Welcome Mat Wednesday: Rajdeep Paulus is back…with a giveaway!

Melissa Tagg Giveaway, Welcome Mat Wednesday 27 Comments

Okay, nobody freak out but I did a video intro for the first time in two months! You know why? Because I promised today’s guest…and I always keep my promises. Even when my hair looks horrible…

This is a second guest appearance for awesome author Rajdeep Paulus. She first stopped by Tag(g)lines last month when her fabulous book, Swimming Through Clouds, had just released.

Today she’s back with a fun Q&A…and a giveaway! So be sure to read to the end for details.

MT: I don’t read nearly enough YA, but I do LOVE it. Can you tell me what drew you to that genre?

RP: Sure, Melissa. When it comes down to it, I am a seventeen-year old stuck in a 40-ish body. Really, I am. I’m like Drew Barrymore in 50 First Dates, I just want to live High School over and over and over again. (Ask my friends, I am a tad blond under this black hair, too!] That way, I can recreate hundreds of Young Adult stories to pour into my own upside-down-waterfall, fountain of youth.

Okay, all jokes aside, I love teens. And I feel like those years at the end of high school and start of college are when many of us first start asking the bigger questions about life, all stemmed from the primary search for identity and belonging. I love finding characters on this journey who have crazy challenges thrown at them and then walking with them till they discover answers, hope, and themselves. 

MT:  You’re so right about the end of high school and beginning of college being pretty huge years identity-finding-wise. Just made up that term. Pretty sure it’ll catch on. So what sparked this particular story?

RP: I kind of backed into Swimming Through Clouds after I finished my first book, the one that might never leave the virtual desk drawer. Because that first story was about a guy named Lagan who left a box of letters which revealed a hidden love story. But I needed a compelling reason for him to hide such personal information from his very best friend. 

So one day, I sat in the cafe where I like to write, “penned” the first two chapters of Talia’s story, and as I reread those opening scenes, I literally sat back and had myself a good ol’ fashion, snot-running cry. Pile of tissues later, I decided, yes. This was the right story, and chapter by chapter, Post-it by Post-it, Talia and Lagan claimed a corner in my heart. A place they’ll keep forevah! :) 

MT: Now what I want to know is if anyone saw you doing the snot-running cry thing! So, I love that you’re joining together with other authors as Playlist YA Fiction. How’d you go about partnering with these other authors?

RP: Simply put, they asked. Or should I say, Chip asked me. Chip MacGregor is my agent, and he approached me with Amanda Luedeke’s brainchild, Playlist Fiction, a team of Young Adult authors who would launch Indie/Contemporary Fiction E-books, almost monthly, with fun giveaways and a team approach to publishing great stories for YA lovers.

I asked Chip, “Is there any reason I shouldn’t?” And he couldn’t think of any reason not to. And what a sweet team of authors they are. They’re not only talented writers and compelling story tellers. They’re wives, moms, and they’ve become my friends. And the rest, they say, is…well, Playlist Fiction has only been around since April 2013 so too soon to say ‘history’ perhaps. 

MT: It’s seriously such a cool idea. Last question: When do you find time to write with your four princesses needing your attention and a hubby, I’m sure, who wants more eye contact, now that you’re staring at your laptop a lot?

RP: Truth is, this whole juggling thing is a work in progress. In the beginning, I wanted to blog, write, edit and do the book thing all the time. The lightbulb moment came when my then five-year old saw me tapping away at the kitchen table one night right up to her bedtime. Then when she climbed out of bed with sleepy eyes and bed-head hair, she found me right back there. Tapping away at the kitchen table.

“Mommy! You must be so tired.” Her ‘good morning’ greeting made me stop typing and look up.

“Why do you say that, bubs?” I went back to typing.

“Cuz you’ve been writing your book all. Night. Long.”

That was it. I folded my laptop shut, pulled her into my lap and kissed her a bunch. Nothing is more important to me than my girls and my marriage. And I’m married to the guy who loves me so much, he read my book (joking he was gonna hold out for the movie,) he knows my one line pitch by heart, and he even tells his patients to read Swimming Through Clouds when he hands them their scripts, claiming they can always read when they’re sick in bed. Or something like that! Now that’s love! 😉

And I wish I could say I have it all ironed out. I still have days when the scales tip too far to one side. But overall, I’m not as panicky as I was a year ago. As my hubs likes to remind me, the world will not fall apart if I don’t tweet back or blog or reply to an email for a few days. In fact, the world might actually enjoy my life-infused writing when I return from, ummm, living.  :)


Rajdeep Paulus decided to be a writer during her junior year in high school after her English teacher gave her an “F” but told her she had potential. She studied English Literature at Northwestern University, and she writes masala-marinated, Young Adult Fiction, blogging weekly at InSearchofWaterfalls.com. Hang out with Rajdeep on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads and Pinterest.


Rajdeep has graciously offered to give away one ecopy of Swimming through Clouds to a lucky commenter. Leave a comment below for a chance to enter. You’ve got until Tuesday, July 23, at 5 p.m. CST to enter. I’ll use a random number generator that night to determine the winner.

More Fun! 

Post-It notes play a fun role in Raj’s book, and she’s going to start a Tumblr page of Post-It note photos. Want to be a part of the fun? Here’s what you need to do: Post a photo to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter of a Post-It note with an I-heart message and use the hashtags #swimmingthroughclouds, #postitlove and #playlistfiction along with @rajdeeppaulus…and she’ll include you on the Tumblr. AND the first 25 people to post a photo will be sent a book of Swimming Through Clouds Post-It notes. How fun is that? Sample ——->

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    Comments 27

    1. Gabrielle Meyer

      First, I have to say, this was such a fun interview! It was great getting to know Raj a little better and seeing her heart for youth. And second, I can so relate to the work in progress it is to learn how to juggle being a wife and mom with being a writer. My children have seen me with a laptop in hand late at night and early in the morning, too. It’s an area that God is using to teach me so many character qualities like patience, sacrifice, dedication and faith. I thank Him for the grace it requires to follow this dream.

      Thanks for this wonderful interview, ladies! I can only imagine how much fun it is when the two of you get together. :)

      1. Melissa Tagg

        It was definitely fun, Raj! Are you coming to ACFW? If so, reunion time!! And Gabe, both you and Raj amaze me with your ability to juggle it all. Just working a full-time job and keeping up the writing gig is a challenge for me. But I hear all the time that God gives us enough time for the stuff He wants us to do…just have to let go of the rest…and, well, sometimes sleep a little less. Haha!

      1. Melissa Tagg

        YAY, thanks for spreading the word, Lisa. I was blown away by Raj’s book…haven’t had a chance to read all the other Playlist books yet, but they’re all definitely in my TBR pile.

    2. Rajdeep Paulus-Writer of Young Adult Fiction

      Hey Melissa,

      Thanks so much for having me. Again! Second time’s a charm. Especially since I got the UBER-coolio video intro! And ftr, for some reason, the moment I had my cry of cries breakdown, there wasn’t much traffic in the cafe, lucky for me. I was able to have it out, mostly alone, in my little world of Talia and Lagan. Yeah, I made a big enough puddle, I coulda dove in and gone swimming. Not really, but I couldn’t resist. hehe. :)


      1. Melissa Tagg

        And thank YOU for coming back for a second visit. Love having you here. It’s funny, after two months of no intro videos, when I sat down in front of the camera yesterday I had to reorient myself to what I usually say! Haha…but doing yours was super easy because of how much I love your book. Love that you got to cry alone, too. :)

    3. Lindsay Harrel

      I understand that heart for youth. I was a youth worker for junior highers and high schoolers when I was in college and a few years after. Investing in those girls and teaching them — from my own mistakes — was definitely rewarding. How cool to write books for that group and to make such an impact on future generations!

      1. Melissa Tagg

        I know, YA books have this unique impact in that they hit readers at such an important age. We can grow through stories at all ages, but there’s just something extra impacting about reading just the right story at that age…

      2. Rajdeep Paulus-Writer of Young Adult Fiction

        Hey Lindsay!

        Thanks for sharing your story of working with teens and being vulnerable with them. I think when we’re open about our own journeys, the ups, downs, and u-turns we should of made yesterday, teens respect us and want to hear what we have to say. I was on the train Friday night headed to NYC, and a bunch of teens piled on at a stop, headed to the city for a concert. I couldn’t help myself. I started asking questions and came to find out they were all aspiring musicians, artists, and one guy wanted to be an astronaut until he grew too tall and got disqualified. I didn’t even know there was a height limit for that profession. All this to say, when I see high schoolers and meet college kids, I want to know their dreams. Their thoughts. Them. :) Made the ride go by quickly too.


    4. Andrea Cox

      Such a fun conversation! Nice to meet you, Rajdeep. I look forward to reading your book.

      Melissa, your hair is gorgeous today! :) I love how you have it pulled to one side, especially with the gentle waviness. It really works well.


      1. Andrea Cox

        Sure thing, Melissa! I know how humidity affects hair styles. Little did I know through the years it wasn’t as terrible as I thought. My mom helped me realize this the last several months. I’m glad I could pass the info along. :)

      2. Rajdeep Paulus-Writer of Young Adult Fiction

        Don’t want to interrupt this wavy conversation about all things hair! My two cents: Love the person who invented the teeth-like hair clip thingies that keep my summer hair off my neck!

        Just wanted to say hi Andrea! And thanks for commenting. :) Can’t wait to hear what you think of Swimming Through Clouds!

        Happy Friday!

    5. Selah

      Hey Rajdeep! Your hubby sounds really cool! :) Something I struggle with when I think about being a full time author, is whether or not I will have time for it with all the other things in my life. I want to be a home-school mum, and I’m thinking about being a full time author. But if I have kids wanting me to explain their math to them, could I be able to do it? I’m not sure, but I admire you for being able to fit writing into your daily life as well as other things. :)

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