Professional, polite, polished and inspiring - please welcome Pamela Cook, Hachette
(Australia) author of Blackwattle Lake, and read about her love affair …
… with writing.
Take it away, Pamela:
Will you tell us about yourself and what genre(s) you love writing?
I’m the mother of three beautiful daughters aged from 12 to 20, have spent most of my working years as a Secondary School English/History Teacher and have been writing for about 13 years now. Although I live in Sydney we have a small
acreage on the south coast and spend a lot of our time there. I love to read, travel and spend time with our horses – we currently have 6 of them. Over the years I’ve tried my hand at a few different styles of writing – short stories, memoir and poetry in particular. My first novel (yet to be published) is a literary style novel but my first published novel, Blackwattle Lake, falls into the Rural Fiction genre, which is where I now find myself.
We have one horse - can't imagine managing six! (And when will we see that first novel?)
For Eve Nicholls, walking up the driveway of her childhood home brings up many emotions, and not all good. The horses that she loved still dot the paddocks but the house is empty, and the silence inside allows her memories to flood back.
She’s glad to have her best friend Banjo the kelpie with her . . . and a bottle of bourbon. Her plan is simple: sell the farm, grab the cash and get the hell out.
Despite Eve’s desire to keep a low profile, within days of her return she runs into all the people she hoped to avoid. At the house she is surrounded by memories and worse. But with a lifetime of clutter to sort out, there’s plenty to take her mind off it all. Slowly, she begins to discover the girl she used to be: Angie Flanagan – adventurous, animal-loving, vulnerable. When tragedy strikes, Eve realises that changing her name all those years ago in an attempt to hide from her past has not changed the truth of what happened or who she really is.
Blackwattle Lake is an engaging debut for those who long to uncover who they used to be, and who they might still become.
What writing project did you put aside to answer these questions?
I’m currently working on my new novel which is called Essie’s Way. It’s about a young woman on the brink of marriage who uncovers a family secret and goes searching for answers.
That’s a great title, Pamela - given the tag line it suggests an intriguing storyline.
Will you name one entity you feel supports you outside of family members?
Apart from my family I’ve been very fortunate to have the support of a wonderful writing group, The Writers’ Dozen.
We first met at a year long writing course at The NSW Writer’s Centre and a few of us decided to keep meeting each fortnight. That was 8 yeas ago and sadly our group has dwindled down to about 5 (we started with 13, hence the name!). But we still meet regularly to critique each other’s work, share information and support each other. Without them I know I would never have made it this far.
Where would we be without our writing groups?
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Although Blackwattle Lake and Essie’s Way are both Rural Fiction they are essentially about women who are at turning points in their lives. I’ve always been very interested in women’s stories and rights so I like to explore issues of independence, being true to yourself and finding your own path. For me getting away to the country, where there’s plenty of space to contemplate life has always been important which is why both books are set in rural areas.
Romance is an element in my stories but not the main focus. I also tend to deal with themes like forgiveness, friendship and courage.
What were/are the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing your current story to life?
A very appropriate question Jennie (oh, good) as this new book has certainly been a challenge! When my first novel was published I was so excited about it all that I neglected to get back to work. So when my publisher wanted to know (just a few months ago) what I had to offer them next I went into panic mode. (Not for long, I bet.)With a very short deadline (Essie’s Way is due out in December) (Okay - that's panic mode!)I’ve been furiously pounding away at the keyboard to get novel finished. Being my second novel I also have the psychological issues of “will it be good enough” and “will my previous readers like it” to deal with. But I’m getting there!
Phew - for a moment she had me worried - but now I'm settled. There's no way Pamela Cook won't drum up a successful second novel (but don't you just love the nail-biting side of being an author, just a little?)
Do you see writing as a career?
(Surely it already is? - Pamela, you've got to say Yes.)
If you’d asked me that a couple of years ago I probably would have said no, it’s more of a hobby, not because I didn’t want writing to my career but because I never knew if I could achieve my dream of becoming a published author. Now that I am I have a completely different mindset about it. I write because I love the sense of escape it allows – immersing yourself in another place with people you’ve created – and I would continue to do that whether I was published or not. But I love the whole business side of writing too – connecting with other writers via Facebook and Twitter, sharing knowledge and experiences, talking to readers at Libraries and Festivals, being on blogs like this one. To be able to spend my days writing, and reading – and talking about both of those things is a dream come true and I absolutely plan on keeping it that
Yep - she's a 'keeper'.
I’m thrilled to have Pamela on my country manor blog as she was the first person to interview me before my debut release, and the first person to refer to me publicly as an ‘author’ - thank you, Pamela. Please keep up the wonderful posts on your Flying Pony blog - they are truly inspirational.
Where to buy Blackwattle Lake:
Where you can find and follow Pamela Cook after I wave her off at my blue door:
Feel free to leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you!
Jennie & Pamela