Today’s Q&A Thursday is with Author Pamela Beason!
Enjoy & Comment!
What is the worst thing you’ve written, how did you learn or know it was bad, and what did you learn from it?
What?! Everything I write is amazingly good!
Okay, okay, I do have this tendency to write really snarky conversations. In my mind, they pass for witty banter, but some people don’t appreciate my sarcasm and think I’m just plain mean. My critique partners have set me straight on that a few times, and I’ve learned that I really need my critique partners to tell me when I’m making my characters unsympathetic. Actually, it would probably be a good idea if my critique partners would follow me around and prevent me from getting into scrapes in real life, but they seem to want to focus on their own lives.
Why did you start writing and when did you decide to go professional?
Does this mean I’m now considered a professional writer? Yippee! Seriously, I think I’ve always written. When I was really young, I used to write various scenarios about how I’d kill off my little sister. (Stop worrying, she’s fine.) Then I wrote an ongoing saga about a canine secret agent when I was around 13 or so. In college, I always got As if I could take an essay exam; a multiple-choice test always ended up much lower because I would start to think about all the ifs, ands, ors, and buts associated with each choice. As an adult, I made a living from technical writing and editing and from private investigation work, in which writing reports that can stand up in court is very important. I spent a lot of time studying screenwriting. And now I’m finally starting to make a living from fiction, which is my true love.
Do you write in more than one genre? Which ones and which do you like the best?
I write mysteries and romances. I am most naturally a mystery and adventure writer, so my romances have a lot of suspense and action in them, but there’s some romance in my mysteries, too. I like strong active characters, and I am personally a real nature lover, so my stories have a lot of animals and outdoor activity in them. You’ll never find me writing about shoes or recipes (although I do wear shoes on occasion and I also love to eat good food).
Do you read other author’s books when you’re writing? If so, do you read the same genre or something different?
I read about six books a month. I read in all fiction genres and nonfiction, too. The story and the characters just have to be interesting to me. When I get stuck in my work in progress, I read my favorite authors in the genre I’m writing in—that often jogs my mind back onto the right track.
What is the most difficult part of the entire writing process for you? Queries, pitches, editing, etc.
Synopses! I’d rather write an entire novel than a synopsis! That said, writing one really helps the author to focus on what’s important about the book. Often I find in writing a synopsis that I haven’t emphasized my theme enough, and I go back and revise the manuscript to strengthen it.
After the book is written, the hardest part for me is marketing. I’m pretty darn clueless about how to do that. For example, people have told me that I should have a natural tie-in between my novel THE ONLY WITNESS and the current movie about the Planet of the Apes, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to take advantage of that.
If you could have the same type of career as any author currently publishing who would it be and why?
Tough question—I can’t make up my mind. Nevada Barr, because I love her books and we write a lot alike, or Jodi Picoult, whose books I always adore and who has the courage to write about difficult subjects. And of course they are both always bestsellers! CJ Box is another author I’d love to emulate (we both write outdoor mysteries); he’s done a fantastic job of writing and creating a wildly successful career for himself.
Pamela Beason lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she writes novels and screenplays and works as a private investigator. When she’s not on the job, she explores the natural world on foot or cross-country skis, in her kayak, and underwater as a scuba diver.
Pam is a recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award. She is currently working on a new mystery series that will debut with ENDANGERED from Berkley Prime Crime in December of 2011.