Trisha Harris interviews author Paul Lima.
TH: To start, how long have you been writing?
PL: I’m 66 and wrote my first poem at the age of 14. But I’ve been a professional writer for 40 years, corporate writing and a freelance journalist.
TH: You have published over 20 books. Most are non-fiction; three are fiction. When did you start writing books?
PL: You know, I don’t remember. I’ll say 20 years ago. I was teaching a business writing continue education course for the University of Toronto and couldn’t find an affordable textbook that covered what I was teaching, so I wrote my own: Harness The Business Writing Process. When I started to conduct a freelance writing course, I wrote Everything You Wanted to Know About Freelance Writing. I wrote a couple of other books on writing and then I wrote the book that has become my best seller, How To Write A Non-Fiction Book in 60 Days.
TH: But you also write fiction…
PL: I used to write short stories and several years ago I gathered up my best stories and put them into a book, Rebel in the Back Seat. I wrote two novels, but tossed them after completing the first drafts. They just felt like they had missed the mark. Then I wrote a nasty bit of fiction, published under a pseudonym. If I told you the title, I’d have to kill you! But I now have two novels published under my name: Chronic and Geri.
TH: Chronic is about four people with different maladies who room together. You have MS, so would you say the novel is kind of personal?
PL: I think most novels have a personal aspect to them, and it’s fair to call Chronic personal. But it goes beyond who I am. I’ve received such positive feedback on it. I’ve also written a non-fiction book about MS: Everything You Need To Know About Multiple Sclerosis.
TH: And Geri?
PL: My LGBTQ+ novel, about something. It’s a) a spoof on Seinfeld, a very heterosexual comedy series and b) me addressing issues you can’t write about from a heterosexual perspective. It helps that I have a gay brother and sister, a non-binary child, and have had gay and bisexual experiences in my admittedly mostly straight life.
TH: So what’s next for somebody who has spent most of his life writing?
PL: I’ve outlined Family Tree, an historical drama. The goal is to write it in 2021. We shall see how it goes. As I said, I’m 66 and my MS is slowing me down… But I can still type, and walk my dog–with a lot of rests, for me. The dog, he’d just keep on going!
TH: thanks for your time and all the best with your writing!