Welcome back, Pamela. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
For many years I was an agnostic, unable to believe but desperately wanting to. During that time I was practicing law with BakerBotts, L.L.P., a large law firm based in
offices all over the world, including .
One day I decided to use my researching abilities to seek answers to my
questions that might help lead me to faith. I researched the Gospel testimonies
by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, looking at all the evidence currently
available in archeology, science, medicine (amazing medical evidence!),
historical writings by the early church fathers, etc. to see if their stories
were credible. Dallas
I was amazed and thrilled to find that the actual evidence provided powerful proof that the Gospels were true, and that the four Evangelists were in that place, at that time, and wrote what they saw. This changed my life completely. I became a committed Christian, and wrote my first book, Faith On Trial, while still practicing law. This was my faith journey. The book did very well, got a lot of national press and I realized that my mission had become getting the truth to people who, like I’d been, had open minds, wanted to believe, but just didn’t have the gift of faith. I retired my partnership with the firm and turned to writing fiction. I think writing a good story incorporating our Christian world view and solid ideas is a good way to spread the word, while at the same time entertain readers—and the writing is so much fun! It’s very fulfilling. Because if my writing helps one reader by answering a question about faith, or explaining a problem or offering any kind of solution to a problem in their lives, I’m happy.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
The day my son, Scott was born. No question. There’s nothing like a mother’s love, it changes your whole world. I found myself bearing the full responsibility for raising him not long after he was born. So I worked my way through college, then law school, and became a lawyer so that I knew he’d always be safe and his future secure…and now I’d add, God willing.
How has being published changed your life?
Initially, as I described above, my first book Faith on Trial brought me to Christianity. Faith put new joy in my life. I enjoyed every day of practicing law, but I have to say writing is much more fun, and emotionally rewarding. Lawyers work long hours, and at first I thought how great it was that that would change. Ah hah! No so—there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done between writing and marketing a book, and all that goes along with that.
What are you reading right now?
Boy, I read ALL the time. Just finished Not a Sparrow Falls, by Linda Nichols, and loved it. Our friend Nora St. Laurent recommended it to me on my recent book tour. Also Words, by Ginny L. Yttrup. This is a truly searing story, treated with great care, and wonderfully written. Also, The Last Ember, by Daniel Levin – interesting story about Italian and Jewish antiquities, particularly from the histories written by Josephus in the first century. And at this moment in time, I’m reading an intriguing book by Paulo Coelho called The Winner Stands Alone, fiction—but about our culture’s fascination with celebrity and fame and fortune. Very well written in an unusual style. Can’t seem to put it down!
What is your current work in progress?
Chasing the Wind, a sequel to Dancing on Glass that will be released August 1, 2012. It’s in the editing stage right now, and that’s fun. Also it’s in that stage where we’re choosing the cover and that’s almost my favorite part of this part of the process. Dancing on Glass is the first book in a series of three, and I’m getting ready to start on the third book right now. An in the research and ‘pondering’ stage. Don’t have a title yet, but the subject matter is in my heart and struggling to come out.
What would be your dream vacation?
That’s hard because Jimmy, my husband, and I love to travel. So it would either be one of those river cruises to
Russia and then on down to Moscow, and then on down to someplace wonderful in Europe,
or maybe a cruise through the Greek Islands, and ending in . That’s because I’m really
interested in the Minoan Civilization that disappeared thousands of years ago
in a volcano in Greece Crete. Scientists believe it
was a very advanced civilization, and they’ve found carved crystals that they
say are as sophisticated as some of NASA’s!
How do you choose your settings for each book?
Settings are very important to me because with my writing they often become part of the story. Often a setting will suggest the story. For example, in the Moon in the Mango Tree, the settings came from my Grandmother’s own life story in the 1920’s—
Siam (now Thailand),
I not only had the stories straight from her, but also found a new layer and
depth to her and the family stories in letters and journals we found when she
In Secret of the Shroud (formerly, Walk Back the Cat), the story pretty much dictated the setting. Obviously for the portion set in the first century, that was true. But for an exhibition for the Shroud as in the story, the New York Museum of Art was also an obvious place. Having spent a lot of time in that city while practicing law, I knew it fairly well, especially the areas I wrote about. Dancing on Glass is set in
is my home, the place I love the most, and so it fit right in with the story.
In Dancing, I think the city is almost a ‘character’ in the story. Do you think
I’m right? New Orleans
It would be hard to write about New Orleans without the city becoming a character. If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be, and why?
I think I would choose the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. I love the character and strength of the people of
worry about them being surrounded by people who hate them, who want to destroy
them; they are so principled and strong. Do you remember in the Gulf War when
Sadam Hussein was lobbing scud missiles at them day and night and the Israel asked them
not to respond, because the scuds were provocations and a response would
escalate the war? They did as we asked and we watched on TV as every night they
huddled in their homes while incoming scuds streaked toward them…never once
breaking their promise. So I would like to talk to the Prime Minister about all
of this, and how he sees the future of U.S. Israel
in the Middle East.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I don’t know if these count as hobbies, but I’m on the board of the Tennessee Williams Festival in
, and that takes up some time. But well worth
it – I think it’s one of the best (secular) literary festivals in the country.
(For non-secular, no question – ACFW). Also, I founded the Northshore Literary
Society in St. Tammany Parish, La. I actually live in Mandeville, which is a
twenty-minute ride across the causeway over Lake Pontchartrain to the north
shore of the New
metro area. Here I’m also in the Christian Writers Guild. In all, we’ve got a
great group of people on the northshore who love books and many who write, and
now branches have sprung from the tree—a poetry group and a serious writing
critique group. New Orleans
Aside from that, I’d have to say traveling. As I said above, Jimmy and I really love to travel.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Okay. Everyone’s going to think this is weird, but here goes. It’s being truthful, bearing my soul. My writing always involves issues that come from something deep inside, things that are precious and private. Faith on Trial was the first time I’d ever bared my soul in public. In writing that book I learned that truth is an absolute requirement when dealing with issues and ideas, particularly if your story is going to be based on life-rending and life matters. Sometimes being truthful is embarrassing, or makes you feel vulnerable, especially to criticism. But it’s always necessary. So each time I write, I put the whole thing in God’s hands. I ask him to keep me on the right path. And I search the scriptures to try to stay on it. Christianity is such a treasure trove of wisdom!
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
It would be this: write a story that you HAVE to write, that you want to write whether or not any other person will ever read it. Write the entire first draft stream of consciousness, just for you, and resolve to tear it up later so no else ever does see it. But make it truthful.
Then, look at what you’ve got and start to shape it. You’ll see the story line emerging, the arcs of the plot and character developments emerging through the random words. That first draft will give you the crux of the book. You’ll see that ‘this’ segment should go before ‘that one,’ and where chapters should begin and end, and what parts are really irrelevant and can be scrapped.
NOW, you have the first draft. Throw the other one away, and go for it. Just finish the book no matter what, because most people don’t. If you finish it—you’re a writer. Now you start the rewrite. For me, that’s the most fun of all. I rewrite so many times that my editors joke they have to tear the manuscript away from me to get it out!
Tell us about the featured book:
Dancing on Glass is the story of a young woman lawyer in
in 1974 who
falls in love with a man who’s not what he seems. It a story of love and
illusion, and of good and evil. We ask ourselves all the time why bad things
happen. But as God’s people, we’ve been given free will, the burden of making
hard choices with consequences that sometimes lead us astray. Dancing
on Glass explores what happens when a young Christian girl finds
herself on the wrong path, making commitments too soon. It explores the nature
of love and passions and manipulation of those emotions, and how God’s grace is
always there for us. How faith sustains. New Orleans
This is a fast-paced story of romantic suspense. Amalise Catoir is a smart, accomplished woman caught in a manipulative, predatory relationship. One reviewer described this as a story that could have been ‘ripped from the headlines’ today, reports of strong women locked into emotionally and sometimes physically abusive relationships, usually secretly, for reasons that they don’t really understand. There are so many celebrity cases in the news these days of women ‘standing by their man’ long after society or (in my opinion) God expects—Elizabeth Edwards, for example. I think Dancing on Glass provides a new way of viewing these relationships. At least I hope it offers some new insight on the issue. It comes from my heart, and to some extent I’m sorry to say, from past experience.
Please give us the first page of the book:
Here’s the first page of the first chapter (excluding the prologue):
Not a stir of air on the streets of New Orleans on that September day in 1974 when a small black cloud shuttled in on winds aloft and exploded over the Vieux Carre like a child’s tantrum. Amalise ducked into
on Royal to avoid
the deluge instead of continuing on to work. And her life changed forever. Porter
At first she stood near the door in front of the plate glass windows watching water pool in gutters and people scramble for shelter. When the rain had emptied the sidewalks and streets and there was no sign of it letting up, she secured the book bag onto her shoulder, turned, and with an exasperated mutter, ambled toward a display of artwork to her left.
Glancing up, she stopped and caught her breath. Before her, hanging on the wall, was a series of pictures painted in shining black and bold colors that diminished all other work in the gallery. Slashing strokes of the thick black paint in each one sketched women in various poses, striking, even pretty, in an offbeat way, but looking lost, bored, defeated. These were women drained of light—flattened for a moment in time by the contrasting movement and bright reds, blues, yellows, and spectrum of colors in between that the artist had used in the surroundings. Books were tossed on tables, fluted curtains pooling on floors, dresses, skirts, stockings, shoes thrown carelessly around the room, beds and tumbled pillows, sheets and blankets, and always in the background, glass windowpanes closed against the living, vibrant world outside.
Sounds intriguing. Can't wait to get my copy. How can readers find you on the internet?My website is www.pamelaewen.com and I answer all emails myself. Love to talk to readers and book clubs!
Thank you, Pamela, for another interesting interview.
Readers, here's a link where you can order the book: Dancing on Glass: A Novel
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