Monday, February 28, 2011

Hanging out with author, Pamela Callow + Giveaway

Can you please share with the readers a bit about yourself?
Hi, Cheryl! Thanks so much for having me here today. I’m a thriller writer, mom of two, owner of a mischievous pug, and dedicated coffee lover. I grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Living by the ocean has shaped my life and my work. I’m also a member of the NS bar and worked as a strategy consultant for Accenture Consulting before turning my hand to writing.

I love to walk, hike, and go camping with my family. My favorite daydream is to travel around the world.

Do you have a morning routine?
I’m a morning person – at least after I have a cup of coffee! After I get my kids off to school, I go for a power walk with my dog, and then I come home and get to work. I spend the first hour going through emails and social networking. Then I dig into my work in progress.

Do you prefer the peace and quiet when you are writing or do you listen to music?
Interesting question! I wrote DAMAGED, the first book of my thriller series, in a coffee shop. I needed the break from working at home, and didn’t mind the chatter around me. Now I mostly work from home, and I like to work in quiet. However, I do find that music inspires me. I love to watch So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol, and I often will hear a song that speaks to me about the theme or mood of my book.

For example, when I heard Jeff Buckley’s version of “Hallelujah” – which is very haunting and melancholy – I immediately visualized the first scene I wrote for INDEFENSIBLE (it eventually was moved to the middle of the book): Randall Barrett, the managing partner of Kate Lange’s law firm, sitting in a concrete prison cell after his whole life came crashing down on him.

I read that you have always been fascinated by crime, which explains your career in law and your books. When did you decide you wanted to be an author?
Oh, when I was around eight years old. I was a devoted bookworm as a child, and could lose myself in a book. I remember telling my older brother that I could write a book. He, of course, said I couldn’t. That was the moment when my desire crystallized. Then, in junior high school, I had an English teacher who taught creative writing. She fanned the spark. However, I didn’t actually pursue writing as a career until several decades later. I was home with my two young children, and needed an outlet. After not having written a word of fiction since junior high school, I enrolled in a creative writing course, which I attended one evening a week. Then I took another. It gave me the skills to try my hand at writing a novel. It took about eight years of hard work to become a published author.

How important would you say it is to write from experience? Example your heroine, Kate Lange is a lawyer and you had a career in law.
Sharing the same experiences as Kate Lange definitely helped in terms of shaping her character and plotting my books. In fact, my goal in creating her character was to share my experiences working in a blue-chip corporate environment. I wanted to show the politics, the ambitions, the struggles and insecurities of a high-pressure environment.

On the other hand, some of my other characters are in occupations with which I’ve had no experience, ie. Homicide detective Ethan Drake. Since I write in their point of view, I spend a lot of time researching and interviewing experts in their fields. I’ve been very fortunate to that these busy experts have been so generous with their time.

Did you have a vision for what you wanted Kate to be like?
Yes. DAMAGED was based on an actual criminal case, but I wanted to create a character who had no real crime-solving skills. I wanted the lead to be a woman in her thirties who is just coming into her own. Someone who has known heartbreak, who has bills to pay, whose dream job ends up being less than dreamy. But Kate is a survivor, and believes in doing the right thing. She’s an ordinary person put into an extraordinary situation.

There are so many serial killer books out. How do you keep things new and refreshing?

Several ways. First of all, only the first book of the series has a serial killer, and that was because the case that inspired DAMAGED’s plot was conducive to having a killer who had numerous victims, ie. a serial killer. And the series is set in Halifax, which to date has not had a serial killer. So it created an element of tension in the book for the homicide team.

But in my mind, the book is really about the case that is tangential to the serial killing, the people who are caught up in it on so many levels – and how they deal with the serial killer in their midst. As well, because I was aware of the fact that there are many books about serial killers, I created one who has a unique issue.

Having the serial killer in the first book, also created many story threads for INDEFENSIBLE (book #2), as Kate deals with the ramifications of surviving an attack of a serial killer.

How many Kate Lange books can we expect?
There are currently four books under contract. DAMAGED (June 2010) and INDEFENSIBLE (January 2011) are available everywhere books are sold. The third book in the series, TATTOOED, will be released in June 2012.

Can you briefly share about book three, Tattooed?
I’m excited about this book because there is a cold case – and I love forensic anthropology. I’ve also been fascinated by the mainstreaming of tattooing over the past few years, so in TATTOOED, Kate goes head-to-head with her alter ego: a tattooed artist who is connected to a traumatic event in her past.

Any last words?
Writing this series has been a rollercoaster ride for me. I’ve been so appreciative of the emails and reviews from readers and bloggers. I love to hear from readers, so please drop by my website, or hang out on my FB Book Page: We have fun there!

Thank you for this interview. I am a fan of your books!
Thank you, Cheryl! I really appreciate you featuring me on your blog!

Author Bio

I was born in Ontario, Canada, the youngest child of two immigrants. My mother emigrated from East Germany after World War II. My British father was hired to work as an engineer on the ill-fated Avro Arrow project.

At the age of two, my family moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Growing up by the ocean has shaped my life, and has, in turn, shaped my writing. I attended the University of King's College, where I took the Foundation Year Program, studying the greatest works of Western Civilization. I graduated with an undergraduate degree in English Literature. Following that, I studied law and was admitted to the Nova Scotia Bar. I've always had an interest in public policy, so I returned to university to complete a Master's Degree in Public Administration.

I then worked as a strategy consultant for an international consulting firm, travelling all over North America. When I had my first child, my local office closed. I decided to stay home with my young family, a period in my life for which I am very grateful. It also gave me an opportunity to exhume an old passion: writing.

Inspired by a criminal case in the United States, and drawing on my professional career at blue-chip firms, I wrote Damaged, the first of four planned books in the Kate Lange series. Kate is my everywoman superwoman. Damaged will be released by MIRA Books in June 2010. The next book in the series, Indefensible, will come out in January 2011. The third, Tattooed, is planned for the summer of 2011, and the fourth in June 2012.

You can find me on Facebook, and on Twitter. If you'd like to receive my newsletter, sign up here.

I currently live in Halifax, with my husband, two children, and a pug.

I have a copy of INDEFENSIBLE to give away. US and Canada only. Sorry. Please leave a comment or question for Pamela or share what you like about this series. Leave a email address. A winner will be picked on March 12th.

As if reading this interview was not enough to convince you to read these books, than enjoy my review of Indefensible.

Attorney Kate Lange is back. Before Kate can get too comfy, her boss calls. Randall Barrett has just become the prime suspect in his ex-wife’s murder. Helping Randall is going to take all of Kate’s strength. On one hand, Kate wants to believe Randall is innocent but on the other hand the facts are hard to ignore.

Detective Ethan Drake is adamant about stopping a killer. No children should have to find their mother’s body. Can Detective Drake prevent the killer from claiming another victim?

Indefensible is the second Kate Lange novel. This book can be read as a stand alone novel, though you are going to want to read the first book, Damaged as this series is that good. I like Kate. She is a fighter. Ethan was also great. He is like a blood hound. Once he goes down a path, he sticks with it until the bitter end. To be honest I never thought the clues leading me to a certain character as the killer was right and I had my opinions about who it was. Of course I was wrong. Indefensible is a one seat read and a book that you will want to read again and again.


niteofblu said...

The book sounds great and I'd love to read it!

niteofblu at gmail dot com

PoCoKat said...

Now that you have based your thrillers in Halifax, do you look at your home town differently?

pocokat AT gmail DOT com

Book Flame said...

wow after reading the interview I am interested to read it...officially on my tbr!

Brenda said...

Do you put a lot of yourself into your books? The book sounds fabulous would love to read it.

dancealert at aol dot com

skkorman said...

I would love to read this book—please enter me to win!

skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

Pamela Callow said...

Hi PoCoKat - great question! The answer is yes, I do. It makes me explore outside of my usual stomping grounds, and think about settings differently. It has also made my local readers view places they know differently, too!

Thanks for dropping by!


Pamela Callow said...

Hi Brenda -

I do put a lot of myself into the books. There are definitely bits of me in Kate - I wanted to share my own career experiences in my novels, so she encounters situations and personalities I have encountered (although thankfully, no serial killers! :)) As a mom, I carried the characters of the kids, Nick and Lucy, very close to my heart in INDEFENSIBLE - and some of those scenes were tough to write!


Pamela Callow said...

Thanks niteofblu, Book Flame, and skkorman for dropping by!


Vanetta said...

Would love to read this book, winning it would be great! Thanks for the blog... Great information!

Vanetta at ymail dot com

Gingermommy said...

I love crime books and I love that the author is Canadian :)

Rhoda said...

I read damaged...just havent gotten around to picking up a copy of the latest book.

Neri said...

These books sound exciting, I am always excited to find new authors, should these books be read in order? Thanks for posting this giveaway and interview.

Mariee said...

Great interview! I would love to win a copy.

marieimy (at) gmail (dot) com

Toni said...

Sounds fascinating! Look forward to reading it.

reikibirth at gmail dot com

Carol N Wong said...

I love strong women in mysteries. Was it easy or difficult to write the attack scene that Kate survived?


Lou said...

I was reading a book by J.T. Ellison and noticed an advertisment for Pamela Callow,s book Damaged.

I have just finished reading Damaged and have this to say.
I am an avid reader of thrillers, in particular ones that have continuing characters. DAMAGED is BRILLIANT. I loved it and would love to read Pamela,s new book.

Thank you Pamela for a fantastic read.

Pamela Callow said...

HI Neri -

To answer your question - each book stands on its own, but if you like to follow a series, then I would read DAMAGED (book #1) first. INDEFENSIBLE takes place 4 months after DAMAGED ends, and Kate is dealing with some fallout from the first book.



Pamela Callow said...

HI Carol,

It was actually an "easy" scene to write in the sense that by the time I got that point in the book, I could picture exactly what needed to happen. I remember starting those chapters in the afternoon, and then writing for five hours that night without stopping - my heart was racing, my fingers were trembling - I was as freaked out as Kate was! The scene still scares my editor and gets my heart going (and that's after we've read it many, many times!).

Pamela Callow said...

Hi Lou - Thank you so much! I'm thrilled you enjoyed DAMAGED. :)


Pamela Callow said...

Hi everyone,

Thanks for leaving such nice comments and entering the contest!

Just want to issue an invitation to you all to drop by my FB Book Page, where my readers and I hang out. We chat about the series, writing, life,'s a fun group. :)

I also post events, giveaways, etc. on this page.


A Journey in Reading said...

These books sound great. I love crime/mystery/thriller books and I will definitely have to add these to my list to be read.

Great interview and thank you to Pamela for the interview!

readingwithpassion at gmail dot com

momofbestbaby said...

would love to win this would be great with this econmy to win something not much money on a very low budget ty for having this

Wander said...

I love the interview and the books sound great!
I want to read them all.
Are any available for my nook?

Pamela Callow said...

Thanks so much, Wander! My series is available in all major e-Book formats: Nook, Kindle, Kobo, as well as audio and mass market paperback.



Carina L. Tai said...

Sounds wonderful :)


Barbara said...

Sounds like a very interesting book. Good read. Will start reading the series.

Sadie said...

What a great sounding book!

Sheryl :) said...

I haven't read the first book in the series, but after reading this interview, they both sound really good! How hard is it to write about a serial killer? How do you come up with ideas?

(glad this contest is open to Canadian residents.. It's hard to find contests that are open to anything other than the US!)

Pamela Callow said...

Hi Sheryl,

My plots are usually inspired by news stories. Kate Lange, my main character, was inspired by desire to share my experiences working in a blue-chip firm.

In answer to your question asking how hard is it to write about serial killers, I find it one of the more challenging parts of writing thrillers. I do a lot of research to understand backgrounds, motivations, and common characteristics, which involves reading case analyses from both a criminal and psychiatric perspective. It can be very disturbing. I keep the actual violence off the page in my books, though.

And with regards to the contest - since I'm Canadian, don't want to exclude my fellow Canucks! :)


Unknown said...

I guess, it's late to win a book Indefensible. Still I would like to leave a comment. I am happy to discover you, Pamela Callow. I really enjoyed reading Damaged. Unique style, keeps you on the edge of your seat from the very beginning. I would even say, breath taking. I am looking forward to new books of yours. From now on, wherever I go, I am asking for your books. Thank you!

Shirin Mak said...

I guess, it's late to win a book Indefensible. Still I would like to leave a comment. I am happy to discover you, Pamela Callow. I really enjoyed reading Damaged. Unique style, keeps you on the edge of your seat from the very beginning. I would even say, breath taking. I am looking forward to new books of yours. From now on, wherever I go, I am asking for your books. Thank you!