On the Couch with Janette Paul

Janette-Paul-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Janette Paul?
Janette Paul is a women’s fiction author and the pen name of suspense author Jaye Ford. Between them, Janette and Jaye have written eight novels published in ten countries. Janette’s third novel, The Summer Place, is set around three women whose journey back to a sleepy coastal town will make them question everything they believed about themselves. In another life, Janette/Jaye was the first woman to host a live national sport show on Australian TV.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I would have started writing earlier. I’ve been making up stories in my head for as long as I can remember, and if I could talk to my younger self, I’d tell me to trust my inner storyteller and write them down. Perhaps then it might be my eighteenth book coming out, instead of my eighth.

Who inspires you and why?
Other people and their stories inspire me: unusual occupations, bizarre journeys, twists of fate, decisions that take people down an unexpected path, the extraordinary situations that ordinary people find themselves in. And what they learned about themselves and others from the experience. I’m always asking questions about what people did and what was that like, and storing it away in case one of my characters could do with some of that.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Throw away less, ride my bike more and always be kind.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
The Mid North Coast of NSW is my favourite place to visit that’s close to home. The surf beaches are beautiful, not too rough and uncrowded year round, and the rivers and creeks are perfect for paddle-boarding. Also, my son and his family live there so there’s plenty of incentive for my husband and I to drive our caravan the few hours up the coast for a long weekend at the beach, which we do as often as possible.

Until a few years ago, we had only ever skipped past that part of the coastline on our way further north. It wasn’t until our son moved there five years ago that we started steering off the highway to explore the small beach-side towns still mostly untouched by high-rise and shopping centres. Then an invitation to a barefoot wedding on one of those beaches inspired The Summer Place and gave me an excuse to put those stunning beaches into a book.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I live in Newcastle, NSW, so the beach and harbour are always on the must-see list. A swim in summer, walking or bike riding along the kilometres of pathway that wind past the beaches and headlands, and a stop at the top of the ANZAC Walk for the spectacular view down to Bar Beach and the coastline heading south. Then to Newcastle Harbour to watch the tug boats up close as they guide in an enormous ship, while having a coffee, a drink or a meal at one of the eateries along the foreshore.

What are you currently reading?
I’m working my way through The Thursday Murder Club books by Richard Osman. A cosy mystery series set in a retirement village, it’s funny, touching, insightful and I love how he shakes up the crime genre with some very cool older people.

What are you currently listening to?
I don’t listen to a lot – there’s always plenty going on in my head – but it’s usually podcasts and usually something centred around other people’s experiences. At the moment, How I Survived is keeping my What was that like? thing pretty engaged.

Happiness is?
Spending time with people I love.

What does the future hold for you?
I just celebrated my sixtieth birthday and in the lead up to it, I felt so stunned to be turning 60 that I didn’t really consider what came next. Now I’m thinking about the things I want to achieve: the book I’m writing now, travelling in Australia and overseas, learning German so I can chat with my bilingual granddaughter, sharing life with my husband, my kids and their partners, and my granddaughter.

Janette is the Author of The Summer Place which is published by Pan Macmillan Australia and is available from all leading book retailers including QBD Books.

Image: Janette Paul – courtesy of Pan Macmillan Australia