An Interview with Pam
I write inspirational historical romance and inspirational romantic suspense. I’m concentrating on historicals for the time being. My manuscripts have been as short as 20,000 words (novellas) and as long as 90,000 words. Generally, I shoot for the longer works.
When did you decide you were going to pursue publication?
I starting pursuing publication in 1994, but I’ve wanted to be a published author ever since I can remember. As a child, I was fascinated by how authors put all those stories on paper. Somehow, my brain just naturally made up stories. But for years, I didn’t write them down. I tried to get started a few times, but didn’t know how to construct a compelling story with an interesting beginning, firm middle, and satisfying ending. So out of lack of knowledge and fear of failure, I just kept dreaming. I think I had the idea that as long as I didn’t attempt to write, I couldn’t fail at writing. In 1994, I decided that if I was ever going to write, I had to stop kidding myself and get to work.
What steps have you taken to learn the craft of writing?
I joined Romance Writers of America in the mid 90’s and took advantage of the many contests RWA chapters offer. I have placed in and/or won over 30 writing contests. I was also one of the first to join American Christian Fiction Writers. I don’t have a critique group or partner in the sense that we work together on a weekly basis, but there are several people I trade critiques with when we need something read. I usually attend one or two conferences a year. The workshops and contact with other authors, agents, and editors is invaluable. Reading books in my chosen genre is a must, as well as studying the wonderful writing books available to writers. Above and beyond all that, just write. And, more importantly, write to the end!
Do you have a “day” job? How many hours per week do you spend writing?
I am a purchasing manager for an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) company. It’s a good job, but it does require a lot of brain cells and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of creative energy left over at the end of the day. The good news is that my job is seasonal, and I have a little more ‘free’ time at different times of the year than at others. As far as how many hours I spend writing, it depends on what kind of self-imposed deadline I have as well as what the week has been like. Some weeks I spend 20-30 hours on writing to meet deadlines. Other weeks…not nearly enough!
What about rejections? Have you racked any up yet? What have you learned, experienced through the submission process?
Yes, I have several rejections. As I received each one, I was terribly disappointed, especially with those rejections that were based on complete manuscripts, or after an editor really liked a story but, for various reasons, was unable to buy it. However, looking back over most of my rejection letters, I am so very thankful that those editors had the foresight not to buy my manuscript at that time. In some cases, the story wasn’t strong enough. Sometimes, we can only see that after our writing has grown just a bit from where we were at the time.
What are your hopes, dreams, goals?
I want to be true to my characters. I want to have the skills to tell their stories in a way that makes readers identify with them. I’m not looking for fame and fortune: I don’t want strangers knocking on my door at 6:00 am on Saturday morning looking for an autograph! But I do want to be successful enough in the publishing world that I can eventually transfer more and more of my time and energy to writing full-time. My ultimate dream is to spend part of my time writing, part attending writing conferences, and the rest of the time traveling with my husband. (I’m kidding…uh…sort of.)
Who are your favorite authors? Books?
There are so many! One of my all-time favorite books is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Patterns of Love by Robin Lee Hatcher and Blink by Ted Dekker were also two favorites. My favorite is whoever I’m reading at the moment. Recently I read A Bride Must Begrudging by Deeanne Gist. Great first book! I know I’ve left out a ton of great authors. There’s no way to list them all. Almost all of my favorite authors are members of American Christian Fiction Writers, and readers won’t go wrong searching out books by these talented Christian authors.