The interview series with members of my Twitter community continues with author Pamela Turner. Enjoy!
Bio: The Shadow aspect of the human condition fascinates me. A former Christian turned atheist, I find myself examining the dark side of human nature and what compels people to commit deeds we consider evil.
My characters are often those who are obsessed with control or vengeance. Perhaps this is a response to my childhood and growing up with a controlling father. After all, isn’t writing a type of therapy and an inexpensive one at that?
But I digress. Early writing is almost always obviously emotive, drawing on the author’s lack of subtlety. But even then my themes were dark and foreshadowed what I would write today.
Of course, like many authors, I’ve held different jobs: freelance magazine writer, exotic dancer, artist model, secretary, substitute teacher… I’ve been homeless, living in shelters, and I’ve taken flying lessons. (I had to give that up because of bad depth perception.) I’ve talked with abused women and with an English lord. And it is these experiences that have shaped me as a writer, however subconsciously. But if they help give my writing a certain measure of depth then it’s worth it.
Q: What is your genre? Why did you choose it?
PT: Urban fantasy and paranormal. I enjoy reading mystery, fantasy, and horror/supernatural. While in college, I wrote poetry and focused on literary stories. But after failing to achieve publication, except for a poem in Taproot Literary Review, I decided to return to writing genre fiction. This after a stint as a freelance magazine writer. That said, I enjoy literature and even had a short ten-minute play locally performed.
Q: How many books have you published? Legacy published, self-published, or a combination?
Q: A reviewer said of your book: "Turner has a very interesting take on angels." Would you tell us more about your take on angels, and how these ideas developed?
PT: During my research on angels, I discovered there's often a fine line between holy and fallen, depending on the source you're reading. In my stories, I tend to play with the idea of good and evil, turning it over on its proverbial head. Not so much in Death Sword, true, but in the other books I'm writing/revising.
For me, angels are terrifying. There's a reason people fell on their knees in the Bible. I don't know about you, but if I see a winged being coming at me with a scythe that has a five foot long blade, I'm out of there. LOL Putting them in a human guise makes them more accessible but that power is always present. In Serpent Fire, the second planned book in the Angels of Death series, the Seraphim are portrayed as absolute dictators who destroy their enemies with Seraphic fire. By contrast, in my urban fantasy work in progress, Lucifer helps Zaphkiel, a Throne angel, when the city is attacked by Sorath, a sun demon. (Both of these stories are in the revision stages but I hope to submit them this year.)
Q: Do you sell copies of your novel, or other works, directly from your website?
PT: At this point, no, but that could change in the near future.
Q: How much time do you spend on Twitter each week? Do you have a Facebook Fan Page?
Q: Do you blog? How often? Strictly professional or a blend of all things?
PT: I have a blog, Haunted Dreams, Dark Destinies, which focuses on speculative/dark genre fiction. It's a blend of the occasional review, author interviews/promos, and general discussions.
Q: Do you have a motto or favorite quote you turn to on tough writing days?
PT: It's not really a motto. My husband was a soldier in Vietnam and was hit by a rocket. He nearly lost his life. If he can make it through a combat zone, two divorces, etc., then I can get through any writing problem. Never give in. Never give up.
Q: Have you outsourced editing, cover design, formatting, web design, marketing, etc?
PT: Not yet. But at some point, I probably will.
Q: Do you work with a writing group?
PT: I belong to several writing groups, mostly online. While I enjoy the networking opportunities, I prefer to work with individuals on such things as critiques. There is a local group I plan to contact, to see if we're a good match. (I met some members at a local con this past summer.)
Q: When you did you first decide to self-publish? How much time did it take to get from an idea to an ebook on Amazon?
PT: At this point, I've only self-published some flash fiction and a vampire short story. I am thinking of self-publishing an urban fantasy but I need to finish writing it. That's a long-term project, and several factors will affect my decision.
Q: Have you published any of your work for free? Why or why not?
PT: "Initiation," the vampire story mentioned above is available on Scribd. One of these days, I'll post it on Smashwords. I also have another blog, The Sepulchral Library, where I post free dark genre flash fiction. I want to give readers a chance to sample my work, see if they like it.
Q: What tips or advice would you offer to writers who are about to join the self-published community?
PT: Although it's been said before, I think it bears repeating: revise. No matter how good you think your story is, it can be improved. Find other writers and readers and have them critique/beta read your work. Writers can look for plot problems, character inconsistencies, etc. Readers (and writers) will tell you if the book grabs them, makes them want to continue. And be aware of scams. Check Writer Beware, Preditors and Editors, and Absolute Write before making any commitments.
Q: Is there another writer (or two) in the Twitterverse that you would recommend newbies follow?
PT: Bob Mayer @Bob_Mayer - Straightforward advice on publishing, whether traditional or self-publishing. I follow many wonderful authors, publisher
s, and editors on Twitter, too many to name. If you're new to Twitter, find and follow authors you enjoy reading. I'm always surprised and grateful when a published author follows me.
Q: What is coming up for you in the next few months?
PT: I hope to get at least two books ready for submission. I have three short novels I'm revising and four partially finished works-in-progress. Meantime, I have a file of story ideas so when I do start a new manuscript, I won't have to look far for inspiration.
Q: Do you have (or are planning) any audio books?
PT: Not yet. Sounds fun, though. Graphic novels would be cool, too.
Q: Have you done a blog tour? Any advice or cautions?
PT: I did my own sort of unconventional blog tour, but not an "official" one. If you go to my site, you can read interviews/guest posts I've done.
Q: Do you create an outline before beginning a new book?
PT: Oh, yeah. I don't follow it exactly but it keeps me focused on the overall plot. I also write a detailed synopsis, character charts and GMCs, etc.
Q: Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time?
PT: Yes. I like working on multiple projects because if I can't get anywhere with one, I'll move on to another. Keeps writers' block at bay.
Q: Do you use specialty software?
PT: I can't resist software. Don't know how many demo versions I've tried. Currently, my favorite is yWriter. I use it to help me plot my story and develop my characters. I also use Dramatica Pro but it's more intensive. For actual writing, I use Microsoft Word.
Q: Tell us about some of the hurdles you've cleared on the path to becoming an author. Did you have any idea at the start what the process really entailed?
PT: My high school teachers and college professors were my biggest advocates. Family? Not so much. They told me to get a "real" job. (Later, I would get paid for writing articles.) My parents also insisted I'd never be famous like Stephen King and only a few writers "make" it. I suppose it was good to hear that advice early on. I was able to go into writing knowing there would be obstacles. Whether or not I face them is up to me.
Q: What is the best comment/compliment you have received about your work?
Q: Let's flip things around for a moment. As a reader, which of the following do you take into consideration when deciding whether or not to purchase a book?
PT: Reader reviews: It depends on. If it's obvious the reviewer hasn't read the book or has a
personal vendetta, then no. But it the review is well-thought out, articulate, and backs up
statements with examples, I'll give it consideration.
Number of books already sold: Not at all. With the economy being the way it is
and so many books on the market, it's difficult for some authors to make sales.
Book cover: It can. Often, the artwork is what catches my eye, makes me pick
the book up. For example, I love the cover of Thomas E. Sniegoski's Where Angels
Fear to Tread. So I bought it, not having any idea if I would like the story or not.
Turns out I love it and the Remy Chandler series has become one of my favorites.
Word-of-mouth: If the recommendation comes from someone who knows my reading
tastes. Word of mouth is considered one of the best forms of advertising. I think
Zig Ziglar said that, but not sure.
Book summary: I would say this is probably the biggest reason for me to become
interested in a book. Then reviews would be the next deciding factor.
Author's blog: It's not necessary but I will occasionally check out a blog. My concern
is when an author uses their blog to bash reviewers or other authors. Not cool and I'll
likely stay away.
Author's Facebook, Twitter, and other social media: I like this as a way to find out
about an author's book, signing, etc. As long as I'm not spammed.
Book price: This can be a consideration. That's why sample chapters are great as a
way to preview the book. That said, does my husband know what he unleashed when
he bought me the Kindle?
Thank you, Pamela, for sharing your publishing experiences with us! We wish you continued success, and hope you'll come back and share updates with us in the spring!
This has been fun, Ashley. Thanks for having me!