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Featured Author: P.A. Woodburn December 27, 2010

Posted by Jaidis in Featured Authors.

The Featured Author spotlight is on the outlook once again, and has spotted none other than P.A. Woodburn! Below you will find out about her book Cries in the Dark, what inspired her to write the novel, and also about all of her writing habits! This will be the last Featured Author that I post for a couple of weeks as I am in the process of moving, but rest assured there are many more authors ready to be featured here on Juniper Grove!


Without giving too much away can you tell us what your book is about.

My novel is about animal rights. It is about laboratory animals. It asks the question– do we have the moral right to experiment on animals just because we can? It also asks– if we do have the moral right–is animal experimentation really beneficial for humans or is it in fact harmful?

How long did it take you to write this book?

It took me about ten years, but I was busy with a lot of other things. I would write a bit and then leave it for months before tackling it again. I would hope that my next book will be a lot faster.

What was you inspiration to write this book?

This will be a rather long answer. When I was studying for my organic chemistry finals I picked up a book called “A Whale for the Killing” by Farley Mowat. I became totally absorbed in the book although I previously knew nothing about whales and I had never seen one. I did manage to pass organic chemistry.

About a week later I was reading the newspaper when I saw an article about some people who were trying to raise money to purchase a ship to save the whales. Not knowing where to find these people I tracked down the writer of the article and asked him where I could find the ship? The ship did not look very inspiring it was an old, beat up mine sweeper, but I walked up the gang plank and announced myself to the two guys who were sitting there. One was the owner another was someone who would later take many risks for saving whales. They told me there would be a meeting two weeks after Thanksgiving.

I went to the meeting and was totally enchanted. These people wanted to purchase the ship to confront the Japanese and Russians to stop them killing whales. To me it sounded totally radical and exciting. I volunteered. I also volunteered to run the walk-a –thon to help raise the money. I didn’t know what a walk-a-thon was at the time. That was a life changing experience. I worked for Greenpeace running several walkathons and helping with other fundraisers. I met most of the main players and knew the inner secrets of what was going on. I became totally interested in animal issues and would never lose that interest. Eventually I left Greenpeace. I didn’t like the way they were headed, and I had to earn more money because I had a young daughter. Somewhat burned out and exhausted from fundraising I thought about writing a book that would help animal causes.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

My novel has been written by an author who has been on both sides of the issue—I worked in an animal laboratory and I worked for an organization trying to save whales from extinction. 

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?

It sounds crazy but I really don’t think I know.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I make a lot of mistakes in punctuation, and I will not publish a book without having it checked completely by an editor.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I like to read, and I like to go to coffee shops with my Saint Bernard. My Saint Bernard is not allowed to walk much because of a genetic condition, so I have to find other ways to entertain him.

What does your family think of your writing?

To be honest I don’t really know. My sister said that my book was great. No other family member has expressed an opinion.

How many books have you written so far?

I made one other wretched attempt and this novel went through several reincarnations before I could live with it.

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

Probably with some wine.

Do you hear from your readers much?

I hear from them sometimes, and I’m glad that I’m not getting thousands of fan letters a day because I’m already having a problem keeping up with promotion.

What do you think makes a good story?

I personally prefer a story with a purpose, though most of the books I read have no purpose other than entertainment.

What genre do you find the most difficult to write in and why?

I think mysteries and thrillers are most difficult because the plot has to tie together, and you have to reveal clues to the answer, but divert attention so that the revelations won’t be noticed.

Is there anything you find challenging in your writing?


Do you ever experience writer’s block and if so how do you overcome it?

Yes. By looking at what others have done or are doing.

What is the last book you read?

It is a book that has not yet been published, and I do not feel that I have the right to reveal anything about it.

If you could take any book and rewrite it putting your own twist on it, which book would it be and why?

There are books I wish I had written, but I don’t feel that I have any authority to try and improve on someone else’s writing.

Is there anything that you need in order to write?

Solitude but sometimes that can be provided in a crowded place e.g. a coffee shop where I’m ignored.

Do you have any writing projects you are currently working on?


How many books do you read a week/month?

That really depends on what else I’m doing because sometimes I will start one right after the other. Sometimes I will be writing and not want to be effected by someone else’s work.

If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

No one because once I get to know someone they seem rather ordinary, and I need someone to look up to.

If you could travel into the past or future where would you go and why?

I would go to Africa in the future because I can read what the past was like and I could write a story comparing the past and future. Anywhere with a large wildlife population would do, but I’ve always wanted to go to Africa.

What does the word success mean to you?

I would like to know that my writing is being read regularly, and that I am making enough to live comfortably.

If you had to compare yourself to an animal, which one would it be and why?

A human being. I am a human being, animal. That is something we all forget.

If you had to have one word or phrase written on your forehead for an entire week, what would it be?

The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man ~Charles Darwin


Thank you P.A. Woodburn for stopping by and being a Featured Author here on Juniper Grove!

Get your copy of Cries in the Dark on Kindle!!

Happy Reading,




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