I’ve dusted and polished for the honour of having Pamela Cook up at the manor again.
I’m delighted to tell you about her new release Essie’s Way and I’ve also coaxed her into parting with some advice on keeping one’s country manor ticking like a well-tended longcase.
Miranda McIntyre thinks she has it all sorted. She’s a successful lawyer, she’s planning her wedding and ticking off
all the right boxes. When searching for something old to go with her wedding dress she remembers an antique necklace from her childhood, but her mother denies any knowledge of it. Miranda is sure it exists. Trying to find the
necklace, she discovers evidence that perhaps the grandmother she thought was dead is still alive.
Ignoring the creeping uncertainty about her impending marriage, and the worry that she is not living the life she really wants, Miranda takes off on a road trip in search of answers to the family mystery but also in search of herself.
Ultimately she will find that looking back can lead you home.
A captivating story of family, love and following your heart.
So happy to see you here, Pamela, especially as we met in person at the Romance Writers of Australia conference this year. It was a joy to chat with you at the Awards ceremony. You are a wonderful writer and your books hold a little something that’s extra special. Let’s find out who you are and how you do that…
What are books for?
So many things … daydreaming, escape, reassurance, exploring and understanding ideas, connection with ourselves and with others. Really, where would we be without them?
Will you tell us about yourself and what genre(s) you love writing?
I’m a writer, teacher, day dreamer, mother to three gorgeous girls and carer to a menagerie of assorted animals. I write Australian Fiction with a Rural Flavour and Romantic Elements. My stories feature strong, independent women learning something new about themselves, tangled relationships and a rural setting. There’s also a little romance.
And horses! So plenty of escape. Both my published novels are set in fictional towns on the south coast of NSW.
Which of your books or work in progress are we chatting about today?
My new book, Essie’s Way.
Will you share the first sentence or paragraph of Essie’s Way, or a favourite line or paragraph from somewhere in the book?
Her eyes were closed. She felt the movement of the bow on the
strings, the way it caught the edges and slid across, like light rippling on the
surface of the sea. The music was her and she was the music. The notes rose into
the air, floated and dissolved, like a lingering kiss, like a part-remembered
dream. She was somewhere else. With him again. She could feel the curve of his
lip against her cheek, hear the smile in his voice. As she remembered, the lines
around her eyes softened, lost their sharpness. She was young again, at the
beginning of something. The dog lay quietly at her feet looking out across the
wide expanse of grass to the ocean beyond, a half-chewed ball next to him,
waiting for the walk that always came when the music stopped and she was
returned to herself.
That is beautiful, Pamela!
When starting a new story, what do you begin with? Character? Scenario? Setting?
I usually begin with a character and an image. I’m what’s known as a pantser – I tend to write the first draft without much of an outline and see where the story takes me. Then I go back and play with the plot and structure in subsequent drafts.
How much of you goes into each story you write?
I think there’s always a little bit of us in each of our characters. Generally I draw on experiences I might have had and then manipulate them to create plotlines for my characters. I also draw on emotions I’ve experienced, even if I haven’t been in exactly the same situations. We all know what it feels like to be afraid, or to love or to be jealous or excited. I also use places I’ve spent time in as settings. Other than that my characters and stories are fictional.
When Eve Nicholls returns to her childhood home it’s not long before she’s confronted by people - and memories – from her past.
She re-discovers her love of horses and of the bush, along with her old adventurous self, but memories and unforeseen events force her to face her demons – and more.
‘Eve took a deep breath and stepped down from the kombi. Everything inside her was shaking. Maybe being back here wasn’t going to be as easy as she’d thought.’
An engaging debut for those who long to uncover who they used to be, and who they might still become
Who or what is your biggest champion and support?
Without a doubt my family. Whenever I feel like a fraud or like I just can’t write another thing my husband always reminds me how I’ve been there before, pours me a glass of wine and tells me to get over it – I’m not allowed to wallow for long. My daughters take my writing in their stride and always expect another book. Then of course there’s my fabulous writing group, The Writers’ Dozen and my wonderful publisher Vanessa, who is always there for support.
What writing project did you put aside to answer these questions?
Well it’s only been a week since Essie went off to the printer so I’m giving myself some time off between books. At
this stage I only have a vague notion of what I’m writing next but I’m sure something will materialise before long. It always does ☺
Thank you, Pamela! And for an encore - would you like to share a tip for running the country manor estate in a more efficient way – giving us time to read and write more? (Such as a recipe, a cleaning tip, 25 ways to fix the tractor, how to fold a napkin, useful uses for old tyres or anything that comes to mind.)
I’m the last person to give tips on running a manor – my house is what could only be described as organized chaos! But in the tradition of “do as I say and not as I do” here are my top three tips for creating more writing and reading time:
♥ Get good help – preferably in house ie children, but if that doesn’t work pay someone to clean!
♥ Make to do’ lists. Keep them realistic. Cross them off when you’re done.
♥ Have at least one spare room that you can toss everything into and close the door. If you can’t see the mess you won’t feel obliged to clean it up!
I’m all for paying someone to do the cleaning, and I have one of those rooms where everything is tossed in – except that it’s my daughter’s bedroom – and the mish-mash of stuff tossed in there is tossed by daughter and apparently all very important and well-used.
(And yes, I keep the door closed.)
I'm already looking forward to having you over at the manor for book #3.
I wish you joy in its creation.
Essie’s Way will be officially released 1st December (fourteen sleeps Pamela).
This is where we can find and follow Pamela: www.pamelacook.com.au
(And browse through her blog Flying Pony while you're there - it's wonderful.)
Until next time,
Jennie & Pamela