UTC: Thank you so much for stopping by, Pamela. We know you’re a busy lady and we appreciate your time! Now it’s time to for me to ask the questions! You dedicate Breaking Point to the hundreds of murdered and missing women of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. How did the story of Breaking Point come to be?
I had covered Las Muertas de Juárez many years ago, and I knew the situation hadn’t improved. If anything, it has gotten much worse. It horrifies me to think of a place on earth where women are hunted. I also knew that Juárez was the most dangerous place on earth for journalists outside of a war zone. It seemed to me that I should send Natalie there.
I spent some time wondering who her hero would be. The preview that was stuck in the end of Naked Edge features a very different Zac. In that version, Zac and Natalie knew each other from the storm, when Zac aided her in some way. I started writing the book that were. And. It. Just. Wouldn’t. Budge. So I had to look hard at the characters to find the story I really wanted to tell. It didn’t come overnight. When I decided that they would be strangers and that he would be chained to the wall in the cell next door, just a voice in the darkness, the pieces fell into place.
In the final story, his name is spelled with an “h” on the end because I didn’t like Zac. It felt too hard to me for some reason.
UTC: As a romantic suspense writer, how do you find the right balance between the romance and the elements of danger?
I’m not sure. Part of it is that I don’t plot. I try to tell an organic story that is focused on characters. For me, the thread of the story is the emotional state of the characters, not the events. I try to create people who feel real to me. Because I never, ever write out of order and I never know what’s coming, I just focus on emotional authenticity. Some character moments are in response to the suspense thread, and some are in response to the hero and heroine’s growing attraction and love for one another. I try to make it as real as I can. I wouldn’t have the heroine admiring the hero’s biceps when they’re under fire, and I wouldn’t neglect a genuine opportunity for them to notice one another sexually, taking into account their own issues and what the relationship means to them.
I don’t sit and think to myself, “OK, time for some romance. Or, okay, time for some bullets and blood and adrenaline.” I don’t divide up scenes or have any plan for how many sex scenes the story will have or where they’ll go.
UTC: You write the most amazing band of heroes I have read in a long time! I can never choose between any of them! But I think Marc Hunter has my heart. *sigh* What is one quality that all heroes should have?
I’m so happy you feel that way!
All heroes should use their strength for good. I’m a firm adherent to the notion of the hero-warrior, a man who uses his strength to help those who are not as strong as he is. That could mean shovelling snow off an old man’s sidewalk, helping a fatherless teen to stay out of trouble, or protecting women and kids. A true warrior isn’t an egoist who carries guns for show or who likes to flex his muscles, metaphorically speaking, to impress people. He puts the needs of others first. We see the archetype in characters like King Arthur and Aragorn. Service and selflessness are at the heart of any true warrior’s actions. Yes, they have their own needs and desires, but their duty to others comes first.
One rule I have for my heroes: They may never intentionally cause the heroine harm.
UTC: If Zach McBride had Twitter, what would he tweet to the other heroes?
BBQ & target practice @ our place 17:30. We have steaks. BYOB & Ammo. No you can’t touch my gun.
UTC: Keeping with the hero theme, If you could spend one day with one of your heroes, who would you choose and what would you do?
OMG. Well, we would be in bed together. Anything else is a waste of an I-Team hero, though I suppose it would rock to go skiing, rafting or canyoneering with Gabe — all things I love to do. (Marc shreds pretty well, too.) It might be fun to go on a SWAT call with Marc or hit the streets with Julian, maybe do a ride-along all night. I’d love to hang with Zach during one of his shifts — a fun thing for a reporter to do.
As for whom I’d choose? That’s almost impossible. I have to love them to be able to write them so that you all can love them. Having to choose…
Ask me later and it will change. 😉
UTC: Your heroines are all smart, strong and sexy! There is so much to love about each and every one of them! Out of all the heroines you have written, who is most like you?
I would have to say Kara. She’s a single mom, like I am. She’s the star on the team, which I have been. Some of her experiences are verbatim out of my real life, including the scene at the beginning of the book where she gets plastered at The Rio and says really naughty things. She does risky stuff.
UTC: You’ve got 5 seconds to grab a book to read off your bookshelf, which two books do you snatch?
Lord of the Rings and A Tale of Two Cities
UTC: How do you celebrate a release of a new book?
Typically, I’m online a lot, chatting with readers who’ve read it, hearing their responses, answering questions and just enjoying knowing that something I created is out in the world and that people are interacting with the story. The release of Breaking Point was just crazy. The month of May just vanished because of the intense response and the amount of time I spent talking to people, answering email and so on.
Privately at home it’s less of a celebration and more of a deep sigh. I do usually go out to dinner and have a glass of wine or champagne. But more than that I just need to gather all the parts of me that went into the book, bring them back and regroup. Writing a book is a huge emotional investment, at least for me, and I always feel very anxious before a book is released. At some point, I have to let that go.
UTC: Speaking of new releases, your historical romance series, the Mackinnon’s Rangers series is getting pimped out! New cover, new material! Can you tell us a bit about what readers can expect in this rerelease of Surrender?
I just sent the manuscript for Surrender back to New York last night, so the story is very much in my mind. I have gotten the very rare opportunity to go back to the original manuscript, give the story a fresh edit and change aspects of it. When I wrote it for Dorchester originally, I was facing very strict limits on length. It’s hard to write a book while trying also not to write too much. So there were scenes that were important that we got mostly as flashbacks or recollections. Now that Penguin has picked up the series and is reissuing both Surrender and Untamed, I have the chance to undo that “compression,” if you will. I spent the past two weekend crafting four new scenes, flipping two scenes around and expanding a few others. I knew there would be hard-core Ranger fans who would want to buy it with the new cover, so now there’s something in there for them. Plus, given that it’s a different edit, it will read a bit differently. But the plot is the same.
Untamed will have the 25 pages that Dorchester cut restored. They made their page limits tighter between the two books so I had the unpleasant surprise of hearing that they were going to cut. Again, we went back to the original manuscript and are editing it from scratch. Most of the pages came from the beginning and end of the story — d’oh! — so it will be very exciting to have the story I wrote available for readers in January.
UTC: Conner’s story, Defiant will be released in February 2012. What can eager readers expect from this highly anticipated novel?
Eager readers may reasonably anticipate that it will be late. Sorry to say it, but I am behind. I can’t fathom that it will be out any earlier than March or April, although my publisher hasn’t said so yet. Having to work on edits for Surrender and Untamed, as well as making my first two historicals, Sweet Release and Carnal Gift, available as self-published ebooks, is eating up a lot of time.
But I think fans of the series will enjoy the story. It goes back to the core of the conflict between the MacKinnon brothers and Lord William. We get the day Lord William forced them to serve as Rangers from Connor’s point of view. He’s more of a hothead than his two older brothers, and he’s served now for five years — longer than Iain or Morgan. A greater portion of his life has been devoted to fighting and war than theirs, and he has some serious regrets. Those regrets color his perception of himself as he’s sent by Lord William to rescue Lord William’s niece, who has been abducted by a Shawnee war party. To free her, Connor fights a battle to the death — but ends up with a wife he didn’t plan on and no choice but to consummate his marriage. Here’s the copy from the back cover:
Major Connor MacKinnon despises his commander, Lord William Wentworth, beyond all other men. Ordered to rescue Wentworth’s niece after the Shawnee take her captive, he expects Lady Sarah Woodville to be every bit as arrogant and contemptible as her uncle. Instead, he finds a brave and beautiful lass in desperate peril. But the only way to free Sarah is for Connor to defeat the Shawnee warrior who kidnapped her—and claim her himself.
Torn by tragedy from her sheltered life in London, Lady Sarah is unprepared for the harshness of the frontier—or for the attraction she feels toward Connor as he guides her first through the consummation of their forced union and then through the dangers of the wilderness. When they reach civilization, however, it is she who must protect him. For if her uncle knew all that Connor had done to save her, he would surely kill him.
But the flames of passion, once kindled, are difficult to deny. As desire transforms into love, Connor will have to defy an empire to keep Sarah at his side.
Thank you so much for your time, Pamela! I cannot wait to get my hands on more of your books! Maidens, if you haven’t read Pamela Clare’s work, I highly recommend her novels to everyone! They are filled with action, suspense and most of all, heart. Any avid romance fan would appreciate the stories that Clare tells.
Happy reading, everyone!
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