Monday, January 13, 2014

Pamela Fagan Hutchins - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Pamela Fagan Hutchins. She is an award-winning and best-selling romantic mystery/suspense and hilarious nonfiction writer.

Author Genre: Mystery, Romance, Humor And Comedy, Non-fiction

Website: Pamela Fagan Hutchins - Holding Nothing Back
Author's Blog: Pamela Fagan Hutchins
Blog: Pamela F. Hutchins - Employee Relations
Twitter: @PamelotH
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description:
Pamela Fagan Hutchins is an employment attorney and workplace investigator by day who writes award-winning and best-selling romantic mystery/suspense (Saving Grace, Leaving Annalise) and hilarious nonfiction (How to Screw Up Your Kids, What Kind of Loser Indie Publishes?, and others) by night. She is passionate about great writing and smart authorpreneurship. She also leaps medium-tall buildings in a single bound, if she gets a good running start.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

First things first. Let’s start with what’s next. Rumor has it that you have another book on the horizon called Finding Harmony. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

The rumors are true! Finding Harmony comes out February 1st. Here’s your tease: Katie’s already on edge when a dead guy shows up at Annalise and shady locals claim there are slave remains in the foundation, but when Nick doesn’t come home to her and the kids, she’s ready to lose it. A frantic Katie launches a Caribbean-wide manhunt, calling on Kurt, her stoic, steady father-in-law, and Collin, her badass big brother, to help her search air, land, and sea for her husband, who may be in very big trouble indeed. It’s the third book in the Katie & Annalise romantic mystery series.

You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Did you use forums, newsletters and methods like that?

My social media relationships are incredibly important, especially Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter. I built my following very slowly by blogging and connecting with other writers and readers. Once my books started coming out, the process sped up quite a bit.

You do a lot of book signing, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? When and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

Last year I did over 150 events and interviews. Of the events, 80% were big city chain store signings. I’m focusing on libraries, small towns, and multi-author events in 2014. I’ve promised my husband to ratchet that back a little bit this year, but my schedule is still filling up pretty fast. My first appearance of the year will be at a Local Author Meet & Greet sponsored by the Kirbyville, Texas Public Library. I can’t wait! I post all my upcoming events at

Readers can catch my media appearances at

You have great covers. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

I work with a fantastic artist, Heidi Dorey. She’s also a writer and a librarian, so she’s very in tune with what makes books move off shelves. When I have a new book, I strategize with my husband (he’s my publishing business partner) and Heidi about what I want to convey, and how that will look. Heidi puts together concept covers, we narrow it down, and then it’s very iterative through the end of the process. We’re very hands-on. With Finding Harmony, I invited my beta readers—a group of friends, fans, writers, and editors—to have a voice in the title and the cover.

Several of you novels have been converted into audio books. What has been the impact on your regular sales? Has the audio books gained a new audience?

I love the audiobooks! Yes, they reach a new audience, and the sales from ebooks and audiobooks really seem to help each other. Not only do I have audiobooks, but Saving Grace was read aloud in its entirety on NPR in Arizona. I love that it reached people who would have never been able to read it that way.

Besides the Sisters in Crime, what other writer support groups do you belong too? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?

I am the President of the Houston Writers Guild, and in that role I am very involved with critiquing the work of other writers and assisting them in the marketing and publishing process, and vice versa. I also belong to Mystery Writers of America. Really, it’s unbelievable how much support I’ve gotten from all three groups (I’m including Sisters in Crime here). MWA took me to the Texas Book Festival. My Sisters in Crime have featured me on their blogs and had me to speak at different chapters. And the HWG members come out in force for my Houston events. Many members of each group have read and reviewed my books. I could go on and on. I’m so blessed with support.

Between your book writing, blogging, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?

I’m perpetually overcommitted, as is my husband. We recently took one week off where neither of us was allowed to work. It was really hard, but, in the end, incredible. I schedule everything out to the nth degree, and I’m always making prioritized lists. I never get to everything, but I manage to triage it enough that the most critical items get done. Luckily I don’t require much sleep!

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

I give away a ton of books, thanks to the influence of my husband. His mantra is that we’re looking for readers for the long haul. So we do giveaways on Goodreads, we have done them through KDP Select, we put them in lobbies (pet groomers, doctors, etc.), leave them in seat backs on airplanes, and do Rafflecopter giveaways on my blog. We give them to people at events, do giveaways with blog tours, we gift them to reviewers, we do giveaways with online promotions, and, finally, I said yes to my husband’s grand idea to mail them to libraries and indie bookstores. Because it has turned out that he was right. The more books we’ve given away, the more readers we gain for me, and those readers come back for the new novels.

How do you start your book launch process for a new book? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market. What methods were the most successful?

I look at a book launch as a three month process, with a three month window after it for heaviest promotion. I send books out to reviewers three months in advance. I order bookmarks and other promotional items two months out. I start working with book bloggers, promoters, and event coordinators about six weeks out. One month before launch I start booking online promos and run a Goodreads giveaway. Two weeks out we send out press releases to media. Hopefully all of these wonderful things bear fruit on launch day or within the first month. Meanwhile, I’m letting my social media contacts know about the launch, new reviews, giveaways, media, and events. We continue these efforts forever or until we drop from exhaustion. Seriously, we do taper off over time, but we never stop completely.

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed and marketing your books and yourself besides helping other authors. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?

It’s so time consuming!! I’m having a lot of trouble getting the fourth novel ready because the demands the promotional and marketing demands seem to be exponential. I’ve cut blogging down to once or twice a week, and it’s generally newsy rather than creative. I used to write great blogs, in fact, I used a lot of what I’d written on my blog over the years for my nonfiction books. Case in point: I need to be working on Going for Kona right now, and I’m answering interview questions.

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

All three! I also turn heavily to book bloggers, some of whom are also authors. Book bloggers rock! Giveaways and discount sales generate a lot of reviews too.

Author's Book List
What Kind of Loser Indie Publishes, and How Can I Be One, Too? - Writing & Publishing
Who knew indie publishing could be this much fun? Whether you have published before or are contemplating your first book, Pamela Fagan Hutchins makes an overwhelming field manageable by presenting tried and true how-tos and a myriad of resources, including the marketing plan that got her debut novel national distribution - all with her tongue firmly planted in her cheek.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
Leaving Annalise - Katie & Annalise
One unexpected and hotly fought-over little boy, two dead bodies, and a series of home vandalisms throw Texas attorney turned island chanteuse Katie Connell into a tizzy. Juggling all of this, Bloody Mary cravings, baggage, and the bad guys too, she waffles between the jumbie house that brought her back from the brink and the man she believes is the love of her life.

Book Trailer: Leaving Annalise

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
Saving Grace - Katie & Annalise Series
Katie Connell is a high-strung attorney whose sloppy drinking habits and stunted love life collide hilariously during a doomed celebrity case in Dallas. She flees Texas for the Caribbean and escapes professional humiliation, a broken heart, and a wicked Bloody Mary habit, but ends up trading one set of problems for another when she begins to investigate the suspicious deaths of her parents on the island of St. Marcos. She’s bewitched by the voodoo spirit of an abandoned house in the rainforest and discovers that she’s as much a danger to herself as the island’s bad guys are.

Most people prefer my personal Saving Grace “trailer” which was just me being silly.

Book Trailer: Saving Grace

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
The Clark Kent Chronicles - ADHD & Aspergers
A Mother's Tale Of Life With Her ADHD And Asperger's Son

They’re the parents who other people secretly believe must be doing a crappy job, the ones whose children don lacrosse gloves to weed the flowerbed, won’t turn in their homework, and throw age-inappropriate tantrums in public. They’re the parents one frayed nerve short of a breakdown as they scrub off the giant perceived “L” for Loser from their foreheads, turning for help to every source they can think of, because their kids just don’t respond like other kids, because their kids aren’t like other kids. The very brains of their children are wired differently, and the disciplines, motivators, and strategies that are supposed to work on them, according to conventional wisdom, don’t.

These are the parents of children on the ADHD Spectrum, and most of them have used up their Phone a Friend Lifeline and just want a little understanding and the hope of shared knowledge from someone else who has survived a life like theirs. They are parents like Pamela Fagan Hutchins, whose son, dubbed “Clark Kent the WonderKid,” has ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome.

Pamela takes readers on a heart-wrenching and hilarious road trip from toddler to adulthood with Clark Kent and his family, sharing their collective wisdom and empathy along the way.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
How To Screw Up Your Kids - Divorce and Stepparenting
Blended Families, Blendered Style

Married couples with children divorce 40% of the time. In less than three years after that divorce, chances are both mom and dad are remarried, and probably each to someone who has kids of their own. The single most explosive and divisive issue in those marriages? Stepparenting.

Wouldn't it be nice if we all lived in a bubble gum and sugar plum world where, without a ripple on Lake Placid, kids embraced stepparents and appreciated their contributions? Where stepsiblings didn't compete for attention and argue over favorites and fairness? Well, we don't.

So what we need when stepparenting is a good plan. A plan for blending, or blendering if you will, the disparate stepchildren and their parents into a chunky smoothie of stepfamily goodness. How To Screw Up Your Kids helps the parents everyone predicts will fail prove all the naysayers wrong. Through the use of practical human relations principles and the author's achingly honest and often hilarious stories, readers will learn to envision and instill a unique set of family values and culture into their new household, and by God, have fun doing it

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
Hot Flashes And Half Ironmans - Women's Health and Triathlon
Middle-aged Endurance Athletics Meets The Hormonally Challenged

Women get older, dammit, and sometimes it sucks, especially for women who pride themselves on athleticism and an adventurous spirit. Hot flashes. Weight gain. Sleepless nights. Yes, it can be hard, but middle age doesn’t have to be a flashing red stop light. It’s perfectly acceptable for women of a certain age, a certain level of hormonal imbalance, and a certain amount of cellulite to don spandex and even enter the rarefied sport of endurance triathlon.

In fact, there’s a huge advantage to aging: much of the potential competition drops out in favor of the couch and a remote control. And the endurance high? The elation of dietary purity and discovering you can have arms like Madonna? The Zen of goal attainment? Better than a good Shiraz buzz. Once you get past the ugly mood swings, chafing on your girly parts, and a “kill your own mother” craving for sleep and a hot Cinnabon, that is.

Pamela Fagan Hutchins has been there and done that, with lessons learned and sense of humor (usually) intact. She completed her first triathlon at 39 and her first Half Ironman at 40. She has her eye on an M-dot tattoo in 2014.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
eBook Author’s Corner and
HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle

1 comment:

  1. James, what a great honor to be featured on your site! Thank you so much.