Interview with Paul Mundane

Paul Mundane

Interview Date: 3/28/2012

Paul Mundane is the author of The Amelia Academy: Standards.  He lives in Kitchener with his wife and kids. He's been writing for a long time, but only published recently. There will be more.

Paul also slings coffee for a major cafe/corporation. This fact becomes funny once you read past the second chapter of The Amelia Academy: Standards. Paul also owned a comic shop in Toronto. This fact is much more relevent, but less funny.




  • When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?

I’ve been writing forever.  I just haven’t finished that often.  I had a bad habit of editing long before I’d finished.  This would leave me with a first chapter that you would weep to read, but little else.

The big event that changed that for me was National Novel Writing Month (2009).  Forced to face an unwavering deadline, I had to turn off my editor to make my daily word count.  If it wasn’t for that, I’d have never finished The Amelia Academy: Standards.  I now use the same rush to finish draft plan, and I get a great deal more finished.

Kev's response: Ah, NaNoMo, probably one of the greatest motivators that get many indie authors started, I'm sure.


  • If you could have one superpower, what would it be? (Assuming said power would be reasonably "powerful.")

I should mention that I’m egotistical enough to assume I’m the only one in the world being given powers.  With that in mind, I’d go for photographic reflexes; the ability to mimic any physical skill.  There are hundreds (yes hundreds) of skills I’d like: playing piano, martial arts, random acrobatics, you name it.  Thing is I’m far too lazy to take the years to learn them all.  My one superpower would let me shortcut past all that time consuming ‘learning’.

Kev's response: So long as you didn't accidentally pick up actions and accidentally "replay" them, I could be a fan of this. I mean, learning head scratches (or other body parts!) could be awkward....


  • Do you have a favorite superhero from novels, comics, or movies?

My favorite changes often. Well written, I’d give the vote to Batman, though it’s rare that he’s well written. Too many writers make it so Batman’s equipment could go and fight crime without him. I like the gritty, underdog, brains over brawn, Dark Knight Detective.

Beyond that, I’m a sucker for my eighties mutants.  Early Excalibur and Classic X-Men were my big ones.  New Mutants (the original) followed close.  Am I dating myself with that? Do I make it worse to admit a secret love for Alpha Flight?

Kev's response: Not at all, there are a lot of great comic books, even considering just the last three decades (for various reasons at various times, art at times, story others, and great character development at others (well, at least for what you can get with the small amount of text in a comic.


  • Do you pre-plan your stories, or are you a by-the-seat-of-the-pants style writer?

Both really.  I tend to have a plan when I start, but it tends to goes awry.  Often, my attempt to horn in my concept for the story is nay-sayed by the characters.  They get their own ideas on what they’d like to do by mid story, and they won’t let me have a say in what that is.


  • Do you write only when inspired, or do you have a set schedule where you sit down to write?

Again, a bit of column A and a bit of column B.  I try to finish a minimum of one thousand words a day, and I try to fit it into a schedule.  Often though, this leaves me staring at a blank page for an hour.  I try to follow a schedule, but if I’m not inspired, it’s difficult.


  • Do you have a favorite genre to write in? To read?

I enjoy fiction of all sorts.  The Amelia Academy series is modern science fiction, I guess?  I mean, super heroes, and science and that.  I love my fantasy fiction, and will delve into it soon enough.  I guess I’m going to narrow to adventure fiction?  That’s a thing right?  I’m going to go with it.

Kev's response: Aye, I believe the standard term is "contemporary science fiction." I would hope that most superhero novels fit into the adventure category, otherwise, what in the world are they doing with their powers?


  • What do you enjoy the most about writing?

I’d have to say the escapism.  As I mentioned, my characters tend to run my story, and I come along for the ride.  Once I get a good run going, I often find that I’m just the instrument to tell their story.  I like to get to that point.  I like to be surprised by where my story ends up.


  • Is there any part of writing that you don't enjoy?



  • Can you tell me something odd about yourself?

I used to be an extra in movies.  That’s just a job, but the odd part is that I didn’t want to be on screen at any time.  I became a master of picking the area in a shot that would make them keep me on call (so I got paid for the maximum hours) but that wouldn’t be used (so I wouldn’t be in the movie or show).  That guy hiding behind the bookstand in Robocop Prime Directive?  Me.  The waiter sneaking off set on The Skulls?  Me.  I have a great list of movies I’m almost in.

The guy being paid to sit in the craft tent eating sandwiches while everyone else gets called back on set?  Me.

Kev's response: Hmm, well, that's a novel approach to being an actor. To be seen, but ... not really seen.


  • Do you write one story at a time, or do you have several novels in the works at one time?

I tend to concentrate on one story at a time.  That said, I do tend to have a secondary back-up on the go as well.  I’ll jump to my secondary for a week or two when I’m suffering writer’s block, or running into a similar wall.  I’ve had the odd occasion where my secondary became the main piece when that happens.


  • Where do you see the future as far as paper books versus digital e-books?

I’d like to say for the record that I love paper books.  I’m old, and set on reading things with a physical feel.  That said, I don’t think paper books have much of a place anymore.  These days; most folks have at least a kindle prepped laptop, if not a full e-reader.  Books are more readily available for instant download, and prices are better than hardcover can ever hope to match. 

I want to go on about green earth, or maybe saving the planet by saving trees.  Really though, the savings in money, and the ease of delivery is what will kill the paper book.



  • What are your current projects?

With The Amelia Academy: Standards finished and published, I’m currently working through The Amelia Academy: Homeroom.  Still following the story of Chris and Carol, Homeroom will center on a group of the students of The Amelia Academy.

I’m also hammering on the second draft of Look the Raccoon.  It follows Look (a raccoon) in a post apocalyptic world where humans have vanished.  It’s a young adult piece, so smoking and swearing will be at a minimal.


  • Do you have any advice for others about self-publishing?

Self-publishing is dangerously easy.  Anyone considering it can publish e-books via Smashwords, and print via Createspace. 

That said, my biggest piece of advice is don’t rush.  Make sure your work is the best it can be.  Take time off, and separate enough from your manuscript that you can objectively critique it.  Don’t take it to friends for critique.  Find someone who will tell you the truth, instead of filling you with false confidence. 

The world of self-publishing has a stigma already for poor writing.  Don’t add to that conception by speeding in with half shod work.  You have a story worth telling; I mean, you took the time to write it down so it must be worth telling.  Just make sure it’s worth reading.


  • Do you have any online sites where readers can find out more about you (and your books)?

Interested readers can find me at  I’ve posted the first two chapters of The Amelia Academy: Standards there, as well as a rough draft of the first two chapters of The Amelia Academy: Homeroom.

Kev's response: I'd like to thank Paul for joining me on the interview, and wish him the best of fortune!

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