[00:00:00] Jenny Kate: Today’s episode is sponsored by Pikes Peak Writers. This organization just held his 26th annual conference back in April. I’ve been to five or so of these conferences, and I can’t say enough about how supportive this conference and these people are. At one point, it was even dubbed the nicest writer’s conference in America, and I completely believe it.
No matter where you are in your journey, whether you’re a beginner writer or you’ve been writing for 30 years, you will find some sort of motivation and information, craft, whatever you need at this conference. Pikes peak writers has monthly craft events, critique groups, and my favorite writers night where they talk industry, and you can just have any of your questions answered. So check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and at Pike’s peak writers.com.
This is Writer Nation.
[00:01:00] Hi everybody. Welcome to the Write Nation podcast. I am your host, Jenny Kate. Before I get to my guest today, I wanted to let you know that Writer Nation now has a Facebook page. You can find it at facebook.com/writer nation. Like us there and sign up for email news. I promise I will not message unless there is good information to pass on. I won’t spam. But if you sign up, you will receive free access to our closed Facebook group where we offer free tips, advice, and motivation. You can ask any question you have about writing or publishing or whatever, and we’ll find you an answer in that Facebook group. If you’re a legacy member of the Facebook group, be on the lookout for news about a free gift I’m working on for you now.
My guess is that will be out after January, but you know, in the next six or eight weeks, make sure to look out for that. Okay, so today I’m talking with author and president of Pike’s peak writers, Cameron Clair. I caught up with her in Colorado back in early fall, and you are going to love this story. She went from a gamer with like [00:02:00] very little interest in writing to a trip to the Arctic circle where just inspiration suddenly came to her to start writing. And now five years later, she’s the president of Pikes Peak Writers, a group that boasts more than 2000 members and she’s publishing her first book.
You can find that on Amazon right now. I do apologize up front. Uh, we had a couple of bad words that slipped out was we were just really excited talking about writing and publishing and the business of writing. So I do apologize for that. One other thing I wanted to mention is my take on traditional versus indie publishing because I’m not sure it was altogether clear in the conversation.
I’m a big fan of writers publishing through whichever route they want to. I think they really need to pursue what makes them happy. One of the reasons I created Writer Nation though, was to help writers, whether they’re traditionally or indie published, learn how to market their work. Because frankly, the industry isn’t very helpful when it comes to doing that.
They pretty much make you do it on your own. So. I just want to make sure that that’s clear. If you have any questions [00:03:00] about marketing or you want to chat with me about marketing and whether you’re traditional or indy, just email me, find me on Twitter, Facebook, whatever, and just ask me and let’s have a chat about it.
So with that, I just want to say , um, Cameron. Claire is going to be a fabulous interview and I hope you love it cause I did and she’s wonderful and the chat was great. And as always, Writer Nation exists to keep you motivated and inspired to complete your projects. The world needs them. And I think this conversation with Cameron will help keep you motivated.
So let’s get to it.
So let’s, let’s do, talk about where we met through Pike’s peak writers. What was your first conference?
Kameron Claire: My first conference was 2014.
Jenny Kate: So mine was 12 so it must, yeah. So it must’ve been through Mary Karen Meredith, who was an outstanding writer. We both love her.
Kameron Claire: And I remember when you left, so you must have still been stationed here in 2014 and you must have gotten orders right around that time.
[00:04:00] Jenny Kate: Yeah, because we ended up in DC right after that, some at some point in there. Um, yeah. So. That was your first one, 2014, which clearly you’re still around and now you’re the president of Pikes Peak Writers. So it worked out really well for you.
Kameron Claire: Yeah, no, I mean, it was, it was amazing. So like, um, you know, I, um, I actually am not one of the, I always say that, um, I feel like I’m definitely, well, not definitely, but I always feel like I’m different because most of the people that, you know, I know that are, are writers have been writing for, you know, ever. And they could sit there and say, Oh, you know, I was writing stories when I was a kid and blah, blah, blah. And for the longest time I was like, not me. I think I did everything I could to actively avoid writing and avoid it as an assignment or whatever.
And um, only only after I started writing did I have some friends who remind me of like some, some like things that we did for fun and we used to, we used to do this thing called paragraph stories where we would
[00:05:00] Jenny Kate: wait, how old were you when you did these stories?
Kameron Claire: Well, I was still an adult, so I was in my twenties. But, you know, it was like, you know, back when there was MySpace and you only had email too, right. And, um, I had some friends that after I did start writing and was kind of advertising the fact that I was going on this adventure, uh, reminded me of some stories that we had done. And I was like, Oh, okay. So I’ve been writing, I guess, you know, off and on little things here and there for a long time.
But, um, never had I had the. Inkling, desire, dream, nightmare, whatever you want to call it, to actually be a writer or an author. Um, that was not, I was not somebody who has dreamed of having a book.
Jenny Kate: Where did that come from then?
Kameron Claire: So it came from, um, uh, a remote little island in the Arctic circle. Um, I was actually up there for my day job and I was,
Jenny Kate: Your day job took you to the Arctic circle?
[00:06:00] Kameron Claire: Yeah.
Jenny Kate: That is outstanding.
Kameron Claire: So, um, I had a team that was up there and I was in a position where I was, um, I was, I’m a program manager now. I was a project manager at the time. And, um, mostly my job was just to be there, to be there with them if they needed anything. And this particular little remote site, I couldn’t have any electronics on me when I was there.
Um, and this was in 2013 and so at the time I was reading Karen Marie Moaning’s fever series and this is how stupid I am. I thought that she was brilliant for coming up with . Look, I’m probably saying it incorrectly, but I thought she came up with that stuff. I thought she made it up. I thought she was brilliant for coming up with this whole, you know, whole mystical realm, blah, blah, blah.
Well, you know, of course, later on I ended up looking it up and, Oh, Celtic mythology. There you go. Right. I’m Irish, I should probably go look that stuff up. So, um, but I thought she was brilliant and I fell in love with Jericho Barons for [00:07:00] her lead male character. Like he’s my first book boyfriend. And, um, so anyways, I’m in this remote place and at nighttime I’m reading the fever series and I’m just completely sucked in and I’m just loving it. And then during the day, I’m stuck at the site where I can’t, I have no electronics on me. I can’t continue reading cause
Jenny Kate: cause you can’t like get anything.
Kameron Claire: And I’m sitting in this room, uh, and this particular site, um, I’m in essence overlooking water. I’m on on a cliff and I’m overlooking water and it’s a, it’s a gorgeous place.
Jenny Kate: Wait, are you freezing?
Kameron Claire: No.
Jenny Kate: So what, what’s the temperature like while you’re in there?
Kameron Claire: Um, this was during the summer, so it was like, no, no, it was like 50, 60 degrees. Um, uh, you know, it was great.
Jenny Kate: And somebody who’s never been to the Arctic, I would never describe it as great. But yeah, I get it. I mean, that was in Alaska one summer too. And so I, you know, I, I understand, but. It was like sunny at midnight, you know, when I’m wearing a sweatshirt in July. But it [00:08:00] wasn’t, I mean, it was mild enough.
Kameron Claire: Right. It’s mild. Yeah. Well, and I had also been there, um, earlier that year in February, so I got to see both sides within, you know, within six months, I got to see both sides.
Jenny Kate: So how cold was it in February?
Kameron Claire: You know what? I don’t even know.
Jenny Kate: There’s not enough for you to remember, like being bone chilling?
Kameron Claire: No, it was more, it was more about the fact that I had never been someplace with ice doesn’t melt.
Jenny Kate: Isn’t that fascinating?
Kameron Claire: Yeah. So I had never been in that situation. I’m from Arizona right? Now, and I live in Colorado, which, you know, it snows and five minutes later it’s gone. So, um, I had seen both sides. So anyways, I’m, I’m in this room and I’m overlooking the ocean and, um, it’s gorgeous. And, um, and I get this vision in my head of this character and, uh, and it kind of goes from there. And I just started, I started, I have a scene.
Jenny Kate: So where are you writing? Did you write it then?
Kameron Claire: I did. I did. So, um, out of boredom, I kind of wrote the scene that I had seen in my head, um, of this woman who’s like overlooked, by the way, [00:09:00] the scene didn’t make it into the book at all. Um,
Jenny Kate: But you’re not, but you’re not writing that scene to put it in a book. You’re like, Hey, this sounds cool. Let’s write it down.
Kameron Claire: I’m writing a a scene. And then once I started writing some of the characters, like I really wanted to explore those characters. And so then I wrote another scene in a different, totally just completely disconnected scene. Um, there. And the next thing I know I just really wanted to know these characters, and I thought, well, you know, what else do I got to do? Right? So I started writing.
Jenny Kate: Okay, wait, so, so you’re not one of those that wrote when you were a kid, you were kind of doing some fun stuff in your twenties. You’re like in a remote area of the planet, looking at the ocean, reading some really cool Celtic mystical stuff, and you just, Hey, that’s fun. Let’s write it down.
Kameron Claire: Yeah, let’s write down what I got.
Jenny Kate: That is awesome. So just out of the blue, there’s some sort of cosmic. Oh, you’re in the Arctic. So it sounds sort of cosmic. Something happened and you started writing.
Kameron Claire: Right. And so I did that. And then, uh, that was in 2013 and then I came back to the [00:10:00] United States, um, after that trip. And I went from, so at the time, and I, yeah. You know, so I had been turned on to World of Warcraft and I played it for about six months, and I literally had to have my. Some people that I work with who are all in a Guild together, and I would hear them talking about it, which is what even gave me the idea to like, okay, I’ll try this, right? They had to pretty much take me around and get me from not being dead cause I wasn’t any good at it. Um, but they were great and they were fun to play with. And I did that for about six months, and I even tried to play it while I was in this remote location, but the wifi sucked. Um, and then. I went from that to everyday I came home and I was writing and I was writing and I was writing
Jenny Kate: So wait. You came back from this trip and just start writing every day?
Kameron Claire: I just kept writing. Yeah. That’s how I started.
Jenny Kate: Okay, go ahead.
Kameron Claire: Um, so I, I started writing and I just, I was writing every day and I was in essence just following wherever these characters were going to take me. I knew nothing [00:11:00] about point of view. I knew nothing about
Jenny Kate: Character development, plotting, nothing.
Kameron Claire: First person, third person. I knew none of that stuff. Right. And so, um. But I just wrote, and next thing I know within, um, maybe five to six weeks, I had a hundred thousand words.
Jenny Kate: Okay, so where does World of Warcraft come into that?
Kameron Claire: Literally that I replaced World of Warcraft with
Jenny Kate: your writing. So, okay. Got it. Got it. Got it. Right. So one obsession with another.
Kameron Claire: Yes, no time for World of Warcraft anymore because I came home and I played, instead of playing with characters on a screen that was created by Blizzard, I was playing with the characters that I was making up in my head and going from there.
And so,um, within, within. Yeah. So this was. I was in the Arctic circle June into July, and then I came back, so July, August to may, I think, I think it was about mid September. By then I had over a hundred thousand words.
Jenny Kate: Wow.
[00:12:00] Kameron Claire: And I kind of had a story kind of, and I was like, I wonder what I can do with this. Like. I have no idea what to do next. Right. And so I went online and I kind of know
Jenny Kate: you’re back in Colorado Springs, right?
Kameron Claire: Colorado Springs. Yes. And I Google and I find on a meetup.com right group, I find this a writer’s write group, right? And I see that they have a critiques on Sunday or whatever. And so I RSVP and Sunday morning I’m kind of nervous cause I’m actually. Despite what people see when they see me, I’m actually kind of kind of shy in some ways. I’m pretty nervous. And I reread the invite and it says, it says very boldly, under writers write, it says, um, for intermediate to advanced writers only. And so I was like, Oh, that’s not me. So I canceled my RSVP, right? So then I go and look for something else and I stumble. I don’t even remember. I don’t know how I found it, but I stumbled upon Pike’s peak writers and they were having a writers’ [00:13:00] night at, um, Ivywild at the principal’s office, right? So
Jenny Kate: So it’s funny. I’m so. I joined the writer’s night staff probably two years before you did because we weren’t always at the school. And I remember when he moved over to the school because I liked that location.
Kameron Claire: It was horrible for writers night, but
Jenny Kate: Oh it was terrible for writers night. Yes. But it’s, yeah, cause it’s got, yeah, the acoustics are awful and yeah.
Kameron Claire: But the old school and I really liked, that was cool. That’s cool. They did a good job with that one.
Jenny Kate: So you go to your first one. Is this one that Deb Courtney is, is leading?
Kameron Claire: So Deb Courtney wasn’t in charge of writer’s night at the time. However, that particular day I, first of all, I showed up early because in my head I didn’t know what was going to be laid out. Like I wanted to make sure I found a seat in the back because I wanted to be the quiet person that was listening in the back. I show up and I show up early and who’s there? It’s MK. Meredith.
Jenny Kate: Oh, Mary Kate Meredith. Nice.
Kameron Claire: Yes. And so I walk in and as, as you [00:14:00] will be able to attest very quickly, I walk in and I see this frickin glamazon gorgeous glamazon sitting there. And, um, she’s like, Oh, are you here for write, um, Pikes Peak Writers and I’m like, yeah, you know, dah, dah, dah.
And she’s of course, as nice and as sweet as can be. And you’re looking at her and you’re like, nobody this beautiful is this nice, totally faking it. And she totally is that nice. And she’s one of my besties now, and I love her to death. Um, but of course at the moment I wanted to hate her because she was beautiful and there’s no way somebody that beautiful is that nice. And she’s totally is. And, um. She was actually, um, filling in for Deb because Deb couldn’t be there. I actually, it actually took me anywhere they went from one to two months before I finally met Deb Courtney, which is really funny. It’s funny, as, as, uh, Amazon’s, Deb and I both, uh, attest to be.
Jenny Kate: For listeners who don’t know these women who are gorgeous. They are very tall. They’re very tall women. Um, all gorgeous though, all of you.
[00:15:00] Kameron Claire: Right. So, uh. Anyways, so I show up. And so that was my first meeting. And, um, I remember asking at the time, I think JT was president, um, at the time of pikes peak writers. And, um, I remember asking, so what’s, what’s a normal word count when you guys sit down and write, what’s a normal word count to get on a paper at any time? And, and I had been told, um, which even now I kinda like, it really depends on the writer. Every writer is different, but they were like, you can get a solid. You know, so 250 page, 250 words is a page. If you can have a solid page, you know, every time that you sit down, that’s, you know, that’s a good pace. And stuff like that. And dah, dah, dah. And he, they, you know, they break it down. How many words? And I’m like, Oh, okay. And he’s like, why? You know, like, how much are you averaging? And I’m like, 2,500 to 4,000 words a night.
Jenny Kate: That’s outstanding. Look at you. Well, was he like, really?
Kameron Claire: So they’re all like, oh. And so, but remember, I didn’t know [00:16:00] about POV and all of that so I was just spewing. I was very happy and I was learning my characters and it was fantastic. And, uh, but so I had that conversation. And then, uh, because it was September’s right brain, they were pimping the Debbie Lawn contest, right?
Jenny Kate: Right. It’s Pike Peak’s annual fiction writers contest. Yes.
Kameron Claire: Yeah. And so they were pimping that hard. And, um, I ended up walking out with, uh, Damon Smithwick and, um.Jeff I can’t remember his last name.
Jenny Kate: Oh, again, please don’t, don’t hold it against us when we can’t remember. I know exactly who you’re talking about.
Kameron Claire: So Jeff was running the contest, and so I ended up walking out with him and it turns out that one, Damon was a member of the writer’s write that I ended up canceling on. He said. He said to me, um, they were both extremely supportive, walked out into the parking lot within an extremely, you know, encouraging. So everybody, that’s the thing, right? So very first writer’s event, I’m assuming, cause I’m not an artist and [00:17:00] I wasn’t a writer up to this point, you know, I’m playing around at home. I’m assuming that writers are gonna be, um, snooty and, you know, very, um, uh, catty, you know, because, you know,
Jenny Kate: Because we’re all F Scott Fitzgerald and Jane Austin.
Kameron Claire: Well, you know, our art is wonderful and everybody else’s is bad, right? So
Jenny Kate: Of course we’re all that way, right?
Kameron Claire: So I don’t know what I’m walking into. I just know that I’m walking into a realm that is not mine. And, um, I’m assuming that those are the types of people that I’m going to be meeting. And so the first person I meet is MK Meredith, who’s amazing and sweet and opening and just wonderful. And then, you know, Damon and, um, Jeff, you know, were so just come on in and everybody in the thing, everybody was just nice and no question was, no question asked was stupid and no. Um. Uh, you know, no opinion was discounted or anything. It was, it was a great experience that really sucked me into Pike’s peak writers right off the bat. Um, and you know, after talking to the guys outside and they’re like, so, you know, what have you been doing? Blah, blah. [00:18:00] They encouraged me to enter the contest and I actually ended up placing third in my very first contest.
Jenny Kate: Good for you. That’s outstanding.
Kameron Claire: For romance. And so that’s how I got started.
Jenny Kate: So that’s how you got started and now we’re going to fast forward a couple of years because you have a book coming out. Your first book is coming out.
Kameron Claire: Yes. My first book, it’s my fourth book that I’ve finished, but it’s my actual first book that I’m going to publish.
Jenny Kate: So now let’s talk about this book and how you got to where you are.
Kameron Claire: Yeah. So, um. So I was extremely prolific in the beginning and then, and then I always joke that, um, and then I learned how to write, which killed my writing.
Jenny Kate: So I’m going to stop you right there and tell you the exact same thing happened to me. And look, I went to school for writing and I’m like, of course I know what I’m doing, but I didn’t touch it, until like for 20 years cause I was busy being military and stuff. So I came to my first Pike’s peak writer’s conference and I’m very excited and I know what I’m doing. It’s going to be awesome. I don’t know squat [00:19:00] about genre fiction. Right? I have no clue. And I keep going to these these workshops and I’m like, Oh shit, I don’t know anything. And it did. It killed my creativity for two years. Yeah. I’m like, Oh God, I can’t do anything. These characters suck. My plots aren’t going anywhere. I have no idea what I’m doing. So how did you get over that?
Kameron Claire: Uh, gosh, that’s a great question. Cause I, I, I, I have, and I’m just not sure exactly how it happened. So the first conference I had, I got asked for a manuscript, um, from Entangled and, um,
Jenny Kate: and tickled publishing. So you pitched,
Kameron Claire: I pitched to Trace Raymond, who was amazing and wonderful, and I’ve seen her at other conferences since then, and she’s just an amazing, really supportive, you know, encouraging person. Um. So that made me fix finish the first book. So I finished the first book and um,
Jenny Kate: this is the one you had been working on?
Kameron Claire: Yeah, so I actually turned it into an actual book and put two POVs in there, like a romance should have and not 12, which is what I started with. Um, you [00:20:00] know, I fixed it and I went from there.
And, um, I played with that a little bit when it came to playing the business side and I, I’m, I really just did not want to play with the business side. And, and so that, between that, and then of course just, you know, life happening, getting promoted at work, that you get busy and blah, blah, blah. So the writing stilted and I kind of, I would have spurts where I would, you know, do a little bit here and then this. And so I was working on the second book and that, that whole series, which is paranormal, will be like seven, eight books. Right.
Jenny Kate: Nice. So by the time you’re done, you’ll have seven or eight out of it?
Kameron Claire: Yeah. Yeah. Um, I should have eight out of it. Um. But that’s not what I’m working on now. But, um, but the paranormal is my love, you know? And so, um, so then I had a, uh, a story idea that I, for a contemporary, because in essence, what, so this is how this work, paranormal is my first love. Um, but then when I started learning more about the business side and the publishing side, and, you [00:21:00] know, publishing houses and editors and, you know, formula formulas, especially in romance and all of that, um.
Jenny Kate: Kills it just a little bit, doesn’t it?
Kameron Claire: I didn’t want them to touch my paranormal babies. Those are my babies. And so I said to myself, um, and to MK, um, I think I’m going to write a contemporary because contemporary is not my first love. And I will be able to, I’ll give that to the publishing houses and let them do what they want
Jenny Kate: But what a great idea. Because you’re taking the emotion out of it, right? And now you can just write, I mean, I don’t want to say that it’s not art, but it is, it’s just. It’s a little bit detached, so you can use the formula, right, that you need to use to write this story.
Kameron Claire: Right. Because I figured I would not fall in love with my character, which is just a lie, right?
Jenny Kate: Of course. Yes.
Kameron Claire: If you’re, if you’re going to get to the end, you fall in love with your characters at some point or any of them.
Jenny Kate: All of them. Good, bad, in between, every one of them.
Kameron Claire: Yes. So, um. So that was like [00:22:00] the, the catalyst to get me into contemporary. And so, in the end of 2014, and this is actually a funny little side note, because my first book that’ll be coming out in November is called Bedding the Boss. And, um, in my work life right now, I’m the boss. And so I have some people from my work life that are supportive of me on Facebook and stuff. So I’ve shared this little side of myself with them. And, um, I’ve gotten, I showed all of them my cover. I, I’m not sure where you want to go on this podcast, but I made a joke about how, um, when I got my cover, I was so excited about it. I was running around with my phone and like shoving it into people’s faces going look! And after about the fourth or fifth person, I realized that it was almost like shoving an unsolicited dick pic in somebody’s face. And I was like, I need to stop doing this. Like I need to ask them if they want to do this because I was so excited about it.
So, um, I’ve gotten some looks though when they see Bedding the Boss, because [00:23:00] I’m the boss. And so I’ve even had a couple of people ask me, cause they’re all trying to figure out like, Oh, is this about so and so and so and so? And um, considering, you know, where I work and stuff, I’m like, ew,
Jenny Kate: No, this is not about work. This is something else.
Kameron Claire: But, um, coincidentally though it actually, the story did start the idea of even having a contemporary story in this realm, which is a business environment realm did start when I got promoted the first time. Because I realized what, it was when I started working. Like, 13 you know, 12-13 hour days that I was like, I’m not going to have time to write anymore. And so,
Jenny Kate: okay, so wait, let me, let me back you up just a little bit. So this book we’re talking about right now, it’s coming out in January, is contemporary
Kameron Claire: In November.
Jenny Kate: November contemporary romance, not paranormal.
Kameron Claire: Nope.
Jenny Kate: Okay. So this is contemporary romance is book four that you’ve written.
Kameron Claire: This is the fourth book that I’ve, I’ve actually put a vet end on. Yes.
Jenny Kate: Got it. So where’s the paranormal come into that?
Kameron Claire: It won’t for awhile.
Jenny Kate: So that’s just your next [00:24:00] idea, is that what you’re saying?
Kameron Claire: Right. So that, so in essence, uh, I got a opportunity. So, um, there is an author and very, very dear friend of mine named Tiffany Homer, and she, she has a niche in, um, contemporary romance for Alaskan romance. She’s from Alaska. And, um, she and I met in 2015 at romcom that was being hosted in Denver. And I meet this, uh. I dunno. Five foot six woman, I’m sorry if I’m taking hideaway away from you, Tiffany. A five foot six woman, blonde hair. She’s wearing this flowery dress. She’s got flowers in here. She’s just cute as a button right. And she and I started talking and she’s talking about how she writes Alaskan romances. And I was like, Oh, that I wanted to be in Alaska, you know, eight to one men, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And um, and
Jenny Kate: These are some serious mountain men, though. It’s not Colorado mountain men.
Kameron Claire: Like she lets me up and down at almost six foot, but she’s like, Oh, they’ll love you. I was like perfect, I want to go. Right. So she has a Cocker spaniel too. So we’ve become friends online and um, she tells me. [00:25:00] Um, well, I happen to be leaving tomorrow and I should, have you ever seen those extreme fishermen, people, you know, the deadliest catch people and stuff? And I’m like, yeah, you know, kind of. And she’s like, well, my family does that. And, um, and I’m, I’m getting on a plane tomorrow to go to Alaska to do, to do that, to, to do, go to fish camp. And I’m looking at her and her cute little dress and stuff, and I’m like, sure you are right? So a couple of days later, um, you know, I checked in with her on Facebook. I’m like, Hey, how you doing? Blah, blah, blah. She sends me a picture of her. Fully, definitely waiters , 50 pound salmon in her arms. And I’m like okay, that’s the kind of woman that I just love, right? She’s a bad ass. Right? So we stayed friends after that and um, last November she hit me up, cause. She has Cocker spaniel. I have a Cocker spaniel and she will, and she was, you know, she’s thinking, she’s got, she’s got puppy fever and she’s like, Hey, and Cadence is adorable. My baby is adorable. And um, she’s looking to see if he was fixed or whatever. Right. So her and I start talking and out of nowhere, I’m booking an RV and we’re making an Alaskan trip.
Jenny Kate: Oh, [00:26:00] that was the Alaska trip you just went on. Cause those pictures are fabulous. I love Alaska. I mean I would love to stay in Alaska, but did you love it? I mean, you guys, the RV awesome.
Kameron Claire: It was awesome. It was, I think a little bit more driving than we had realized it was going to be. So it was a little bit more just go, go, go. Um, I definitely want to go again. I want to get a B&B in Seward and stay there for a week or so, and then a B&B and Homer and stay there for a week. And so. And, um, maybe even try, um, you know, Juno or
Jenny Kate: I didn’t get to Juno. I’d like to do that once.
Kameron Claire: It is, it Ka-Kika?
Jenny Kate: Sitka.
Kameron Claire: Sitka.
Jenny Kate: You’ve read the proposal, right? There’s like a movie?
Kameron Claire: So, um, so that’s what we did this summer. Right. And so I’m in, uh, an RV with her. And, um, Kathy Evans, who’s a friend of hers, who’s also a writer in, um, they, they both live in Utah. And, uh. We get, you know, you put 3 women in an RV together, you’re about to find out what kind of women you [00:27:00] really are, right? And so, um, we got along great and we traveled well together. And, you know, finding somebody that you travel well together, it’s just a blessing unto itself. And, uh, we travel well together and we take this trip and we plotted an entire series.
Jenny Kate: And that’s the seven, seven or eight paranormal. No, that’s another series?
Kameron Claire: So, so because she writes contemporary and she writes Alaskan, we plotted an Alaskan contemporary series. Okay. And so we, we world build, you know, 10 days in an RV. We, we world build. We, we plotted out the first three books. She’s writing the first book, Kathy’s writing, the second book, I’m writing the third book. So I, during that trip, and then when I got home within 15 days, wrote my book.
Jenny Kate: You wrote that book in 15 days?
Kameron Claire: I wrote it in 15 days. And, um, and um, I really, you know, and so like, uh, we have a plan, she has a series right now that she’s been writing that she needs to finish and get it all out. And so we’re looking at like a spring time, um, [00:28:00] release of this series, at least the first three books in the series, and then where it goes from there, you know, we’ll just take that world and go.
And so in essence, Tiffany has given me an opportunity because she, with an established readership already, is, um, in essence, giving me an opportunity to launch off of her readership, my form, my name. And so the, the conversation came up of, well, I need to get a back list in place. So I had to come back home and look at the contemporary that I had three quarters written and I had to go reopen that and start writing that. And then I finished that. And then I turned around and wrote the second book in about five weeks. So I have the second book already written as well for that, for my series, which is the Grayson’s enterprises. Um,
Jenny Kate: that’s your contemporary.
Kameron Claire: That’s my contemporary series. The first book is Betting the Boss. The second book will actually be Enticing the Ex. And then, um, and there’s five books in that series that I’m working diligently on to see how far I can get before [00:29:00] we launch into the Alaskan series. Um. But in essence, I needed to use this amazing opportunity that an established author has given me to launch mine.
So, um, that’s kind of where, why we’re here right now because all of a sudden I had to get off my butt and stop pushing it down the road, pushing it down the road,
Jenny Kate: Yeah it’s time to start writing.
Kameron Claire: And, and it’s not, it wasn’t even writing because even though I was writing, it was finish it, there’s something about the 75% mark as there’s something about when you start getting over that hump and you’re like, okay, I know how it’s going to end. Ooh, what’s a shiny thing over here? I’m going to, I want to know what these next characters are going to do, blah, blah, blah. Right? Um, so I actually had to finish the, the ones that I had started, and then I’m doing the business stuff, which I’ve been avoiding like the plague.
Jenny Kate: Okay. So just for everybody to know, did you get an agent? Or is this, how are you publishing?
Kameron Claire: Nope. This is all gonna, I’m going to self publish for a multitude of reasons.
Jenny Kate: And now you’re learning the business side of [00:30:00] all of this stuff. So. Um, so I know this is a, what’s the right word I’m looking for, um, distasteful for you, but tell me the most important thing that you’ve learned about the business side of it.
Kameron Claire: I, so, you know, and I learned this from Tiffany, and then even MK and I have had a lot of conversations too. Um, it totally takes the tribe, which, Oh, by the way, is Pike’s peak writers conference theme next year. But it totally takes a tribe. You have to build your tribe. Right? And so I’m not doing this by myself. I am not attempting to become a cover artist. I am not attempting to. Um, sit there and say that, you know, my, my, my editing is perfect. So, you know, I had to go and, um, ask my friends for, for references on cover artists and, um, editors, and then like, I didn’t even want to take the time to build a website even though I done it before. Right. And so I found somebody just to put the basics out there so I can go and tweak from there.
Um, I have somebody who’s actually going to help me with his, helping me with the branding and with my newsletter and stuff like that. [00:31:00] Um. And these are people that actually are writers as well, right? But they’re also really good at that part. So they’re willing to do it as a business. And I had decided to, you know, it is an investment of money, but it’s also, I think that what people forget to look at is how much is your time worth,right? And I would rather be writing and, um, tweaking what other people are starting to put in place versus having to build it on my own with not knowing what I’m doing. Um,
Jenny Kate: Well, no, I think that makes sense because I do believe that writers are completely overwhelmed these days with the amount of, a lot of choices about how we can get our work out. And it’s overwhelming. I mean, it really is. And you know, like my, I’ve been doing marketing forever. Um, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve been doing my own marketing forever, so I’m less comfortable marketing my stuff as opposed to, I tell you how to market yours all day, you know what I mean? But. But I’m never going to be a cover artist. I don’t do graphics and I don’t want to. And so yes, I’m very happy to hire that out to a professional. And so I think that’s [00:32:00] normal. And I think that’s kind of what we’ve all been going through. I would argue since Amazon, but I mean, even when people are self-publishing, you know, 20 years ago, they still had to learn a lot about how to do all of this on their own.
I think it’s becoming more prevalent now with kobo, Amazon, and all of these ways to put out your, your work. Um, so in no way do I think that makes you less of a writer or less of an author. I think it makes you smart cause you know what you’re strong at. You know, you know what you are, where your enthusiasm is and what you can do.
Um, but then again, you know, there’s still parts of it you need to learn as a writer. So that, so you, you got to understand a little bit of the business, you know.
Kameron Claire: Yeah, I want me, you want to be in control. It is your business. It’s your business, and you need to be in control of it. And I think that is one of the reasons why, um, you know, traditional publishing someday is not off the table for me.
But for me, um, every person that I know that have, has worked really, really hard to try and get traditionally published or even has, you know, successfully got themselves traditionally published. [00:33:00] They still had to do a majority of the business stuff on their own. Unless you’re gonna walk in somehow and become, you know, Nora Roberts with your first book or something like is you still have to do a lot of the business stuff on your own, even when you’re being traditionally published.
Jenny Kate: I think that’s part of what’s a shame about the publishing industry is known entities make money, right? So Reese Witherspoon’s new Whiskey in a Tea cup was going to make money because it’s Reese Witherspoon from the very beginning, regardless of the fact that, you know, it’s her first book or second book or whatever it is.
Um, we, because we were completely unknown. I mean, we’re never going to sell 10,000 copies in first run. You know? It’s just not going to happen, right? So we have to, I kind of see us as CEOs of our own publishing business, right? I don’t need to know exactly how to do all of this other little stuff, but I need to have enough surface knowledge to know when it’s not going the right way. You know what I mean? Um, so it sounds to me like that’s what you’re kind of getting into right now is how all of that goes down and how it works and what’s good for you. Um, [00:34:00] so what do you think is probably the biggest lesson you’ve learned over the last few months?
Kameron Claire: Mmm wow. Cause I think that I still haven’t even crossed the threshold from the actual, you know, I still have to do the Amazon part. I still have to do the actual publishing.
Jenny Kate: That’s tough, right? I mean KTP is tough and you have to learn how to do all that and you have to learn. What that like how to do ads on Amazon as well. You know, and people forget Facebook ads. Okay, that’s great. And a lot of people have success with that, but you really, if you’re going to post on Amazon, you better know how those ads work too.
Kameron Claire: Yeah. So luckily I have enough. I mean, you know, being in a community full of writers, you definitely have enough people that have had, have been, have already done all the hard work of stumbling and everything to help you out. So I’m lucky that I’m going to have that readily available to me. But. Um, I think what the biggest thing I’ve learned so far is just, um, you have to find for me, for me, you know, I, I went for a long time. You had actually asked me, and I never actually answered the question of how did you [00:35:00] get back into writing. And, you know, I had spurts here and there, um, for me, this, the strip this summer with people that were extremely excited and encouraging, right? So they could sit there and be like, Ooh, you know, uh, one of the things that Tiffany and I went round and round about was, is every time I would pick a name, she’d be like, you can’t have that name. Cause you have this person’s name and they’re too close together and you can’t have both of the names on the same page because you’ll confuse your reader. And I’d get so mad because I’d be like, but I want a Benson even though I already have a Trenson or whatever. Right. And, um. But like, so you could get that, you know, like this is what you need to do.
But there’s a, every person has a way that they like to talk to people and like to be talked to. And if you can find some buddies that can, can receive and communicate to you the way that you receive and communicate. Like once you find that those people are golden and you need to just like latch onto them and then the creativity starts really flowing because you can just at any minute pick up a phone and be like.I [00:36:00] can’t get these people in the same room. I don’t know what the problem is. And you just battle it out for 10 minutes and you, in essence, answer your own question
Jenny Kate: because you have a sounding board of people who understand where you’re coming from.
Kameron Claire: Right? Yeah. And it’s really hard to find those people, and you can have people that you love all day in your community and stuff like that, and it doesn’t mean that they’re the right sounding board for you, or vice versa. So she’d get that. That gives you your creativity and you just run.
Jenny Kate: Well, let’s, speaking of that, I’m going to switch real quick, um, to Pike’s peak writers. You are now the president of Pike’s peak writers. So five years after you started writing, you’re now the president of a great fiction writers organization that has one of the, in my mind, one of the best conferences in the United States, um, every, every spring. So what is your goal this year for Pike’s peak writers?
Kameron Claire: Um, you know, so we have a lot of changes this year, just from just, um, under the, under the cover style changes, you know, with like our websites and how we get our conference hosts and all that stuff. So, I mean, the tech technology stuff, yeah. [00:37:00] Uh, the very first thing I want to do is just, I just wanna make sure that we get all that cleaned up so that, um, it’s a seamless as possible to your community.
Cause like you said, and we have a very far reaching conference. Um, you know, we have, uh, you know, uh, any, um, between 350 and 400 people that come every year from around the country. Um, and, uh, then I would just like to see, you know, we have, um, some more of our outreach stuff done. We have, um, you know, our local community.
The people that know Pike’s peak know it well. But then we have a bunch of artists here that, that don’t maybe realize. And so the president before me had actually started already doing some of those things. We, um, where we’re kind of working with like a local community, um, community art things. And, um, I’d like to see that kind of expand a little bit to see if we could, um. Do some stuff with the kids. Cause I actually have friends who have kids that have wanted to come to our conference and it, and unfortunately you have to be 18 and older. Um, cause you know, can’t always control every person’s content of what they’re going to say inside of [00:38:00] workshop. Um, and I would love to see us kind of get involved in that and see if we can mentor like some, some youth style groups that are popping up in schools and stuff.
Jenny Kate: Yeah. So when I was in DC, we had a, there was a team. Can’t remember the name of it off the top of my head, but it was a teen conference every year that my daughter would go to in February. And it was designed specifically for middle and high school students who wanted to be writers. And it was just a one day, you know, just, it was like four or five hours. So you had, I think it was three different workshops you could go to throughout the day. And my daughter loved it, you know, and it was, it was focused specifically on, I don’t say children cause they’re teenagers. You know, and. Yeah, I think it’s a fantastic idea because you’re pulling them into the community and this community is great for that kind of stuff.
Kameron Claire: Right. It’s only going to be a couple of years before they’re 18 and they’re part of our community.
Jenny Kate: Amen, sister. Right, right. And I think that’s important though, because all of us as older writers, you know, we’re talking about marketing to a generation of people. How do they read? You know, let’s look at that [00:39:00] too. And this is an avenue into finding that out.
And I was talking to somebody back in DC last last month, and they’re really focusing on how teenagers and like those in college are reading their fiction and they’re not reading them on Kindles right now. They’re reading them on hard cover and so how’s that going to be in 10 years? They are a slight, it’s a slighter number right now. The percentage is higher. For print books as opposed to, um, eBooks. And so in 10 years, these guys are gonna be the 35 year olds who would read, you know, romance novels. How are they going to read those? So she’s kind of tracking it to just kind of pay attention over the next five to six years to see where that trend goes.
But having the teenager come to a day, whatever, a couple hours workshop or whatever, will give you insight inthat growing audience of readers too.
Kameron Claire: Well, I mean, you know, um, as we were talking prior to starting this, we were talking about the diversity stuff in RWA and all that, right. And, um, you know, I mean, if [00:40:00] we’re talking to middle graders and high schoolers, their, their, uh, their experience with diversity is so much different than 40 and 50 year old people that are in corporate America during the day and writing in their basement at nighttime.
Um. And so, you know, if we want to see an actual change in the publishing, especially when it comes to diversity and stuff, and we definitely need to be starting to groom them now into coming into our realm and being ready to just hit the ground running instead of having to learn the basics, you know.
Jenny Kate: I feel like that generation is a little more malleable, you know, that, and a little more open minded and can learn. Um, so I, I do think the future looks really bright for diverse books.
Kameron Claire: And how great it would it be that while they’re malleable and willing to learn, they actually come in and teach some of some of the 40 and 50 year olds some stuff that opens us up a little bit too.
Jenny Kate: Right. Yeah. That would be awesome. Do you have any other goals for Pike’s Peak Writers this year?
Kameron Claire: Um. [00:41:00] You know, I just got on in last week, so
Jenny Kate: She’s been the president for a whole week. It’s time for you to lay out your platform. We’d like to know where you’re going to go. I need all policy letters right now.
Kameron Claire: I haven’t done a lot of campaigning. I keep joking about the fact that I feel like I was the lesser of two evils because, um, you know, we had an outgoing president and, um, and you know, had a vacancy, so it was, uh, time for me to leave the vice president role and step up, but I hadn’t actually planned for it, so I didn’t actually campaign at all. So, um, I have no campaigning platform. What I would like to do is just make sure that we don’t take any steps backwards and then see where we need to take steps forward.
Um, you know, we have people that have been involved with Pike’s peak writers on the board right now from the very beginning, like the very first president is on, is back on the board, um, now. And, uh, you know, people that just love this community and have been involved, you know, 15-20 years. I’ve only been here five, right?
So, uh, I need to learn everything I can off of them and [00:42:00] then see what I can kind of give them from my., my leadership that I have on my daily basis and see how we can apply that to, um, I would definitely like to grow, grow the volunteer, volunteer staff. I mean, it’s a volunteer organization. Uh, we need to take care of our volunteers and then we need to see how we can get more people involved.
Um. And that’s an aspect that just in general, I need to learn how to do and then, and then see how we can broaden it into Pike’s peak writers is how can we get more people feeling confident that they can get involved and jump in and. A community of creative people needs to constantly have new blood coming in to keep that creativity going.
Um, and so it’s great to have the continuity there, but then we also need to see how we can get other people involved.
Jenny Kate: It sounds to me like you’ve got pretty bright future coming up with your books coming out and lots of cool stuff on the horizon and pike’s peak writers is fantastic. It’s one of my favorite organizations.
And clearly you’re going to be a great president because you got a good [00:43:00] vision and, um, and you got to take care of the basics, right. I mean, the technology needs to be upgraded, needs to be upgraded. So I think those are, those are good things and I wish you tons of luck in the next year, and I hate that I’m not going to be at conference, but I’ll be there next year, so I’ll see you then.
Kameron Claire: Hopefully you’ll be living here.
Jenny Kate: Yeah. So we’ll see. All right, girl, thanks for stopping in. And that will do it for us.
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