In The Mind of Stella Cameron – 30 Years of Happily Ever Afters

This week we’re jumping over the hump with our featured workshop presenter, speaker, and best-selling author, Stella Cameron!

Stella will be giving a workshop at our conference in October, and is our Luncheon Speaker! People Make Your Story is just one of many fabulous workshops we have scheduled.

For more information on our conference, how to register, and other popular questions, please visit our website at http://www.njromancewriters.org.

Please welcome Stella!

How did you come up with the idea for “OUT COMES THE EVIL”?

Sitting at the edge of the River Windrush in Bourton-on-the-Water in England and watching children play on flat rocks just under the surface.

What was it about your book that made your editor want to buy it?

The story’s irresistible, characters, fantastic plot, clever relationship ploys, amazing background and atmosphere and the absolutely nerve destroying tension.

How much research did you conduct for “OUT COMES THE EVIL” and what was the most interesting thing you did while conducting your research? 

So far I’ve had to suffer through three trips to England while researching this series. Shocking sacrifice. I am English by birth which means that a great deal comes naturally—I rarely need help with common terms, speech that sounds natural, or local customs.  It has been interesting to keep up to date with those elements that do change—social behavior, some obvious loosening of language, police procedure (although I’m not writing police procedurals, it’s impossible to pull off a story with both crime and in my case, male/female relationships, without have all the details at my fingertips). My interviews with many levels of policing were probably the most interesting part of my research, but learning the ins and outs of running a pub and pub life in general had its high points.

Why did you decide to write romantic mystery?

Even as I call the genre romantic mystery I’m unsure if that categorizes the books appropriately. I’ve always incorporated a sizeable dose of mystery in all of my books.  Now the balance leans more heavily into mystery—there would be no story without mystery.  My interest in strong relationships comes naturally and a building love interest we can get deeply involved with is a natural part of my stories.

That said, I need another serious thought here…I don’t choose a story, the story chooses me.  As with many writers, ideas cascade in regularly but the tale that will be told keeps jumping to the front of the line and won’t leave me alone.

What is your process for writing a book? For example, are you a plotter or a pantzer? Do you start at page 1 and write your book sequentially or do you skip around? Do you start with your characters or the plot?

I’m both a plotter and a pantzer, depending on where I am in the story.  I’m not sure I could be as excited as I am about writing if I wasn’t open to surprises.  Events pop up, unexpected events and I love to go with them, to see where they’ll take me.  But I also have to stop and plot.  A lot of serious, “why, when, what, where and how?” goes into any story.  Neglect these questions and you’re likely to have a mess on your hands.

Do you write multiple drafts or barely need revisions when typing, The End?

Many drafts and I never feel a story couldn’t be improved even if only a little.

How do you make time to write?

My career already counts as long… Writing has been a huge part of my life, always.  When my children were young I would have had much more to say on this topic, now, in truth, I write because I must and whenever I must.

When you are writing, who is in control? You or your characters?

Probably a combination.

Who has had the most influence on your writing?

Too many wonderful writers to name.  I’ve been very fortunate in my mentors.

Have you had any “ah ha” moments as a writer?

Yes, thank goodness.  Many, many of them.

Would you tell us your story of getting “the call?”

The first sale call came in while I was looking down into the garden to check on my children who were on a climbing frame—something I always distrusted.  My mind completely blanked and I’m lucky I didn’t say something ridiculous like, “You want to buy my book?  You can’t be serious.”  I didn’t hear most of what the editor said but what a wonderful day that was.

*Smiles* Sounds lovely.  How does your family feel about your career as a romance writer?

My family like and respect my being a writer.

What books can we expect to see in the near future?

More romantic mysteries.  More of almost anything that tells me to hop aboard and go along for the ride.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned as an author?

There is no fictional situation that can’t be worked out.

If you could choose anyone, past or present for a mentor, who would you choose?

Louise Penny.

With so many changes in publishing over the past year, where do you see the future of publishing going?

Gosh, we must hang on to our hats and be ready for change, change and more change.  I do see even more of an explosion in digital reading.  The ratio, print to digital, has flattened somewhat but I don’t think it will ever be stagnant.

Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

Yes.  Kindle.

If you could have one special, supernatural power, what would it be?

Telepathy.

What makes a man attractive to you?

Strength, intellectual, physical.  A sense of humor, gentleness, passion in all things.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve ever done?

Lots of interesting things, really.  Paddled in an outrigger canoe has to be a favorite.

What are you reading now?

Raven Black, Anne Cleaves.

What is your favorite quote?

“A loving heart is the truest wisdom.”—Charles Dickens.

How long have you been writing?

Twenty-eight years full-time.  All my life in some ways.

What comes first—characters or the plot?

This is not so simple.  An idea (situation) may come first, but almost at once, characters are jogging alongside.  But it is the people who make your story.

Who’s on your auto-buy list for authors?

Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick  Deborah Crombie. Louise Penny. Donna Leon.  Tana French.  Nicci French.  Lee Child.  Tess Gerritsen, Alan Bradly, Alistair McCall Smith, Elizabeth Lowell, JD Robb, Mary Deheim, PD James, and I don’t have enough time left before getting back to work for all of my automatic buys.  Don’t want to leave any out but, my word there are hoards of them.

Do you write to music? Do you make soundtracks for you stories? If so, what was on the soundtrack for your latest release?

I write to music, don’t make soundtracks, have broad and eclectic tastes.  At the moment I listen primarily to Mario Frangoulis since I tend to listed to the same discs over and over during a project.

What’s your biggest dream?

Justice for all.

If you were a millionaire would you still write?

Yes.

Cat or dog person?

Both, and a horse, goat, elephant, kangaroo, you name it, I love all animals.  I am afraid of a few, though.

Okay, get ready, we have our rapid response portion. Don’t think about your answers, just say the first thing that comes to mind. Ready? 

Favorite color:  blue

Favorite number: 7

Favorite Actor:   Allen Leech

Favorite Actress:  Judy Dench

Wine or liquor?  Wine

Tea or coffee? Tea

Decaf or caffeinated? Caffeinated.

Boxers or briefs?  Depends on the body.

Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla

Donald Duck or Goofy?  Goofy

Frozen (the movie) or Tangled?  Tangled.

Channing Tatum or Johnny Depp?  Johnny Depp

Want to meet or attend Stella’s workshop? Make sure you check out the information on our conference at http://www.njromancewriters.org and register!

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