Off the Page: Paula Boer

Ever wondered about what sort of lives authors lead when they aren’t writing? Me too! This week, Paula Boer, author of the best-selling Brumbies books for young readers, let me take a peek at her life off the page. You can find out more about Paula and her books by visiting her website at and blog at

 Now, over to Paula…

Paula at work
Paula at work.

I’ve heard some people can write in a crowded café, caffeine on constant supply. Not me. I need total solitude and quiet. Luckily I have a library in the corner of our house where I can shut myself away undisturbed. My husband knows that if I shut the door I don’t even want to be offered a coffee. The only distractions are the horses parading by the window, but they can be an inspiration too.


My day always starts with a walk with my dog, Cal. My brain needs the physical exercise as well as me enjoying being immersed in nature. Living on 500 acres of natural bush there is always something to experience, whether it be a fascinating insect or a lumbering wombat, the varied mimicry of a lyrebird, or tongues of mist weaving through the tea-tree. I especially love winter with dew-cloaked spider webs and ice-bows arching the paddocks.

I use a laptop at my desk for my writing, though initial plotting and editing are done by pen while sprawling on my favourite leather couch in the library. Making cups of tea is a useful way for my subconscious to kick into gear if I find the words stalling. Research is another way for me to prompt sentences into appearing, most times using the internet to surf for information. I also have two shelves of dictionaries, thesauri and other references at hand above my desk, as well as my publications to lift my spirits when the current manuscript proves challenging.

Like most writers I am great at procrastination, often getting the most mundane of tasks done like cleaning the windows while I delay sitting down to work. But once I am in that zone, that wonderful otherworld of my story, hours disappear in a flash. When I have completed my target word count for the day I celebrate by permitting myself to read a book, work on a jigsaw puzzle, or play piano to unwind.

Paula and her husband kayaking in Vanuatu
Paula and her husband kayaking in Vanuatu.
Paula and foal
Horses remain a passion.

That might sound like a dull life, but I had to give up my one big passion, horse riding, due to ill health. I still have two retired horses at home and love to spend time around my friends’ horses. My other love is travel. Although my physical condition these days has restricted how far I can go and what I can do, I still enjoy visiting remote places of the world. I have travelled in more than 60 countries on six continents, from the Pantanal in South America to the steppes of Mongolia. I would love to go to Antarctica but that is now beyond my capabilities, though the Yukon Territory is still on my wish list. I am not one for culture or civilisation, my preference being for camping under an open sky in the wilderness, gazing at a vast star-scape.