I’m so happy to welcome Pam Ferderbar, witty author of Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale, to A Literary Vacation today! She’s stopped by to tell us a little about herself and her book. So enjoy and continue after the Q & A to learn more about Fng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale.
Hello Pam! Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale sounds hilarious! I love the idea of deciding whether our lives are ruled by luck or something else. Where did you come up with the idea?
Watching the news one night in L.A. I was taken by a story about Feng Shui and how these giant corporations like Sony and Disneyland were hiring Feng Shui practitioners to work with their architects, landscapers and interior designers to make the spaces more conducive to positive energy. I thought, really? Then I started reading about Feng Shui and I was hooked. About a week later I woke up super early, like 3:30 in the morning, and the character of Charlotte Nightingale just came to life. It was like she sat on my shoulder and told me her story. I wrote the novella in six days. Of course there were months of editing, but the story—thething was instantaneous. It’s the only time in my life that has ever happened.
What does a typical day in your life look like? When do you fit in time to write?
Right now I get up around 4 and start working on the promo and marketing of the book, and I’m still at it at midnight. Once all this book launch stuff has passed I expect things will go back to normal-ish, and I’ll be writing writing again. Since moving back to Wisconsin I haven’t actually done any real writing—it has all been book promo and marketing. I am absolutely itching to get back to writing. How do I see it panning out once all this launch stuff has passed? Ah…in a perfect world I’ll have a couple of photo assignments each week, which will take 20-30 hours between shooting and editing the images. That’ll leave me with 3 solid days to write and maybe even an afternoon off. I’ll try to make it count!
A lot of authors have become huge on social media, not only promoting their work, but interacting with their readers and offering up giveaways, book recommendations, etc. Are you a big proponent of using social media in this way? How do you prefer to interact with your fans?
I LOVE social media. I don’t know how people got close to their readers before. With social media you can be fully present and have an actual dialog with someone on another continent. And that person’s opinion matters, because if you’re writing about a basic human issue, like insecurity, grief, fear—that’s global, right? Americans haven’t cornered the market on feeling bad about themselves. Plus readers give me great ideas. Questions are the best thing ever. The more I question what I’m writing, the better I become at the craft of storytelling. Storytelling hinges on the people listening to your stories. If it’s not important or authentic to them, forget about it.
I’ve noticed that a lot of authors are also big readers. When you have time for leisure reading what sorts of books do you gravitate towards? Have you read anything good lately?
I am all over the place. People give me “dog books” all the time. I love dogs. My heart breaks over animal abuse, so I am easily sucked in to anything dog. I never thought I was a biography buff until I read The Kennedy Women by Laurence Leamer. Holy smokes, it read like the most lush, gorgeous prose ever. Could not put it down. Patti Smith’s Just Kids is one of the finest pieces of writing I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. Talk about perfection. Pure. Perfect. Writing. I loved Keith Richards’s bio Life. I found myself saying “aw” a lot. From Keith Richards yet. Who knew he was such a sweetie, right? I recently read Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants,which was funny, as expected. I also just read John Cleese’s biography So Anyway, and I was blown away by its poignancy. I love it when you learn what it is about a person’s past that forms them as the person we know. I couldn’t put Cleese’s book down. It was bittersweet. Not at all what I expected. I loved Gone Girl, found The Girl on the Train tedious until the last 20 pages or so, then it all seemed worth it—ish. You’ll have to check Amazon and Goodreads for more of my reviews. I read a lot.
Are you working on any future books at this time? If so, can you tell us a little about it?
Oh, yeah! It’s funny, people seem to have the idea that if you’re not at a computer or pen in hand, you’re not writing. But I’m “writing” when I’m in the tub, the car, staring into space, or reading. It’s those quiet little spaces in between “doing stuff” where the real work gets done. The inspiration, the epiphanies all take place in those cubbyholes of time. So while I’m going nuts trying to get Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale off the ground I’m also thinking about the next phase in her life. Plus I am working on a companion book to the Charlotte series. Yes –she’s going to be a series! The companion book is a compilation of the best (worst?) #CharlotteMoment submissions embellished by illustrations and my photography. I’m also a couple hundred pages into a novel calledMo’s Indian. It’s funny, but more “literary” than Charlotte, if that makes any sense. That could take years to complete. Or not. You never know what happens in my cubbyholes!