She is a practicing doctor and is now a published writer of a romance novella which I love devouring. Here I am, in conversation with Pamela Q Fernandes, author of Seoul-Mates:
Congratulations on Seoul-Mates being published. Tell us a bit about yourself?
Me? <Giggles> I am a general practitioner by day and a blogger/ writer by night. I was born and raised in Kuwait, have travelled to Kuwait, India, Philippines, USA and Oman because of school and training.
Did you frame the characters based on your friends and yourself, or built them on a fresh mould?
I had lots of Koreans friends at the International Hostel while studying medicine in the Philippines. I saw them fall in love, out of love, fool around etc. The girls introduced me to their food, culture, customs, drama and music. So I wrote based on my experiences with them. But the story and characters were kinda fresh because an Anglo Indian- Korean pairing was next to impossible.
Weaving a plot based in Seoul, pretty out of the ordinary, isn’t it? I have a friend who absolutely loves South Korea. Do you too have any special love for the country?
Oh yeah. I didn’t want to write a story that was based in India. I wanted to use my book to display a new culture. Are you kidding me? (laughs) Love would be an understatement. I dig all things Korean- their music, drama, movies, some of their food. If someone were to make a movie out of my book I would even know which male actors I want to cast. But honestly I like South-east Asian everything in general, so Filipino, Chinese, Korean, Jap it’s all good for me.
Tell us something about your struggle with getting published. We have a fair idea that it isn’t a cake walk. But how was the real deal for you?
It was a lot of heartbreak and rejection. I struggled in the slush piles for a couple of years. I was really blessed when Naheed Hassan at Indireads took a chance and believed that Seoul-mates was possible. So now here I am.
So many romance novels out there, staying different yet on similar lines is important. Was that difficult?
An Anglo-Indian girl marrying a Korean was a tough sell. I think it still is. But then nobody knows the Korean culture at all. So weaving that into the story, creating characters convincing enough made it different enough. In the end it was a fulfillment of what two people wanted – to be loved. It was a tad bit difficult but the end result was great.
Any brickbats which really hurt, yet?
Not really. The toughest part was convincing everyone that Katia chose to marry Jihan because she had to. Once that roadblock was removed it was smooth sailing.
How and when did you decide to be a published author? Was it always a plan, or did you start thinking on the lines when you thought you had a plot with you.
I always knew I was going to be an author. I had done a lot of writing in school and college. My teachers and English professors honed my skills because they strongly thought I was going down that career path. Things changed once I did medicine, but then I started medical writing, and I enjoyed writing so much that I thought why not write what I love. And that was the best decision I made.
What next? New genre; or you would want to stick to romance?
I always end up meeting romantics who have beaten unspeakable odds to be with the love of their lives and have made it. So as long as loves remains perennial so will my work in that area. Being the realist that I am, throwing a wrench of suspense in is probably what I will keep doing to my romances.
(winks) I think I’ll juggle between romance, mystery and maybe speculative fiction.
Who do you read, who are your favourites?
George Eliot is my absolute favourite. Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, Judith McNaught, Bronte sisters are some others. Among the current authors I like Tess Gerritsen and Hyatt Bass.
Any to-dos for wannabe authors?
Umm. Honestly I’m just a novella old, so I’m not the person to give advice. But I think Stephen King’s advice would be sound- Read a lot. The only way you learn is by reading and whatever happens to you as an author, be grateful.
Buy Seoul-Mates here.