Monday, August 23, 2010

Interview with Author Pam Ripling

Pam Ripling as Anne Carter

While romantic mystery and suspense are her favorites, Anne has written middle grade mysteries, literary shorts, poetry and non-fiction. Long a lighthouse fanatic, it was only a matter of time before her obsessions intersected and a series of lighthouse novels emerged. Paranormal elements abound in both POINT SURRENDER and CAPE SEDUCTION, where mystery, romance and troubled ghosts provide hauntingly entertaining tales set in California lighthouses. A member of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles, her short story Just Like Jay (written under author name Pam Ripling) appears in their newest anthology, MURDER IN LA LA LAND.

When she is not writing, editing or promoting, Anne enjoys time with her husband and children, two happy dogs and a psychotic cat. She is a skilled photo editor and loves restoring old snapshots and creating digital slideshows. Watch for the third paranormal lighthouse mystery, ANGEL'S GATE, coming soon!


For more about Anne Carter and to read excerpts, visit www. BeaconStreetBooks.com or write AnneCarter@BeaconStreetBooks.com.


Cape Seduction is your most recent romantic suspense released under the pseudonym of Anne Carter. Can you tell us a little about the plot?

How's this:

1948. Post war, recovery. Hollywood was wooing back the public with blockbusters like The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Key Largo and The Three Musketeers. The beautiful people were “seen” at the Brown Derby and held their not-so-secret trysts at Chateau Marmont. They drove fishtail-finned Caddies and flew in the luxurious Douglas DC-6.

Darla Foster wanted to be in pictures. Just 21, she worked the circles, attached herself to the arm of any available actor with connections. On this night, March 20, 1948, one of her dreams came true as she sat at Sid Grauman’s Chinese Theatre watching Hollywood’s brightest accept their coveted Oscar statuettes. Later, at the Derby with her date, she met one of Tinsel Town’s favorite sons: the suave, slick headliner, Jordan Kent.

Darla’s life was about to take a sudden left turn as she found herself cast in Jordan’s next big film, about star-crossed lovers, a lighthouse and murder. Exciting fantasy or true life?

In 2008, photojournalist Rebecca Burke can't just walk away after experiencing the lingering pain and heartache surrounding the abandoned, off-short beacon on Dragon Rock.

In Cape Seduction, you travel back and forth between present day and 1948, and the latter includes a lot of authentic detail. Where did you go for your research on forties Hollywood?

I grew up in North Hollywood, California – just a short drive from the studios that made Hollywood famous. I hung out, with my girlfriends, anxiously hoping to glimpse a famous face now and then. So I was already a movie buff by the time I started writing books. Of course, the internet is a tremendous resource for any author. Finding out what it was like to be a person of affluence during the post-war years was lots of fun. Many, if not most, of the locales mentioned in the book are still in existence. The trick is to embed those details without committing the sin of an "info dump." The reader has to experience the era, not be inundated with impressive but useless facts. The aura of 1940's Hollywood can be subtly created through bits of character dialogue, nuances of setting, recognizable events, etc.

Once again, the story revolves around a Lighthouse. Could you give us some background on the story’s Dragon Rock Lighthouse? And what makes you choose a particular lighthouse for each book?

Dragon Rock is a fictional name, but the lighthouse that inspired the setting for CAPE SEDUCTION is St. George Reef Lighthouse, located off the coast of Crescent City, California. I could write volumes about this intriguing beacon. When I first discovered its remote, lonely existence, I immediately went into author-mode. I thought about how scary it would be out there, surrounded by angry seas, all alone and fearful that no one would ever come back. I read everything I could get my hands on, interviewing others who had actually been to St. George Reef (including one of the last Coast Guard lighthouse keepers ), hoping to authenticate my story.

My previous lighthouse story, POINT SURRENDER, deals with a completely fictional lighthouse I placed somewhere near Big Sur, California. But in my mind, I saw it as looking much like Heceta Head Lighthouse near Yachats, Oregon, a classically beautiful, cliff-hugging sentinel that has a rich history and is said to be haunted.

Were you passionate about lighthouses before you started including them in your stories?

Absolutely. In fact, I don't know why it took me so long to incorporate them into my work! I've loved them forever, visited many, and collected numerous knick-knacks and all sorts of lighthouse memorabilia. I am also a member of the United States Lighthouse Society.

Congratulations are in order! Your short story, Just Like Jay, is in the newly released Murder in La-La Land anthology by Sisters in Crime. How much time do you dedicate to short stories?

None, actually. When I heard the criteria for this submission, it sounded like fun—a murder mystery that involves nuances specific to Los Angeles. I did it as a lark, didn't really expect to be chosen, and I was. I started out writing short stories many years ago but stopped in favor of full-length fiction. The anthology has sparked new interest, however, and I'm thinking of revisiting this fun form of fiction.

You write Young Adult fiction under Pam Ripling. Do you have any new Pam Ripling books in the works?

I have one middle grade reader published, titled LOCKER SHOCK!, about a boy and the gun he finds in his middle school locker. I wrote a second, OLD ENOUGH, that involves the same group of friends. I have not submitted it, however. I've found it extremely difficult to support two personas, two very different genres, simultaneously. I'm not sure at the moment what I will do about that!

Could you tell us what’s next for Anne Carter?

I've just begun the third lighthouse mystery. This one will center on Los Angeles Harbor Lighthouse, also known as "Angel's Gate," and the portion that deals with the past will probably concern the California coast during World War II. This will be the first time I write about a real lighthouse using its real name. Angel's Gate is set to begin a $1.8 million dollar restoration project, and I'm hoping to get the opportunity to visit this not-open-to-the-public beacon that sits at the end of the breakwater in our harbor. (See my lighthouse blog for a stunning photo of this lighthouse.)

Thank you so much for stopping by!

My pleasure! Thank you for having me. I so enjoy this blog and am thrilled with the opportunity to stop over.

Note that Pam will appear on "A Writer's Jumble" on September 10th.

2 comments:

  1. I love reading about LA so I'll be sure to check out Cape Seduction. Sounds fun.

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  2. Wonderful interview. I love lighthouses and I love German shepherds! Cape Seduction is definitely on my list. Continued success, Pam.

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