Interview with Pamela Harju

Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 
My name is Pamela Harju. I was born and bred in Finland but have lived in Ireland since 2002. I’m a free spirit, independent and passionate and enjoy solitude – some would say too much. Apart from writing, the great loves in my life are dogs and rock music; I have no musical talent myself, but I’m a huge fan!

What would you say is your more iconic novel and why?
I haven’t written any iconic novels yet, but even picking one written by someone else is tough. There are so many good novels out there, and I don’t have one favourite.

Which writers inspire you? 
I’m a huge fan of Diana Gabaldon, Stephen King and Susan Cooper, but I write nothing like them! Having said that, I look at how they work and draw inspiration from that. I am not consciously aware of any writer who would have influenced my style or what I write about, but it’s probably an amalgamation of all my reading experiences over the years. I honestly read anything.

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?
In my early days, I occasionally wrote with my sister, and she’s probably the only person I can imagine writing with as we are so alike. Unfortunately, she no longer writes. I’m afraid I’m a bit of a control freak and think that nothing is going to be done properly unless I do it myself, so co-writing is probably not for me.

When did you decide to become a writer?
I always knew I wanted to be a writer. Before I even learned to read, I’d browse through children’s picture books and come up with my own story to match the pictures. As soon as I was able to string words together, I was always writing something.

Do you write full-time or part-time? 
Unfortunately, writing is something I must squeeze into my daily schedule along with a full-time job – at least so far! I have a bill-paying job in software licensing which allows me to finance my writing and self-publishing. It’s hard to find the time to write, but I have learned to make the most of the time I have. I work from home three days a week, and I write on my breaks on those days. Evenings and weekends are another good time to write unless I have something else on. I train and compete in dog agility and often travel to see bands, so those passions sometimes eat into my writing time, but I need to live life in order to have something to write about!

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? 
I plan, but only in my head. I get writer’s block if I try to write outlines or notes. I generally have the whole story in my head just waiting to be written. I plan scenes when driving and also at night, waiting for sleep to come, when I’m at my most relaxed.

Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? 
I ask very kindly. Most people just don’t bother writing reviews, and I get that. Because my book is exclusive to Amazon at the moment, I have access to some free days, and I try to push the book as much as I can on those free days to get people to download it and read it, in the hope that this will result in some reviews. I find that people are more likely to read books from indie authors if the book is cheap or free because of the reduced risk.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? 
Thankfully, I haven’t had a bad review yet, but I realise that the day will come. No matter what you do and what you write about and how well you write it, you’re never going to please everybody. I don’t have thick skin, so it’s going to hurt, but it’s important to remind yourself of the good feedback you have received and try to focus on that. As such, I’m not a huge believer in reviews as they’re always one person’s opinion, but at the same time, it’s the name of the game, and I know many readers swear by them.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?
On my website, pamelaharju.com, on Twitter using @pamelaharju and on Facebook at www.facebook/pamelaharju. I’m always delighted to hear from my readers!

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