Welcome to another guest author interview! Have you noticed how many authors write in more than one genre? Today I’d like to introduce you to another one who writes both contemporary and historical, Pamela Gibson. Let’s peruse her bio and then jump into the meat of the interview…
Author of eight books on California history and twelve romance novels, Pamela Gibson is a former City Manager who lives in the Nevada desert. Having spent several years messing about in boats, a hobby that included a five-thousand-mile trip in a 32-foot Nordic Tug, she now spends most of her time indoors happily reading, writing, cooking and keeping up with the antics of her gran-cats, gran-dog, and gran-fish. Her days as a white-knuckle cruising spouse may be over, but the balm of speed-eating chocolate kisses she developed during harrowing rides on frothy water lives on.
Betty: How many books have you written and published?
Pamela: 12 romance novels
Betty: What genre(s) do you write in and why?
Pamela: I first wrote in the contemporary genre because I was always told it was better to “write what you know.” Now I also write in two subgenres of historical romance. The first is the Regency period because I love the manners, the food, the clothes, and the historical events taking place. The second is the early California rancho period because I have some expertise in that romantic time period which has some surprising parallels to Regency England.
Betty: What themes or motifs did you use in your recent release and why were they important to your story?
Pamela: If I had to choose a universal theme that is important to my story it would be faith versus doubt. This is a marriage of convenience trope. Gwen needs John to escape an unwanted suitor. John needs Gwen because he’s penniless and she comes with a dowry. They marry in haste, hoping to become friends. Gwen has faith that she can make any arrangement work. If not, at least she’ll be a mother, fulfilling her fondest hope. John is a doubter, afraid if he brings a child into the world it will be like his mother who is mad. He keeps his fears a secret, making Gwen think he doesn’t desire her. Can this misunderstanding be solved with a talk? Yes, and they have it, rather early in the book. Then Gwen shifts into doubting and John begins to be hopeful. Of course, they eventually work things out. It is a romance, after all.
Lady Gwendolyn Pettigrew longs to be a mother, but refuses to marry the lecherous old fool her father has found for her. When her best friend convinces her to consider her husband’s younger brother as a suitable candidate, Gwen agrees to a marriage of convenience, hoping against hope that her dream of becoming a mother will have a chance.
The Hon. John Montague, a penniless younger son, is handsome, witty, and thrilled that a woman with a dowry has agreed to wed him. Best of all she’s a fiercely independent bluestocking, a woman who won’t want to bother with a family. Because John has a shocking secret. He’s vowed never to bring a child into the world, a child who, like his own mother, might carry the strain of madness.
As secrets unfold, tension grows, threatening the fragile bonds they’ve forged. Worse, someone wants them to abandon their home and leave Yorkshire, and they’ll stop at nothing to make it happen.
Betty: Do you have a specific place that you write? Revise?
Pamela: I can write anywhere and had to do a lot of writing on our Nordic Tug while in port or at anchor. Now that we are land-based again, I write in a comfortable chair or on the couch in the early morning hours. Revisions are done in the same place.
Betty: Do you have any writing rituals while you write? Did you have a special drink, or music, or time of day that you gravitated toward?
Pamela: Because I am now a caregiver (sadly, my husband had a stroke and is partially disabled), I get up at dawn and write until he wakes up. Then I grab an hour or two during the day. By late afternoon, my brain turns off and I do other things.
Betty: What helped you move from unpublished to published? A mentor or organization or something else?
Pamela: For many years I was a newspaper reporter, then went back to college, got a master’s degree in public administration, and began a career in city governance. Prior to retirement, I joined Romance Writers of America and began learning to write fiction. I have to say I learned the most from entering contests and getting feedback. Some judges gave excellent advice with examples. I treasure all of it.
Betty: What do you think is your greatest strength in your writing?
Pamela: Dialogue has always been easy for me. The ability to put readers into the story is also a strength.
Betty: What comes first when you’re brainstorming a new story: setting, situation, characters?
Pamela: I write in layers. First, I get the story on paper. Then I work on my characters and setting.
Betty: Do you have a structured time to write or is more fluid/flexible? Do you have to write between family obligations or do you set aside a block of time?
Pamela: I have to put my family first, but I’m usually the only one up at dawn, and that is my primary writing time.
Betty: What is one recent struggle you’ve experienced in your writing?
Pamela: I love to write, but I hate the marketing part. Everyone has to do it, but I resist because it doesn’t come easy.
Betty: Do you participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)? Why or why not?
Pamela: I’ve done a few NaNoWriMos and actually made it to 50,000 words once. I edited that book and self-published it. I think NaNoWriMo is easier for pantsers and I am definitely one of those.
Betty: What are you reading right now?
Pamela: I’m currently reading Rebel by Beverly Jenkins. She has a wonderful grasp of history and I always learn so much while reading her books.
Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?
Pamela: My favorite genre is the Regency period and I do like books with a little mystery to them.
Betty: What are your keeper books? How often might you reread them?
Pamela: I keep Mary Balogh’s books because she hits so many emotional buttons. I am so envious. I also keep Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ books because of the care she puts into her craft.
Betty: When you’re writing, do you read in the same genre as your work in progress or something else?
Pamela: I have an extensive TBR list and I just read the next book in line. I read about 80 books a year (according to Goodreads).
Betty: Do you have a “day job” or do you write full time?
Pamela: I write full time because I am retired and because it is therapeutic to do something I really enjoy.
Betty: What do you wish readers knew about the publishing industry?
Pamela: With so many books available, it is very important to leave a review. Not everyone will, and that’s fine, but if you like a book, leaving a one or two sentence review helps an author get noticed. Readers’ opinions are important. I once changed one of my indie books based on consistent comments from readers who reviewed the original, but wanted it to be longer with a more developed relationship between the hero and his newly discovered son. That book was A Touch of Chardonnay.
Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?
Pamela: Before you query an agent or publisher, have that manuscript polished and professionally edited. If you decide to self-publish, you still need to at least hire a copyeditor. It’s worth it, especially when you are starting. Before I send anything to my editor I read my manuscript five or six times and always (I am not exaggerating) find a typo or dropped word. Reading aloud is also a good way to find things that need correcting.
Betty: Any hints of what you’re next writing project might be?
Pamela: I’ve just completed a new novella in my Love in Wine Country series which I will self-publish in November. My second early California book, Return of the Fox, is with my Soulmate editor, and my third Regency, Scandal’s Promise, is underway. I like to keep busy.
Betty: What kind of writing would you like to experiment with? Or what’s a different genre you’ve considered writing but haven’t yet?
Pamela: The novella I just finished is a mystery. I’ve never tried to do one before. I’m anxious to see how it is received. The other area I want to explore is middle grade fiction. I have a wonderful character in mind, but haven’t had time to work on it yet. There’s also a non-fiction book in my future, Confessions of a White-Knuckle Cruising Spouse. That five-thousand mile cruise my husband and I did in our 32-foot boat was a huge challenge for me. I learned so much about my own fears and my ability to cope during stressful situations. Others might enjoy my journey.
So Pamela has demonstrated she’s far braving than I am! I can’t imagine taking a 5K cruise in a boat. Write that book, Pamela! I bet you had an amazing adventure. Thanks for stopping by!
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