An Interview With Pamela Callow

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Pamela CallowInspired by a criminal case in the United States, and drawing on her professional career at a blue-chip firm, Pamela Callow wrote Damaged, the first of four planned books in the Kate Lange series. Damaged was released by MIRA Books in June 2010. Indefensible, book #2 of the series, was inspired by recent wrongful accusation cases, and was released in January 2011. Tattooed, the third book of the series will be released in June 2012, and a fourth is projected to be released in 2012, as well.

You can find Pam on Facebook, and on Twitter. If you’d like to receive her newsletter, sign up here.

Pam currently lives in Halifax, with her husband, two children, and a pug.

cncbooks: If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently in your writing career?

Pam: So far, there hasn’t been anything I’ve wished I could do over in my writing career. Every setback I’ve had, every rejection I’ve received, I’ve learned from  — and those things have helped me get to where I am today.  I have no regrets.

cncbooks: If you were a castaway on a desert island, what 5 things would you want with you?

Pam: I’m making two assumptions: first, that “things” does not include my family or my dog. And second, that this island has wifi…So the five things I’d want are: coffee, chocolate, my laptop, my cell phone, and a really comfortable bed!

cncbooks: What is the one thing you would say about Nova Scotia to lure tourists?

Pam: It has the purest air, and an ocean at your doorstep.

cncbooks: What does Kate Lange do for fun?

Pam: She is a keen runner, loves to travel, enjoys eating out with her friends and is learning to cook.

cncbooks: What has been the toughest criticism you’ve been given as an author?

Pam: I write character-driven thrillers. All of my characters are flawed, including Kate. Some people don’t like that. At first, it stung, but then you realize at an intellectual level that not everyone has to love your work. So you do what you feel is right and true.

cncbooks: What has been the best compliment?

Pam: That my readers can’t put my books down – and that for a few of them, my books have served as a distraction from tragic circumstances in their lives

Indefensiblecncbooks: Do you carry on conversations with Kate while you’re working on the story?

Pam: Yes. At the beginning of the book, when I’m trying to get myself into Kate’s head, we write the occasional letter to each other. You know, “So what’s going on with you?”

cncbooks: Who did you pretend to be when you were a kid?

Pam: I can’t think of anyone I particularly idolized. I tended to have a great fantasy life – so I pretended to be any character who caught my fancy when I was reading!

cncbooks: What do you reward yourself with after meeting a writing goal?

Pam: If it’s a small goal – ie. Staying ahead of schedule, I like to reward myself by relaxing in front of the TV. I swear by my DVR. I love to watch shows like So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol. I’m also a diehard True Blood and Rome fan. On a larger scale, when I finish a book, I usually reward myself by not thinking about my book for a few days! I hang out with my kids, grab a coffee with my friends, and catch up on all the untended domestic chores.Then my editor calls, and we head into revisions.

cncbooks: Your themes are anything but fluffy—did you set out to do thrillers or did Kate take you in that direction?

Pam: I set out to write thrillers. I love the puzzle of the mystery and the suspense, but most of all, I like to explore the impact of crime at the most personal level. I like to remove the psychological distance of reading about a crime in the newspaper and make it real. But I wanted a lead character in my books who was just an ordinary woman with no particular crime solving skills, someone who had to dig deep to do the right thing – and to survive. And that is Kate.

cncbooks: What do you read for pleasure when you’re writing?

Pam: Very little. I work until late at night when I’m working on a draft. I read a lot of research texts. But when I’m writing, I like to keep my mind focused on my story. However, I’m just finishing Andre Agassi’s memoir Open, which I find quite fascinating, but I doubt I’ll read anything else for pleasure until Tattooed is delivered.

cncbooks: What’s next for Kate and you?

Pam: Kate meets her alter ego, a tattoo artist, in Tattooed, the third book. After that… who knows? I’ll have to see how the third book ends for her and then figure out where she goes from there for the fourth book. Her life – and mine, right now – is quite unpredictable.

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