My multiple personalities – Janette Paul

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By Janette Paul

Being a writer is like living a double life: the one you live in and the one you write. Which makes me a double agent or a multiple personality – or just nuts. I write in two genres, under different names and try not to get confused.♥

My new romantic comedy Amber and Alice is my second writing as Janette Paul. I’m also the author of five suspense novels published under the name Jaye Ford. Rom-com and thrillers might seem like strange bedfellows but it lets me explore different parts of my personality. In real life, I can be professional and concerned, and I can trip on my own feet and laugh like a donkey. My muse is no different – it comes up with creepy ideas that give me the chills, and it creates characters who want to laugh, cry and fall in love.

Writing in two genres has also been a salve for my creativity. Penning dark and gritty stories is a lot of fun but it can take you to some dark, gritty places. After my fifth thriller, appropriately named Darkest Place, my muse was feeling pretty grim, so when my publisher asked if I’d like to write another romantic comedy, I thought: do I want to sit in my office and be funny for a while? The answer was, Yes, please!

I love to write about ordinary women and what happens when their lives are turned upside-down. I make them dig deep to get through it and let them discover who they truly are. Doing that in two genres can be a technical challenge.

Rom-coms are about life and love, while a thriller is focused on something awful unfolding. Which means different elements of my writing toolbox have to come into play.

In comedy, it’s the quirky characters and the situations they get into that steer the story, but in crime, I focus on suspense and action to drive it. Sometimes I slip one way or the other and realise a comic scene has turned creepy or the characters are having too much fun in the scary bit. Just as well I like rewriting.

There are different vocabularies for each genre: sharp, hard words for getting to the grit of a story, or light and quirky for humour – and using the wrong ones can kill a scene as fast as I can type fist slammed into his gut or giggled into her hand.

A good story induces strong emotions but where thrillers live and breathe fear and danger, rom-coms aim for the chuckle in even painful situations.

Developing those skills, I think, has made me both a better writer and a more balanced person.

Janette Paul is the author of two romantic comedies, the bestselling Just Breathe and Amber and Alice. When she is not writing rom-com, she is penning thrillers as Jaye Ford, internationally published and award-winning crime writer. Her books have been translated into nine languages. Before writing fiction, she was a news and sport journalist and worked in PR. She writes fulltime from her home at Lake Macquarie in the New South Wales Hunter Valley.

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