Thirteen Questions with CAMERON GARRIEPY
I do write under a pseudonym sometimes.
- What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Two of my dearest friends, Mandy Dawson and Angela Amman, are my publishing partners. They read everything first, and I value their insights and critique like no one else’s. They know my voice, they know my world, and they’re not afraid to tell me when I’ve gotten it wrong. Every single book they’ve lent me their advice on has come out better for following it.
- What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Two programs: Scrivener and Vellum.
- How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
So, so many. I can name three robust partial to finished drafts, and there are at least three more fleshed out ideas, plus a handful of blurbs and summaries…
- What does literary success look like to you?
Bringing in more than I need to pay out for my daily life, plus maybe enough for a sweet vacation once in a while.
- If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
I’d have stayed an English major and gone on to an MFA early, solely for the connections. Would it make me a better writer? I don’t know, but greased wheels roll more smoothly.
- What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
To borrow from Stephen King: butt in the chair. I’ve got a whole life that I love and a job that I need to be at so we don’t lose our house—or have to turn the lights and heat off, so writing sometimes takes more of a backseat than I’d like.
- Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
There are a lot of Easter eggs in my books—to other books I’ve written, as well as to my writer-friend’s worlds, so if you’ve read all of our stuff, you might catch them. If not, no harm, no foul.
- Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I do read them, and aside from the initial pinch of disappointment when someone doesn’t like my work, I generally enjoy that I’m actually provoking a response from someone. Plus, algorithmically speaking, any review is a good review. Sort of…
- What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Because romance novels for so long focused on “alpha heroes,” paragons of some (sometimes many or all) stereotypically manly virtue, that kind of man is always lurking about in my psyche. In truth, I try to write actual humans, with flaws and insecurities—my swoon-worthy heroes included. Allowing them to fail, to misinterpret or act foolish can be a challenge when I’m feeling inclined to put them on a pedestal.
- What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
My research tends to be career-related, or geographical, since I write mainly contemporary romance set close to where I live. I almost never research before starting a book, since I’m rarely 100% certain what I’ll need until I’m in it. When I’m researching, it’s eleventy-zillion tabs open in my browser and weird conversations with my friends and family, then reading, and finally picking a stranger’s brain if I need to.
- What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
If you know Daphne DuMaurier, it’s likely because of Rebecca or Jamaica Inn, or maybe The Birds or My Cousin Rachel. My favorite of hers, my comfort read, my literary lovey is Frenchman’s Creek. I think it gets dismissed as “a romance” because there’s a noblewoman and a pirate and a love story, but it’s got so much going on under the surface about a woman’s self-discovery, about the nature of happiness and purpose and desire…
“And are you happy?”
“I am content.”
“What is the difference?”
“Between happiness and contentment? Ah, there you have me. It is not easy to put into words. Contentment is a state of mind and body when the two work in harmony and there is no friction. The mind is at peace, and the body also. The two are sufficient to themselves. Happiness is more elusive—coming perhaps once in a life-time—and approaching ecstasy.”
- What is the first book that made you cry?
Where the Red Fern Grows. I sobbed through the ending. It was awful. I don’t necessarily believe in angels, but dogs are the closest thing I can think of.
Cameron D. Garriepy attended a small Vermont college in a town very like her fictional Thornton. She’s missed it since the day she packed up her Subaru and drove off into the real world. Some might say she created the fictional village as wish fulfillment, and they would be correct.
She is the author of the Thornton Vermont series, and the founder of Bannerwing Books, a co-op of independent authors. Prior to Bannerwing, Cameron was an editor at Write on Edge, where she edited three volumes of the online writing group’s literary anthology, Precipice. Cameron appeared in the inaugural cast of Listen to Your Mother – Boston, and irregularly contributes flash fiction to the Word Count Podcast.
Since her time at Middlebury College, Cameron has worked as a nanny, a pastry cook, and an event ticket resale specialist. In her spare time, she cooks, gardens, knits, reads avidly, and researches hobby farming–chickens and goats are just waiting for her ship to come in. She writes from the greater Boston area, where she lives with her husband, son, and a geriatric pug.