How/when, did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
Wow, good question. I have been making up stories in my head since I was in kindergarten. I remember writing very short stories, as a class exercise, in second grade. My best friend corrected my spelling because I spelled phonetically … still do, much to my chagrin. About eighteen years ago, I realized I really wanted to write novels. But what genre? First, I thought Romance, then Suspense. Finally, I melded the two in my first novel, Return of the French Blue, which is Romantic Suspense.
Let’s speak about “She Rides with Genghis Khan”. Can you tell us a little about what the book is about?
I can talk forever about “She Rides ….” But long story short, my brother married a Mongolian Member of Parliament, Oyungerel Tsedevdamba. I knew nothing about Mongolia … except a little about Genghis Khan. Simultaneously, I had a second novel brewing in my head, so I decided to learn about my new sister’s country and research my novel at the same time. I must have read for nine months, at least. The more I read the more my story took shape. Like someone once said, “I can’t make this stuff up.” Indeed, I couldn’t. History is my guide – I just embellish it with fiction.
How did you come up with the idea and how did you create the characters?
Since “She Rides …” is the second novel in the series, let me start with Return of the French Blue. I wrote the first few pages in November 2001 … one month after the 9/11 attack on America. I stopped writing the novel almost immediately and started doing research on al Qaeda, terrorists, conflict diamonds, spies, and real sinister villains. Again, I stumbled across the most amazing information, past and present. My story began to take shape around my research, but I still needed to create my characters. I wanted a female Indiana Jones, so Catalina Syrah was born. I wanted her to have a gorgeous hunk of a partner, a Frenchman with the talents of Jean Reno … hence, Nicholas Bonhomme. The setting I chose was the French Riviera. My second novel, She Rides with Genghis Khan, followed Return of the French Blue. I love my characters, and may never let them go! The genre has switched, though. It’s more Suspense and a little romance!
If you should describe your books in three words, what would you pick?
Cleo, my muse. [She is the muse of history, and she is my guide and my voice.]
Do you have any favorite authors and did they influence your choice of the genre?
Oh my, yes. I love Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I always ‘clear the decks’ when one of her 1000 page tomes is released. I love her characters, the historical wrap, the suspense she creates between characters and events of the time. I also enjoy James Rollins suspense-packed novels, and until his last two novels, I enjoyed Dan Brown’s books. Oh, and let’s not forget Michael Crichton’s Timeline, Congo, and Jurassic Park. I recently read Lisa See’s Shanghai Girls, and have become a real fan of her writing. There are so many more, but I’ll stop here. To answer your question, they have all influenced my writing.
What else do you enjoy doing, when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing. ? I love traveling to Asia, Europe and the East and West coast of the US. I love reading, of course. I belong to a writers critique group, and we meet weekly. I’m also a member of Write Brain Trust, a group of writers determined to Indie publish … and we have! So when I’m not writing I’m marketing my books via social media. I also contribute volunteer hours to several boards and play an active role in Rotary International. I walk, ride my bike, garden, and entertain.
As a writer, do you get support from your family and friends?
Oh my goodness, yes. My husband is wonderfully tolerant and completely respects my time. He is a gourmet cook, so I don’t prepare meals very much anymore. I do garden, though, so it’s a trade-off. My adult children enjoy hearing about my research and travels.
Why did you decide to self-publish and how did you find the experience?
Like most Indie authors, we grew tired of banging our heads against the literary agent’s doors. Then, purely by chance, the e-pub craze kicked in. A group of writers in my Kansas City critique group decided to spin-off and create Write Brain Trust, which is committed to “writers helping writers with creativity, publishing, and marketing in a digital world.” [See http://WriteBrainTrust.wordpress.com ] As a unit, we researched social media, digital publishing, and marketing. We worked on this intensely for about six months … then we began publishing our books. Our group of twelve writers has published about twenty-five books in eighteen months. What that says is that we had all written books, we just needed to move beyond the traditional methods of publication and do it ourselves. It has been an amazing ride … and one that doesn’t stop because something new is always popping up!
Indie authors don’t get to have a dedicated marketing team and professionals to look after the marketing of their books. How did you spread the news about your books and did it work?
Well, marketing digital books is a work in progress. It’s like trying to grasp jello – just when you think you have the right platform “nailed down” everything changes. You have to be able to accept that and be energized by it, or you won’t be able to market on the internet. My key social media sites are: Facebook’s author page, Goodreads, my web site, Twitter, Linkedin, and soon … Mail Chimp. This amalgam captures my professional connections, my growing fans, like-minded writers, e-mail friends, and the world at large. Social media is magic, but managing it to your advantage is the critical issue. It can eat up all of your time if you’re not careful.
What are your dreams and plans for your future as a writer?
I just returned from a three-week tour of China. My third novel, in the series, is a time travel to the Ming Dynasty China. I had to stand in the Forbidden City, see the Ming Tombs, and travel the same water routes as my characters – Catalina and Bonhomme. When the Eunuchs Ruled, is the working title of novel #3. I’ve already researched a great deal, but have to review it and add to it before I’m ready to outline the plot.
Would you like to say something to the readers to encourage them to read your books?
Yes, I’d love to. If you have already read or plan to read my books … THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH. Feel free to review them on Goodreads and Amazon. That really helps newbies, like me, with a stamp of approval. Also, you are welcome to contact me, via any of the sources noted below. Let me also add that I have an anthology of six stories published [it was my first digital book], Mother’s Red Fingernail Polish. I’m currently writing a companion piece, Father’s Fried Egg Sandwiches, which should be published in September. Then, I’ll write Nonna’s Story, a novella about Catalina’s grandmother and her role in the French Resistance. I’m hoping to write and publish it by the end of the year. In early 2014, I will begin writing When the Eunuchs Ruled.
Finally: how can we get in touch with you?
Website: http://www.pamelaboleseglinski.com [I use this site as a resume, and don’t regularly blog.]
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pamela.b.eglinski.fans [“Friend” me, and this will become your best contact site.]
Twitter: @pameglinski [Send a direct message, or you’ll get buried in the tweets]
Goodreads: Pam Eglinski [Very good site to contact.]
Linkedin: Pamela Boles Eglinski [I don’t look at it often. It’s a site that keeps me connected with my professional friends, who are still working an 8-5 job.]
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org [Most immediate contact site.]
I look forward to meeting you!