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Interview with Pamela Gibson!
Please tell us about growing up.
My parents always told me swallows brought me, not a stork. That’s because I was born and raised in San Juan Capistrano, a Spanish mission town in Southern California, known for the return of the swallows to the old mission. They return on March 19. I was born on March 21. My brother, three years younger, was born in October. Sadly, he died of leukemia at the age of three. My little sister, six years younger, grew up to be my best friend. Growing up in a small town gave me lots of freedom other children might not have because everyone knew everyone else, so I could walk around downtown and the locals looked after me. Because both parents worked, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother who loved to hang out in libraries.
Were you the shy kid or the tomboy?
|Mission San Juan Capistrano|
in the town where Pamela grew up
I think the death of my little brother shaped my personality. I became shy, introspective, and a loner. I spent hours wandering the grounds of the mission—across the street from my grandmother’s house—and began making up stories to keep myself entertained. My love of history was born during that tragic time and I became a reader. The mission really is a spectacular place, even today, if you ever have a chance to visit it.
I got married at 18, my only real rebellious act. I know, I was too young. My parents said it wouldn’t last and they were right. But my two beautiful children were born and I don’t regret anything. I did marry again, many years later, and boy did my life change. My hubs, Capt. Mark, was a sailor and I couldn’t even swim. We had many memorable trips from the west coast to Catalina Island, and south to San Diego. After thirty years of marriage, I’m still a white-knuckle sailor. But I survived.
When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?
|Their boat, the Sea Bear,|
on the Hudson River
My grandmother tried to teach me to knit, then crochet, but I never got the hang of it. Then she’d quietly leave the room so I could read. Reading is still my favorite way to relax. My second way to relax is to soak in a warm bubble bath. When I can do both? Paradise. I remember my kids knocking on the bathroom door, assuring me I would look like a prune if I didn’t get out soon. Sadly, the tub in the house I’m in is too shallow, but I still have reading.
I guess my hobby, if you can call it that, was volunteering. I helped at the community center, the senior center, and joined various service clubs. I was once given an award for community service. It was a very proud moment.
How long have you been writing?
The first thing I can remember writing was a poem in iambic pentameter about a trip to a western-themed amusement park. That was in the fourth grade. By high school, I was writing a column in the local newspaper, and they assigned me an occasional teen-related feature story. I worked for newspapers all through my college years (I had experience!) and after graduation journalism was my first career. But I majored in history and decided to write a book about my hometown. One book led to another and I ended up writing eight local history books. I dabbled in fiction, not seriously, until I was ready to take an early retirement. Then I got serious. Scandal’s Bride is my twelfth book.
Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?
I write on my comfy couch with a laptop. When I remember, I set in on a lap desk my son bought me. I like solitude, but I’ve written in hospital waiting rooms, airports, coffee shops, even a casino. I can shut out the noise and concentrate on the world I’m writing about.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
|Pamela's writing spot.|
I am a dedicated pantser to the chagrin of my spouse who thinks I’d be much happier as a plotter. Nope. I get a vague plot in my head, get a good solid first chapter, and then I begin to write. When the first draft is done, I go back and review it for plot progression and structure. My next draft works on timeline issues, and boy is this a bugaboo for me. I am forever squeezing too much action into too little time. My third look is for words that I tend to overuse or words that have no need to be there: that, pulled, up, so, it and many passive verbs. Word search is so nice. Other things I look for? Tells (instead of shows), and sentences that I really don’t need (even if I love them). In the final read through I look for typos. Then I give it to my husband who finds everything I missed.
Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?
I write when the sun comes up until about nine in the morning. In winter, the sun is not up when I need it, but my internal clock gets me up about five or five thirty. I fortify myself with black coffee and a hearty snack and I begin. My biggest distraction is social media. I have to turn off wifi sometimes to make sure I do my work. During the day I grab an hour here and there. I have no set goals for the day. I do set goals for the year every January. But my daily routine depends on what else is going on in my life. The early morning hours are usually free, so they’re mine.
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise readers.
When asked this question I always give the same answer because it’s important. In 2006 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The tumor was tiny and it was revealed by my annual mammogram. I underwent surgery and radiation. I did not have chemotherapy. I was lucky because I almost skipped it that year. Do not skip your mammogram, ladies. It is so important. It saved my life.
What advice would you give to unpublished authors?
First, make sure you have trained yourself to write a publishable book. Read craft books, go to conferences, or take on-line courses. Second, finish your book, read it several times, make sure you’ve applied what you’ve learned. Then enter a few contests. Look for ones that give you feedback. A numerical score doesn’t cut it. You will get feedback you may want to ignore. But you do not want to ignore advice that is consistent and seems to follow a pattern. Third, make your changes and submit. Only a few publishers will accept un-agented manuscripts for consideration, but there are some good ones. If you self publish, make sure you’ve hired an indie editor. These people are jewels. I still use one for my contemporaries. Finally, never give up. If you’re looking for an agent, your road might be rougher. Not all agents respond. If you are not going after an agent, you have lots of opportunities to publish, and to improve. I’m a big fan of Romance Writers of America because of the resources available. Join them and use what’s offered.
What has helped you in your writing career?
I was fortunate that my closest RWA chapter was in San Francisco and I joined an amazing group of women (a few men, too) who shared their knowledge, provided good speakers, ran a good contest, and encouraged me every step of the way. But the biggest help is what I’ve learned from reading. I write in two romance genres, but I read others. I love historical fiction, thrillers, mysteries, paranormals, you name it. I am a reader and that helps me be a writer. One other crucial element for me has been my husband, who is partially disabled now. He is my cheerleader. He scolds me when I have bad days and I refuse to write. “Get words on the page. Edit them later
,” he says. He reads my books. He critiques them. He designs my indie covers and format and uploads the books to the publishing sites. Love that man!
What do you hope your writing brings to readers?
|Mark and Pamela at the|
wedding of their daughter
When I read a book, I want to escape into a different world. It’s also nice to learn something I didn’t know before. While I can’t always accomplish the second goal, I most certainly try to accomplish the first. I want my readers to become my characters, to feel what they’re feeling, even if it’s only for a few hours. My Regencies are more relational, although my first, Scandal’s Child
, did have information about early treatments for the blind. My contemporary books, about a family living in the wine country, do contain information about growing grapes, the job of an event planner, wine-making, and other information not well known. There’s also a heroine who is a cultural archeologist. I did that job briefly. It was fun, but not as much fun as writing.
Tell us about your latest release.
is my second Regency. It’s a marriage of convenience trope about a woman who is desperate to escape the suitor her father has chosen and a man who is in dire need of money. Trusted friends have convinced them they can be each other’s solution. They meet, agree to wed with conditions, and move to Yorkshire. They establish a firm friendship, but when attraction begins to grow, they encounter both personal and external obstacles. It’s a story of faith overcoming doubt and of course, it has a happy ending.
GENRE: Historical (Regency)
Marry in haste…
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.
He pushed his hair back with his palm and turned his head to look at her. “I am sorry, Gwen. I don’t know what happened. One moment we were playing like children, and the next . . .”
She could only look at him, this beautiful man who had given her a wonderful moment. She’d wanted him to kiss her since the wedding, and finally he had, and it was as splendid as she’d imagined.
Still tingling from the encounter, she rose to a sitting position and put her arms around John’s back, feeling his body tense. “No need to apologize. I believe it is quite appropriate for married couples to share kisses, even though we are not exactly in the most romantic of settings.”
He seemed to relax as he disengaged her arms. “You are an understanding woman, Gwen. I nearly embarrassed you here in a place where workmen are at this moment trudging up the stairs with a piece of furniture.”
“Oh dear.” Her face flamed as she stood, smoothed her skirt, and tucked a wisp of hair behind her ear.
John stood as well, leaning down to wipe a smudge from her nose. “It shall not happen again. I promise.”
But I want it to happen again. And more.
She meandered into the sitting room and back to her bedchamber. Pausing in front of the long windows, she gazed at the ruined walls of the abbey, her emotions still in turmoil. This was indeed a dilemma of the first order.
|Pamela Gibson, Author|
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 the last three 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. Sadly, the gran-lizard went to his final reward. If you want to learn more about her activities go to https://www.pamelagibsonwrites.com
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