Hey, guys! Today, we have Joey Paul writing for us. Joey is the author of Blackout, and has included her bio, blog, and such in the document she's sent me. Also, she's told me that if you're wanting to guest blog for her, to go ahead and send her a message. I'm going to resume watching The Aristocats with my siblings now~ Thanks again, Joey!

Seven things that influence my writing

My name is Joey Paul, I'm thirty-one and I've been a writer since I was nineteen and retired from my "day" job on medical grounds. Faced with the prospect of never working a conventional job again, and the boredom of daytimes with little to do, I turned to tearing apart a book I'd written at thirteen and tried to make it into something that could be published. I was sucessful after a few months and that book is now THE FRIENDSHIP TRIANGLE. From there I went on to write what was my debut book, BLACKOUT, which I wrote in ten days. Writing has been something that I can do no matter how bad my health gets and it enables me to be productive whilst also being a professional patient.

So, what influences what I write? I'm working on books eleven and twelve right now, writing both at the same time. It's a practice I have used since I wrote books seven and eight at once. It works for me and while it's not something everyone can do, I find it helps to keep those eleusive muses singing. Here's my list of seven things that influence what I write and why I write.

No matter how much I wish it didn't, and no matter how much I wish that it wasn't a factor in my writing life, you write what you know. Well, *I* write what I know and I know a lot about medical stuff from a lifetime of being sick. In BLACKOUT, one of the main characters shares a condition with me. Whilst writing it, I was just starting to get my life back into something resembling normality after a diagnosis that changed my life. I find that no matter how much I wish I could get up and write every day, being sick all the time means that you have to learn to take the good with the bad. And sometimes, all you have is bad. I became a writer out of a necessity because I could not face the prospect of being nineteen and my professional life being over. The very thought scared me something stupid and so I turned to something I had only dabbled in before. Being sick has, in some ways, made me a better writer. In other ways, it has inhibited and changed the way that I would have approached books and writing life. Either way, it is a pretty big factor in regards to what I write, when I write and how I write.

This may seemed to be linked to the first and in some ways it is. However, being disabled as well as being chronically ill has had a big effect on the way I write. It means that I have tried so many different ways to keep writing whilst working within the confines of my disability. In LYNNE & HOPE, Hope is disabled and so it does bleed into my work. It gives me a perspective that some writers do not think about. That doesn't mean that I have the corner on disabled characters, there are many writers who do look at things from a disabled person's point of view. I guess what I'm saying is that due to my own disability, there has been a knock on effect with my work.

As many writers will tell you, we're a bunch of people who want to experience as much of life as we can so that we can put it into words for our readers. I may not have travelled in time, nor have I ever been accused of a crime I didn't commit, and I don't have psychic abilities. However, living the life I have has allowed me to broaden my own views and to translate those views into my writing. As with points one and two, life has a funny way of influencing the way you see the world and as a writer, I always seem to see the world with the question "can this go in a book?" I have done many things that have been reflected in my writing, I've been in long distance relationships, I've been bullied, I've feared for my life and I've made some of the best friends any one could ask for. I've been cared for in hospital and at home by medical staff, and by friends and family. All of these have an influence in the way I tell my stories.

I have never been one for a large group of friends that live in each other's pockets and hang around on Friday nights. I wasn't as a teenager and I'm not now at thirty-one. That's not to say that I don't have friends or a social circle, because I do. I can count on one hand the friends that I would turn to with a problem. When I make friends, I try to make them for life and although I am not always sucessful, generally speaking, the friends I do have are ones that have seen me from teenagehood into adulthood. I have been blessed to have good friends and while they don't really have much say in what I write about, they are the ones I turn to when I'm stuck. B, my best friend, carer and graphic artist for BUG BOOKS is the one that I go to when I have writer's block or need to talk a scene through with someone. Kim, a good friend and editor for BUG BOOKS is the one I go to when there is something that I'm not 100% sure about. I could name other friends, but there is little need. My point is basically that although I am not what you would class as a "queen bee", I have my own social circle and while it may be small, it's something that has some influence on what I write.

Now, I know what you're thinking. EVERYONE has moments from which they can draw inspiration. I think something that makes a writer a writer is the ability to turn those moments into a story. I am of the belief that pretty much everyone alive has a story to tell, it's just that some people don't find it easy to put that story into words, so they use other methods like scrapbooking or drawing or painting and so on. Something that has greatly inspired my writing is the moments I have experienced and looked at and thought "that would make a great plot twist/book/etc" It's about taking those every day experiences and turning them into something bigger, something that other people want to read. The idea for the book BLACKOUT came when I was walking to school with my friends - I must have only been fourteen or so - and we had to walk past what was, at the time, a long stay hospital and I wondered aloud, "what if everything we're experiencing is a dream we're having whilst in a coma?" and then, a few years later, BLACKOUT was born.

I was, my parents told me, a dramatic child. I was what I would call a "drama queen". Everything that happened to me had a story behind it. Whether the story was true or not was another matter and something that I think a lot of kids go through when they're growing up. Or at least, that's what I tell myself! I was always looking for the next spotlight, the next way to be the centre of attention and if I couldn't find it, then I made a way to make it happen. As I grew up, I realised that I could use my inner drama queen and turn it in a positive trait rather than what was quickly becoming a negative one. I loved to read as a kid and I still do, but whilst I lived within the pages of other people's words, I wanted to live in the pages of my own story too. I told myself that one day people would read my own words and they would find themselves wanting to do what I did, that they would want to be a writer too. A flair for the dramatic influenced my writing by turning my life around. I went from wanting to be in the spotlight, to wanted to create the spotlight and shine it on someone else, someone I had brought to life.

I'm not a modern day Peter Pan, I don't write fantasy about witches and wizards and I don't write about people who don't grow old. I write about young adults, facing the trials and tribulations of teenagehood and the path to adulthood. Like I said, I read a LOT as a child, young teen and as an adult, I still see books as an essential part of life. However, to write young adult books as someone whose young adult days are behind them, there is a need to stay as young as you can, whilst still growing up. I may not be attending school with young people of 2013, but I do try to read what they read, keep an ear to the ground about things that they like and interact with the young adults in my life to see what worries they have, what matters to them and then I try to write about it. Some of it is luck because I started writing when I was a young adult, and the characters that I still write about are growing up at a speed that I can control, but other parts of it is staying in contact with my own young adult, the part of you that never grows up because you're still looking around wondering where all the grown ups are and then realising that you're supposed to be those grown ups.

So, those are seven things that influence my writing. If you'd like to know more about me, you can read my blog (http://www.joeypaulonline.com/) or like me on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/BugBooks) or follow me on Twitter or Tumblr (both @MsJoeyBug). If you'd be interested in reading anything I've written, here's a link to my published works and where to buy them. (http://www.joeypaulonline.com/p/aboutjoeys-books.html)

Thanks for reading and if you want to drop me a line, ask a question or anything like that you can at bugbooks@virginmedia.com