MEET PAMELA FERNANDES
Pamela is a doctor by day and a wannabe best-selling author by night. She considers herself a perpetual traveler. She was born to Indian parents in Kuwait. During the First Gulf War, she moved to India with her family. Then returned to Kuwait for the remainder of her school years.
She graduated with a medical degree from the Philippines. She fell in love with their cuisine, culture and companionship. Following that she has traveled to and lived in New York, Houston and Oman.
Her goal is to visit each of the places she has read about in the books she loves. And she knows it will take a lifetime. Her favorite author is George Elliot, the woman whose characters she sometimes sees in her dreams.
She writes romantic suspense, women's fiction and speculative fiction/sci-fi short stories. "Seoul-mates" is her first published novella. Her other short stories have been featured in various anthologies like "Night from New Orleans" and "Where the Stars Rise."
After publishing short stories, she decided to write her first Christian non-fiction book, "Ten Reminders for the Christian Unemployed," based on her personal experience. She followed that up with her second book in the "Ten Reminder" series, "Ten Reminders for the Single Christian Woman."
When she isn't writing or seeing patients, she's baking brownies or struggling to learn the keyboard.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR LATEST BOOK.
THE MILANESE STARS is a romantic heist by Touchpoint Press. Set in Milan, it’s not just about stealing diamonds but about seeking revenge and getting even.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM YOU IN THE FUTURE?
Touchpoint Press has already started work on a sports romance series. I’ve started editing the first books, A MAIDEN INNINGS and will move on to edits for PAINTING KUWAIT VIOLET, my debut women’s fiction for Solstice Publishing. I’ve got two short stories Roanein fall and Inskpell Publishing in winter, so there’s quite a few books in the pipeline.
HOW DO WE FIND OUT ABOUT YOU AND YOUR BOOKS?
My website https://www.pamelaqfernandes.com is where you can find more about me and my books. I tend to share a lot about my writing journey there and I’m very active on Goodreads. I’m happy to answer any questions on Goodreads. 😊
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO WRITE ROMANCE NOVELS?
I won a romance competition with Indireads. So that got me started writing romance because I enjoyed writing about the various ways people fall in love. I also write women’s fiction, a bit of science fiction and Christian non-fiction, but a large volume of my work is romance. It’s just something I have lots of ideas about.
HOW MUCH OF YOUR PERSONALITY AND LIFE EXPERIENCES ARE IN YOUR WRITING?
When I first started writing, I’d bleed a lot of myself and my experiences in the books. But now as I write more books I find myself watching other people’s lives, studying them and incorporating those details. With each book, my heroines are now stepping further from my own personality. They’re gutsy, brave, exacting, and relentless.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST THINK ABOUT WRITING AND WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO SUBMIT YOUR FIRST MANUSCRIPT?
In 2013, Indireads had a romance competition. They wanted romances based on the Indian subcontinent. At that time, I was watching plenty of Korean dramas and decided to write a multicultural romance between an Indian girl and a Korean guy. I knew a lot about their society and ended up submitting it. I never thought I’d win because it wasn’t exactly a story based in India but Seoul. By God’s grace it was accepted and published.
GENERALLY, HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE A BOOK?
THE MILANESE STARS took me a year. I had written it for an anthology as a short romance. It didn’t win and so I started submitting it to other places. Many publishers found it too short and one would take it for free without royalties. So I reworked the book and submitted it to Touchpoint Press. Their initial feedback was positive but they wanted it to be longer. So I went back to work on it. The edits and the final book took a year. I have to add that I write fast and edit slow. I’m one of those people who feel books get better with age like wine. Manuscripts get better with time on the side. It takes me a year to write a book.
DO YOU HAVE A SET WRITING SCHEDULE OR DO YOU JUST GO WITH THE FLOW?
I usually aim for 2000 words a day. There are days where I can make it and days where I just want to read instead of write. I don’t push myself. That has resulted in a fairly regular schedule of hitting the 2k mark.
WHAT IS YOUR WRITING ROUTINE ONCE YOU START A BOOK?
I write chronologically. I need to know what my beginning, middle and end are. The major milestones, the roadblocks, they’re all there. Once I start, I won’t move to the next part of the story until the current issue is resolved. I’m not a plotter, but I have a general map that I follow.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR FAMILY? DO THEY KNOW NOT TO BOTHER YOU WHEN YOU’RE WRITING – OR ARE THERE CONSTANT INTERRUPTIONS?
I usually write when everyone’s asleep. I need the quite in my mind and I like placing myself in the setting while writing my characters if not physically then mentally. My folks think of my writing as a hobby so they all seem to want stuff when I write, especially when I write. 😊 I’ve even mentioned it in my acknowledgements for one of my books. “Thanks to my brother, Mark, without whom this book would have been finished much earlier.”
WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX AND RECHARGE YOUR BATTERIES?
I love reading, so I catch up on a book that’s like what I’m writing. I watch Korean, Turkish dramas and an occasional British crime series. Occasionally, I will bake or practice my keyboard.
WHAT TRULY MOTIVATES YOU IN GENERAL? IN YOUR WRITING?
I want to win a Nobel Prize in literature. Or at least a Booker. I was in the 7th grade when Indian author, Arundhati Roy won a Booker Prize for The God of Small things. My English teacher told me I should read the book because it was filled with similes and metaphors and would improve my vocabulary and character sketches. My mother thought it was not a book for children. Haha.
But it left a huge impression on me. When she won that prize, people in my school, and in our English class, all talked about it for weeks. I wanted to win a Booker back then.
WHERE DO YOUR IDEAS COME FROM?
Life. There’s inspiration everywhere and I have a very active imagination.
DO YOU FEEL HUMOR IS IMPORTANT IN ROMANCE AND WHY?
Yes. I want to laugh when I read and I tend to add it when I write. I love wit. Life is serious enough as it is.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON LOVE SCENES IN ROMANCE NOVELS? DO YOU FIND THEM DIFFICULT TO WRITE?
I write sweet romances and romantic suspense. In romantic suspense with two plot lines, I find it hard to incorporate love scenes. I’m a very logical person, so I think it’s unrealistic to read love scenes when someone’s life is in danger. Ditto for my sweet romances. The process of falling in love according to me is a step by step gradation of knowing the other person. As a physician I can’t believe people would share saliva, 5 million microbes and other body fluids within minutes or ten pages of knowing each other. That’s why I usually leave them out. I remember in Seoul-mates, the characters end up being married and I had to write it so it was a closed door scene, but otherwise I’d skip love scenes and leave it to the imagination of the reader.
WHAT KIND OF RESEARCH DO YOU DO?
The Milanese Stars is set in Milan. I’ve never been to Milan. I did take in bits of information from my mother who visited Italy but it wasn’t enough. I had to study Milan, the streets, the Duomo cathedral, little things like the Italian football derby, the Slow food movement and the local holidays. I had to plan a busy day in Milan where the streets would be filled with parades and I chose the Ferragosto. Vita is a barista and food was key so I asked my Italian friends about recipes for spaghetti and meatballs. Because this was a heist, I did watch heist movies and read up on all the real heists that have taken place all over the world.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO WRITE A DIFFERENT GENRE, OR SUB-GENRE THAN YOU DO NOW?
I am switching to women’s fiction for my next. I’d like to write a different subgenre in romance.
I am beginning a sports romance series next and have started writing Indian romances. I’ve begun to spread my wings a little, although I’m scared about how it will turn out.
PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF (FAMILY, HOBBIES, EDUCATION, ETC.).
I honestly have a very boring life which is why I make up for it in my characters. I am a family physician, and a medical writer. I love ballroom dancing and Zumba. I’ve been trying to learn the same piano piece Pachelbel’s Canon in D for the past ten years. That’s how bad I am at it.
FAVORITE DESSERT, CITY, SEASON, TYPE OF HERO, TYPE OF HEROINE?
Red Velvet Cheesecake, New York, Winter. I love heroes who are intelligent like Jack Reacher and witty too. Heroines: I love the Jun-Ji Hoon’s My sassy girl kinda heroines. Weird, but sweet.,
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO?
Eat, read, dance, go bowling, and travel to new places.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE AUTHOR? FAVORITE BOOK?
I love Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the rain and Lionel Shriver’s We Need To Talk About Kevin. I also love George Elliot and the Secret Seven series. I still re-read my Secret Seven books.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF CRITIQUE GROUPS IN GENERAL?
I usually prefer working with a single beta reader and then doing several passes instead of a group. Critique groups feel a bit directionless and there’s way too much nitpicking. In the end, you need to get the book ready for a particular market and nobody understands the market better than your editor. Therefore, I’d recommend a critique group for your first draft but later stick with a single beta reader who believes and understands you story.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS?
Hopefully with a critically acclaimed women’s fiction if a Booker is too much to ask (wink- wink)
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING? HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A WRITER?
I’ve been a medical writer for ten years and a fiction writer for five.
AFTER YOU’VE WRITTEN YOUR BOOK AND IT’S BEEN PUBLISHED, DO YOU EVER BUY IT AND/OR READ IT?
Yes. I buy all the books. My mother likes to be my first critique/reviewer so she usually reads my copy and gives me her invaluable advice. But I do read my books because it reminds me of my mistakes and keeps me grounded.
WHAT COMES FIRST, THE STORY, THE CHARACTERS OR THE SETTING? WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF A GREAT ROMANCE FOR YOU?
This may seem wrong, but first comes the setting. It is very important to me. I can’t write until I’ve figured out the place. I’ve written some very unusual locations, Seoul, Scotland’s malt town of Oban, Ireland’s Castlerea, Kuwait and now Milan. After that I pin down the story and then create my characters. For me the elements of a great romance are great chemistry, realistic relationship milestones, and a justifiable obstacle to that love.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART OF WRITING/THE EASIEST FOR YOU?
The hardest part for me is writing or editing the last 50 pages. I don’t know why but it’s the hardest. Th easiest. The first 50. I have two manuscripts right now where I’ve written the first 50 and don’t know what to do next because I didn’t start out with a plan.
HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED WRITER’S BLOCK? IF SO, HOW DID YOU WORK THROUGH IT?
When I’m stuck I will go and edit another book. Then I come back and I’m good to go. Sometimes you just need to breathe and be patient. Good planning and research leads to very little block. In that sense, I feel plotting is better than pantsing.
WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
The reviews. I love when people write how the book affected them, if the page that made them sad, made them cry, or laugh. Its wonderful to hear that.
IF YOU WEREN’T WRITING, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?
I’d be just another physician letting my creative side go to waste.
ARE THERE ANY WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT FOR UNPUBLISHED WRITERS?
There’s no such thing as overnight success. Its taken me 5 years for publishers to accept my work. I’ve collected over two hundred rejection slips. Now even with four books accepted this year, I have so much to learn. So keep at it. Keep reading and writing.
Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2wQkULy
The heist of the decade and yet, no one would have guessed… it was her.
The Milanese stars are missing from the famous Buccatino boutique. When American insurance investigator, Samuel Keane is called in to liaise with the polizia, he finds the whole heist odd. Not only are the Milanese stars, a set of five pink diamonds, not listed in the inventory of stolen items, worse, none of the surrounding owners or passersby witnessed a thing.
Samuel is anxious to solve the case and partners with local café owner, Vita, who has a very good vantage point to watch Buccatino. Vita herself has quite the interest in Samuel. He's a decent man, not to mention delicious, and he’s smart. But the last thing she wants is to be caught. After all, Vita has planned the heist for years. Five to be exact. The only thing she didn’t plan is falling in love with the young American.
As Samuel digs further into the history of the stars, he discovers Vita’s friends and her physically challenged sister are all connected to them. He learns of Vita’s past and the loneliness she’s resigned herself to in an effort to protect herself from loss. Samuel also learns Don Giovanni, proprietor of Buccatino, is no ordinary man. He’s a local Mafioso and will stop at nothing till he gets the stars.
The more Samuel investigates, the more dangers he and Vita face. Can he solve the case and what will happen with Vita? What will he do when we learns the heist of the decade isn’t about stealing pink diamonds… it’s about settling the score