offer aspiring writers?

RP: I love what Tosca Lee told me when I met her: “Write as if no one is ever going to read it” because then you have no fear and you write with complete freedom.  

TRC: Now that the trilogy is finished, do you have any secrets regarding upcoming books that you can divulge to our readers?

RP: I’m working on a new book about two characters who lose sight of the way but gain perspective, find love and discover grace on the journey together. A sneak peek excerpt was recently featured on the YA Blog Courtneys Reads.

About Rajdeep Paulus
Rajdeep Paulus is the award-winning author of SWIMMING THROUGH CLOUDS, SEEING THROUGH STONES and SOARING THROUGH STARS. Rajdeep studied English Literature at Northwestern and lives in New York with her Sunshine and four princesses. She'll be participating in the 2016 Teen Author Fest in March. You can visit her website and find her on facebook and twitter.