Paula Houseman

The Making(s) of Me … Romantic-Comedy Author

Once Upon a Bloody Time …

I wished for a life like the princess in the fairy tale. I thought it was within the realms of possibility because heaps of female book characters were living the dream. So was Barbie. All dolled up in her pink satin gown, fluffy white wrap, long gloves, and triple-strand pearl choker, my Enchanted Evening Barbie looked the part.

As I approached adolescence, though, that wish fulfilment seemed unlikely. The thing is, I had developed an aversion to the storybook diva. She, with her impossibly small waist and her Cinderella complex—itching for the opportunity to tell a man, ‘You complete me’—made me want to barf.

By the time I graduated from my training bra, I knew I wasn’t going to make it. Why?

  • A princess needs a prince, and I didn’t grow up with any princely role models. My father was uncouth and he farted a lot. And my mother never let me have a Ken doll. I think she feared Ken would shag Barbie under her roof. (As if he could do anything with that moulded plastic junk.)
  • I preferred Ugg boots to stilettos.
  • I had a smart mouth, no decorum, and would laugh at inappropriate times.
  • And, no dumb bunny, I was more into shovelling industrial-strength chocolate ice cream than gnawing on carrots.

I was not cut out for gentility. Nuh-uh. But after I’d won a crate of Coke in an inter-school essay competition, I sensed I was destined to become a published author.

Still, the road most travelled beckoned. The lure of that picture-perfect Disney princess and her animated life was hard to resist. The pull of authorship was a way off. And anyway, I had some living to do first.


The Raw Salad Days

So. I ate salad, got the waistline, wore froufrou frocks, and found a prince. I was living, all right, but it was life in the not-so-fast lane.


I hosted Tupperware parties and hung with other princesses, schmoozing about stuff like … how to prevent lipstick bleed or how to avoid chiffon cake sag or how to fold a fitted sheet. I had become that girl.


Then other horrible things happened. The rhinestone tiara toppled and I fell into a different kind of hell: the underworld habitat of perverse stories—those god-awful ancient myths at the root of fairy tales and all other stories.

The debased basement of the psyche is a harrowing place to be but a good place to go to. You can see much from a bird’s-eye view, but it’s only from a worm’s-eye view that you fully understand it.

I got that I had got my childhood wish. I also got that the prince, even with all his fancy footwork, couldn’t save me from the monstrous voices in the depths.

Still, the pen is mightier than the sword, right? The girdle and gloves were off, I started keeping a personal journal and I gave what-for to this immortal lot. Tried to, at least.

Although writing seemed like the most natural thing to do and I felt more alive than I had during my faux charmed existence, it was like drowning in slops. And just when I thought I couldn’t take any more, comedy emerged from the wreckage.

A Meaty Existence

It presented in the form of a potty-mouthed goddess, one who embodies a holy kind of filth. And my earthy humour, which had got me into trouble as a kid and had been gagging on moralism for too long, could no longer be muzzled.

Her Bawdiness showed me the absurdity of the human condition and the healing potential of laughter in a society that’s seeing a little too much of the suppressed monsters’ influence. With her as my muse, I started writing books.


And so, what you will read in these books—the sheer brazenness—is not my fault. She made me write it, I swear (often). I’m not complaining: she made me a writer.



I feel like a good fit in the category of Australian author because the Aussie humour is tongue-in-cheek and lippy. And I love being a romance writer. Through my protagonist, I get to be my own brand of princess. Not a twenty-two-inch waisted, or wasted, codependent drag or slag. More Princess Kiss My Arse than Princess Pushover.

I’m a blogger too. As with my books, my blogs have a satirical edge. I can’t help that; it’s the way I’m wired. Even so, some posts are of a more serious nature because life is often romanticised, when in actuality, it’s comedy and tragedy and everything in between. And because I know that, like me, you need the whole story and only you can complete yourself. It makes for a more real-world kind of happily ever after. End of story.