1. Hi Camela, thanks for taking time out of your day to chat with us on Q7. Tell me a little about yourself, any hobbies or interests outside of writing?
Hi April. Thank so much for having me here! Writing and my day job don’t leave much spare time, but I love the outdoors, particularly hiking. I’ve found that exercise is critical for keeping healthy and happy. I also enjoy painting. As a young child I watched my grandmother create beautiful oil paintings, and she taught me her craft. Oil painting is more forgiving, but I think that’s why I like watercolor. It gives me permission to accept imperfections in my work.
2. I have enjoyed your "The Hunted Series" immensely! Since opening the first page of All The Pretty Bones, I was hooked, which doesn't happen too often for me with vampire series. Can you share your inspiration behind writing these? How many do you plan to have in this series?
I’m so glad you enjoyed them! The first story nagged at me for quite some time before I sat down to write. I had a stalker when I was in high school, and I didn’t realize what a profound and lasting impact that experience had on me. I began the story because of a case that made headlines in my area. I couldn’t stop thinking, “What would push a woman to fight back?” I put my poor main character, Olivia, in a very difficult position and the story took off for me.
Adding a supernatural element helped me create some distance from my own past and evened the playing field for my character. I love mythical creatures, particularly vampires. I know they are monsters, and I appreciate authors who make them terrifying predators. For me, the thought of unlimited strength and the ability to recover from the impossible provided more hope to my story. My monsters are violent, but they also have very human emotions, motivations, and complexities.
I’ve plotted out the end of the series at book six.
3. You've share with me that you also maintain a full time job in addition to writing. How do you find the balance between both?
To be honest, I haven’t mastered balance. Writing a book takes a lot of time, but preparing a book to launch and all of the subsequent promotion resulted in a second full time job. I’m fortunate that my husband takes on a lot of the responsibilities at home so I can have time to dedicate to my writing. My day job has been very challenging, and I’ve hit a rut. My work day ended and I only had the energy to unwind from the day by spending time walking with my dog or watching television (which I hadn’t done in a very long time). After recognizing the signs of burnout, I gave myself permission to minimize my time on social media and blogging. It was a nice break, but my sales took a noticeable hit. My first book hit the shelves in October of 2014 and two years and two books later, I still don’t have all of the answers.
4. A side question, you share the most hilarious pics/captions of your dog Annie, on social media. I believe you adopted her, correct? What was that process like and would you recommend to others looking to add a pet to their lives to do the same?
We always had at least one dog in the house I grew up in. At one time, we had five dogs in the house (it was very crowded! I don’t recommend it). My family took in dogs neighbors didn’t want or adopted from the shelter. When I was in middle school, I saved up money from selling oil paintings and bought our first Bernese mountain dog and showed purebred dogs for years. It was a great experience and I got to know some very responsible, thoughtful dog breeders. They did extensive testing for the best odds of breeding healthy animals (which is critical particularly in Bernese mountain dogs as they only average 7 years), ensured the dogs they bred always had a home, and helped rescue dogs that weren’t so lucky. My family fell in love with the breed and only adopted another mix breed after it became clear my grandparents were too frail for a 120 pound goofball galloping around the house.
When I was in college, I adopted a very feral puppy from a shelter in Idaho. He hated strangers, but was the most loyal animal I’ve ever had. I figured I owed him the same degree of loyalty and I learned to accept his quirks while he learned to trust my judgment. The connection I had with that dog is something I feel extremely lucky to have experienced. He taught me a lot of patience and that the most difficult relationships can be the most rewarding if you have a foundation of trust.
My husband and I adopted Annie from a last chance fair in the parking lot of a pet store. The state shelters drove in with all of the dogs scheduled for euthanasia. There were a lot of wonderful dogs (and some very neurotic, traumatized animals), but we didn’t see a dog that had the patience with children we needed until a van unloaded late. My mom spotted her first and said, “That’s your dog.” She was right. As usual.
If you’re going to get a purebred dog, do your research and choose a breeder who is thoughtful and tests their dogs for genetic weaknesses. Don’t reward breeders who don’t do their due diligence by choosing the cheaper option. Dog shows are a great place to look for responsible breeders. If you don’t want to make that kind of investment, consider adopting a shelter dog. You may need patience to work through the trauma they’ve been through, but knowing you’ve saved a wonderful animal is very rewarding. I miss Bernese mountain dogs and may get another down the road, but my heart keeps directing me towards rescue animals.
5.When it comes to writing, do you feel like there's any one particular part of the process that is a struggle for you? If so, how have you overcome it?
I used to struggle with hitting dead ends in my writing, but found a plotting method that works for me. I recommend Save the Cat, a book intended for screenplay writers but is very applicable to fiction novels.
For some reason, I get stuck in an editing loop in the first third of any book I’ve written. I get so fixated on making the words perfect that I enter analysis paralysis. National Write a Novel in a Month (NaNoWriMo) in November has gotten me past this hurdle consistently. The high word count goal forces me to just write out the story without hesitating.
6. What's your favorite thing about life in general? Is there one piece of advice passed on to you about life that you'd like to share with others?
I’m an introvert who spends a lot of time in her head, but my favorite part about life are the connections I’ve formed with other people. Watching the news can be depressing and there are a lot of bad people out there, but I’ve seen acts of kindness that have left me speechless. People consistently surprise me.
My one piece of advice is to do one thing for yourself every day. It’s not possible to enjoy hobbies or nurture others without a strong foundation. Pay attention to your fatigue and moods, and carve time out for what you enjoy most. It could be thirty minutes reading or making time to enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend. Do something you love for your own sake.
7. Through our conversations I've come to think of you as a compassionate person with a logical mind- both are traits I admire. Do you ever find yourself in a situation that challenges that compassion within you? How do you deal with that if so?
I suppose it’s not a big surprise that I struggle with people who are illogical and lack compassion. The thing that really gets me is when people tell me what they think I want to hear rather than the truth. I’d rather be disappointed in a conversation than let down by false expectations any day. Anger is a waste of energy, so I’m careful about who I allow into my life. When I was young, I spent a lot of time being miserable and wishing people would change. Now I choose my friends wisely and am much happier for it.
Because we are exposed to a lot of people and are bound to have negative interactions, I try to remember that everyone is struggling with something I don’t know about (home life, health, etc.). Fatigue and sadness can make the best people lash out. I try to reserve judgment, but it’s something I need to continue to work on.
Thank you again for having me here!
Camela Thompson lives with her incredibly supportive husband and strange dog in Seattle, the city where cloud cover and shadows rule. How else is a girl supposed to keep her luminescent (perfectly pasty) complexion? The rain also provides the perfect scapegoat for hiding inside with a laptop, her dog, and a hot cup of tea. Excuses for reclusive behavior get considerably more creative during the summer (she may or may not have a mild sun allergy).
Q7 Corner: Author Interviews
A.L.Deleon loves to find and interview authors, Indie or Traditional. This is where you'll find all the details of those interview spotlights. Typically you'll find her asking seven questions of each author featured.