Life’s Missing Delete Key–with Virna de Paul

From Kylie:  Meeting today’s guest is by far one of my favorite memories from last year’s conference in New York.  Imagine nine authors lolling in a limo, sipping champagne taking the long way to the always fab Harlequin party.  Virna was one of those authors, and I was drawn immediately to her genuine interest in people and infectious humor.  This multi-talented former criminal prosecutor is now a national bestselling author of the Para-Ops series (Chosen By Sin Book 3, now available).  She also writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Romantic Suspense (It Started That Night, May 2012) and HQN (Shades of Desire, June 2012.)  She’s authored numerous indie titles.  If I were you, I’d be running out to buy my copies!  Oh, wait, read her thought-provoking post first!


Thank you to Kylie Brant and the other Top Down authors for having me as a guest today. Can I just say—Wow! I’ve read so many wonderful books by you ladies and can’t thank you enough.

I’m not a small talk kinda girl. I can do it, but at some point it just seems like a missed opportunity. I like to really get to know people and find out what makes them tick. I’ve learned, however, that not everyone is comfortable sharing their complexities with others. I get that because I’m a private person, too. Unless I feel a connection with someone, I’m not going to disclose much about myself, either. Given that, I think I’m pretty good at gauging others. I’ll put out some feelers, see what happens, and pull back when necessary.

My fictional characters don’t require this kind of sensitivity. I can delve deep, uncovering secrets that are rich, dark, and powerful, and explore how they’ve impacted the characters’ behavior and relationships. I can also take someone who’s said or done the wrong things in the past, or maybe taken the safe path one time too many, and give her a fresh start. It’s what we all crave on occasion, isn’t it? An expedient way to cut through the guilt, insecurity, and fear and move on to something better.

If I was writing myself, my true self, into a story and wasn’t afraid to dig deep, I’d figure out why I was on a perpetual diet but unable to keep the weight off, why I was becoming more and more willing to hide out at home rather than meet new people, and why I was becoming more and more convinced I sucked as a writer even as I continue to sell more and more books. More importantly, I wouldn’t stop at the “why” of it—I’d make myself face challenge upon challenge, losing some and winning some, until I experienced some huge, life-altering realizations. And although my life still wouldn’t be perfect, it would certainly have been tested. Improved. Enriched. And it wouldn’t matter if I’d gone into the whole adventure kicking and screaming and shouting denials, because given I was a fictional character, I’d have no choice but to play along and accept my HEA.

But alas, it’s not my life I get to craft, at least not quite so ruthlessly. Instead, I must juggle and stumble, and fumble and rejoice along with the rest of the real world. I can’t delete scenes from my life and pretend they were never there. I can’t revise my past to make it sound better. And to some extent, I can’t even limit whom I show my story to, not without becoming a full-on hermit.

My life story isn’t limited to a finite number of pages, either. I share my voice and my spirit, not just in my books but through my kids and, hopefully, through the friendship I offer to others. And even as I struggle and bemoan my failures, I know I’m real. My life’s real. At the end of it, I hope I’ve shared what I was supposed to with the people I was supposed to.

If you were going to write your story, what theme or subject would you focus on? I’m  giving away a copy of any one of my books–winner’s choice–to one lucky commenter!

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29 Responses to Life’s Missing Delete Key–with Virna de Paul

  1. Virna DePaul says:

    What a wonderful introduction, Kylie. Yes, that limo ride was FUN!!! :) Thanks again for having me here today!

  2. kylie brant says:

    Virna, I’m pushing to do it again this year :) Welcome!

  3. Kristina Mathews says:

    Viran
    It’s great to see you here.

    I’d probably delete a lot of my High School years, but now I’d rather have the abilitiy to skip boring scenes (laundry, grocery shopping, filing taxes). It would be nice to think that every setback would actually be a step forward and I’d realize it.

    • Virna DePaul says:

      Hi Kristina, Thanks for stopping by! Yes, high school — plenty of room for revision there. And a rewind key to give us a different, more positive perspective on the past would be awesome, too!! :)

  4. roxrustand says:

    Hi Virna, it was so nice to meet you over lunch at RT this spring! My daughter (with the long blonde hair) and I were across the table from you. Such a wonderful restaurant….and Grumpy the Waiter was a hoot! best wishes with your latest releases. I will look forward to finding and reading your books!

    • Virna DePaul says:

      Hi Roxanne! Of course I remember! That was such a fun lunch. Cindy had me craving that drink of hers. :) It was a pleasure meeting you and your daughter, and hope to see you again soon!

  5. loisgreiman says:

    Hey Virna, thanks for sharing with us at Top Down. If I were writing about YOU I would wonder why you’re so hard on yourself when you’re obviously a gorgeous, talented successful woman. Kudos.

    • Virna DePaul says:

      Thanks, Lois! I’m absolutely grateful for the good things in my life, too. The issues I mentioned are side notes in comparison! Thanks for commenting! :)

  6. catslady says:

    I would have to say the story of my life and so far 43 years of marriage. We were married 15 yrs. before deciding to have kids so there’s a little bit of everything – of course I’d have to change the names to protect some of our wild goings on lol.

  7. Cindy Gerard says:

    Hey Virna! Great to see you again! And you could crave my marguerita all you want but you knew you weren’t getting any of it LOL
    Ah, the delete key. I’ve got too many things to list – but then, everything happens for a reason so it’s probably a good thing I didn’t have the chance

    • Virna DePaul says:

      Well…I’m not sure if I coveted your marguerita or your awesome photo purse the most, but I scored one of your beautiful bookmarks so I walked away happy. :) Not to mention it was great just being able to chat with you all!! Hope to see you soon!

  8. Welcome, Virna!

    Your musings remind me of the time my husband and I were having a little disagreement–and, yes, I was stuck and moody and avoiding the computer–and he said, “You wanna control somebody? Go write.”

    Great question. There’s a theme from my continuing real-life saga that finds its way into most of my fiction, and that has to do with the white woman sojourning in Indian Country.

  9. Linda says:

    Oh to have the delete key for when I have done some really boneheaded things! But as Cindy points out the things in our life have happened for a reason and they are what makes who we are today. If I was going to write myself as a character I would definitely have a HEA or DH in my life well before now. But think that would require me to be written as a heck of lot better looking too, so guess I will just have to live the life that I have.

    • Virna DePaul says:

      Linda, yes, we’re the product of our experiences, and I’m sure yours is gearing up to be something grand!! I smile at some of my bonehead moves–usually they’re things I did out of genuine excitement and passion, so can’t beat that. :)

  10. debradixon says:

    Welcome, Virna! I loved what Clyde said to Cindy, “You wanna control somebody? Go write.” It would be lovely to control the “story told” if I were writing my life. :) But I don’t need the delete key. I need the insert key. Very boring life. LOL! I love my life, but I am addicted to the phrase, “Drama does not live here.” That’s for the fiction. (g)

    • Virna DePaul says:

      Hi Debra! You’re such a compelling person, life doesn’t stand a chance. LOL More times than not, I’m longing for peace and contentment, so I totally hear you! :)

  11. bn100 says:

    Very nice post. I’d focus on food because I like to eat.

  12. Tambra says:

    My book would be about Asperger Syndrome since my oldest son has it, a character would have it.

  13. The story based on my life would be about resiliance and persistance. No big HEA, just doing nicely, thank you, and always slogging onwards.

  14. Kathleen O says:

    Oh I think there are a few years I would have deleted in my twenties, but for the most part, I kind have had that Bridget Jones DIary kind of life…My friends could attest to that…But I never had that HEA.. it eluded me..

  15. Virna DePaul says:

    Bridget’s life was colorful and interesting and her HEA came later, too! LIfe is more about Happy For Now and moving forward to the next chapter, I think. Thanks for commenting, Kathleen. :)

  16. Pamk says:

    I would love to have the delete or undo key cause there are somethings i’ve done or wasn’t told about until certain things happened that i’d love to go back and redo. But 26 yrs of marriage and 2 kiddos with my hubby wouldn’t be one of those things.

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