Whodunit Book Club was thrilled to welcome local thriller writer, Pamela Callow to club this month!
The author of the bestselling novel "Damaged" Pamela generously shared some of her experiences with getting her first book published, the writing process and some other background information.
A self-confessed bookworm as a child, she was a regular patron of the local Bookmobile. When she was eight years old, she decided that she wanted to write a book. She credits her junior high school English teacher with lighting the 'spark' that really got her started. Pam took an adult education class at Mount Saint Vincent University. It took her five years to get published.
Her very first novel (a time travel historical novel) is as yet unpublished. She intends to someday revisit this book, fine tune it, and perhaps try once more to get it published.
"Damaged" was based on an actual legal case from the United States in which the perpetrator was an oral surgeon, a funeral home was involved with tissue brokering, and a class action suit resulted from it! She decided to set the novel based on this case in Halifax. The first publisher she approached actually rejected "Damaged" based on the setting. Whodunit members appreciated the local setting so we could readily imagine the scenes in the novel. Pamela receives positive emails from all over the U.S. and Canada about "Damaged", so the setting is clearly not a deterrent to those readers!
There is a great book trailer for "Damaged" available on You Tube!
A lawyer, Pamela Callow's writing process was aided by her legal background. This helped when doing research for her novel and also helped to open doors to such places as the Halifax Police Department. Her husband, a physician was helpful with the medical side of the story.
Pamela Callow gave us some insight as to the incredibly hard work that is required to ensure that the continuity of plot and character development is maintained. This is especially important when writing a series. She claimed to be a 'plodder' when she spoke of her writing regime. She creates flow-charts, an outline, and a full back-story for all of her characters before beginning on the actual novel. With a four book contract, she has resigned from her legal career and now writes full time, seven days per week!
Whodunit members were curious about Alaska, the husky dog which was a character in "Damaged". She says he is based upon two dogs that belong to her brother. She also let us know that there would be dogs featured throughout the series.
The second novel in the Kate Lange series, "Indefensible" is due out December 2010. This novel features a wrongful accusation against Randall Barrett and occurs four months after "Damaged" ended.
She is currently working on "Tattooed", the third novel in the series.
She credits her excellent PR team with some of her success. The first printing of "Damaged" was 128,000 copies! A real coup for a first-time novelist.
She commented upon the cover art of her books. They will all center around a woman's face and water. This, she says is a semi-metaphor for characters that are figuratively 'drowning'.
The hidden staircase in Kate Lange's home is another recurring element in the series. Pam says it is a metaphor for Kate's life.
Pamela Callow graciously signed books for Whodunit members following the meeting.
Some photos of the signing are below.