First off, the blurb for her new release:
Take a break from academics, enjoy the Colorado Rockies, fight a fire now and then. That’s all Jake Landon expected when he signed up to be a ranger. He’ll partner with some crusty old mountain man; they’ll patrol the wilderness in a tanker, speak three words a day, and Old Crusty won’t be alluring at all. A national forest is big enough to be Jake’s closet—he’ll spend his free time fishing.
Except Old Crusty turns out to be Kurt Carlson: confident, competent, and experienced. He's also young, hot, friendly, and considers clothing optional when it’s just two guys in the wilderness. Sharing a small cabin with this walking temptation is stressing Jake’s sanity—is he sending signals, or just being Kurt? And how would Kurt react if he found out his new partner wants to start a fire of a different kind? Jake’s terrified—they have to live together for five months no matter what.
Enough sparks fly between the rangers to set the trees alight, but it takes a raging inferno to make Jake and Kurt admit to the heat between them.
Bonus Short Story: Into the Mountains
Long before he met Jake, Kurt Carlson climbed Yosemite with his best friend, Benji. But after a storm traps them halfway up the face of El Capitan, Kurt has to accept that their friendship isn't what he thought.
The First Electronic Edition of Fire on the Mountain was published by Torquere Press in 2009. I asked Pam the background to the re-release and other questions about her writing.
Thanks for agreeing to an interview, PD.
First up, can I say how much I enjoyed “The Rare Event”. There’s so much m/m released these days, around 200 a month according to Elisa Rolle. So when someone writes a book that stands out from the crowd, I think it’s worth noting.
The m/m Romance group at Goodreads has a poll of preferred jobs for our heroes. Cops and Private Eyes top the list with 17.3%, followed by cowboys, shifters and military. It wasn’t until near the bottom at 2.3% that business men featured.
I wish I’d known that statistic when I was planning “Red+Blue”!
I remembered a gay guy commenting in a thread that he wished authors would write about people in everyday jobs. So as I can’t resist a challenge I wrote about an actuary working for an insurance company. I did mention I liked a challenge didn’t I?
However, the thought of writing about hedge fund traders like you did in “The Rare Event” never crossed my mind. Brilliant! And you did it so well.
Now to make you sing for your supper!
AB: What fascinates me about your writing is that both "Maroon" and "The Rare Event" centre on a worldwide catastrophe, yet in neither case do you actually include the catastrophe in the story. Was this a deliberate decision?
PD: With the Rare Event, the whole catastrophe was just too large and spread over time, so I had to tackle a chunk of it. With Maroon, the call was for a story to go with a color, and being Attila the Pun, maroon meant ships to me. I have an Age of Sail story meant for that call, but I couldn’t make the ending come out happy without bending history to the breaking point. Then I found one of Walter Lord’s Titanic books, which had a tidbit that became a central plot point. With the Titanic, you are limited to a few possible outcomes to get a happy ending, and a reunion in heaven has already been done. If you can’t pick out the event, let me know; I’ll tell you.
PD: Disasters tend to reveal character. I’ve set mountains on fire, dropped avalanches on characters, sunk ships, it’s all good fun. I’ve thinking of doing one centered on Krakatau but it would have to be a Dreamspinner Bittersweet. Might manage with Tambora better. I have a big book of catastrophes that could keep me in plot bunnies for years.
AB: When did you start writing and what made you venture into m/m?
PD: I’m an old fanficcer; I started with vampires, were-wolves, and necromancers, all of which are conspicuously absent in my published stories. Eden Winters and I started as crit partners in fandom, and teased each other into attempting original work. She led me into reading m/m, and then we decided we could try writing what we enjoyed reading. We’ve been together since our early head-hoppy messes, and anything one of us bumps our nose on, the other tries to learn from. It’s like getting double the experience.
AB: What did your hubbie say when he found out you were writing m/m?
PD: Oh, My husband knew early on about the m/m romance; he lifted an eyebrow initially but encouraged me to publish. He’s my trusted resource on rock climbing, camping, distance cycling, guy anatomy, and guy-speak. And he loves research nights.
AB: But why do you write when you can probably make more money in your EDJ?
PD: I’m fortunate with the day job in that it’s steady, socially useful, and interesting, but it doesn’t feed all parts of my soul. Money is one way to know you’ve resonated with readers, but I write because I want to tell the stories.
AB: I’m an online writing course junky. How have you developed your craft?
PD: Holly Lisle’s novel revision class was very valuable, and so was getting edited by Vincent Diamond. My action sequences are more exciting after Vincent took a red pen to the original lyrical sentences. Every book provides a new learning experience on some aspect of the craft; the latest lesson was how not to commit ellipsis abuse.
AB: What is the best piece of writing advice you ever got and what is the most useful thing you could pass on to would-be writers?
PD: The most useful writing advice came out of Holly Lisle’s novel revision course and distils down to: a true scene contains a protagonist, an antagonist (someone or something preventing the protagonist from getting what he wants), the conflict between them, a setting, and finally, a twist, where something changes. When one or more of those are missing, it’s not a scene, it’s pretty writing. Putting this information to work will probably keep me honing my craft for the rest of my life.
AB: You mentioned that you have revised and are re-issuing "Fire on the Mountain" what did you see as the flaws in the original version and how are you fixing them?
PD: Fire was a pretty good book initially, but when I brought it to Dreamspinner, it was too short to be a novel. Bringing it to length allowed me to flesh out Jake, Kurt, and their backgrounds, and to improve “tell” sections into “show” sections, which are more vivid and interesting. Would you rather watch Kurt struggle with the tanker (and see why it’s a sore spot with him) or just know it happened? And because an author does tinker with sentences, flow is improved.
AB: You're very lucky in having a regular beta reader who is also a writer. Has it strained the friendship?
PD: Only if she sells more books than I do. Please, nice readers, keep peace between us!
AB: As a writer, what comes easier to you? The plot or the characters?
PD: I usually have the plot sketched out before I know what characters will inhabit it, but my true struggle is to get all the scenes on the page they way they play in my head.
AB: What would you see as your strengths as a writer and what ... apart from overuse of ellipsis ;) ,,, would you see as the things you need to always work on?
PD: I think my strength lies in being open to learning new methods of both writing craft and being willing to tackle a new subject if there’s a potential plot attached. I develop a new writing quirk with every piece—I stamp that last book’s lesson out and promptly have a new issue to edit. The ellipses weren’t a problem in previous books, but abounded in The Rare Event’s first draft. (They aren’t there now!) It remains to be seen what quirk an editor will point out in Blood on the Mountain.
I gather that's your sequel to Fire on the Mountain. Well, good luck with this release and maybe when the next one comes out, I'll have you back to grill you some more.
If you want to know more about P.D. and her books, visit her at her website.