Home > NewsRelease > Tracy Shawn Interviews her Protagonist Paloma Leary from Newest Novel, Floating Underwater
Tracy Shawn Interviews her Protagonist Paloma Leary from Newest Novel, Floating Underwater
Tracy Shawn --Novelist, Speaker Tracy Shawn --Novelist, Speaker
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Central Coast, CA
Tuesday, December 21, 2021


Please note: This piece was first published in booksbywomen.org under the title “Authors Interviewing Characters by Tracy Shawn on October 3, 2021 Character Interview with Paloma Leary from Novel Floating Underwater

by Tracy Shawn

Author Tracy Shawn Interviews Paloma Leary: Protagonist from Floating Underwater

Tracy Shawn: Paloma, you’ve experienced visions your entire life, and at one point, they made you feel as if you were a “hostage of your own mind.” Please explain why your premonitions made you feel this way?

Paloma Leary: It can be really scary to be overtaken with a vision, especially one that’s foretelling something bad. It’s like being in a dream; I don’t have any control of what I see or when it’ll end. I also don’t know for sure if it’ll really happen or not—or if it may just be showing something that could happen—and if it’s about someone else, should I warn them? I was also worried that my visions could actually change the future. Then to top it all off, I was petrified this gift was really a sign that I had inherited my mom’s schizophrenia. Because of all of that, my visions did make me feel trapped in my own mind—and, even in a sense, trapped in my own life as well.

Tracy Shawn: On a number of occasions, you’ve reminded yourself that the past does not have to affect your present. Do you believe that personal history often colors a person’s present state of being?

Paloma Leary: I really want to believe in the power of now. And I do think the more we all try to stay in the present, the better. But how can we not be shaped by what’s happened to us in the past? For example, having lost my mom at an early age (as well as the other tragedies that besieged my family) made me distrust life more than I would have if I had an easier, more carefree childhood. But it also made me more of a realist. I know that happiness may be fleeting, so I’ve learned to find joy even in the most painful of times and in the smallest of ways. So, yes, I do believe that personal history can color one’s present state of being—and I also believe that enduring a painful past can make one stronger as well.

Tracy Shawn: I understand that you felt your husband, Reed, was fearful of your gifts. Why do you think that was?

Paloma Leary: Reed’s past fear around my gifts is another example of how a person’s personal history affects them later in life. He was so traumatized by his dad’s untimely death—and how his mom’s predictions couldn’t save him—that Reed just closed himself off to anything he considered was “out there.” Looking back, I don’t blame him. He was just trying to make sense of life the best way he could, to stay safe and protect the ones he loved.

Also, the so-called feminine power of intuition (which we all have access to) is often swept aside in our culture as something that isn’t real, or at least, doesn’t really matter. When people (like my husband, Reed, and best friend, Justine) have relied wholly on what they think is “real” power like getting ahead in business and making more money, the gifts that are often attributed to women, like empathy, intuition, and emotionality, can be seen as weaknesses. And the more someone is trying to be what they think is “strong,” the more they may be intimated by what is called the power of the feminine.

Tracy Shawn: I hope you don’t mind me bringing up this very personal topic, but you endured three miscarriages. Would you like to share with our readers what that is like and do you have any advice to others who’ve suffered through their own miscarriages?

Paloma Leary: I don’t mind at all. It should be a topic that is talked about way more often than it is. When I went through my first miscarriage, I had no idea how common they are. Women and their partners should know that they’re not alone. I never went into group counseling about it, but I think I would have done a lot better if I had. I also didn’t know till later on that my irrational fear that I somehow made them happen, that I could have somehow stopped them is not uncommon for other people who have suffered this very painful loss. My advice is to allow yourself to grieve, to give yourself space and time to make any decisions. You’ve been through a lot, both physically and emotionally. Be kind to yourself.

Tracy Shawn: I want to thank you for sharing your story with us. What do you think readers can learn from your journey?

Paloma Leary: And thank you, Tracy Shawn, for telling my story. I’ve heard that authors often feel as if their protagonists are somehow channeling their life to them. This is very true in our case! I wanted people to hear my story, so while you wrote Floating Underwater, I whispered my story into your writer’s ear, so that you could share my history and ultimate self-actualization. I hope that my journey will help readers understand that there is something more out there, that life is meaningful even though it can be drenched with loss and grief, that love lives on.


Paloma Leary is devastated when her latest vision predicting a third miscarriage comes true. She falls into a mystifying world of increasingly bizarre phenomena, including an otherworldly connection with her mysterious neighbor, out-of-body experiences, and phantom visits from her dead mother, Esther.

Fearful that her “gifts” are a sign that she inherited Esther’s schizophrenia, Paloma grows desperate for answers. But when she undergoes a spiritual crisis, Paloma is rewarded with a life-changing vision, which reveals a tragic secret from the past. With her new-found knowledge, Paloma learns to accept her gifts and embraces a far different future than she ever could have imagined.

Author Bio: Tracy Shawn lives and writes on the Central Coast of California with her husband, two cantankerous cats, and loyal pit bull. Her debut novel, The Grace of Crows, won several indie book awards. Floating Underwater is her second novel. Tracy Shawn’s short stories have appeared in Literary BrushstrokesPsychology Tomorrow Magazine, and Steel House Review Literary Journal. She’s written numerous articles for print and online publications and is currently working on her third novel.

Follow her on Twitter https://twitter.com/TracyShawn

Find out more about her on her website https://www.tracyshawn.com/

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Name: Tracy Shawn
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