I am so Excited to have B. A. Paris Author of Behind Closed Doors visit the book review cafe today. Today is publication day for Behind Closed Doors, and it’s the debut novel from B A Paris, it really is one hell of a read, you can read my review further down the page.
I am so excited to have you visit the book review cafe today, but before we start should I refer to you as BA Paris? Or do you have another name you like be called? Also I would just like to congratulate you on Behind Closed Doors, it’s one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read in a long time (and I’ve read a fair few).
I know that this may sound a bit stuffy, but for the moment, I prefer to be referred to as BA Paris so that I can maintain a little anonymity for as long as I can! And thank you, I’m so glad you enjoyed Behind Closed Doors and thrilled that you think it’s one of the best you’ve read in a while.
For those readers who haven’t yet heard of you or your book can you provide us with an introduction?
I’d always wanted to write but I never had time to actually sit down at a computer until my two elder daughters left home. I’d heard about a competition that the Sunday Times was running, had an idea for a story and began writing. A couple of months later, I’d completed an 80.000 word novel. It didn’t get anywhere but it didn’t matter as I’d found something I loved doing and couldn’t have stopped writing even if I’d wanted to.
Where did the idea for Behind Closed Doors come from?
Some years ago, I knew a couple whose relationship seemed perfect on the outside but a couple of little incidents made me wonder if things were different when they were on their own. It gave me the idea for a story and Behind Closed Doors was born.
How did you come to choose Behind Closed Doors as a title?
It didn’t come about easily! The original title was completely different, but what I didn’t know at the time was that it would have to please everybody, from my agent to my publisher to the sales team. To be fair, the title I’d come up with wasn’t workable but it was difficult to choose one that we all agreed on. I felt it was a shame that Behind Closed Doors had already been used before, as it summed up my story perfectly. But when I mentioned it, everyone thought it was brilliant and as I’ve learnt, it doesn’t actually matter that there have been other books with the same name.
This is your debut novel, how does that make you feel?
Even in my wildest dreams, I could never have imagined that Behind Closed Doors would strike a chord with so many people. The response has been amazing and is due, in great measure, to all those who have taken the time, not only to read my book, but also to review it. So I feel humbly grateful, and thrilled that I have written something people want to read.
Why did you choose to use B A Paris as your author signature, as opposed to your full name?
My first name is a bit of a mouthful and I’ve never particularly liked it. As well as that, using only my initials puts a bit of distance between me and my book, which is quite a comfortable place to be when it’s a debut novel!
The book’s protagonists, Jack and Grace, are both scarily believable. What kind of research did you carry out to achieve this?
When I sat down to write Behind Closed Doors, I knew that Jack wouldn’t be a very nice person but I didn’t know he would be as evil as he turned out to be. It wasn’t so much about doing research as letting the characters take over. Jack did this to such an extent that often, when I read back over what I had written the previous day, I was shocked that I could have written such dark things. Likewise, I never really planned where the story would go; Jack and Grace decided that all by themselves.
Do you have any strange writing habits or rituals?
None that I can think of.
Do you write an outline before you start writing?
Only in my head!
How long did it take to get your first book published?
From when it was first taken on by my agent to actual publication on Thursday, about 18 months.
What is your least favourite part of the writing/publishing process?
The 18-month wait!
If you couldn’t write books, what would you do for a living?
I really enjoy teaching, which I do at the moment, but I’d love to have a job where I could travel (Grace’s ex-job in Behind Closed Doors, for example) or else, a job in publishing.
Describe your book in 5 words?
A dark, tense, psychological drama.
Describe yourself in 5 words?
Determined, positive and hugely imaginative!
What authors/books do you like to read in your spare time?
Although I love reading, I’ve barely read a book since I started writing, simply because in my free time I prefer to write rather than read. In the past I’ve enjoyed books by Leon Uris, Douglas Kennedy, Sebastian Faulks and Wilbur Smith. I also love Kate Atkinson.
What book are you reading now?
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon. Then I’ll be reading The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza. I think it’s important to support other debut authors.
Are you able to tell me anything about your next book?
Only that it’s another psychological drama. I think that it’s what everyone will be expecting and it’s a genre that I enjoy writing.
During all the interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
‘Why did you only start writing now?’ The answer is because I’m a bit of a perfectionist and prefer to concentrate on one thing at a time so that I can do it to the best of my ability. So I brought up my five daughters and when I felt I’d done a good enough job, I started to write.
And finally… Kindle or Paperback?
I love the smell and feel of books, so definitely a paperback. But I do have a Kindle, which I use from time to time, mainly when I’m travelling.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and for popping by the book review cafe, and wishing you a very happy publication day I’m sure Behind Closed Doors is going to do very well.
About B. A. Paris
B.A. Paris is from a Franco/Irish background. She was brought up in England and moved to France where she spent some years working as a trader in an international bank before re-training as a teacher and setting up a language school with her husband. They still live in France and have five daughters. This is her first novel.
Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do.
You’d like to get to know Grace better.
But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.
Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.
Publishers: MIRA 11th Feb. 2016