Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Break Out the Bubbly and the Dark Chocolate: Celebrating Debut Novel OUT OF THE DEPTHS by Pamela Hearon

 Hi everyone. I am so excited to introduce you to debut author Pamela Hearon. I met Pamela at the Heart of Dixie RWA Readers Luncheon four years ago. She was so kind and gracious to me, a newbie in the area. In the years that have followed that first meeting, we've been fortunate to attend three RWA National Conferences together and have had many great conversations. I am thrilled to share Pamela's debut novel and writing journey with you all. *Pop*Sizzle*Pour* Ah, a lovely glass of champagne and wee bit of dark chocolate in hand. Now we can begin chatting.

Welcome to the Veranda, Pamela. How did you end up becoming a writer? 
Debut Author Pamela Hearon
I’ve always been a writer.  My dad still talks about a story I wrote in grade school about Daniel Boone and a smiling raccoon.  I majored in English and psychology, fascinated by interesting characters in both fiction and real life.  And I have a passion for language and words. Writing was the only thing I could do that brought all my obsessions together.
I totally understand that passion and the obsessions. And that Daniel Boone story sounds like a great start. What is your favorite genre to write?
Romance!  Figuring out how to give a happy ending to couples who don’t stand a chance takes an exciting process that sucks me in.  I also enjoy writing fantasy although I haven’t done that in a while.  Being able to create the world any way I want is freeing and stimulating and a lot of fun.
Romance is my favorite genre as well. Happily Ever Afters are what it's all about. When you write are you a plotter or do you follow the muse?
I start out with a general plot idea; sometimes I even write a synopsis.  But the day-to-day writing is free rein.  I love it when the characters surprise me and take me in a direction I never expected.  Often a new character will pop up, and I won’t know why.  A few days later, his/her reason for being there becomes clear.  I think my subconscious works way out ahead of me.
Sounds like you are a bit of a hybrid writer and love to listen to your characters. How do you relax after spending the day with your characters? 
I head outdoors, usually with a glass of wine.  We have an outdoor kitchen (complete with a wood-fired pizza oven), a large perennial flower garden, and a hot tub, so we live outside as much as possible.
I think I need to come visit your place and join you for wine and the great outdoors. Your backyard is calling me. What do you read? What are your favorite genres? Who are your favorite authors?
I read fiction almost exclusively, but within that realm, I read across the board.  Of course, I love romance, but I also enjoy historical fiction, women’s fiction, and psychological thrillers.  I still read the classics—they’ve been around this long for a reason.  My favorite authors are Ayn Rand, Thomas Hardy, and Diana Gabaldon.  
Diana Gabaldon is one of my favorite writers, too. What is your current project?  
My current project is my second Harlequin Superromance. My second Superromance is scheduled for release in April 2013.  The working title is The Summer Place.  Of course, that’s always subject to change.
Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
Can't wait to read this book!!
Great cover and looks packed with action.
Inspiration hits me at the oddest moments.  I was with my husband in his bass boat on Kentucky Lake (he was fishing, I was readingJ), and as we neared a section of bank, I could hear children laughing at a summer camp.  I immediately began thinking about using a summer camp as a setting.  The result is my second Harlequin release.  Just about anything can get my thought processes going.
A summer camp and romance in the air. How exciting!! How long were you trying to get published before you got the “call?”
My first book was contracted 6 years after I started writing toward publication.  That “call” was from a small publisher.  It was another 4 years after that before I got the call from Harlequin.
A dream come true after many years of hard work. How did you celebrate the new book contract?  
My husband and I went out for dinner with our best friends, and, of course, we ordered champagne.  The restaurant is a small one we frequent, so the champagne ended up being on the house!
Champagne is my favorite way to celebrate. And sharing it with friends and loved ones makes it even more special. How did you celebrate the “call?” 
My call came the day before Thanksgiving, but I kept it a secret from my extended family until the next day.  I got to make my announcement at Thanksgiving dinner.  What an exciting dinner that was!
Wow!! A major way to share the news. Was the “call” an actual phone conversation or an email or a snail mail?  
I actually got two real calls.  My agent called first with the news, and then I got a follow-up call from the editor. The call from the agent I remember almost verbatim; the call from the editor is just a blur.  I think I was in shock.
I think I'd be numb and unable to articulate a single word if it were me. Who is your agent?
I am agented by the amazing Jennifer Weltz of the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency.
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Write what you love and then try to find it a home.  Just as in the case of the house you live in, the house you publish with should be a place that is comfortable for you, a place where the stories come easily and not forced.  That doesn’t mean it can’t be hard work.  Writing is hard, but it should be a challenge you enjoy.  I love gardening and Zumba.  Both of those things are difficult, but the rewards are totally worth it because of the way they make me feel.  Your writing should be the same way.  What you produce should make you feel good about you whether or not it gets picked up by a publisher.
Fabulous advice. I couldn't agree more. What encouragement can you give writers who face rejection?
Remind yourself that everyone gets rejected.  They’re not making a personal assessment of you.  They’re deciding whether or not the two of you would be a good fit—and that’s what you want.  Think of it as looking for a spouse; the right one is worth waiting for.  In the meantime, keep looking and keep writing.  You may find a genre or a story that you’ve never considered before.
What is the most difficult part about writing for you?
Conflict is the bane of my writing existence.  I have a terrible time coming up with conflict.  One of the  basic guidelines of romance is if the hero and heroine can talk it out in a heart-to-heart conversation, it is not a conflict strong enough to sustain a book.  Now, I have a Master’s in counseling, so I think almost everything can be talked out if two people love each other and want to work it out.  I have to come up with valid reasons why they can’t talk it out (I mean, they can’t just avoid each other for chapters on endJ).
What is the most surprising thing you discovered after you received the call?
I discovered they’re not going to immediately snatch up everything else I submit.  Did I mention I got a rejection between the first acceptance and the second one? ::sigh::  The learning curve goes on and on and on…
I think that learning is important and that as you grow as a writer with Harlequin Super Romance you'll become even stronger. Thanks so much for sharing your debut novel and writing journey on the Veranda, Pamela. Wishing you all the best in your writing career!!
One lucky commentator will win a free copy of OUT OF THE DEPTHS. Pamela Hearon's books can be found at the following websites:


Wendy S. Marcus said...

A wonderful interview! Congratulations on your sale Pamela. Wishing you much success!

Leigh Duncan said...

Hi, Pamela! It was great to meet you at the FL STAR meeting last winter! Congratulations on Out of the Depths, and best wishes for your next release, The Summer Place.

Wendy S Marcus said...

Not sure where my other comment went so I hope this doesn't post twice.

A wonderful interview! Congratulations Pamela! Wishing you much success.

Christine said...

Hi Pamela: Welcome to the Veranda. I can't wait to read your book as well. Best of wishes, Me... :-)

Kimberly Lang said...

Trust me, y'all -- this book is Fanstastic! Pamela has the most amazing, descriptive voice and the story just flows.

Pamela Hearon said...

Hi Leigh!
We bought a place in FL and will be wintering down there. You may be seeing a lot more of me! Thanks so much for celelbrating with me today!

Pamela Hearon said...

Thanks so much for hosting me on this special day, Christine! You have a gorgeous blogsite:-)

Pamela Hearon said...

We've come a long way--and what a fun and interesting journey it's been. Love you dearly!

Lexi said...

Hi, Pamela! Sounds like you and I have a lot in common, writing wise! We have the same process and I also struggle with conflict! I think it's my natural Libra abhorrance of unpleasantness! I would love to meet you someday. Best wishes for your writing.

Abby Niles said...

Congrats on the release, Pamela!!! So happy for you!

Gwen Hernandez said...

Pamela: It was so great to hang out with you in Anaheim. I have your book in my TBR pile and I can't wait to read it!

I struggle with conflict too. I tend to avoid it in real life, so creating it in my own work is always a challenge.

Good luck with the current WIP!

Melissa said...

Congratulations, Pamela!! Can't wait to read this one! :) Wishing you tons of sales!

Pamela Hearon said...

Hi Lexi! Your writing process is like mine? You poor thing! LOL Would love meeting you. Thanks for stopping by.

Pamela Hearon said...

So good to see you hear, Abby! Thanks for coming by to celebrate with me!

Pamela Hearon said...

I loved hanging out with you. I'm sure hoping you Scrivner for Dummies makes my writing life easier:-)
See you at ENALR. Thanks for coming by!

Pamela Hearon said...

Thanks so much for the good wishes, Melissa! Your fingers to God's ears:-) Thanks for joining in my celebration!

Stephanie Jones AKA Alicia Pace said...

It is so great to read your story. I can't wait to read the actual book!

I hear you on the conflict bane. Jean and I struggle with that as well...I mean we like our people and want their lives to be smooth sailing.

Do you have any tips for how you cause your characters pain?

Pamela Hearon said...

Missed you and Jean in Anaheim! My best tip? I think about the wonderful books I've read that dragged my heart through a meat grinder. then I remind myself that I want my reader to experience the same thing:-) That's what makes the HEA so cathartic! LOL!

Katherine Bone said...

Hi Pam!!! (waves) Ooh, I saw you at the pool in Anaheim but couldn't get close enough to say 'hi'. It was great to see you!

I'm so proud of you!!! It's been great seeing you and talking to you occassionally throughout the past 4-5 years. I still love your first book and the cover!!!

Lots of exclamation marks here but they are meant with great pride and affection for you. I'm so proud of how far you've come on your writing journey and I aspire to be as poised and classy as you are, my friend. ;)

Robin Bielman said...

Hi Christine! Hi Pamela! Huge congrats, Pamela! And thanks you guys for a great interview! I struggle with conflict, too, Pamela! And I love what you said above to Stephanie about dragging your heart through a meat grinder. I'm going to remember that!

Best wishes!

Pamela Hearon said...

Thanks for stopping by, Robin! Glad I could be of a little help. I'm right at conflict crossroad this morning in my wip. I woke up with it on my mind ::sigh:: that's a problem with conflict, too. A good one can keep me awake!