Sunday, May 15, 2011

Interview with New Yorks Best Selling Author Pamela Palmer

Risqué Reviews is please to have joining us today New York Times bestselling author Pamela Palmer. Anyone familiar with her knows her as the talented writer of many paranormal romances including her award winning series The Feral Warriors.  Did you also know she writes Time Travel under the name Pamela Montgomerie? Or for that fact growing up she didn’t want to be a writer at all. {What’s this you say?} Its true growing up the Air Force was her home, her dad flew jets and she dreamed of being an astronaut flying not just the skies, but all the way to the stars. She loved watching Star Trek and thought, one day I’m going to do that. Alas as life often does, her path went in another direction and it seemed the dream of flying though space was just that, a dream and like most ended up doing other things.  First she headed off to college then building a career as well as a family took precedence over the stars and for a time her writing career as well.
Still she may not have reached the stars literary; she is a star when it comes to her writing. She writes about dashing heroes that never gave up, even against the toughest odds and heroines no one would ever accuse of being push over’s, they do in fact do a lot of the pushing themselves.  Subsequently instead soaring through the universe, she soar with a pen across the pages and with words as she takes us to places only dreamers would understand.
Pamela and I have a few things in common, other than her writing the books and me reading them. Watching Star Trek, man I just loved that show. I told my dad once “What if we could do that? What if we had things like their communicators, how cool would that be? What if this? What if that? What if…?” He’d laugh and tell me “What if you quit dreaming and do your homework? Dreaming doesn’t pay the bills little girl, working does”.  Year’s later “Hey dad how do you like these new cell phones they have, kinda like those “communicators” in Star Trek”.
I then reminded him that for at least someone those dreams paid off.
Imagining places that could be and maybe even will be someday, but for now as then are considered “fiction”... yet, can we ever be so sure…remember it was once said “If man were suppose to fly, God would have given him wings”. He did he gave man the imagination to dream the impossible and then to make the tools to make it possible. Like the heroes in her books Pamela Palmer never gave up, she just dreamed a different dream and for that, at least, we the readers are grateful.
Interview with Pamela Palmer
Welcome to RR Pamela, I am truly exciting to have you here and hope you have a good time. As I was reading about the interesting life you had growing up and the twists and turns that eventually lead you here, that it was your love of reading that gave you the itch to try it yourself.  You mention about your first attempt at writing and realized suddenly “one chapter a writer does not make”. So you dropped it, had some babies and put writing on that back shelf. It seemed the characters had other plans though and kept nagging to be let out (I’ve heard some can be that way *grin*).  Apparently whatever it was, you got over it and hit the floor running. 
Q. Let’s see if I have this right; within the span of four years, beginning in 2007 to the present, you’ve had at least nine books published, do I have that right? Am I missing any? Quite the number of books published under your belt.
A. I’m so glad to be here! And, yes, I’ve had nine novels plus one novella (Hearts Untamed in the Bitten By Cupid anthology) published since 2007 with four more due out in the next year: Ecstasy Untamed (Feral Warriors book #6) on Oct. 25, 2011, Books #3 and #4 in the Esri series for Nocturne (which will end the series) in Feb. and May 2012, respectively, and…a surprise the end of May 2012 (I’m not at liberty to discuss it until the contract is signed.) Sorry! Hate to be a tease. Nah, I kind of love it.)
Q. Tell us what happened to make you decided to try writing again, and what was the problem the first time?

A. The problem the first time was that I honestly (and embarrassingly) had no idea there was craft involved in writing fiction, craft that could be learned. As an engineering major, I’d never taken any fiction writing courses. None. Freshman composition where we had to do research papers was it. So when I got the urge to try writing a book, and hit my first wall, I didn’t know what to do. The book was a romantic suspense targeted for Silhouette Intimate Moments (as the line was called then). I wrote the first chapter and it was pretty decent (I think—I refuse to go back and read it). But after that exciting first chapter, I had no idea what to do. I sent the hero and heroine to dinner together and they didn’t talk. They had nothing to say because (I know now), they had no goals and I essentially had no plot. I believed a ‘real’ writer would know what came next. And since I didn’t I must not have what it took to be a ‘real’ writer.

What made me decide to try again was a daydream that got too big for my head. I’d always been a daydreamer (still am), but this one drove me to the keyboard (with no expectations this time). A few days later, I had three chapters and some idea of where the story was going. The big difference this time was that they’d just opened a brand new library down the street from me and as I browsed the shelves one day soon after this new writing jag I discovered an entire aisle devoted to books on how to write. I picked up one, “Beginnings, Middles, and Ends” by Nancy Kress (I’ll never forget it). She spoke to the problems I’d had with my first writing attempt and I realized this was all normal. That writing wasn’t just an art, but a craft. A craft that could be learned.

The second thing I learned was that there was a fabulous writing organization of published and unpublished writers of romance called Romance Writers of America. And oh by the way, they had a chapter in my area. If only I’d found them years before! But things happen as they do for a reason and I’m very happy to be where I am now.

Q. Would you say your stories are character or plot driven? Can you have one without the other?

A. I think my stories are both plot and character driven. And while you CAN have one without the other, I don’t think I could write that way. I love plot and big stories with lots of action and nasty villains. But without main characters I can identify with and come to love, the journey would be very sterile and very boring for me. As much as I love plot, I love romance more. I love watching two strong people driven to their knees by love.

Q. As you began your journey did it start out more to just see if you could?

A. At first, perhaps. I started writing in April that year, discovered the library and RWA in May, but I didn’t join either RWA or my local Washington Romance Writers until late that fall. I couldn’t justify the money until I knew the writing was going somewhere this time. It took me two years to finish that first book. I always dreamed that I’d someday get a book published, that I’d someday have readers clamoring for my stories. But in the beginning, it was just another daydream.

Q. When you’re not dreaming up the next book what do you do, as my father would put it “to pay the bills”? Or has writing now become your full time career?

A. Luckily for me, writing is my full time career and has been since before I got published. I started out as an engineer with IBM, but quit to stay home with my kids. My writing quickly became my full time job.

Desire Untamed was released in June, 2009 (the first book in your Feral Warriors series) and under the pseudonym Pamela Montgomerie, Sapphire Dream was released July of that same year (the first book in your historical-set time travels series Jewels of Time).

Q. Why was it released under a pseudonym?  

A. That’s kind of a funny story. I call Sapphire Dream my accidental sale. In the summer of 2005, Sapphire Dream won RWA’s Golden Heart award for best unpublished paranormal fiction. A huge honor. An editor at Berkley wanted to see the manuscript and I happily sent it to her. Unfortunately, she left the company a few months later without reading it and it was passed to another editor. In 2006, my next book (ultimately published as The Dark Gate for Harlequin Nocturne) also finaled in the Golden Heart. A Harlequin editor read it in the final round of that contest and ultimately offered me a contract for it. My first sale, May 31, 2006. I promptly called the three agents who had the book on their desks and signed with one of them the next day. My agent called Berkley to see the status of Sapphire Dream and was told they weren’t currently buying time travels. Oh well.

Over a year later, in September of 2007, as my agent was shopping my proposal for a shape-shifter series (the Feral Warriors); I got an email from a brand new Berkley editor wanting to know if Sapphire Dream was still available. It had lingered on one desk or another for over two years until it was finally read by this new editor. She offered me a two book contract. Six weeks later, Avon Books bought the first three books in my Feral Warriors series.

Meanwhile, I was still writing my Esri series for Nocturne. All three editors begged me to take a pseudonym so they didn’t have to try to work around one another. Pamela Montgomerie was born. And since both the Esri series and Feral Warriors series are contemporary dark paranormals, it only made sense that the second name go to the Scottish historical time travels.

Q. Was there a reason you decided to make them historical-set time travels and not futuristic?
A. Interestingly, the very first book I wrote was a contemporary futuristic time travel along the lines of Terminator. So that is kind of where I started even though that one never sold. But the idea that sparked the story of Sapphire Dream was a woman, a modern woman, who awakens aboard a pirate ship with no clue how she got there. I’ve always had a fascination with Scotland (my grandmother grew up there), so it quickly followed that the pirate ship was off the coast of Scotland.  Sapphire Dream holds a very special place in my heart for a number of reasons. Even after all these years, I love that story.

I can understand where your love of the paranormal and time travel comes from. Growing up in the Air Force where reaching the sky and beyond being the primary goal. I can understand where the strong alpha hero and heroines influences in your stories come from for that same reason. So those questions are out. I suppose however, I’d be lacking in my duties if I didn’t ask,
Q. Seeing that your first love was to be an astronaut, how come your characters and stories are so earth bound?
A. Ha. Good question. I suppose the reason goes back to my reading preferences. I’ve never particularly been a fan of true science fiction or fantasy, at least not in my reading. First, because there’s rarely any real romance and second, because I don’t have the patience to embrace intricate world-building. A character flaw, I know. But I much prefer the urban fantasies that are at least partially based in our world. I find them so much more accessible both as a reader and as a writer.
Q. Each character in your Feral Warriors series has some type of obstacles whether it be physical or emotional overcome, why is that so pertinent to this series, these characters?
A. I’ve always liked flawed characters, particularly characters that have something they have to learn or some past trauma they have to come to terms with before they can truly have a fulfilling life. And before they’re worthy of love. Then I put them through hell learning that lesson.
Q. Has there ever been a time when a scene you were writing became too emotional, and you had to step back?
A. No, not yet. I love to be moved emotionally in both my reading and my writing. I rarely cry, so when my characters bring me to tears, I know I’m on the right track and I embrace it.
The Feral Warriors have very sexual characteristics; the sensuality of their animal is very prevalent in each of them. J
Q. Did your earlier work also have such potent sexually connecting the characters?
A. Ha. No, I’ve never written anyone like my shape-shifters. While all my books are sexually explicit (as most romances are these days), the Ferals, being animal shape-shifters, are much closer to their primitive natures. It made sense to me that they’d be far more sexually comfortable than humans are.
Q. Tell us, speaking of earlier work, why the long lapsed between books in the Esri series?

A. Good question. Actually, it goes back to those six weeks in late 2007 when I sold five single titles to Berkley and Avon. At the time, I’d just turned in the third book in the Esri series along with a brief synopsis of the fourth and final book in the series. My editor promptly offered me a contract for it, but I’d already committed to deadlines for the five single titles, so had to schedule it two years out. Nocturne decided to hold onto that third Esri book until they had their hands on the fourth so they could schedule them close together.

I just have one last question before I can end this interview. (Hearing Pam’s loud sigh of relief)

Q. How difficult is it to separate the author from the person?

A. That’s a very interesting question and I’m not entirely sure how to answer it. I never forget I’m an author, mostly because I always have a book deadline hanging over my head. No matter what I’m doing, I hear that little voice whispering, “You should be writing.” But I live in the D.C. suburbs, not a small town, and most people I deal with on a day-to-day basis (at the grocery, the dentist, the mall) don’t know who I am personally let alone professionally. And while my family is very supportive and very proud of my accomplishments, to them I’m just Mom. So I suppose the answer is, it’s pretty easy.

Pamela I really enjoyed digging around trying to find out what makes you tick. I’d have liked to have asked more, but knowing that would be considered cruel and unusual punishment, and wanted you to still answer my emails. J

Thank you again Pamela for letting us get to know a little bit more about the person as well as the author behind the books.

LOL! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed answering your interesting questions.

For those who still want to read more facts about Pamela, her books, characters and future plans please visit her website @