Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hej * to Pamela Clare and BREAKING POINT

* Danish for Aloha. 

I am thrilled to host the multi-talented, multi-faceted Pamela Clare today.   I met Pamela at RomCon last July -I encourage you to read the recap.   Pamela joins us today to celebrate the release of Breaking Point - the fifth book of the I-Team Series.  Although I had not read the preceding four books, I read BREAKING POINT as a stand alone book.  I posted my review here.

Pamela's bio is fascinating:

Then, when I was 15, something extraordinary happened. I discovered romance novels. The first romance I ever read was The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss, followed soon after by Shanna and Rosemary Rogers’ Sweet, Savage Love. I gave up depressing intellectual classics for stories that made my heart beat faster — tales of bravery, passion, and love. I found that I preferred happy endings to sad ones, no matter how artsy or intellectual they were.

Kim:  Yet you have received stellar reviews for delivering both historical and contemporary tales of bravey, passion, and love. Some consider you the new classic in romantic suspense. How do you respond to cynicism about romance is not "real books"?

Pamela:  There are a lot of levels to this, so bear with me...

People who say that generally haven’t read a single romance novel, but are parroting what they’ve heard others say. Like any kind of literature, romantic fiction runs the gamut from excellent to awful. But just because a book is considered a romance novel doesn’t mean that it’s automatically devoid of substance. If you look at people’s lives, the things that ultimately matter most to them — what they think about on their death beds — are the relationships with their spouses, children, and friends. And that’s what romance novels focus on — the most important relationships in a person’s life.

I also think the bias against romantic fiction stems in large part from the fact that it’s written by women for women. Women’s literary interests have often been dismissed as inferior to the Great Works that men write and read. That’s nothing more than sexism playing itself out in the literary sphere. I have yet to see the same disrespect leveled at a man who writes science fiction or thrillers that I see routinely directed at romance writers.

Also, we live in an age of cynicism where nothing is hated quite so much as a happy ending. I don’t understand this, because few people would choose misery for themselves if given the chance, and yet a story that ends with the protagonists being safe and happy is considered simplistic.

But I decided long ago — even before I was published — that I would be “out” and proud of what I do. And I am. People who try to slam romantic fiction find themselves getting nowhere with me.

 Københaven, Denmark

I had the good fortune of becoming an exchange student during my senior year of high school and went to Denmark. I lived in 200-year-old thatch-roofed farm house with a host family that became a true family for me. I fell in love with the small Scandinavian country and stayed for almost three years, traveling throughout Europe and learning to speak Danish fluently. My time visiting European castles and cathedrals awakened in me a love of history. Those memories are among my most precious.

Kim:  Tell us about your favorite Danish place, food, and saying.

Pamela:  My favorite Danish place... That’s tough! I suppose I’d say Rådhuspladsen in the heart of downtown København (Copenhagen). I’ve always felt that I could feel the beating heart of the country beneath my feet while standing there. I lived about five minutes away from there at one point and I never got tired of hearing the bells chime at noon. A close second would be the gardens and lake at Sorø Akademi, where I went to school my senior year. The gardens are breathtaking during the spring and very expansive, and the lake has swans. I used to sit there and just watch them glide by. I also used to run around the lake every day — it’s 10km — so it was very much home for me.

Bull and Dragon Fountain in Rådhuspladsen

Favorite food... Just one?!? Our word “smorgasbord” is a mispronunciation of the Danish term “smørbrød” — a kind of buffet of toppings for open-faced sandwiches. And, of course, Denmark is known for pastries. I have to say that the pastries are probably my favorite. I love a good smørbrød lunch, but the pastries (which are nothing like what we call Danishes) are to die for. My faves: te birkes (a kind of croissant with marcipan in the bottom); tre stemmer (tree trunks — marcipan rolls with chocolate and kind of a truffle filling); Napolean’s huer (Napolean’s hat — looks like a tricorn with the bottom dipped in chocolate and the “hat” part filled with marcipan). I love marcipan! Also, the rice pudding they eat on Christmas Eve is very tasty.

Favorite saying... “Det er ikke størelsen, det er gørelsen.” Which translates to: “It’s not the size, it’s what you do with it.” Or on the serious side, just the words “Dejlige Danmark,” which means simply “wonderful Denmark.” It really is a beautiful country full of good-hearted, caring people. I miss it every day of my life. Fortunately, I still have good friends there.

Although I did work on a master’s degree in archeology and later art history, I realized that I was using the university to avoid the challenge of building the career I truly wanted — that of a fiction author. I dropped out of graduate school and went to work for a newspaper and held almost every position in the newsroom before becoming the paper’s first woman editor. Over the years, I’ve won numerous awards for my work as a columnist and investigative journalist, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service and the Society for Professional Journalists’ First Amendment Award.

Kim:  Congratulations on your accomplishment! How did this experience prepare you for publishing in the romance genre?

Pamela:  Being a reporter did a lot of wonderful things for me. It taught me to take risks and be brave. Because I worked as an investigative reporter — believe me, I never in a million years envisioned myself in that role — I had to learn to face my own fear. During my years as a reporter I’ve had experiences that most people outside of law enforcement just don’t have. I’ve seen a teenage boy with his head literally shot off. I’ve committed felony trespass multiple times to try to prove that a crime was being committed. I’ve gone head to head with feds. I even stayed in jail as a bogus felony arrest to try to learn more about what it’s like to be behind bars. And doing those things opened my eyes to all kinds of worlds that inspire my fiction.

It taught me to see the world from a bunch of different points of view. I’ve interviewed a former drug lord, rape victims, Holocaust survivors, soldiers, psychopaths, convicts, priests, CEOs, Nobel laureates, rock stars, more politicians than I can stand and lots of everyday people who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances. Give me a few minutes, and I can get almost anyone to open up and tell me all about themselves. The trick is learning to understand where they’re coming from. I think this helps me create emotionally real characters.

Plus I’ve gotten a lot of practice writing on deadline.

Though my ultimate goal was always to write fiction, journalism taught me discipline and helped me improve my writing skills. Little did I know that it was also giving me close-up experience with issues that would later find their way into my I-Team series. The I-Team itself is loosely based on what I call my Dream Team — the best bunch of investigative reporters I’ve ever known.

Kim:  For those new to you, tell us about tell us about the I-Team and BREAKING POINT.

Pamela:  I hadn’t planned on writing romantic suspense at all. My favorite subgenre is historical romance. But one night I was chatting with my agent about an investigation I was doing at the paper and telling her how a state official had contacted me to warn me that he thought I was in danger and she said, “You ought to write romantic suspense, because you live it.” And I said, “Yeah, except for the ‘romantic’ part.” So that was the beginning.

I began to toy in my mind with the major investigations I’d done over the years and how they might be turned into stories. I decided to create a fictional newspaper (one of my journalist friends and I actually own the incorporation papers on the Denver Independent, just in case we ever become millionaires) and pieced together a team similar to the Dream Team that won the National Journalism Award with me, except that the Dream Team was all male apart from me, and the I-Team is mostly female.

Then I sat down and wrote Extreme Exposure, giggling the entire time both because it was so much fun and because I couldn’t believe anyone would want to read about investigative reporters. I hadn’t read romantic suspense, so I felt like I was driving 90 MPH on a mountain road in the dark. But it worked out pretty well.

BREAKING POINT started with a seed planted several years ago when I wrote about Las Muertas de Juarez — the murdered women of Juarez. In Cd. Juarez, more than 400 women and girls have been found murdered, many of them victims of extreme sexual violence. More than 1,000 are missing. I’m certain they’re either dead, or they’ve been trafficked into the United States and work as sex slaves. The scope of the tragedy is so overwhelming it’s hard even to imagine. If Denver had 400 unsolved murders of women — femicides — and 1,000 or more women missing, the governor would probably call in the national guard. But there the situation continues to get worse.

It’s a gruesome topic, and, as my agent says, these books offer a kind of therapy for me. So I built Natalie’s story around that, bringing her face to face with that evil and adding bits and pieces of other investigations, some of which I opt not to name, for the most action-packed I-Team story to date.

I was able to meet with a former U.S. marshal and her deputy to get insight into how they do their jobs. It was so much fun that I found myself wishing I’d been a marshal instead of a journalist.

Also, Zach, the hero, is a former Navy SEAL as well as a chief deputy U.S. marshal, which enabled me to incorporate a story thread that I personally found very touching and which is based in part on the wartime experiences of someone close to me.

What’s amazing about writing fiction is the fact that you learn and discover things about the real world in the process of writing and relating to your characters. Every book I’ve written has pushed me to grow emotionally and even spiritually, broadening my horizons as I learn to see the world through my characters’ points of view.

Mahalo, Pamela, for joining us at SOS Aloha! I have a special giveaway to celebrate BREAKING POINT.  Any ordinary blogger would give away a copy of BREAKING  POINT.  But most of you know that I am not an ordinary blogger.  So today's giveaway is the Zack & Natalie Gift Pack: 

- Decorative cross from the French Quarter (Natalie hails from New Orleans).

- Navy Seal logo items from Pearl Harbor (souvenir coin, ID pouch, and window sticker).

To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about Pamela, the I-Team, Navy Seals, US Marshals, and/or Denmark.

2.  This giveaway is open to US residents only but comments are welcome from all readers.

3.  Comments are open through Saturday, April 30, 10 pm in Hawaii.  I'll announce the winner on Sunday, May 1.

Check out Pamela's blog for a link to Goodread's giveaway of BREAKING POINT


Kim in Hawaii

Pamela sent me an email this week which I share with you:

I wanted to let you know about a project one of my fellow journalists is working on. Michael de Yoanna is one of the guys who was on my "Dream Team" after which the I-Team is loosely modeled. 
He's trying to put together funding for a film about the long road to recovery that returning soldiers face:

Mahalo, Michael, for caring about our soldiers!


  1. Congrats on the upcoming release, Pamela. Denmark has the been ranked the happiest country for a few years now and I hope to visit Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia someday.

  2. Call me shallow but I LOVE the cover with Jed Hill! Jed is my second favorite cover model (Paul Marron is my most fave). I don't usually read rom suspense but I can't wait to read "Breaking Point"!

  3. Aloha, Jane and Sheree! This was a fun post to write!

    Sheree, make sure you read my review (link at top) as I, too, did not read romantic suspense. But Pamela converted me!

  4. I can't wait to read this book. I love the cover! I have all of Pamela's books!

  5. Aloha, Kim, Jane, and Sheree! Hej! Or as I would say just waking up in Denmark, "God morgen!" Good morning!

    Kim, you have outdone yourself. As I read through this and saw all those images from Denmark, all I could do was smile. That first one is Nyhavn, a beautiful area of the city and close to the statue of the Little Mermaid. And Rådhuspladsen. Very nice! Smørbrød. Tasty. I love it. Mahalo!

    I hope you all enjoy the interview. Only four days and 17 hours till Breaking Point is released! I'm so excited to share it with you all.

    And Sheree, I'm shallow, too. Jed is so yummy!

  6. Oh, aloha, Danielle! You came in behind me there. :-)

    Thanks so much for joining us.

  7. Wonderful interview! Would love to visit Denmark, but since my husband won't fly, I guess I'll have to live through others stories! I look forward to reading all of the I-Team books! I love a strong leading lady, and an even stronger, and sexy, leading man!
    Congrats on the release of your latest book! (Love the cover too!)

  8. Everyone's raving about the cover on the 'net (which is hot). But the story sizzles!

    And I see why after reading this review. Pamela, you are incredible!


  9. Thanks for sharing! I look forward to reading your I-team series. Congratulations on the new release. :D

  10. So many great topics. I have really enjoyed your historicals (Surrrender is one of my favorites). The Flame and the Flower was also the first book to really get me hooked on the romance genre. As to Navy Seals, my husband was a SeaBee in Vietnam and although they have a pretty good reputation (first thing they built themselves in the middle of the jungle was a bar) the Seals scared my husband to death!! After hearing all you've done and seen, maybe they wouldn't scare you lol.

  11. Danielle, Ursula, Barbara, Bethanne, and Catslady, thanks for stopping by on this special day!

    Catslady - I would like to know more about your husband's ingenuity to build a bar! It's funny stories like this that make the military very human despite awful conditions!

  12. Pamela is actually a new author to me. I will definitely be getting the book. It looks so good.

  13. I'll definitely be getting this book. I love the covers, they are so striking. The colors are so perfect.

    I loved the pictures, so nice to see them. I've never been to Denmark but it always sound so exotic.

    miztik_rose At

  14. I will definately have to start reading this series. The I-Team sounds like a great set of books and I would love to read them.

    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  15. Kim thank you for a stunning interview with the fabulous Pamela, and Pamela thank you for visiting !

    “It’s not the size, it’s what you do with it" I LOVE THIS SAYING !!

    Denmark sounds really fasinating I would love to go there one day and see all the sight and I must try the food it sounds simply delicious !

    Pamela Extreme Exposure sounds simply scrumptious,congratulations on your wonderful accomplishments and all of the very best for the future.

    Kim thanks for the great interview!
    Take Care

  16. I love love love Pamela Clare!!! I'm a journalist myself...well I'm putting myself through college to become one *grin*

  17. Hi Pamela and Kim!
    I'm so looking forward to reading Breaking Point (and finally being able to touch sandy Jed *swoon*)! So far, I'm on Team Mark but I might join Team Zach, who knows! :)
    I've been to Denmark several times (as it is a neighbour country of Germany) and love it there, too. The Danish people do have quite a relaxed way of life without being aimless or idle.
    Pamela, I can't tell you how much I enjoy your books (both Historicarls and RS), they always brighten up my mood!

  18. I was lucky and got to read this book as a ARC, and I couldn't put it down. Will be going to the store to pick up the book to add to the others. I was late to Pamela's book and read all of them in a week. Nothing like reading the books back to back, they are just wonderful!!! And what can you say about that cover!! LOVE IT!!!!

  19. The cover for BREAKING POINT is so different from the rest of the series. Why the switch?

    Now I know I would like Denmark. For the food if nothing else.

    Great post today. Thanks Ladies!

  20. ::waving at fellow RBLer:: Congrats on the new release, I've got it on the TBB list.

  21. Pamela,
    Hello from fellow south Louisiana native!

    Thanks, Kim--This was such a fun interview. I enjoyed learning about Denmark, Pamela's investigative journalist exploits and her novels. And I especially liked her answer to the question of whether romance novels are "real" books.

  22. I love reading Pamela's I-Team series! I preordered my copy for my KINDLE as soon as I saw it was being published! I live vicariously thru the characters in the books I read...and trust me....I'm always thrilled when a new Pamela Clare book is released! So anxious to read this one!!

  23. Hi Kim & Pamela I got Extreme Exposure for Christmas 3 years ago I Loved it Now I have them all even a Signed Naked Edge my pride & Joy...
    I also Adore the Ranger series( I want Conner) sorry Pamela I know you get that a lot.
    I have to say Debbie H (Highlanderlass) got me hooked I thank her all the time...
    have a good one Ann/alba

  24. Pamela is one of my very favorite authors. I love her I-Team series (super sexy and badass Alpha heroes- what's not to love!), as well as her historical romances. I have loved each and every one of her heroes and heroines. Looking forward to reading Breaking Point and Defiant (MacKinnon Rangers #3)!

  25. Hi Pamela, Hi Kim,

    Even I've only have one book by Her, Unlawful Contact, this Author really sold me with the story :)

  26. Hi, Ursula — Denmark is almost magically beautiful. For a time I lived out in the forest, and I always felt like I was going to see a unicorn if I looked hard enough.

    Hi, Barbara — You're such a sweetheart! Thanks! Have you read the story already? I know the publisher sent out a bunch of ARCs, and I'm not sure where they all went. Glad you like the cover. :-)

    Hi, Bethanne — You're welcome. And thank you! A new book is always very exciting for an author.

    Hi, Catslady — That's so cool about your husband being a SeaBee. They're the predecessors of the SEALs in many respects, I think. My brother-in-law is a SEAL, so they're not very scary to me. Then again, I'm not in a war zone, and I'm a woman. They're pretty kind to me. My family has a strong Navy tradition (grandfather, two uncles, BIL). I absolutely LOVE that they built a bar first. Clearly, they had priorities. LOL!

    Thanks so much for posting, everyone!

  27. Hi, Danielle, Mary and June — I'm glad you like the cover and that the story seems interesting. I'm very excited about it and can't wait to share it with everyone. :-)

    Hi, Desere — Denmark is truly amazing and lovely. And that saying is so TRUE about many things — not just the obvious one. LOL! And thanks for your kind words. I appreciate the good wishes. :-)

    Hey, Casey — How are those classes coming? What year are you in school? And thanks!

    Hi, Claudia — Vielen dank! That's such a great description of the Danes — relaxed without seeming idle. They all thought I was insane for getting up on weekends at 6 AM to go running. LOL!

    I'm so glad you've enjoyed my stories. I am glad to brighten up your day. And your words brighten up mine.

  28. Hi, Debra — How cool that you got an ARC. I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed the story. I can't believe you read the whole series in a WEEK! That's amazing. As for the cover... My editor was so sweet. When she heard Jed Hill was the model I was using for Zach in my head, she went and got him for the cover. That was so sweet of her. And now we can all drool over it. :-)

    Hi, Artemis — I'm not sure why they felt the need to change the style. I guess after five books they wanted to switch it up a bit. I don't think I've made it past Jed's abs yet to notice what's on the rest of it. They could have misspelled my name and I wouldn't have noticed. LOL!

    As for the food in Denmark, the pastries are unmatched in my experience. *sigh*

    Hey, Tammy! ::Waving back:: Thanks so much! I'm so glad release day is almost here. It's been a long wait. I hope you enjoy the story!

    Hi, LSU Reader — I just interviewed Charlaine Harris today for an article in the paper. So it was a very Louisiana day. :-)

    We have to stand up for the books we love. I've always been very open about what I write and why I love it. Thanks for posting!

  29. Hi, Diana — Not long now till you wake up to find BREAKING POINT on your Kindle. And thank you! I'm so glad you've enjoyed the books. They've been a lot of fun to write. Enjoy Zach when you get your hands on him!

    Hi, Ann/Alba — Yes, I do get that a lot, but that's okay. I think I get at least one e-mail every day asking me when Connor's book will be
    out. LOL! And that's for the past three years now. SOON! :-)

    I'm so glad Debbie turned you on to the I-Team series and my historicals. I hope you enjoy Natalie and Zach's story!

    Hi, Amy — That's so sweet of you to say! I put everything I have into each one of these stories, so to know that you've loved them all means so much to me.

    Hi, Mariska — So you've read Marc and Sophie's story. I'm so happy to hear that and glad to know you enjoyed it. Thanks so much for posting!

    I turned Danish music on my iPod because looking at all these photos has me feeling a bit homesick.

    Thanks, Kim, for having me as your guest today. I got bogged down at work, but it's been fun to catch up!

  30. All those pictures makes me really want to visit Denmark. Those covers are hot

  31. Beautiful picture of those different colored houses in Denmark. My mother always made that Danish Rice Pudding for Christmas. With an almond inside and hot cherry sauce on top. Really delicious.

  32. Risengrød is its name, Kirsten, and it's delicious. I loved it. We always hid an almond in it and whoever got the almond in their bowl of risengrød got a little gift. Is that what you did with your almond, too?

    Raonaid, it truly is beautiful there. Incidentally, a recent study ranked it as the happiest nation on earth and the least corrupt. Maybe those two go together.

    All I know is that I loved it there. I have Danish friends coming here for the first time this summer. I can't wait to see them and speak Danish again.