Author Interview: Camille Pagán

Camille Pagán is back with her new book, Good For You!

A warm and witty love story about making the most of life’s not-so-little curveballs by the #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author of Life and Other Near-Death Experiences.

As you peel back the layers of goodness in Good for You, don’t be surprised if, much like I did, you shed a tear or two as Camille takes you on an emotional journey. A good old-fashioned enemies-to-lovers trope, the redemption of a well-intentioned workaholic heroine, the reveal of what trauma can do to the human body and to the psyche itself—all rolled into an unputdownable, compulsively readable romp of a novel. Perfection. —Maria Gomez, Editor

          You can find all of Camille Pagán’s books here!

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I’m thrilled to have you back (see Everything Must Go interview), Camille, and would like to say I’ve already learned a great deal from you! So thank you for joining us again and sharing more on your writing, coaching business and especially your new book, Good For You!

For those who don’t know you, tell us a little bit about yourself and your published book(s). 

I’m the bestselling author of 10 books, including Life and Other Near-Death Experiences, I’m Fine and Neither Are You, and Good for You, which is out March 1st. I write witty stories about love, relationships, and life’s what-ifs. I’m also a long-time health journalist, a master certified coach, and the founder of Even Better Co.

Your new podcast You Should Write a Book is brilliant. I know that new and seasoned authors will get so much out of it while listening to all your sage advice. Can you tell us a bit (or a lot) behind it? And honestly, how do you fit this in with writing and your coaching business Even Better Co? (EvenBetter.co)

Thank you so much, Carolyn! I just love doing the podcast; it’s a great way for writers who are new to coaching to get a taste of what that experience is like, and for me to give back to the writing community. And honestly, I’m inspired by every conversation I have with another writer. Getting a podcast up running is a bit intense, but once that’s done, it’s just a matter of scheduling the time for it each week. I’m a big believer in systems and routine. Some people see routine as something that stifles them, but I see it as freeing. I love what I do, and want to keep writing loads of books, running a coaching company, and helping other coaches and writers. Knowing when each thing I have to do is going to happen allows me to juggle them all.

Fans of yours love your warm-hearted novels that focus on love, loss and making the most of this wonderfully messy life. Are any of your books based on your family members or friends?

That’s a great question! While I feel like all my characters are composites of people I’ve met (and those I haven’t—books and film inspire me, too!), none of them are based on the other people in my life. In a way, that almost feels like “cheating”—the joy of fiction is that you get to make it all up!

What line or passage in your new book, Good for You stands out for you the most?

I love coming up with the first line of a novel, so I’ll offer that (plus a few more lines) because it really speaks to the heart of this story.

Sometimes it takes such a terrible amount of effort to be normal.

After thirty-four years of practice, Aly Jackson nearly had it down to a science. But as her boss frowned at her, she had to remind herself to plaster on a smile. Yes, he’d just announced that he was going to have to cut her staff’s already-anemic pay. But her can-do spirit was why she’d been named the youngest editor in chief in the history of All Good. And she had no intention of making James Fox, the magazine’s publisher and the owner of Innovate Publishing, think he’d made a mistake in hiring her.

What’s the inspiration behind Good for You?

I was on contract for another book entirely—one I’d pitched to my publishing team a year before I was supposed to write it. When it came time to sit down and write, I began writing Good for You instead (oops!). Two months later, I had a draft on my hands. It was the kind of story I wanted to write, which is no doubt why I wrote it so fast. Afterward, I realized I was never again going to write a novel I didn’t feel like writing; life’s just too short for that. Luckily, my publisher loved Good for You as much as I did. From the title to the cover to the edits, they have been wonderful in supporting my vision for this story.

How long does it take you from idea to the time you finish your final edit on most of your books? Any secrets behind your process?

It used to take me four to five months to draft a novel; now it takes me about two. I plot my books out before I write them, and although I don’t follow the outline perfectly, it helps me waste less time figuring out what, exactly, I’m doing. (It leads to a much easier edit, too. That’s key for me—I don’t love editing.)

But even more than that, I challenged my perception of what was possible for me, in terms of the number of words I could write in an hour. When I did, I realized I’d been selling myself short. I love Chris Fox’s book 5,000 Words Per Hour about this subject. Even if you don’t want to write that fast (and I don’t, personally), it’s a wonderful primer on getting out of your own way and producing more work in a shorter time period.

Any advice you’d like to give to aspiring writers today given the tough competition out there?

Yes—what competition?! 😀 But seriously, you can’t be focused on what other people are doing; it’s likely to steal your joy and slow you down. There has never been a better time to be an author. Readers are voracious! Nearly every time I go to a book club, I hear someone say something along the lines of, “I feel like I’ve read everything out there. Tell me what to read next.” And with self-publishing and so many terrific small presses, there are myriad options for authors. Focus on what you’re doing and what’s possible for you—not what other writers are doing (unless that inspires you—in which case, pay attention!).

For those that want to give up the long lonely and frustrating journey of writing a novel, any advice on how to put the ‘joy’ back into it?

Absolutely—write for yourself. I’m not saying ignore what the market is doing and what’s selling, but if you don’t love your story, it’s going to be hard to convince others to. For every writer, there’s a sweet spot between what’s selling and what you’re naturally good at and delight in writing. Find that—and focus on it.

You can find Camille here:

Instagram.com/camillepagan

Facebook.com/camillepaganbooks

www.camillepagan.com

You Should Write a Book With Camille Pagán Even Better Co

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