Tuesday, April 10, 2007

An Interview with ....Pam Crooks

Pam Crooks writes well-received Westerns. Recent novels have included Her Lone Protector and Wanted. Wanted is currently out in the UK. Pam has taken time out of her busy schedule to speak with the Harlequin Historical Authors blog.

What attracts you to your chosen time period?

I grew up in the sandhills of western Nebraska, and it’s ranch country out there. Cowboys and farmers everywhere. Lively celebrations like NebraskaLAND Days and Cheyenne’s Frontier Days are held annually. Their rodeos, country music and tons of good, family fun still help keep the Old West traditions alive.

What is it about the heroes from that time period that excites you?

There’s something about the cowboy and the code he lives by. The way he honors a woman by removing his hat in her presence. His fierce devotion to the land. His willingness to work hard and get dirty to fight the elements. Watching a cowboy on the back of a horse is appealing, too!

What is the worst thing about being a writer?

Deadlines. Ugh. That pressure to let life go by without you while you strap yourself into the chair and write the necessary number of pages to meet your goal. I’m easily distracted, and if I didn’t have a deadline, most likely the book wouldn’t get written. At least, not on a timely basis.

Although many writers know they want to be a writer from an early age, was there something in particular that made you decide to pursue your dream?

When I was pregnant with my first baby 30 years ago, my mother gave me a copy of THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER. The romance genre was just taking off back then, and that book sucked me in, made me want to devour more. And the more romances I read, the more I wanted to write some of my own.

How long after you first started submitting, did it take for you to have your first book accepted?

It took me a long time. Nine years, unfortunately. I hit every roadblock a writer could hit--lost manuscripts, agents who didn’t submit my work (I went through 3 agents during that time.), editors who left and so on. But I wanted to be published more than anything, so I stuck it out. Thank goodness, I had a life back then. Through all the long months of waiting and rejections, I raised four little girls and stayed active in my RWA chapter.

What is the biggest challenge you face when you are writing a book? The beginning, middle or end?

The beginning is always hard. And writing the synopsis for the book’s approval is hard because the book isn’t written yet, and I don’t know what’s going to happen yet. (I’m a seat-of-the-pants kind of writer.) Every book needs a strong beginning to set up the story for several hundred pages of conflict.

Then, of course, the middle is hard because it seems like I’ll *never* get to the end. Thankfully, the end goes fast when I get there and is very satisfying because I’d managed to pull it all off.

When you are not writing, what do you do?

I work fulltime in the emergency department of a medical center. At some point, I hope to write fulltime, but with retirement in my next decade, I want to make sure the 401(k) plan is good enough. I love spending time with my little granddaughter on the weekends, too.

Who are some of your favourite romance authors?

Suzanne Brockmann, Nora Roberts and Linda Howard, hands down. But I’ve recently discovered Linda Lael Miller--she’s great with details and gives a wonderful western feel to her books.

What does your writing cave look like?

I have a nice big room downstairs, painted in pretty lavender with my book covers hanging on the wall. My office is my home inside my home. I love it. The only thing it lacks is a window. As if I need something else to help me procrastinate!

Can you tell us about your future books?

I’d love to. UNTAMED COWBOY is coming in July. I’m writing its sequel now, which will be released sometime in Spring, 2008. In between, though, I’ll have a Christmas novella out in October, 2007. My story is titled ONE MAGIC EVE, and I’ll be in with Cheryl St. John and Jenna Kernan. Writing this Christmas story was great fun--maybe my favorite so far.

Of course, I’d love everyone to visit my website: http://www.pamcrooks.com/ Be sure to sign up for my newsletter, too.


Joye said...

I love reading western-themed books. I cain't wait to read yours.

Pam Crooks said...

Thank you. UNTAMED COWBOY will be out in July. If you'd like, stop by my website and sign up for my newsletter. I'll sent you a reminder when it's out.

I'm so glad you stopped by and posted a note!


Carla said...

Great interview! I loved Stacey's books and can't wait to read all of them!


Charlene Sands said...

Pam -- I love your title, Untamed Cowboy. Was that yours? I can't wait to see what your cover looks like! I really do enjoy a "Cowboy" cover.

Pam Crooks said...

Yes, the title was mine--chosen from a list I'd sent them. I got cover art last week, but haven't had a chance to show it to the world yet. The look is similar to HER LONE PROTECTOR--works for me!

Thanks for the note!