When You Look Like Us by Pamela Harris
1- What is your favorite Leonardo DiCaprio movie?
Gah, do I have to pick just one?! I seriously could watch any of his movies a thousand times, but I constantly find myself leaning toward old school Leo--like Romeo and Juliet or The Basketball Diaries.
2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?
Read your story out loud. This helps with voice AND dialogue.
3- What most motivates you to read a new book?
Ugh, I hate being THAT person, but usually it's buzz. If I see/hear people mentioning a book a lot, I'm curious enough to at least check out the synopsis to see if it's for me. Aside from that, there are certain authors that I'm reading whatever they write, like Tiffany D. Jackson or Courtney Summers.
4- Super Bowl LV is scheduled for Sunday, February 7. Would any of your characters be excited?
Umm, my main character might be depending on who's playing--though he might be more interested in who's playing the halftime show. I have minor characters who are die hard Steelers and Cowboys fans, so they'd be all about it if one of them were playing.
5- Would you share a picture with us of your book with coffee or wine?
6- When you teach future counselors, what's the most important lesson or tip you give them?
Without a doubt: practice self-care. As counselors, we're prone to carry our clients' problems home with us. That's why we need to engage in "me" time to decompress, whatever that looks like. I find this lesson is just as important for writers!
7- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?
I'm @pamharriswrites on Twitter. And I'd love to give a shoutout to my cousin, @KeeKeeHockaday --an up and coming YA writer, and @RacquelHenry , the writer of this amazingly cute holiday novelettes.
8- Do you have a favorite #bookstagram image or account/ profile?
I'm pretty new to IG, but there are a few that have caught my eye. @tomestextiles takes beautiful pictures with books. @Bookcrushin has been amazing in supporting me early on. Oh, and @jeanellnicole is a Black bookstagrammer that supports Black and Brown writers. There are much more I'd like to include, so I hope I don't upset anyone!
9- Are you a Plotter, Pantser, or Plantser, and how did you adopt that style?
I used to be a hardcore plotter, but I've found that having everything planned out beforehand just contributes to my procrastination in getting the first draft done. Now I'm more of a Plantser--if I have the first few scenes outlined, as well as an idea of how I want the story to end, I'm usually good to go.
10- What does your basic writing schedule look like, and how often do you write?
I WISH I could write everyday. But I have a toddler AND a newborn at home, so now I squeeze in writing for about an hour or two on the days my mom is able to come over to babysit. I usually prefer to write in the morning before my brain has to switch gears to my full-time job, but now I just adapt to when ever I can get it done!
11- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!
Author name: Tiffany D. Jackson @WriteinBK
Love because: Tiffany's unapologetic in writing unreliable narrators and twists and turns in such an authentic way that as a reader you're like: "GAH--why didn't I see that coming?" I knew after reading that book that I would read everything she was going to write after that.
I interviewed Tiffany D. Jackson when this debut book came out! June 21, 2017
12- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader?
Ooh, great question! I definitely want them to feel moved in that they want to know what happens next. Maybe a little angry about what the main character, Jay, has to endure while trying to find his sister. And, oddly enough, maybe hopeful.
13- What kind of impact do you hope your book will have?
That's tough. I've always thought I wanted to sell a ton of books, but I'd be happy enough to have this book get into the hands of the RIGHT readers. You know, kids who want to see stories with characters that look like them and live like them. Though, I also won't be completely against the idea of selling a LOT of books. 😊
14- What is your favorite creative non-writing activity to do?
Yikes! Writing is probably the most creative thing I like to do. If I had to think long and hard about it, I do enjoy taking pictures now (especially of my kids). And coloring has this calming effect on me.
15- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? diversebooks.org #WeNeedDiverseBooks
I always like to call WHEN YOU LOOK LIKE US a modern-day noir, in that it's set in my former 'hood. The main character is Black and lives in public housing, While the story's definitely a mystery, the obstacles Jay faces definitely stem from his identity.
16- What method do you feel is the best way to get book reviews?
I actually try to avoid reading reviews about my book just for my own mental health, but when I am alerted about them, it's typically because someone has posted/linked to it through their IG page.
17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?
I commend those who are able to self-publish because I certainly don't have the initiative to figure out the ins and outs of the industry myself. I knew that I wanted to have a support system of professionals who knew what they were doing--which is why I sought an agent. My agent helps me determine which route my projects should take after that.
18- What's the biggest writing goal you hope to accomplish in your lifetime?
I would love to be a career writer. I wouldn't necessarily quit my current full-time job (since I love counseling and training counselors), but I'd love to have a new book out every other year or so and to gain a strong readership.
19- Would you please ask our audience a question to answer in the comments?
What's your favorite mystery (be it book, TV show, or movie)?
20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?
You can find information about me and my books at http://pamharriswrites.com.
My IG handle is @pamharriswrites .
Also, WHEN YOU LOOK LIKE US was lucky enough to receive 2 starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal!
Finally, I'm lucky enough to have the amazing @getnicced and @AuthorJ_Elle to join me for my virtual launch, which you can find out more about here:
When You Look Like Us by Pamela Harris