Welcome, Pam. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Well, I am almost 5’8”, so I tend to make my heroines tall. I don’t know what it’s like to be short, although I always wanted to be, so it is easier for me to think of my heroine as tall. Some of my values creep in, but I am trying to get away from writing myself into fiction. Instead, my characters are usually a compilation of people I know and pure fiction.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Wow, this is tough. What’s normal to me might be quirky to someone else. I asked my husband, and I guess I seem pretty normal to him, too, because he couldn’t think of anything (or he just said that!). How about the most unusual thing that ever happened to me? When I was fifteen, my parents and I flew to
to see my brother and his family at Christmas. After being in the air for
fifteen minutes, the pilot announced that they had received a bomb threat
targeted to our plane. We had to make an emergency landing and to quote the
pilot, “go to the nearest emergency exit, and run, don’t walk, away from the
plane.” It was night, and we went out the rear exit. It was like a scene from Die Hard, with fire trucks, ambulances,
bomb squad, and more. Two hours later, we boarded the plane and resumed our
flight. We never found out if they found anything.
Wow, that sounds scary. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I first thought I wanted to be a writer when I was seven, and for years I wrote numerous short stories and “books” that I illustrated. I wrote for two newspapers as part-time jobs, but I never wrote a full book until 2011.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love books that are biographical or autobiographical in nature, like The Glass Castle and Unbroken. I am a loyal John Grisham reader, and Jeffery Archer’s The Prodigal Daughter is one of my favorites. I also love historical fiction set in the south, and I love just about anything set in the west. I especially enjoy Christian fiction because of its lack of profanity and sexual content. My sons often say I’d be happy living in a Little House on the Prairie kind of world. Oh, I love those books too!
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I teach and usually arrive at school around 7:00 A.M. I have learned that getting up fifteen minutes earlier to have my quiet devotional time while drinking my coffee clears my mind and prepares me for my day. At night, I like to unwind by reading in bed, but I usually can’t manage more than ten minutes before I’m falling asleep.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Sometimes there is a personal connection. Aimee, for instance, is named after my niece Amy. Sometimes I just think the name fits the character. Sometimes I choose names with a particular meaning related to the story or occupation.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Finishing and having published my first book, a mystery targeted to girls ages eight to twelve. When I was growing up, I loved Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden, and as an adult, I wanted to write a similar book for modern-day girls.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A dog. What other animal is loved so well and treated like a member of the family?
What is your favorite food?
Chips and authentic Mexican salsa, not the stuff from a jar. And salads, except Caesar salad.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I am assuming you are talking about the process. If not, the greatest roadblock was finding an agent or publisher. However, if you mean the process, I would have to say that the greatest roadblock was looking at my work objectively and learning how to say what I wanted to say most effectively for the reader’s benefit. I can’t say I have completely overcome that, and I’m not sure I ever will, but it is an ongoing process. Whenever I edit my work, I always make changes. The editing could go on forever, but you have to stop somewhere.
The trick is learning how to recognize when you should stop the process. Tell us about the featured book.
It is 1895, a time when women on their own had few choices. Aimee Winters’ mother has passed away, and she has no husband, no job, and no home. Shocked to learn that the father she has always believed to be dead is actually alive and well in the
territory, she accepts his invitation to leave Memphis and live with him in Strawberry and
to teach at the local school for a year. Life in the wilderness brings
challenges she never could have imagined, but the biggest challenge of all is
what to do about her relationship with Levi Raines, the handsome yet
unconventional rancher who eventually steals her heart. Will she stay in the
territory to be with him, or will he choose to go back to Memphis with her? Or will they be forced to
go their separate ways?
Please give us the first page of the book.
territory, just ahead!” Flagstaff,
The porter’s bark barely rose above the squeal of the train’s wheels as it slowed its approach.
Aimee Winters clutched the handbag in her lap with one trembling hand as she bent forward to retrieve her valise from the floor with the other. The floral pattern swirled before her, and she took a deep breath. She couldn’t faint. Not here. Not now.
“I hope you like the territory.”
She raised her eyes to meet Mr. Donovan’s probing gaze.
“I do too.” She forced a smile and placed the valise on the seat between them. “Thank you.”
He adjusted his black bowler hat and brushed a piece of lint from the lapel of his pinstriped suit. “I will miss your company during the remainder of my trip. The hours until I reach
San Francisco will crawl.”
“You flatter me. I am sure there are many interesting people to talk to on this train.” She shifted and glanced out of the window. Nothing but pine trees and distant mountains. No town in sight.
“None as genteel and as educated as you.” She turned back to face him, and he leaned toward her, dropping his voice almost to a whisper. “I would dare say most on board don’t know how to read. It has been refreshing to talk with someone of intelligence and beauty.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
www.authorpamwattsharris.com and “like” Pam Harris, author on Facebook
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.Aimee - Paperback
Aimee - Kindle
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