I am so excited to do this interview with the talented Pagan Malcom. She’s a best selling author of both indie and traditional books and shares her wisdom to support others.
Today’s Behind the Book is on her debut novel Stuck on Vacation with Ryan Rupert.
What inspired you to write this contemporary romance?
I went on a week long holiday to an island resort in my hometown area back in 2012. During my stay, I wasn’t really enjoying myself—so I began to fantasize about what would make the holiday more interesting. The setting around me inspired me, and my fantasies developed into proper characters and a plot. By the time I left the island resort, I had a whole story idea ready to be written.
How hard was it to self-publish your first book?
Not that hard, actually. That’s not to say that I did everything right (hence why I relaunched the book two years later), but in terms of researching and going through the actions, it was quite easy. Platforms such as Createspace (which is what I used originally) and Amazon KDP make the process SUPER easy.
It’s not the publishing part that’s difficult—it’s the launching part, because a launch is more marketing than anything else. That’s why I created my course Storyseller Academy (now that I’m more versed in publishing and launching), which dives into all that sort of stuff.
What has been the biggest challenge for you?
Back then, it was building my readership. I was from a small regional town in Australia of just over 3,000 people. I didn’t have an online presence. I didn’t live near any big cities so I couldn’t just head over to a writer’s festival or attend a panel to listen to experts. I didn’t know how to find my ideal readers, or market my book, or anything like that. Because of this, my first launch flopped and I think the most discouraging thing was feeling isolated—like I didn’t have anyone to reach out to for help because I didn’t know anyone.
What is the earliest story you can remember writing?
It was a 10 page, illustrated book called “The Adventures Of Sandy Island” and it was a rip off of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. I replaced all the characters, changed Willy Wonka into a pirate, and added an evil lion (???). I was like, in Grade 4, and my parents had to educate me on what copyright was. I soon felt embarrassed and threw it in the bin—and my mum has never forgiven me because she wanted to preserve it for later years.
Can you name any similar books to Stuck on Vacation?
Quite a few—none of them are exactly alike but a lot of these share similar themes of love-hate relationships, boys next door, being stuck in places you don’t want to be and adorable romance:
- Magnolia by Kristi Cook.
- My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.
- The Boy I Hate by Taylor Sullivan.
- Faking Delinquency by Ashley Winters.
Please share a snippet or teaser from Stuck on Vacation?
He pulled me into the room as I reached out to drag in my suitcase. I dropped it on the floor as he shut the door behind us.
And then he had me pressed against the wall, breathing in my scent, holding me in his embrace. “I can’t stand the thought of you slipping through my fingers again,” he whispered.
“I’m not going anywhere,” I promised. His intense gaze was driving me a little crazy—in a good way. I hadn’t realised how much I wanted him around me. I’d been so focused on the thought of him betraying me that I’d ignored the raw pain I felt in his absence.
He pressed his lips to mine. His kiss was soft and gentle, like he was afraid I might yell at him again. His fear of losing me was evident in his touch. He was treating me delicately, as though I was fragile, like he was afraid to cause another fight.
Have you ever had a holiday romance?
snorts I wish! That’s why I just write about my fantasies instead. Hahaha!
Who is your book crush love interest?
Okay at first I thought you meant the person I based Ryan Rupert off of (which is a secret I will NEVER tell—mwahahaha) but my book crush love interest?
What a question.
How does one even narrow that down?
I’m going to have to go with Wes from Clouded by Envy, by Candace Robinson. There are a LOT of great book boyfriends out there, and Wes isn’t really dramatically special when you take them all into account (I’m perfectly aware I could be claiming stake on a supernatural boyfriend right now—trust me). But I like his humour and he seemed attractive and he was a good big brother. All big brownie points in my book.
What project are you currently working on?
Quite a few. I’m writing 3 books right now that are all due… like, now—lol. I also just launched a membership site for my readers to access bonus bookish content, and I’m working on a ~secret project~ that I can’t say much about yet, but it involves tea. wink
Where can we find out more about your coaching, courses and buy your books?
For my books, check out psmalcolm.com (you can also find the membership site there—but you have to be a Patreon supporter of mine for access).
For my coaching and courses, check out paperbackkingdom.com.
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