Interview and Giveaway: L.M. Pampuro

Long and Short Reviews welcomes L.M. Pampuro. Her book, Uncle Neddy’s Funeral, was voted Book of the Month – check out our review here. Leave a comment for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card as well as a copy of Uncle Neddy’s Funeral.

Ms. Pampuro has written five and a half works of fiction (the half is a novella) and has co-written two works of non-fiction. I asked which was her favorite.

“Picking a favorite is like picking a favorite child, it is hard to do so I am going to quote the best quarterback evah, Mr. Tom Brady, when he was asked which Superbowl win is his favorite. He replied, ‘The next one.'”

L.M. has been writing since she was a teenager, admitting to having notebooks of sappy lyrics she would sing in the bathroom mirror with hopes of someday learning guitar.

“The guitar playing didn’t happen. I started writing fiction in college, lost the urge for a while and then around fifteen years ago it came back when I was traveling a lot for business,” she said. Now I write something just about every day. A few years ago I met the great Jennifer Crusie at the Romance Writers Conference and I confessed to her that she was the reason I became a writer. Really, I think I was always a writer yet after reading Crusie, who is so incredibly funny, I started to take it a bit more seriously. We also share a warped sense of humor. Anytime I have prolonged writer’s block I reread Manhunting and take in live music. Like the bands I go see, Crusie doesn’t know me, yet she inspires me.”

“Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?” I asked. “If so, what do you do about it?”

“After finishing Uncle Neddy’s Funeral I couldn’t get started on anything new. I have 5000 words here, another 3000 over there, yet nothing I worked on clicked. My husband and I both teach so we have most of the summer off. (Anyone who teaches knows that you never get a full summer of leisure in). I read the Crusie. Nothing. We were going to concerts two, three times a week. Still nothing.

“In August we attended a four-day music festival. I was watching Magpie Salute, I turned to my husband and said, ‘I need to write.’ He looked at me like I was crazy. I made a few notes and maybe two or three bands later, I left him sitting on the rail and I took the shuttle back at the hotel. I wrote 20 pages that night and now have a work in progress that is actually going somewhere. I have to admit, I was getting worried.”

She rejuvenates going to live music events and dancing, as she says, “like a crazy person.” Movement and music are a release for her.

“Also, I love to ski and spend as much time on a snow-covered mountain as my schedule allows. As with at music events, I find myself making notes on the side of trails or struggling to speak into the voice recorder on my phone on a chairlift,” she said. “During both situations I am forced to stay in the moment. I think that is why ideas come at these moments. There have been times when I have left my phone behind yet I managed to cover a napkin with notes during a break. Of course sometimes, like my middle of the night notes, they make no sense.”

“If you could spend a day with anyone from history, dead or alive, who would it be,” I wondered.

“I would love to go to an art museum with Jerry Garcia. His music is the soundtrack to my life. It would be great just to walk through the galleries and chat about the artwork, the universe, and what inspires us. From what I have read about Mr. Garcia I think he would be the perfect museum/café date. Of course in his case, if he was still alive, the problem would be getting the guy to leave his hotel room… That would be another consideration.”

She is a total pantser when she first starts writing. With the first draft, she just lets the character lead the story where they want to go. The second draft, she reads over what she has and begins adding to it. Then she starts plotting and doing a rough outline of the story for the third draft. After that, she looks at the outline for hints where she can add more or what needs to be omitted.

“I am told there are more efficient ways yet I think creativity should flow,” she told me.

“Can you describe your writing space for us?” I asked.

“My writing space changes. I can edit at my kitchen table yet most of the time I am drafting I head out to different places. One of my favorites is this little café on Main Street in Middletown, Connecticut. They have the best house-made Chai tea and the owner lets writers (I assume the others are writing as they are sitting on laptops) hang out. Most of us will pack up if she gets people waiting for a table. She also is a reader and likes my writing so there is a bonus. I have taken my computer on many writing dates. Even when I go up north to ski there will be times when my husband stays on the slopes or goes out for a beer and I sit in the lobby by the fire pounding away. I need a comfortable space to draft.”

L.M. doesn’t have any regrets when it comes to writing, but she does admit that hindsight is always 20/20. If she had to do it again, she would put her ego aside earlier and listen to her critics, no matter how obnoxious. She would have also spent more drafts working on her first novel.

“I like the story, yet when I read it through my more experienced eyes, I see ways I would have changed it,” she confessed. “Along the subject of education, not that a degree is needed, I liked my graduate program a lot yet finding a more focused MFA program would have served my story better and given me more insight to the publishing world. (Of course that insight could have gone in a different direction and there never would have been an Uncle Neddy).”

Finally, I asked, “What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?”

“Write! Be selfish with your writing time and try to do it every day. Writing is like so many other activities; the more you do it the better you get. Also, from experience, listen to feedback. With my first book, Dancing With Faith, I had a professor at the time give snarky feedback. I won’t go into detail yet I will say she was downright mean. Because of the source I blew her off. Years later I had a critique completed by a pretty famous editor and she gave similar advice in a less rude way. If I had put my ego aside and looked at what my professor was trying to tell me, I would have had a better story earlier on. Oh – and don’t edit your own work! I know this is hard to believe yet every one of my books I had professionally edited.”

About the Author: L.M. Pampuro is the author of five novels: Dancing With Faith, Maximum Mayhem, The Perfect Pitch, Passenger – the only game in town, and Uncle Neddy’s Funeral. (All available at Amazon.com)

She is an avid skier, loves dancing to live music, and possesses a warped sense of humor.

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Giuseppe Vittorio Vaffanculo, a.k.a. Neddy, is an idiot. Not a bad person, he just holds himself in high praise. Neddy is the perfect target for Rayleigh O’Connor, member of the underworld organization The Shadow and soon to be Ms. Neddy number five. As part of the Vaffanculo-Cuzzuto clan, Neddy is the perfect mark Rayleigh needs to avenge the death of a comrade by killing Victor Cuzzuto.

All Victor Cuzzuto wants to do is finally retire to the beach, spend time with his family, and hand over the reins of his Federal Investigation branch office to his protégée.

Buy the book at Amazon.

Comments

  1. Audrey Stewart says:

    I think this was one of my favorite posts. I am so ready to read this book. I have read The Perfect Pitch and L.M. Pampuro never disappoints.

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