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    3/15/2006
    Top Five Questions People Ask Me by Pamela Clare


    By Pamela Clare

    5. How old were you when you first started reading romance, and what was the first book you read?

    I was 15, and I read Kathleen Woodiwiss' THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER - and fell in love. After that it was SHANNA, THE WOLF AND THE DOVE and SWEET, SAVAGE LOVE. I knew then I wanted to write romance, and in fact I did start writing romance, or at least love scenes. My friends and I would write dorky love scenes, usually involving our getting locked inside the school building with whichever guy we had a crush on at the moment. For some reason - weak plotting - Mike O. and I were never able to unlock the door, or walk out or pick up a phone and call for help. Instead, we were left with no choice but to have sex. (After all, isn’t that what everyone does when they’re locked in a junior high school?) As I hadn't had sex at that age, I'm sure those love scenes were pretty weak on detail - lots of “moving in rhythm” and such. I still trade love scenes, but nowadays it's with published authors.


    4. Which is your favorite romance subgenre?
    Historical romances have always been my favorite. When I need to relax, nothing helps carry me away from my day like a good historical romance. It’s like slipping into a hot bath. In addition, my college degree was in classics—Latin, Greek, archaeology. I love the past. I love researching the details of daily life. I love feeling that connection to people who lived before us. It’s natural that I would want to write historicals

    For me, the best historicals blend history seamlessly into the story so that it doesn’t feel like a history lesson. But the history has to be there. I’m disappointed by books that skimp on the history or that have anachronistic characters who behave like people behave today. I’m also most satisfied by books with an epic feel to them—“meaty” reads that really involve my emotions. So that’s what I try to write. How well I succeed is something for my readers to decide..
    I like writing the American Colonial period because of the mix of cultures and the raw, physical environment. Also, my own family has roots that extend back to 1610 on the European side and back to the Dawn of Time on the Cherokee side. My ancestors were involved in the events I write about, which makes them doubly fun to research. They were in Jamestown. They were part of the French and Indian War. They fought in the Revolution and on both sides of the Civil War. One of my great-great aunts was Mary Todd Lincoln’s dressmaker.

    I also love Celtic history and culture. Writing SURRENDER was fun because I got to write about Colonial events, while combining Scottish culture with that of American Indians.


    3. Which is your favorite book/hero/heroine you’ve written?

    Asking this is like asking me to choose from among my own children. For me the characters become real people, and I grow very attached to them. When I write their story, I “live with” them 24/7. For me, there are qualities that make each of my heroes and heroines special, and each story has aspects that I love. I think most authors feel this way.


    2. Where do you get your ideas from for your novels?

    Usually I get ideas from doing research. The idea for SURRENDER came to me while I was doing research for RIDE THE FIRE. They’re set only five years apart, RIDE THE FIRE in 1763 and SURRENDER in 1758 and involve the same basic event—the French and Indian War and its aftermath While researching RIDE THE FIRE, I came across multiple references to the Colonial American Rangers. I saw some newspaper excerpts from the time praising the heroism of the Rangers and found myself fascinated by their history and exploits. I bought histories of the Rangers, read diaries, and looked at more newspaper articles from the period. As my knowledge of that part of history grew, Iain MacKinnon and his brothers fell into place for me.

    Research is always the starting place for me. But sometimes other things come into play. Annie, the heroine, came from a dream. I dreamt I was running barefoot through a forest trying to get away from a war party. The dream ended when they caught me. (This is what happens when you do too much research; you start dreaming in history.) When I woke up, I knew I had my heroine.The kernel came from the rules that Colonial Rangers had to follow, including the requirement that they stick to their own mission and not deviate, even to save the lives of civilians under attack. What would happen if a very handsome Scot found himself forced to choose between following orders and saving the life of a beautiful young woman?


    1. Is your hair naturally curly?
    Believe it or not, this is the single question I get asked more than any other, even as a newspaper editor. I’ve lectured in university classrooms and had students raise their hands to ask this question (much to the embarrassment of their professors). I had a woman in Kinko’s argue with me about it until I was tempted to ask her if her breasts were real just to make a point. Yes, my hair is naturally curly. I get it from my mother, who got it from her Cherokee grandmother.

    I would love to answer other questions people might have! Please post away, and I’ll check back in later in the week.

    other interviews and articles links:

    Romance Reader's Connection Aug 2005
    The Romance Reader April 03
    Romancing the Store by Pamela Clare
    The long ride of Ride the Fire by Pamela Clare
    In search of the real Ireland by Pamela Clare
    9 Comments:
    1. To Pamela Clare - of all your books, which cover is your favourite? :)

      To Sybil - I'll get you, ye ken?!

      By Blogger McVane, at 3/14/2006 11:17:00 AM  

    2. I recall asking you for something, my favorite scottish lass ;).

      But you didn't give me anything! And then I fell asleep... I am not even gonna tell you what site I went to for that.

      By Blogger sybil, at 3/14/2006 11:33:00 AM  

    3. I love that HARD EVIDENCE cover! I've only managed to read EXTREME EXPOSURE and I really enjoyed it (but forgot to keep an eye out for the sequel, so thanks Sybil, on it goes to my wish list) -- my question is: why contemporaries? Was it primarily a business decision, or a creative need to branch out from historicals?

      And I'm still giggling over the jiggle stick.

      By Blogger meljean brook, at 3/14/2006 03:44:00 PM  

    4. I gotta say I"m loving that HARD EVIDENCE cover too!!!

      Maili is that you?

      By Blogger Amie Stuart, at 3/14/2006 04:27:00 PM  

    5. LOL meljean and Cece... scroll down just a touch ;)

      By Blogger sybil, at 3/14/2006 06:19:00 PM  

    6. I don't think it comes as any secret in the blog world that I am one of your biggest fans. And I don't mean this in a Kathy Batesish kind of way.
      I'm also a huge fan of the movie Last of the Mohicans (funny story there - but everyone has heard it - and laughed at me). When I read Ride the Fire and now while I'm reading Surrender, I can "picture" things so clearly in my mind since watching the movie. They aren't the same at all, but I think they take place in the same general area and around the same time. And I did kind of picture Nicolas as a bit of a Nathaniel look-a-like since I think he is so dreamy in that movie. A long preamble to a simple question, have you ever seen the movie Last of the Mohicans and did you like it?

      By Blogger Kristie (J), at 3/14/2006 06:31:00 PM  

    7. McVane, my favourite cover... The cover to SWEET RELEASE made me cry when I saw it because it so perfectly reflected Alec and Cassie, characters I'd been living with forever. I loved the cover to RIDE THE FIRE, at least I think I did. I had a hard time noticing anything beyond John DeSalvo's amazing nipple. And, of course, the covers to the contemps are luscious. I just got the cover to HARD EVIDENCE last week, and it's perfect! I squealed when I saw the scenes from Denver. Also, the couple in the story DO indulge in a wet and wild shower scene. So which is my favourite? It's between SWEET RELEASE and HARD EVIDENCE. Which do you like the most?

      Meljean—The jiggle stick comes from a real event, and my son is responsible for that name. No need for details, I hope. Ahem. I started writing contemporaries because of my day job. I'm a newspaper editor and have been an investigative reporter for 13 years. I'm one of the few romance novelists who's had a gun held on her, seen a teenager with his head shot literally off, or been locked up in jail. I've gotten death threats and had a stalker—all the result of being a journalist. I won't bore you with the details. But basically I was discussing the threat du jour with my agent, and she said, "Why don't you write romantic suspense? You live it." And I said, "Yeah, all except for the romantic part." And that's where the idea started. Confession: Prior to writing EXTREME EXPOSURE I hadn't even read a romantic suspense. Now I've read a handful. I don't read many contemporaries. I guess you could say I'm taking advantage of something I know a lot about. In November, some kook came to the office angry at me. He claimed to have explosives; he only had a gun. This is why I read historicals. :-)

      Cece—I'm glad you love the cover to HARD EVIDENCE.

      Kristie—I'm so glad you're enjoying the story! I see the scenes in my head when I write them, and the challenge is always to get what's on the page close to what I'm seeing. It's gratifying to know the stories create a visual image in your mind. I'd love to hear which scenes were your favourites when you finish (I'm trying really hard for British spelling here, since McVane kicked us off in that fashion.) Your question: YES, I loved LAST OF MOHICANS. Daniel Day-Lewis is incredibly sexy in that film. I've met one of the cast members (Russell Means) at a protest in Denver once. ;-)

      I write while listening to soundtracks, and I listened to the LotM soundtrack a lot while writing RTF. I listened to it for this book, also, but not nearly as much. It's kind of Nicholas' music. I listed to (get ready for the plug) Old Blind Dogs almost constantly while writing SURRENDER.

      Thanks for your questions, everyone. I hope you're enjoying the various excerpts.

      By Anonymous Pamela Clare, at 3/14/2006 09:37:00 PM  

    8. This is so cool! You're now on my shopping list =) LOL I can't write suspense to save my live but I LOVE Reading it.

      By Blogger Amie Stuart, at 3/15/2006 09:23:00 AM  

    9. *blush*

      Live=Life

      And I call myself a writer?

      By Blogger Amie Stuart, at 3/15/2006 10:55:00 AM  

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