Sunday 28 June 2015


Paul J. Heald's Death in Eden was read and enjoyed earlier this month - review here.

Paul was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.......

From information gathered, I understand you’re a Professor of Law in Illinois, can you tell us a bit about your career path?

Almost all authors need a day job, and what better way to make a living that researching and writing about copyright law!  I have done more empirical studies of the public domain than anyone, and readers might been interested to see some of the more pernicious effects of copyright by checking out my blog, or papers 

From a bit of internet searching I believe you have previously had a novel published – No Regrets back in 2003. Can you tell us a bit about your previous work?

No Regrets is a lovely story about music, friendship, and dying, which I'm currently revising.  It should be reissuing sometime next year.  No murders here!

Have you always had aspirations to write?

Yes, but until I got divorced, remarried, and had kids, I had nothing to write about.  Once the kids got old enough, I had the time to finally do more than write crabby emails and academic papers.

How long did Death in Eden take from conception to completion? With an eleven year gap in-between your two novels Has “Death” been that long in the creation?

Death in Eden took about a year to write and another year to edit.  Finding an agent and publisher delays things still longer . . . but not eleven years!  I was writing two other books during that time.

Did the end result mirror the book you have thought you were writing at the start?

Yes!  I don't start to write until I have an firm ending.  That helps keep things on the rails.

I’m guessing the academic setting is something you are remarkably familiar with, judging from your occupation and career-path, I’m curious as to how you researched the adult film industry – did you have to go undercover incognito? Was it a stiff assignment?

It was hard work . . .I read all the books I could find, watched documentaries and interviews, subscribed to the Playboy channel, and surfed the net . . the most helpful source is described in the book, a series of interviews of porn stars done by a UCLA psychologist/anthropologist.

What's is your writing process?
Do you write for a set number of hours a day? What's a typical Paul Heald writing day consist of?

It's exhausting, so 90 minutes a days, any time of day is all I can manage . . .

Are you a plotter and do you have a beginning middle and end mapped out in your head or do you just write and see where the story takes you?


Would any of your family and friends recognise parts of themselves in your characters?

Angela, the protagonist's wife, and my wife have very similar views of the sex industry.  He, however, is rather unlike me, except our occasional frustration with students and administrators!

Any unpublished gems in the bottom drawer?

You bet!  COTTON, a new book featuring Stanley Hopkins once again, should be out by spring!

What's the current writing project in hand? Is it proving easier or more difficult to write than the last?

Book three in the Clarkeston Chronicles has been written, and I'm doing a big rewrite/edit right now.

What kind of books do you read for enjoyment?

Right now I'm in love with Jussi Adler-Olsen and Elly Griffifths.

Last five books you've read.

All by the above two authors!
Is there one all-time favourite book you wish you had written?

V by Thomas Pynchon

How do you relax away from the writing?

Home DIY and quenching my thirst with a nice micro-brew IPA afterward.  Right now I'm watching the women's world cup with much interest.  Go England and Franny Kirby!!

If I pop back in a couple of years’ time, where do you hope to be with the fiction writing?

Having fun as Graham Norton interviews me about book 5 of the Clarkeston Chronicles!  

Thanks again! Cheers, Paul

Thanks to Paul for his time!


  1. Great interview! Thanks, both. And I know the feeling about planning a story, but at the same time waiting to see where it will take you. I wish you much success.

  2. Nice interview. Always like to hear about the writing life behind the books.

    1. Tracy thanks. It's safe to say I enjoy his fiction more than his articles on copyright law!

  3. An interesting interview -- thanks to the both of you. I have Death in Eden on my list.

    1. Looking forward to your review, if and when you get there, John.

  4. I remember your review - I was already interested in the book, and this has confirmed me that I should take a look.

    1. I'll be looking out for a blog entry over on CiB, probably on an adult star's wardrobe!

  5. It's interesting to learn about the professional backgrounds of authors. They come from such a diverse background. Thanks for the interview, Col.

    1. Prashant thanks, I'm naturally nosey - so I like finding out background detail.