Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder/President & Treasurer of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.” Email: email@example.com Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com
Welcome to Beyond the Books, Pamela. Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published? Can you give us the title(s) of your book(s)?
I am multi-published with 4 titles and numerous short stories, articles and essays to my credit. Titles include: Tempered Hearts, Tempered Dreams & Tempered Fire (books 1, 2 &3 in 5-part series) published by ComStar Media, LLC available in Ebook & Print! And The Inheritance, published by The Wild Rose Press also available in Ebook & Print! I also have short stories (called Rosettes) published and/or coming soon from The Wild Rose Press. Some of my articles can be read at Associated Content and Helium Knowledge.
What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?
My very first book is now known as Tempered Hearts and it is published. For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it? Hundreds! Honestly I began submitting Tempered Hearts almost immediately after it was written in 1996. I submitted to agents and publishers. In Dec. 2000 the title was picked up by Writers Exchange E-Publishing Co. and in June 2001 Tempered Dreams was published also by WEE. Since WEE did not offer POD services, I paid for the print copies and worked with the Books-A-Million stores to distribute.
In 2002 I pulled my contract and signed with an “up and coming” new publisher that never got off the ground. Left floundering after 18 months in an unfulfilled contract, in 2003 I started over –pitching to both agents and publishers, and eventually signed the entire Tempered series with Com Star Media. In 2005 both Tempered Hearts and Tempered Dreams were re-released (edited/new covers) and in 2006 Tempered Fire followed. Tempered Joy will be out in 2008.
How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?
Rejection always hurts. First I cry and threaten to quit and then I get angry and frustrated. Eventually I’ve learned to view rejections the way my husband always has—as “their loss.” J
When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?
Tempered Hearts was initially published by Writers Exchange E-Publishing Co out of Australia. I had worked with Sandy Cummins, Editor and CEO of WEE when she published several of my articles in her Ezine; from there our trust in each other grew and when she announced that she would be publishing novels, I submitted and she accepted. One reason I chose to sign with WEE (and the publishers since) is that they understood my writing and didn’t/don’t adhere to strict, ultra-conservative, Christian guidelines. You see, although I do write inspirational, I write “Inspirational with an Edge!” I write “steamier and grittier” with a higher level of sensuality and “gritty realism” than found in traditional Christian romance. That said; please let me reiterate what I’ve said before: All things that give God glory deserve to be praised! My writing is not better than traditional Christian romance, it is just different.
How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
Getting those first –and subsequent- acceptances is a thrilling experience! I celebrate in different ways (though always with chocolate). J
What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?
Purchased a domain name and developed a website (well actually a cousin developed it for me). This is first and foremost the most basic form of promotion an author should have.
If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?
Oh sure, I would choose for a Big Name, Traditional publisher to see the value in my writing and pick up my books and promote me straight to the Best Seller Lists! (Who wouldn’t?) J
However as recently as 2005 an editor from Steeple Hill (Harlequin’s Inspirational Imprint) informed me that the CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) may never relinquish guidelines on sensuality it their romances…so the chance of that Big Name Publisher picking up my work is slim.
Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?
Yes, I’ve been published numerous times with articles, essays and devotionals. Hopefully I’ve grown as an author in writing a better, cleaner and more concise story.
Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?
Other than change my entire writing style and voice to ‘fit’ the CBA guidelines of “chaste” romances, I’m not sure I could have done anything differently to speed things up. Believe me, I tried that! I revised and revised until I couldn’t even recognize my own story. Disheartened and frustrated, I quit doing that and just wrote what God gave/gives me to write. The one mistake that I deeply regret is signing with a company that was not well established. Even if it is a new publishing company, writers need to beware and be smart about signing a contract with someone who is not actively working toward the publication and advancement of their authors.
What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?
Other than publications itself, which is a great accomplishment, I have co-founded a local writers’ group: Bayou Writers’ Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?
My profession of choice is a stay-home wife/mother. I have worked in various professions all of my life but that one dream has escaped me. You see, all I’ve ever wanted from the time I was old enough to articulate it was to get married and have a family. Although I do have a wonderful husband, four great children (six if you count my sons-in-law) and two BEAUTIFUL grandchildren, I still have not attained the “stay home” part. Alas, it is what God desires of me –not my will that counts. J
Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?
One of the great things about being an author is that you can combine the best of both worlds no matter what your profession; although I would dearly love to be a stay-home writer.
How do you see yourself in ten years?
Hopefully still writing and possibly achieving the stay home status. Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day? Never give up! Writing is a gift and a talent….don’t bury your talent or hide your gift.