Author Interview: Pamela Hutchins on Hell to Pay, writing, and more…

Heya reader!

I hope you are in as happy a mood as I am as I write this!

I don’t do too many author interviews. Usually, it is the same set of questions that I have and I don’t find the thought too interesting. But when I read Pamela’s Hell to Pay (What Doesn’t Kill You, #7) there was so much that I wanted to ask her (You can read my review of this book here to know how much fun I had when read it!). And I am super-glad that Pamela did this interview with me. Read on…

Nikita: How did writing happen?
Pamela: I’ve always expressed myself through writing. My husband believed I had a knack for it, and he pushed me and pushed me until I gave in. In fact, he was on a trip to Jamnagar, and I wrote a novella to get him off my back. When he came home, I presented it to him. And he said, “More, more!” So much for getting him to stop, right? Anyway, that novella became, many iterations later, Saving Grace.

Nikita: Did you always want to be an author?
Pamela: No! I wanted to be a reader 🙂 And I am a reader. I’m a huge fan girl of soooooo many writers. But my third grade teacher predicted I would be a novelist. She must have seen something.

Nikita: It always fascinates me to think about how an author thought of a story and its characters. Can you tell me a little something about how this story was born?
Pamela: I learned about a crazy cult operating out of my hometown, and it made me disgusted and angry. I decided to deal with them in a novel, since it would be illegal to in real life.

Nikita: Tell me something about Emily Bernal; as her creator, what is that one trait of Emily that you are proud of?
Pamela: Emily is brave and physically tough. She’s smart, but unlike most female protagonists, she combines her brain and her physical skills to save the day, not just for herself, but for her male counterparts as well. I love that she does this authentically without losing her femininity.

Nikita: Emily’s braces certainly qualify as one of the leads! How did you think about bringing them in?
Pamela: A childhood friend of mine got braces when she was forty-five. She’d always had this adorable gap, but she decided she had enough with it. Her stories about being an adult with braces were hilarious, and I hoped I would find a way to use them some day. In Emily’s case, she is moving from a place of low self-esteem and insecurity about her looks, to a place of confidence and acceptance. (Go Emily!)

Nikita: You’ve also got books with Katie and Michele in the leads. How did the idea for the series come about?
Pamela: The first novel I ever wrote was a Katie novel, and in it, Emily and Ava popped up. The second novel I wrote was a Michele novel, and she had a connection to Katie. From there, I realized that I enjoyed writing a couple of books for each protagonist, enough to give them intriguing character arcs, but that my interest wandered after that. I could let them play supporting roles as I moved through the cast of characters. So I guess what I am saying is that it all started with Katie. (Ava will also have three novels, as will a character from the Michele novel I’m working on right now; who knows who else will enter the What Doesn’t Kill You world and capture my imagination.)

Nikita: Which one of the three is your favorite-Katie, Michele, or Emily?
Pamela: Michele is the most like me. Katie gets to live the life I used to (so I am a little jealous). Emily is the most kick ass. Emily. Definitely Emily.

Nikita: Which one is your favorite scene in Hell to Pay?
Pamela: When Emily shows off her snake handling skillsto her fiancé Jack’s parents! I just cringed writing it.

Nikita: What’s next?
Pamela: Another Michele book: this one is called Going by the Book, and here’s the blurb:

Michele retreats to the country for peace and quiet while her teenagers are away for the summer, hoping to learn how to be alone in the wake of the death of her husband. But when her elderly neighbor Gidget—a Houston art gallery owner whom Michele is assisting in writing her memoirs—dies and leaves everything to Michele except a bequest to a daughter no one knew existed, it seems like half the state shows up: some to help, some to contest the will, and others to make sure the mystery daughter is never found alive. 

It’s nearly done!
Also, I have a prequel novella coming out exclusively for blog subscribers (free) in the fall of 2016. All my protagonists appear in it and take turns telling the story.


And now for a rapid fire (I love these questions and the little things they tell about a person!)

Nikita: Your favorite book?
Pamela: Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty

Nikita: Your favorite author?
Pamela: Pat Conroy

Nikita: A book you wish you’d have written?
Pamela: The Great Santini

Nikita: A book of yours that you wish to adapt into a movie?
Pamela: Saving Grace

Nikita: Your favorite time of the day for writing?
Pamela: Afternoon

Nikita: One peculiar habit of yours, as a writer?
Pamela: I record my first drafts on a hand held device while out walking with my pack of rescue dogs and goat. 🙂


I hope you enjoyed reading this interview as much I and Pamela enjoyed coming up with this. If you’d like to know more about this book, you can read my review of Hell to Pay (What Doesn’t Kill You, #7) here.

Stay happy,

Nikita 🙂

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