In conjunction with National Novel Writing Month, the Los Angeles Public Library is proud to spotlight some of our great local authors who have submitted their e-books to our Indie California collection.
Author Bio: USA TODAY Bestselling author Pamela DuMond lives and works in Venice Beach.
She discovered Erin Brockovich's life story and pitched it to 'Hollywood'. Her YA time travel novel, The Messenger (Mortal Beloved Time Travel Romance), was optioned for Film/TV.
She writes Cozy Mysteries, Young Adult, Romance, and Self-Help. Pam likes dogs and cats equally, prefers her coffee strong, her chocolate dark, and her foods non-GMO. Sign up for her newsletter for info on upcoming books, and deals, at www.pameladumond.com.
Cupcakes, Pies, and Hot Guys is DuMond’s third novel in the Annie Graceland series.
Cupcakes, Pies, and Hot Guys was designated a SELF-e Select title by the staff of Library Journal and is now available at participating libraries nationwide. The Los Angeles Public Library congratulates Pamela on her award—let’s hear a bit more about her and her winning title!
When you started writing your first novel featuring Annie Graceland, did you know you were beginning a series?
I hoped for a series, but didn’t know if that was possible. A small press published my first book— Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys — in 2010. They had no marketing resources, and bookstores wouldn’t carry the paper book. I worked extra hard connecting to readers on social media, and was thrilled when readers asked me for the ‘next’ Cupcakes mystery. I published the 6th Annie Graceland Cozy Mystery book this month, and plan on many more.
You have combined screwball comedy and the supernatural in a very original way. How did this concept come about for you?
I grew up on I Love Lucy re-runs and inhaled the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series. I’m a huge fan of actresses/comediennes Sandra Bullock, Debra Messing, and Meghan McCarthy. I wanted to create a funny mystery with a feisty, well-intentioned, fish-out-of-water heroine who possessed a pinch of psychic ability. It seemed like a recipe for entertaining stories that included trouble, laughs, nostalgia, and a few tears.
You have a real talent for describing food, and you’ve included some delicious sounding recipes in your book! Do you bake?
Thank you! I bake for holidays and events. (Try the Hot Guys apple pie recipe. It’s yummy…)
Part of the fun in doing this series is that many of my readers have now become friends, and some even donate recipes. Laura Devries, a professional cupcake baker from Madison, Wisconsin shared the margarita cupcake recipe in Cupcakes, Pies, and Hot Guys.
Some of the funniest moments in the book arise from Midwest / Los Angeles culture clashes. Are you writing from personal experience?
Hmm. My lips are sealed… okay, maybe they aren’t. Even though the characters, as well as the events, in the book are fictitious, I must admit Annie Graceland and I share some traits. We’re both well intentioned, too helpful, and don’t suffer fools gladly. In Cupcakes, Pies, and Hot Guys I like to think I captured the sweetness of community, as well as the bitter sweetness of traveling back home, only to realize your home is now someplace else. That said, I don’t really talk to ghosts…
Do you have any advice for first time authors attempting to finish their first novel? Do you have a daily writing routine?
I’m a big fan of writing every day. We all have busy lives, but if you spend five minutes, here or there, it adds up.
During the day I work at my other job (chiropractic), edit my WIP, and tend to everything that goes along with my self-publishing business. At night I sit down and create/write. I’m NOT a fast writer, so I just plunk away until I get something done that makes me, and hopefully my readers, happy.
First time authors can benefit by connecting, (in an INEXPENSIVE WAY), with like-minded writers. I belong to LARA, (Los Angeles Romance Authors), a local chapter of the Romance Writers of America. The people I’ve met there are enormously supportive. That said - please be aware of folks trying to scam newer authors with expensive publishing ‘help’ or marketing ‘opportunities’. If in doubt, check a site like Preditors and Editors http://pred-ed.com/ for your protection. The old adage – If it sounds too good to be true – is spot on.
When writing Cupcakes, Pies, and Hot Guys, did you complete multiple drafts? Did you show unfinished versions to friends or beta readers for feedback?
I gave Hot Guys to several editors to help me shape it up. Now I work with a few friends, beta readers, and a copy editor.
The self-publishing industry has really exploded, especially in e-books. What advantages and/or challenges do you see in self-publishing your work?
You don’t get the big marketing push from a decent publisher right out the door. You don’t automatically get the big name reviews, interviews, or the blurb from a bestselling author for your new book. It’s unlikely you’ll get paper distribution in bookstores. Only your mother knows that you’re publishing a book. Your family refers to self-publishing as ‘that writing thing’ that you do. Someone is bound to compare you to a friend’s niece who is a “real” author.
By the time you complete a manuscript it can take years to shop it to an agent or editor, and maybe have it picked up by a reputable press. Even if you get a deal, financial advances are shrinking. If you don’t sell well out the gate there’s a good chance your paper books will be remanded in a few years time, future publishing deals might not be as lucrative, or your publisher could drop you.
I am chief cook and bottle washer of my self-publishing business. I’m in charge of what I write, my release date, and picking my cover. I decide when to run a sale, collaborate with other authors, or change things up. I don’t sit around waiting for an agent, or a publisher to say, “Yes” to me. I say, “Yes” to myself.
The more I write, the more I self-publish, the more people find my books. Hearing from readers is amazing. Recently a woman wrote to me and shared that my Cupcakes mysteries made her laugh and helped her get through a week of medical tests at a distant hospital. Hearing that your book helped someone is priceless. I’m grateful every day that I’m writing and publishing.
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