Interview with Pamela Kelt

You write in several genres. How did this come about?
I started out with historical fiction with The Lost Orchid, botanical shenanigans in the 1880s. I began to send the book out to agents, the old-fashioned way. You know the drill: reams of chapters, wasting half a tree a shot. The responses took so long, I got impatient waiting, so I started another book – in a different genre just for fun. Then, when I got to sending that one out, I started another book. After a few years, I had a collection of nearly ten novels. My background is in journalism, which helped. One always had to learn to write in various styles – usually against the clock!

The website is lostorchid.blogspot.co.uk. In fact, I had so much material, I started a blog for orchid fans called Orchidmania, which is turning out to be rather popular, with features and quirky facts on orchids and their history. It's here: orchidmania-pk.blogspot.com/.
So, ebook publishing?
I’d been writing for years, but as my daughter got older, I thought it was time to reinvent myself. I didn’t relish the idea of rattling around the empty nest while she was having a great time at uni. It struck me that her generation is so handy with technology, I didn’t want to be left behind, so I upgraded my phone, got a digital camera and bought myself an ereader. Bang. Everything changed. After I’d devoured Mark Coker’s guide to ebook publishing, I went into overdrive. In six months I had six ebook deals. I’m a total convert.
Do you have a writing schedule?
Ha. I like to think I’m disciplined, but it’s becoming increasingly chaotic. I certainly work hard, but I can’t write anything sensible until after 10.30am. Mornings and I do not see eye to eye. I became allergic to early mornings after many years of early starts on newspapers. Most days, I blast away doing mainly admin/PR until lunch, grab a carb-free bite, walk the dogs, then blast away editing or writing most afternoons. Oddly enough, I often get a surge of ideas around five o’clock, then I crumple in a heap. Weekends are much the same. Recently, I’ve developed a truly shocking habit of ‘just checking my emails’ at 10pm. Must do better.
What is your favourite genre to read and who are your favourite authors?
With the advent of ereaders, my habits have changed massively. Previously, I stuck to medieval murders (such as Cadfael and so on), then I branched into Roman mysteries, such as the Lindsey Davis Falco series. I peppered these with my John Buchan favourites and the occasional Ludlum blockbuster. Nothing highbrow at all! Now, I still do mysteries, but I’ve developed a passion for teen fantasy (for example, The Edge Chronicles; the Septimus Heap series; Philip Reeves’ Mortal Engines and most recently, Scott Westerfield’s Leviathan trilogy). I love this new brand of teen fiction – cinematic action with a hint of steam punk. These authors have such a flair for fast action, tight dialogue, wry humour – and the ability to create a new world in an instant. I even love the illustrations. I'm never too old for pictures.

Thanks to Kenneth Branagh and Wallander on the telly, I’ve branched out into Nordic noir (The Dinosaur Feather and The House of Evidence). I dabble in quirky contemporary thrillers from Europe such as Morgue Drawer Four and have even returned to my favourite authors, PG Wodehouse and John Buchan. It’s liberating. No-one knows what you’re reading when you have an ereader in your hand.
Where do you get your ideas for your books and stories?
Some are based on personal experience, such as retro newsroom drama Tomorrow’s Anecdote (tomorrowsanecdote.blogspot.com), but most of the time, my brain starts popping when I actually stop working and take a break. Ice Trekker and Half Life, for instance, two very different books, were inspired by a trip to Tromsø, north of the Arctic Circle.

While Ice Trekker was for teens, Half Life (halflife-pkrjd.blogspot.com) ended up as 'film noir', 1930s romantic intrigue - with cyclotrons. My husband's a semi-retired chemistry professor, so it seemed a great idea to rope him in, so I set the story at a science institute. Our nickname for this book was 'Casablanca on Ice'.

Dark Interlude (darkinterlude.blogspot.co.uk) was partly based on my thesis on 17th-century comic Spanish interludes, mingled in with settings from trips around Scotland. Now, there’s an odd mix. I think it worked. The idea for The Lost Orchid, my first book, came about during a dog walk at a local beauty spot where there’s a classic Gothic ruin. Almost all the action takes place in and around Kenilworth in the 1880s. That was so much fun.
Is humour important to you?
Absolutely. In fact, I find it hard to write anything without quipping. The subject might be serious, of course, but I tend to dilute stress with cheeky remarks. I love books (movies, plays, TV series) that achieve that right level of humour without diminishing the importance of the story. On reflection, I think it’s possibly my background in journalism. I was always surrounded by witty people making hilarious comments at simply everything. Hey, I even found humour into 17th-century Spanish literature by writing a thesis on the theory of comedy. It was much more fun than you might imagine.
What are you working on now?
I’ve plotted out part two of Legends of Liria, the tween/teen fantasy inspired by a family holiday to Montenegro. I need to put it in a drawer for a month before I start writing. After that, Rob and I are working on the sequel to Half Life (including a ‘research trip’ to Berlin) – and I'm hard at work finishing Machiavelli’s Acolyte, a dark 17th-century thriller which I’ve nicknamed ‘Dexter meets the Borgias’. Busy, busy, busy.
Can you tell us about Cloud Pearl (Legends of Liria)?
The Cloud Pearl is book one of six-part series set in a mythical land overtaken by the powerful Grax family. Here, the two girls, members of a group of travelling players whose leader is wrongfully arrested for treason. They are entrusted with a perilous mission to restore the crown and travel to the mountain citadel of Gorach in a race against time. In each of the six books, they journey to different cities in their quest: the mood darkens as the Grax dynasty tightens its grip.

The two heroines, Svila and Petra, are skilled in aerial arts (silks, trapeze, cerceau, rope) and they use these to defeat the enemy. It was inspired by my daughter's passion for these, learned at Playbox Theatre before she went to university. The website has plenty more information, photos and videos: legendsofliria.blogspot.co.uk.
Can you tell us about Ice Trekker?
It’s a fantasy adventure set in the icy wastes of Krønagar. It features the friendly Grells of Hinderland, oppressed by the ruthless Minax – and a desperate race to find a replace to Blackfrost, their only source of fuel. The tagline is ‘Monsters. Myths. Mayhem’, which pretty well sums it up. Yes, it’s a quest, but not for dragons’ eggs. I’m hoping the ‘eco-adventure’ style will appeal to modern teens. There’s also a bit of humour in there, although the story is deadly serious. Here's the link to the website for more information: icetrekker.blogspot.co.uk.
Are you a planner?
Oh, dear, yes. I’m an inveterate plotter. I don’t know how people ‘wing it’. In fact, I have to draw up the first plan in fountain pen. Nothing else will do. After that, I transfer to the laptop, where I work towards a detailed chapter-by-chapter account in a weird personal shorthand before I even start, otherwise the story and the characters go berserk.
What do you do when you're not writing?
Sleep badly. But seriously, I enjoy rather old-fashioned pastimes. Walking, cooking, making wine, pottering in the gardening and watching classic black and white movies. Mind you, I have become a conference groupie. Every time my husband gets an invitation, I wangle my way along and hit the art galleries and culture hot spots while he stoically attends the sessions. I get myself kitted up with a sun visor, sunglasses, map, cash, camera, mobile phone, sensible shoes and a museum pass … and hit the road. I probably look like a deranged lady golfer, but I don’t care. I love it. I think it’s because it takes me back to the glory days of Interrail.
Where can readers find out more - or get in touch?
The hub is my author blog - pamelakelt.weebly.com. It's stuffed with information and background material on all six books. Each book has a companion website (eg the latest one, legendsofliria.blogspot.co.uk) that you access from here. There's a biography, news snippets and reviews of my books.

I also have a blog (imaginatively called Pam Kelt's Blog) where I feature updates and articles relating to the books as well as contributions from kindred spirits - pamkelt.blogspot.co.uk. There's a link here to all the video book trailers I've made, too.

In addition, I have an author page on FB, plus the usual swathe of links as follows:
facebook.com/pages/Pamela-Kelt-Author/623533377664275

Google+
google.com/+PamelaKelt

Pinterest
pinterest.com/pamkelt

Amazon profile
amazon.co.uk/Pamela-Kelt/e/B00CE9G6GM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Goodreads
goodreads.com/author/show/7065934.Pamela_Kelt?from_search=true

If your head's spinning, just send an email to pamkelt@gmail.com. Simple as that.
Published 2016-08-20.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Cloud Pearl
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 47,550. Language: English. Published: March 23, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Adventure » General
Welcome to Liria, a land where legends come to life. Liria is a peaceful kingdom, but after a battle with its war-like neighbour, its beloved queen vanished and the country became prey to the evil Empire of Bura. Young girls Petra and Svila are travelling players. Their manager, Zoran, collects legends and stories, hoping their message will inspire Lirians to regain their country and r
Half Life
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 105,090. Language: English. Published: February 24, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage
The Nazis are mobilising. In pre-WWII Norway, elite scientists risk bullets and bombs in a desperate race to unlock the secrets of the atom.
Ice Trekker
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 36,240. Language: English. Published: February 15, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
Ignoring a skyful of evil omens, a young Grell named Midge leaves home for a new life. But Hundland is on the brink of war, and vital supplies are running out. Caught up in a mysterious quest in the icy wastes of Krønagar, he and a crew of unlikely buccaneers fend off fiendish foes in a dark battle for survival amidst monsters, myths and mayhem.
The Deed Box
Price: Free! Words: 4,240. Language: English. Published: July 2, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
(5.00)
My father’s mother was not a nice woman. As kids we’d listen to the tranny while planning how to bump off Granny. It never came to anything, of course. Until the day in June when my sister and her partner, Oily Phil, came to tea …