A conversation between Christine Peets (CP) and Paul Lima (PL)
CP: Why did you want to write this book?
PL: I’ve had Multiple Sclerosis (MS) for 20 years and have written a non-fiction book, Everything You Need To Know About MS. Although there are personal aspects about me in that book, the novel is even more personal, even though it’s fiction. It was a way for me to tell my story, without writing my autobiography.
CP: Where does fact meet fiction?
PL: My name is Paul. The main character’s name is Paul. I have MS. The main character has MS. I’m a corporate writer and public speaker, or was. The main character writes and speaks, although it seems like his public speaking has come to an end. He also paints. So there are elements based on my life, but the story itself is fiction.
CP: Are the other characters and their situations based on people you’ve met in your life?
PL: The four main characters have different maladies–MS, cancer, Parkinson’s disease and one person in a wheelchair. I have known people with all of these maladies, but they are not the people in my novel. However, having known them helped me write in a verisimilitude manner.
CP: Your characters deal with a lot of challenges, both physically and mentally. What, or who, challenges you?
PL: The novel is about living life to the fullest while facing your challenges head on. I am motivated by my illness. It tries to prevent me from living my life to my full potential, within my limitations. It would be easy to sit on the couch, curl up in a ball and cease to be. That is not me.
CP:These characters all help each other in many ways? Who helps you?
PL: It’s funny because relationships with significant others have all come to an end in the book, although some of the couples are still friends. My relationship with my wife, Lyn, is solid. She is the rock upon whom I lean.
CP: These characters all try and maintain positive attitudes too. How do you stay positive? How do you avoid the “poor me” and “why me?”
PL: It can be difficult to avoid the negative. I try to be conscious about it and let myself wallow, but for a limited time. Having a big dog who needs to be walked twice a day helps pull me out of any wallowing. I walk with a cane and have to sit every 20 minutes or so, but it’s good to be out and breathing.
CP: What philosophies have you developed about your writing and other work to keep you going?
PL: As long as my brain and fingers work, I will write. I’ve been a writer for 35+ years. It’s what I do, and love to do, so it’s what I’ll keep on doing.
CP: Are you going to stick with fiction or will you go back to writing non-fiction books?
PL: I’ve written 20+ non-fiction books, mostly on aspects of writing, the MS book and my memoir. I’ve moved to fiction and think I will persist with it. I’ve outlined my next novel, the historical drama, Family Tree.
CP: What do you want readers to take away from the book?
PL: That the chronically ill are people who just want to get on with their lives. Help them, or stay out of their way! Society is set up for the healthy. Often, we think sick people should be put away. But they are capable of doing too.
CP: Anything else you’d like to say about this book or your work?
If anybody wants to read about my books, they can do so at www.paullima.com/books. If they want to see my MS video blogs, they can go towww.paullima.com/ms. And my MS blog, Me and My MS, is online at https://mymsblogsite.wordpress.com/.
To read my review of Chronic: A Sick Novel, visit the Book Reviews page on this website.