We are pleased to present an interview with Pam Ripling, winner of the Golden Wings Award and author of romantic women’s fiction, young adult fiction, and paranormal-romantic-mysteries. Welcome Pam!
Pam, you write for the romance, mystery, and the young adult markets. Is it difficult to change hats, and do you ever work on more than one genre at a time?
I do, and I find it difficult to change gears—probably why it took me a few years to finish my second middle grade reader when I was churning out romance novels much more quickly. The two genres are so different, and it takes more effort for me to get into the mindset of youth books. I worry more about authenticity of voice and culture with the middle readers. I feel I have much more flexibility with the adult stuff.
Do you take a different approach to the mystery when it’s for the middle-grade market?
Well, yes. What would seem mysterious to a twelve-year-old might fly right by an adult, and vice versa. Kids have a different focus; they can be much more “in the moment” than adults, thereby catching some types of details we would never notice. Interest level, obviously, varies widely as well. I see the whole interest/ability/availability of titles shifting downward. Teens reading what was formerly reserved only for adults, young teens reading teen lit and children and adolescents diving into more mature themes every day.
Your most recent novel,”Point Surrender”, and your upcoming release, “Cape Seduction”, each take place around lighthouses. Where did your fascination with lighthouses begin, and what additional element do you think these unique locations add to the story?
I thought you’d never ask!! I can’t really say when or where it started. The first lighthouse I visited was Old Point Loma in northern San Diego. I went there by myself, stopped off after a business trip to S.D. I was amazed by the feelings that came forth when I stepped inside. From then on, it became a quest to visit, photograph, study as many lighthouses as I could. I even joined the U.S. Lighthouse Society.
As far as story, goes, to me, lighthouses provide an unparalleled setting for mystique and romance. Lonely, isolated, romantic, mysterious, protectors, beacons, historical, challenged… these are some of the words I gather from others when I ask what comes to mind when they think of lighthouses.
Can you give us the inside scoop on “Cape Seduction”? Who are the characters and what’s the story about?
Here’s the blurb: “In 1949, up-and-coming starlet Darla Foster goes missing after the release of Cape Seduction, a tragic romance filmed in a California lighthouse. Now, sixty years later, the long abandoned lighthouse is causing trouble for its present-day owners. Has the sexy, eccentric actress returned to avenge her stolen life?”
What’s fun and unique about this novel is that it takes place in both 1948/49 and 2009/10. The chapters alternate between the two time periods, with two complete sets of characters that are both caught up in the aura of the lighthouse. Of course, the stories converge at the end, the mystery is solved, and the HEA shines in the sunset.
You also write under the nome de plume Anne Carter. Why did you decide to use different names for the various books?
Anne Carter is my middle and maiden names. Since I write for children as well as adults, I thought it might be prudent to separate the works so that young readers wouldn’t go looking for more work by Pam Ripling and come across an age-inappropriate story!
Congratulations are in order! Your short story “Just Like Jay” will be in the upcoming Sisters in Crime/LA anthology “Murder in La-La Land”. Was this a one-time venture into short stories, or do you plan to write more?
Definitely not a one-timer. I started my writing career in short fiction and even poetry. My first publishing credit came from THEMA Literary Journal, a short story I wrote after the passing of my father. I love the short format, so was excited to attempt and then submit my short to SinC/LA. I couldn’t be more thrilled for my work to have been accepted. And yes, I’ll continue to write shorts. They pose a great challenge after the freedom of 90K word novels.
I saw on your web site that you are considering self-publishing a book. Why choose a non-traditional route for this particular book?
First of all, I’ve always thought it might be a lark to self-pub. The working title of this book is THE UNMASKING OF PAULIE BINGHAM and it deals with a long-term relationship between a gay man and a straight woman. Takes place in 1980’s rock ‘n roll, London, Los Angeles, etc. Definitely out of the box, it’s quirky, romantic, and sometimes, tragic. Nothing like anything I’ve ever written, and I’d have to do a lot of research to see who might be interested in publishing it if I choose not to do it myself.
Can you tell us what’s up next for both Pam Ripling and Anne Carter?
CAPE SEDUCTION (Echelon Press) by Anne Carter will release for Kindle and other e-readers later this month and in trade paperback in Spring of 2010. Look for OLD ENOUGH by Pam Ripling, the next of the Midland School stories, to follow. Once I complete Paulie Bingham’s story, I will get to work on the third and final paranormal lighthouse mystery, working title MACKENZIE’S REACH.
Thank you, Pam, for a great interview! You can order Point Surrender here.