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Pamela Fagan Hutchins writes award-winning mysterious women’s fiction and relationship humor books, and holds nothing back. She is known for “having it all” which really means she has a little too much of everything, but loves it: writer, mediocre endurance athlete (triathlon, marathons), wife, mom of an ADHD & Asperger’s son, five kids/step-kids, business owner, recovering employment attorney and human resources executive, investigator, consultant, and musician. Pamela lives with her husband Eric and two high school-aged kids, plus 200 pounds of pets in Houston. Their hearts are still in St. Croix, USVI, along with those of their three oldest offspring.
Thank you for this interview, Pamela. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
Thank you! I’ve been a closet-writer all my life, the kind of person who writes overly-long Christmas letters and dreamed of writing the Great American Novel. Meanwhile, I was an entrepreneur, an employment attorney, a Human Resources executive and a consultant. I even taught Legal Writing for a year. But I didn’t pursue creative writing seriously until my husband challenged me to it when I was 40 years old. I’m 45 now, and my first novel Saving Grace has just been released.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
Katie Connell is a high-strung attorney whose sloppy drinking habits and stunted love life collide hilariously in a doomed celebrity case in Dallas. When she flees Texas for the Caribbean, Katie escapes professional humiliation, a broken heart, and a wicked Bloody Mary habit, but she trades one set of problems for another when she begins to investigate the suspicious deaths of her parents on the island of St. Marcos. She’s bewitched by the voodoo spirit of an abandoned house in the rainforest and discovers that she’s as much a danger to herself as the island’s bad guys are. As the worst of her worlds collide, Katie drags herself back to the courthouse to defend her new friend Ava, an island local accused of stabbing the senator she’s been sleeping with.
Why did you choose your particular genre?
I’m an avid reader of women’s fiction and women’s sleuth mysteries. I couldn’t do anything but write what I read, and what I know. It was a compulsion.
What was your greatest challenge writing this book?
Patience! Because writing is re-writing. I don’t think most writers truly understand what this means until they’re on their third or fourth unpublished book. Or maybe I just like to think that because it happened to me!
Are you published by a traditional house, small press or are you self-published?
My husband and I set up our own publishing company, and we are taking submissions for books that appeal to an adult female audience. Show us what you’ve got!
Was it the right choice for you?
100% the right choice. I was in discussions with two agents and had manuscripts out with three others. I was stressed and facing rewrites with no certainty. My husband sat me down and said, “What the heck are you doing? You’re an entrepreneur, and a control freak.” He was right. I decided to find the best editor I could, no matter what the price, and to go for it.
How are you promoting your book thus far?
I have a comprehensive marketing plan. An exhausting plan. Some things are online, like a blog tour, e-newsletter, and social media. Some things are with a publicist, like booking media, events, and signings. Others are just about good old fashioned networking.
How is that going for you?
Oh, wow. Pinch me, wow. Is it uncouth for me to say I can’t believe how many books we’re selling? It probably is, but, too late, I just did. I really wasn’t expecting any of this for an indie-published first novel.
Can you tell us one thing you have done that actually resulted in one or more sales?
I have had a lot of success with book signings, both in terms of numbers of book sold and in the equally important side benefits of relationship building with the store and visibility in the community. I have sold 50 or more books at all my signings so far. I also had a hugely successful KDP Select free promo run that not only resulted in Saving Grace reaching #1 with over 33,000 downloads, but I made $1000 in Kindle royalties the next week alone.
Do you have another job besides writing?
I do! I am a human resource consultant. I primarily conduct workplace investigations and 1-on-1 coaching sessions.
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
No one else is going to sell that book for you, and no one is going to buy that book because you ask them to. Start early, build relationships by helping others, then, when your turn to promote comes, let others do the asking for you.
What’s next for you?
I’m in the final stages of working with my editor on the third book in the Katie & Annalise series. Next up is Leaving Annalise, then Missing Harmony.
Thank you for this interview, Pamela. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?
Thank you so much for having me. You can find me at http://pamelahutchins.com. Come see me!