Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Meet Catharine Bramkamp, Author of the Real Estate Diva Mysteries

I'm so excited today to introduce Catharine Bramkamp, author of "In Good Faith," which is book three in her series the Real Estate Diva Mysteries. Welcome, Catharine!

Tell us a little about your background and something interesting about yourself or one of your characters.

In Good Faith began in 2000. I worked as the marketing department for the Sonoma County United Way and feeling burned out.  So I wrote a long short story chronicling the antics of the world’s worst non-profit.   What did I hate most about the non-profit world?  I put that in the story. What did I hate about volunteers?  I put that in the story. I knew how much I hated the way board members treated the staff like servants.  I put that in the story too.  And I finished up with the worst thing (or two) that can happen to a non-profit. 

Sure, I felt better, but where to put this story? (It was at least more sophisticated than a rant.)  It would be years later, after I left the non-profit world and became embroiled in the real estate industry (where the very worst thing that can happen, happens daily) that a new character emerged and the Real Estate Diva Mysteries were created.   The bad non-profit story merged into a murder plot for the third book and I finally had a full story. 

What is one of your favorite books and why?

My favorite books are the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. I fell in love with Amelia Peabody and in love with the descriptions and adventures in mid – nineteenth century Egypt.  I love reoccurring characters and I love Egypt!  It was because of these books that I’ve traveled to Egypt twice now.  Standing in the Valley of the Kings where Amelia stood, was the thrill of a life time.

Why did you decide to write this book?

In Good Faith is the third in a series of books: the Real Estate Diva Mysteries.  The main character, Allison Little, the Real Estate Diva in question, started speaking to me while I was still a real estate agent with Century 21. I read a line in one of the books I was studying – for my brokers license – and it read:  death revokes the offer.  Really?  It was at that point that Allison Little, real estate diva, started to talk to me, and she does not stop until I write down her story. I’m working on the sixth book right now (wrote the first 50,000 words during NaNoWriMo) and she still hasn’t stopped talking!

What was your experience like with self-publishing?

The best feature about self-publishing is that it’s so fast.  As soon the final edits are returned from your editor and your cover comes back from your graphic artists, you can publish, there is no queue, there is not waiting.  Write Life took almost three years to publish  In Good Faith   from acceptance through excruciating (hard copy, no one has heard of track changes) edits and then months and months of “being in the queue”.  Controlling the process yourself is far easier and I have to say, probably more satisfying.

How have you marketed your book?

I am working on creating a blog tour for the book.  I am lucky I get to discuss the book on my weekly podcast, Newbie Writers Podcast.  I am sending off press releases to local papers as well as working social media – my own blog, Facebook, twitter and linked in.  I attend about four conferences a year and so that too is an opportunity to promote the book.  I considered skywriting, but it’s almost as ethereal as Twitter and Twitter is free.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Many people say that they like the validation of an “outside” or “larger” press.  And there is some legitimacy to that. Big publishers deliver bragging rights.  Small niche publishers deliver exposure to their  loyal readers. But no matter who publishes your book, you will still need to do the promotional work – and for most writers, that’s the most difficult part of publication.
My advice?  Write the book you love, be the writer you’ve always wanted to be.  Then find the publisher who fits your style and purposes.

Please provide a favorite excerpt from your book.

I found another body.
She was murdered.
This was an even less pleasant experience than both times before. The fact that I have found three bodies in the course of my lifetime must be more than a coincidence. But there was no context to make sense of it. I didn’t even want meaning at this juncture. What I wanted then and now is quick closure and a nice glass of Shiraz. And tranquilizers.
 What did I think when I flung open that bedroom door? Some options were; horror, revulsion, sickness, shock, but no, my first thought was, I do not need this. 
My second thought was perhaps I should switch from selling million dollar homes to only selling inexpensive condos. Nothing happens during a condo purchase. First- time home buyers purchase condos. And first-time homebuyers are too busy working to pay their new mortgage to indulge in mayhem and murder.
For instance, the only thing my client, Owen Spenser, a first time homebuyer, inspires is aggravation, but not murder. Although, our last conversation brought me dangerously close to the latter.

Where can readers find you and your book?

My pod cast is free on iTunes, Newbie Writers Pod cast.
For my monthly newsletter -  drop me a line at

Thank you, Catharine! Your book series sounds wonderful and it's been a pleasure getting to know you!

--KSR Writer

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