All about Paul…
Paul J. Mila traded in his corporate suit for a wet suit in 2002 and now devotes his time to writing, scuba diving around the world, underwater photography, and speaking to groups about ocean conservation. He has enjoyed photographing and diving with sharks in the Bahamas and with diverse sea life in the Cayman Islands, Cozumel, Bonaire, Hawaii, Antigua, and in his home waters off Long Island, New York. In addition, he has had the opportunity to free-dive and photograph humpback whales in the Dominican Republic and the South Pacific Tonga Islands.
Paul’s underwater photos and videos have been featured in magazines, scuba diving websites, and used by National Geographic Television. He also publishes a monthly online newsletter, The Sea-gram. http://www.sea-gram.com. Diving in the same waters as the characters in his books has enabled him to write with realism and describe for non-diving readers the beauty and wonder of exploring our undersea world.
Paul and his family reside in Carle Place, New York, a small town on Long Island. You can contact Paul via e-mail: email@example.com.
1. How did your life as a writer begin?
My original career was in finance and banking. However, I always enjoyed writing and often thought about writing a novel one day but had no ideas for a story.
On a vacation in Cozumel before I decided to leave corporate life, I met a dive instructor who divulged her very interesting background. She had left her home in California, moved to Cozumel, and eventually started her own dive operation. Consequently, the idea for a dive adventure featuring a strong female character emerged. My dive instructor became the model for the main character in my first novel, Dangerous Waters, and in subsequent stories, Whales’ Angels, Fireworks, and Near Miss.
Scuba diving several years ago at Cozumel, Mexico’s famous Palancar Reef, I noticed numerous bricks scattered on the sea floor, remnants of cargo from a nineteenth-century shipwreck. Divers typically move the bricks around and then continue their dive.
Watching the movie Letters to Juliet, a scene struck a chord with me. Vanessa Redgrave’s character explained that “What” and “If” are two of the most powerful words in the English language, especially when used together: “What if . . .”
Diving in Cozumel recently, the dive master had paired me with a very interesting dive buddy, a spunky young lady from Australia. I spotted the bricks and began thinking, What if . . . there was something special about those bricks? I felt confident my Aussie dive buddy would make a fantastic female protagonist in a Caribbean thriller. I combined those thoughts and wondered, What if . . .
3. Tell us about your writing process. Do you outline, or are you more of a seat of your pants type of a writer?
I use an outline of short paragraphs as a road map to keep me on track so I don’t meander down dead ends and lose the pace. But that still leaves plenty of flexibility to explore and develop subplots and story lines as my characters and the story evolve.
4. Who is the one author that you would love to meet someday and why?
I would love to meet Nelson DeMille. His stories featuring the sharp dialogue and edgy humor of DeMille’s husband and wife team, John Corey and Kate Mayfield, give me a “mental bounce”—I guess inspiration by another name. So I’d like to say, “Thanks for the inspiration, Nelson!”
5. What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Read, read, and read. Reading builds your vocabulary and provides an opportunity to study other writers’ styles and various techniques for character development, creating suspense, etc.
6. How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
Besides reading, I enjoy playing tennis, diving, and traveling. Easy access to our Long Island, New York beaches provides frequent opportunities to walk along the surf and unwind.
Traveling throughout the Caribbean and the South Pacific provides inspiration, story lines, and characters.
7. What do you have in store next for your readers?
I’m currently coauthoring a nonfiction book with a west coast author about our undersea adventures. Working title—Bubbles Up. As far as book #5 in my fictional adventure series, I’m on the lookout for possibilities.
Husband and wife diving duo Terry and Joe Manetta return in this adventure, along with a new cast of unforgettable tropical characters.
Displaced international consultant Dayle Standish heads for the Caribbean, following a losing battle involving corporate intrigue and blackmail. Diving Cozumel’s azure waters, Dayle photographs a mysterious encounter inside a deep underwater cave. Soon after, a deadly assassin working for a foreign intelligence service starts targeting Cozumel dive operator Terry Manetta’s customers. But Dayle is determined not to become the next victim, keeping one step ahead of a relentless killer pursuing her across the Atlantic and back to the Mexican Caribbean.
Connect with Paul Mila
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