Twenty-four-year-old Violet wants one thing: to hide from life after her husband's death left her reeling. But life has other ideas. Well, life and a certain seven-year-old neighbor.
Q & A with Pamela ~
Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.
I have been writing on and off since I was in elementary school. I majored in journalism and worked in corporate writing for years, but I always wanted to write fiction. In my twenties, I wrote a book, but then got pulled away when I got married and adopted my three kids. It took years for me to have the mental bandwidth to get back to it. So at fifty-four, I started A Boundless Place and at fifty-eight, I got finally got published.
What are some things you enjoy when not writing?
After writing, I love reading. Next to that, I love animals. I volunteer with my high school age
daughter at a cat rescue.
How do you start your day (a routine of sorts?)
My ideal day starts with a cup of coffee and some reading, then some form of exercise--yoga,
walking or--when the weather isn’t good--the elliptical. Then shower, breakfast and then I
spend the rest of the morning writing.
Finish this: “I can’t write without…”
Probably the only thing I can’t write without is my computer, and even then, when I was doing
a writing challenge where I had to write a microfiction short story in twenty-four hours, I took
a legal pad and pen to the beach, proving I can still go old-school. I like a nice atmosphere,
instrumental music, and a good solid hour or two, but I have learned I can write in a mess,
without music, and in fifteen minute sprints.
What did you think you’d be when you became an adult?
I thought I’d be a fiction writer. I just didn’t know it would take me forty years
What is something about you that people would surprise people?
My book is set in a trailer park, which is where I grew up. I don’t think people expect this.
Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?
After adopting our second child, I quit the job I had and became a stay-at-home mom.
It wasn’t until three years after I started writing A Boundless Place that I got a part-time job
as a tech support agent for a software company. It’s an awesome job for a writer, because I
can “man the desk” while writing when I am not dealing with clients.
Where do you get your ideas?
I get my ideas from life--my own, and people I have encountered or read about.
After reading A Boundless Place, my uncle called me up to tell me how much he liked it
and he was actually pointing out how many things he recognized. For example, a character
in the book is a medic in the Air Force--just like my father. My writing is a mix of what I know and what I have to research.
Do you have a go-to first reader after you feel your manuscript is ready?
My husband and daughter are my out-of-the-gate beta readers. And along with my other two children, my biggest cheerleaders.
Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write?
I read a huge variety of genres: literary, women’s fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, and non-fiction. But I think the books I am most drawn to are books like those written by Maeve Binchy and Fredrik Backman because they are very character driven. I love the way Backman reveals his characters layer by layer. I aspire to that, but not sure I achieve it to the level I would like.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (or this book?)
My first challenge is realizing how far from ready an early draft is. I started querying agents but all the while I was editing. And learning. I asked more people to be beta readers. I hired an editor. And each time, the manuscript was improved.
What are you working on now?
I am working on books two and three, which are set in the same world as A Boundless Place. I am just starting the third draft of book two and just finished the first draft of book three.
Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences?
Quite a few things in A Boundless Place are based on real-life experiences. The setting itself for one. But there’s also a big event that happens to Arabella and her family that was a real-life experience of mine, but you’ll have to read the book to find out what!
Do you have a favorite character?
I love my characters so much, I can’t leave them so I decided to keep writing books they would appear in. But I am rather partial to Mrs. McCabe. She was a lot of fun to write.
What would your job of choice be if you didn’t write books?
Second choice career would be librarian.
What was some unique research you had to do for a book?
I have a character who has PTSD after serving in Vietnam. I did a lot of research on that, and on reading first-hand accounts.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
I have three pieces of advice:
Take classes on the craft of writing. A lot of things are opinion, so take what you can from it
and leave the rest. No one thing works for everyone.
Write every day or as often as you can. I find the more I write, the better I become and the moreideas I have. If you want to get really serious, set aside some time daily for writing--and put it
on your calendar.
Try writing things that challenge you. I do a lot of short story challenges and these push me
out of my comfort zone but I think they have also help me improve and gain confidence.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?
Many of my readers tell me how much they like my characters, which is awesome because I like them, too! I hope you will enjoy A Boundless Place and my subsequent books as much as I enjoyed writing them.
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