Meet Camille Pagán, the #1 Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestselling author of eight novels, one of which has been optioned for film. And if that’s not enough, her writing has also been published in/on Forbes, Glamour, The Oprah Magazine, and The New York Times to name a few.
Her latest book, Everything Must Go, is a novel about secrets, second chances, and the unbreakable bonds between mothers, daughters, and sisters. You can find it here along with Camille’s other novels about love and relationships and all the messy things in between.
Thank you, Camille, for taking the time to interview with us at Henlit Central! We’re thrilled to share this with our readers.
Fans of yours love your key themes – love, relationships and making the most of this messy life. ‘Wonderfully’ messy life, I might add. Why do you think adding humor is important in your writing? Humor brings light to difficult circumstances—which are, of course, part of the human experience; there’s really no way around them. I see life as funny, even when it’s sad, and so I naturally write that way.
It may be too difficult to chose, but do you have a favorite novel, out of all the books you have written? Perhaps a novel that you are most proud of? And what are the reasons for your selection?
I love the one I just wrote most (which is often the case—and I’d argue should be a writer’s goal), which is out early 2023; it’s a life-affirming love story, which are my favorite kind. That said, I adore Life and Other Near-Death Experiences because it’s the novel that helped me find my voice as a writer. Forever is the Worst Long Time (my third) is my most acclaimed and the book I’m most proud of—but interestingly, hasn’t sold as well as many of the others.
Your ‘getting to where you are now’ is truly impressive. How do you manage it all as a successful #1 Amazon bestseller, a speaker at various events and functions and a writing career coach?
That is so kind of you! There are a few things that allow me to do all the things I love. One is being really clear on my mission—which is to inspire others to make the most of life. I do that in every professional role I play (and arguably in my personal life, too). Knowing what I’m trying to accomplish helps me easily say no to any time-suck that doesn’t align with my mission.
Another piece that goes hand-in-hand with what I said above is being clear about my schedule. As I tell clients, it goes beyond habits; it’s really about putting your habits together into a routine, which allows you to get it all done and create a life you actually love living. I write every morning—no interruptions, barring true emergencies—and coach in the afternoons. I don’t spend a lot of time on social media and I don’t do all of the marketing things that writers are “supposed” to do; I believe the best way to sell books is to keep writing them, and try to make each one better.
Your books also appeal to the aging lover of the lighthearted romcom ‘happily ever after’ genre. How do you feel about the label “HenLit” for those who prefer to read about an older protagonist?
I love that you said that! It’s important to me to write women across the age spectrum; I really do feel that women over 40, and even over 30, are underrepresented (which is so crazy to me; we’ve got sooo much life and many adventures ahead!). I like the term HenLit. 🙂
When did it dawn on you that you wanted to become a novelist after spending time as an editor and journalist? And then when you become an established novelist, when (and why) did it dawn on you that you wanted to help established authors get published and create even better careers?
Becoming an author was always my goal; I’d wanted that since I realized someone was writing the books I loved to read. Journalism was an excellent way to make money and hone my craft as a writer. Coaching was accidental, though. I went through a professional setback during a time in which it looked like everything in my career was going swimmingly, and I started a coaching program, then hired a one-on-one coach—and it was nothing short of transformative. I’d gone to therapy, interviewed psychology greats like Kristin Neff and Martin Seligman, and written hundreds of articles on happiness, habits, and the like—but coaching was a true game-changer, especially for my anxiety and my belief as to what was possible for me. I was already working with writers in a mentoring/consulting capacity, but I got certified as a life coach during the pandemic and opened my practice (EvenBetter.Co). It lights me up to help others reach their goals.
Besides getting lost in your writing/speaking/coaching career as well as spending time with your family, what else do you love to do?
I’m a lifelong runner, and I often say—only half-joking—that running distance prepared me for the sometimes-tedious work of writing a novel. I also love traveling; my family and I spend part of each summer in Puerto Rico, where my husband was born and raised, and visit other destinations as much as possible.
Any advice when it comes to the business of writing (apart from having a passion, or not) you’d like to give to aspiring writers today?
Tune out the negativity about publishing and the so-called “odds” of making it as a writer. I am living proof that you don’t have to be the most talented (whatever that actually means) or well-connected in order to make this happen. You just need to have a clear goal, the right support, and the willingness to keep going even in the face of occasional disappointments and setbacks.
For your loyal fans, is there anything in the pipeline you can tell us about?
My next novel, which will be out in early 2023, is about an uber-capable editor who suffers a meltdown she can’t remember and decamps to the beach house her brother left her when he died—only to discover his slacker best friend inherited it, too, and won’t leave.
Do you think there’ll ever be a day when you’ll want to stop writing stories and why?
I doubt it. I believe in taking a break and writing the story on your heart and have always said I want to write at least 80 books in my lifetime. But life can surprise us and who knows—maybe I’ll decide to solely focus on coaching. Never say never!
You can find out more about Camille here: