By Molly Brown
Paul Medina is an artist who works and lives in Oklahoma. Although he is predominantly a visual artist, he has dabbled in writing short stories, essays, and poetry throughout his career. He recently made the decision to publish a story that has been in his head for decades. Enchanted Circles (produced in association with Caroline Street Press) is the story of a young boy named Zak, whom while spending his summer vacation with his aunt, meets a mysterious family and magical bakers that introduce him to a secret world and change his life forever.
I had the pleasure of conducting an e-mail interview with Paul and finding out more about the story behind this novel, the first in a trilogy.
How would you describe Enchanted Circles?
I have stated before and maybe that it is not a good thing to do so but, I have not invented the wheel here. It is a small but universal story about an adolescent boy trying to find his way in the world. But there are a few magical twists, ones that will make you question every storm you encounter, every twin you might meet, and every cookie jar you might stick your hand into. It is a fun read, with thoughtful ideas and enough magic to keep you turning the page.
Where did the idea for the story originate?
Parts of the story, the core, the kernel of uniqueness of the story has been in my head for decades. I used to tell some of it to my own daughter when she was a small kid and she’s 43 now. I tried many times to write it but wasn’t able to. I wasn’t mature enough, able enough to do it until about four years ago. Working as a mentor with at-risk kids for the last 15 years has helped me breathe life into the main character, I think. I believe it is one of the reasons the book has happened now and not before.
Because you are predominantly a visual artist, explain why this one was the story that inspired you to become a published author.
My granddaughter. I wanted to leave this story to my granddaughter, Zoe Mae. In fact, one of the main characters in the book is named after her. And, it was also time. I always wanted to write a book, I always fancied myself a writer, don’t ask me why, ego, probably. I’m getting old so…why the hell not.
What were some benefits of illustrating the artwork for the story?
I’m fortunate to be able to visually show an audience a few scenes from the book. I hope it helps tell the story I’m trying to tell. I know that as a kid, I cherished those incredible illustrations in the books I read and the books that were read to me. It fired my imagination and the stories. It was my first interaction with art in my life. It must have affected me on some deep level. I have perused the arts all of my life.
Why do you think it is important to find new outlets to express creativity rather than using the same outlet?
It is my nature to seek out new ways of expressing myself. Many artists search and find a place in their exploration and then remain very close to that place for their entire lives, their entire careers. I have never been able to do so. It is a restlessness I quit fighting against very long ago. I enjoy the challenge each new chapter brings.
If you wanted to convince someone to read this book using only one sentence what would that be?
Oh boy…it’s a unique little tale about a magical adventure, forbidden fruit, schizophrenic twins and chocolate chip cookies, and not necessarily in that order.
Want to take a dive into this enchanted world that Paul Medina has created? Enchanted Circles can be purchased on amazon.com, smashwords.com and other retailers. Also, keep an eye out for the rest of the Enchanted Circles series, coming soon.
Molly Brown may be reached on Twitter at @Mollzz94