Anne Carter is the pseudonym for Pam Ripling, who is the author of romantic suspense and mystery, as well as middle grade YA novels. Anne/Pam was raised in Southern California, where she lives with her husband and children and runs a bookkeeping business.
You write under three different names—tell us about that and what prompted your decision to use two pseudonyms.
I write under my “real” name, Pam Ripling, and my pseudonym, Anne Carter. “Anne” is the author of my romantic suspense and mystery titles. When I wrote my middle grade novels, I thought it might be a good idea if younger readers didn’t get confused about what was appropriate for their age group. Anne Carter, by the way, is made from my middle and maiden names.
You write mystery, romance, and middle grade fiction. Why those genres? Do you have a preference for one over the other?
I prefer romantic mystery over everything else. I wrote my first middle grade novel when my sons were actually in middle school, and my second when my daughter was there. However, I don’t enjoy the genre as much. To me, it’s much harder to write with an authentic voice that holds interest but doesn’t preach. Romance, on the other hand, comes naturally to me.
You run a bookkeeping business in addition to writing. How do you juggle your career, your family, and your writing?
When I figure this out, I will let you know! Seriously, it’s very challenging at times. I’ve had my business for about fifteen years, so it runs pretty smoothly, and I have a small staff that actually does most of the work. But I am also involved in a number of charitable organizations, some dealing with literacy, some non-profit fundraising such as the American Cancer Society. I also dabble in website construction and enjoy photo restoration and enhancement as a hobby. I am (usually) blessed with the ability to write on the fly, so I open up my current manuscript in between other tasks and write whenever I can. It is nothing for me to write into the wee hours. I don’t even notice the time.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?
In a personal sense, it’s always time. Having the time to write—I’d never stop if I didn’t have to. Eating and sleeping are secondary to writing! Externally, it’s marketing. Like most of the authors I know personally, getting the books into the readers’ hands is a huge challenge, no matter the publisher. Since our industry is evolving, so, too, are the methods by which we sell. Keeping up with these changes is a full time job in itself.
What is the title of your most recently published book? Briefly tell us what it’s about and let us know where we can buy it.
Second in the series is CAPE SEDUCTION. In 1949, up-and-coming starlet Darla Foster goes missing after the release of CAPE SEDUCTION, a tragic romance filmed in a California lighthouse. Now, sixty years later, the long abandoned lighthouse is causing trouble for its present-day owners. Has the sexy, eccentric actress returned to avenge her stolen life? This title, also from Echelon Press, is in final edits and should be available for the Kindle, Sony, and other e-readers by mid-November. Trade paperback is slated for May, 2010.
Writers, especially new writers, are always looking for tips and helpful information. What is the single most important “tip” you can give to a new writer?
Most people will say pre-pubs should read, read, read, and write, write, write, honing their skills, crafting their voice, etc. I’m going plunge ahead and assume most new writers already know that. What I’d add is that wordsmiths hoping to be successfully published should learn as much about the industry as they can. Familiarize yourself with what happens after the book is done, the lengthy and often rocky road to actually selling their work. Agents, publishers, editors, formats, marketing, and promotional costs. It can be a real eye-opener to those who think the hard work is over at “THE END.”
What writer's organizations claim you as a member? Do you believe that membership in writing organizations helps a writer’s career?
Although I am not currently a member, earlier in my career I benefited from a membership in the Romance Writers of America. They have a lot to offer new writers and authors in general. When I got to a point where I was no longer learning, I opted for other organizations, such as Sisters in Crime. I really enjoy SinC, and belong to the local chapter. It’s an active group of fun-loving, generous, resourceful people who all share a love of mystery writing. My short story “Just Like Jay” was just selected for their upcoming anthology, “Murder in La La Land,” to be published in 2010. Oh, and I’m also a member of the United States Lighthouse Society, because I love and need to know about all things lighthouse!
Do you have any upcoming book signings or appearances? If so, give us all the details.
With my new release coming out, I will be appearing at a variety of events, both on-line and in the “real world.” These events can be found on my BookTour calendar on my website, including Left Coast Crime (Los Angeles) in March, Festival of Books (UCLA) in April, and Printers Row (Chicago) in June.
Here’s your opportunity to tell us anything else you care to share.
One fun bit of trivia I like to share concerns my fanatical love of lighthouses. These lonely, mysterious beacons hold special appeal for me, inspiring an untold number of stories laced with mystery and romance. While struggling to finish POINT SURRENDER, I had the unbelievable good fortune to spend a few days in a Puget Sound lighthouse in Washington. Talk about inspiration! I am planning a trip to St. George Reef Lighthouse soon, this being the offshore locale that inspired my upcoming mystery, CAPE SEDUCTION.
(Note from interviewer: I share Pam's love of lighthouses. My husband and I were married beside the lighthouse at Beavertail State Park in Jamestown, RI, overlooking the ocean. Jamestown is next-door to Newport.)
What are the addresses of your website(s) and blog(s):
My website and blog are married, and reside at http://www.beaconstreetbooks.com/. From that springboard, one can click through to my Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and various other cyber playgrounds, such as my bookshelf at Fictionwise, and the publisher of my earlier romance novels, Wings ePress.
Thanks so much for the terrific interview