Monday, February 25, 2013

Scene of the Crime with Author Pamela Beason!

As many of you know, not only do I love to read crime fiction, I love wildlife and the wide open spaces. A perfect day to me is my husband and I loading up the Jeep with food, drink, and cameras to head out on a trail to some much-less-traveled location where we can wander at will. When I can find crime fiction that lets me do the same thing, you have to know that I'm in heaven. I've always relied on Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon for some crime-solving wilderness wanderlust, but I'm here to say that there's a new woman in town: Pamela Beason's Summer Westin. Summer is a wildlife biologist who finds herself in some beautiful, remote areas where she takes care of the local wildlife and solves a mystery at the same time. The first book in the Summer Westin series, Endangered, made my Best of 2012 list, and if you stop by tomorrow you'll be able to see how the second book, Bear Bait, compares.

Pamela Beason
Although I know these interviews are read by a lot of folks, you all seem to be incredibly shy about leaving comments, which is why I do some research to give you a few links to follow. Not only will you be able to learn more about Pam, you'll have other ways to connect with this talented writer:

Enough of the introduction-- let's get this show on the road. Pam has a lot of very interesting things to tell us!

What was the very first book you remember reading and loving? What makes that book so special?

I have always been an animal lover, so I read everything that had to do with animals of any kind. But the first book that I wanted to read over and over again was The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss. I was fascinated by the idea of building a life in the wilderness and all the ingenuity and adventures associated with that undertaking.

Outside of your writing and all associated commitments, what do you like to do in your free time?

My biggest problem in life is that no matter what I’m doing, I wish I were doing three other things. I hike, kayak, snowshoe, cross-country ski, scuba dive, and I do Zumba and country line dancing. If only I could give up sleeping, I’d like to spend more time painting and doing embroidery and quilting, too. I often find it frustrating to be only one person. Did I mention that I’m a licensed private investigator? So sometimes I’m working on legal cases, too.

If I were to visit your hometown, where would you recommend that I go? (I like seeing and doing things that aren't in all the guide books.)

Because I have lived in Kansas, South Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma and Washington, I’m always a bit confused by the label “hometown.” I’ll answer based on where I live now: Bellingham, Washington.

To get the true flavor of this ‘green,’ outdoorsy university town, you’ve got to go to Whatcom Falls Park to see the beautiful waterfalls and huge trees and miles of paths, and walk on the Interurban and/or Railway Trails to experience how easily you can get around on foot or by bike.

You also need to have a cold brew and delicious meal at Boundary Bay Brewery and chat with the local students, professors, and everyone in between who hang out there. Then walk around the harbor before sunset and lust after the many beautiful boats, and be sure to stop by Hardware Sales to see what a hardware store should be. I often walk in holding a little piece that broke off some piece of gear and say “I need one of these,” and one of the many clerks will cheerfully lead me through the astounding floor-to-ceiling maze to precisely the right bin and help me sort out exactly what I need.

You’ll want to go see a movie at the Pickford, our beautiful downtown theatre that shows the best foreign and indie films. And I can’t leave out Village Books, our amazing indie bookstore that also does a radio show featuring corny jokes, local musicians, and authors that come from everywhere.

You have total control over casting a movie based on your life. Which actor would you cast as you?

Jodie Foster
Jodie Foster! She’s taller and better looking than I am, but she’s smart and gutsy, physically strong and sometimes a bit snarky, and I like to think I have been and still am all those things. Besides, my mother’s maiden name is Foster, so I figure Jodie and I are related in some way.

Who is your favorite recurring character in crime fiction?

Darn! I’m torn. Just like I don’t have one favorite activity, I don’t have one favorite author or character. My biggest faves are Ranger Anna Pigeon from the Nevada Barr books because we share a love of nature, and PI Kinsey Milhone from the Sue Grafton series, because she’s such a funny and realistic private investigator. Runners-up would be Warden Joe Pickett from C.J. Box’s series, Chief of Police Kate Burkholdt from Linda Castillo’s series, and zookeeper Iris Oakley from Ann Littlewood’s zoo mysteries. Okay, I think I’ve definitively proved my multiple personality disorder now; sorry about that. Can you tell I’m a voracious reader?

[Don't look now, Pam, but you've just fallen into an entire nest of VRs!]

If you could have in your possession one signed first edition of any book in the world, which book would that be? Why that particular book?

Ack! This question could keep me dithering for years. But I guess I’ll answer off the top of my head with the book that I’ve recommended to so many readers: My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult. It’s so beautifully written and—talk about drama and conflict!—there’s no way for all the characters to get what they want, and the reader is rooting for everyone in the family. Someday I hope to be able to write a story that compelling.

How did you celebrate when you first heard you were to be published? What did you do the first time you saw one of your books on a shelf in a bookstore?

To be honest, all I did was call my friends and family after my agent called me. I’m always a bit perplexed about when an author should celebrate because the process takes so long and comes in stages. Do you break out the champagne when you a) accept the offer, b) sign the contract, c) get your first payment, or d) see your book on the shelf? To add to my confusion, I originally self-pubbed my first mystery before my series was picked up by Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin), so I had already been published, although not traditionally. And now I’ve self-pubbed several other books while my agent continues to pitch them to publishers, so should I celebrate when I publish a book myself? I imagine a lot of other indie authors have the same dilemma. I now know the answer is: Celebrate as often you can!

Name one thing on your Bucket List.

I struck a big item off my list late last year when I went back to Africa on safari, so there actually aren’t too many left. (You may have already deduced that I am a big believer in having adventures throughout life.) And of course, a few goals are too personal to share with the public. One thing I can admit to is that I want to volunteer at a wildlife rehabilitation center and help restore animals to the wild. I plan to do that someday soon.

You've just received a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice. Which bookstore are you making a bee-line for?

Village Books

Village Books of course, my wonderful local indie bookstore. Now hand over that card and make us all happy!


Thank you so much, Pam, for spending this time with us. It was a pleasure to be able to get to know you a little better.

May your book sales do nothing but increase!

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow to read my review of the second Summer Westin mystery, Bear Bait. (Hint: I can't wait for the third in the series!)



  1. This is one impressive writer! Not only does she have several books out in different series, but she does everything! Her website shows a photo of her feeding a sting ray -- underwater!

    Here I am in a big city, where going on an adventure means finding a new restaurant, bakery or bookstore in walking vicinity.

    Pamela Beason's Summer Westin series. Any author whose writing is compared to Nevada Barr's -- Well, I'm in!

    And that city of Bellingham, Wash., seems almost utopian. Great restaurants, bookstore, movie theater that shows indie films, and even a beautiful park with waterfalls. Is this for real?

    Wish I were there right now.

    1. Bellingham is real-- I've been there-- but I need to go back to spend some money at Village Books!

  2. Love Pam. Just can't keep up with her. She kayaks, hikes. (I'm more of a walker). But when it comes to storytelling, we have a lot to yak about over a meal or coffee.

    1. I'll bet you do! Like you, I'm more of a walker, but it's not unusual for my husband and I to go out in a remote area here in Arizona and have a walk turn into a hike. At least we're prepared!

  3. What a terrific interview. I've hiked to mountain tops and kayaked with Pam -- always lively times -- and as a "fellow" Bellingham writer, you can be sure we talk writing and books. I'm off to SW Utah, where I'll edit when I'm not hiking or biking, and the book I'll read at night is Pam's ENDANGERED.

    1. Perfect reading for that area. I almost envy you!


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