Now to my chat with Pamela Kaye Tracy, who wrote Ready or Not the last story in the collection.
LISA: What was your initial reaction in finding out you sold your first book? How many books have you sold since then?
PAMELA KAYE: Are you kidding? I jumped up and down. Now, picture this. I, innocently go to get my mail. In amidst the bills is an envelope from Barbour Publishing. Envelopes mean: Dear Author, we’re sorry….. So, with a sigh, I open the envelope, right there where the mass mailboxes are, and inside is a letter telling me that with a few changes, they’ll buy my book. Yup, I jumped up and down, all alone, while cars drove by. I’m sure drivers thought I was killing a bug or something.
That was in 1998 and that first sale was a Barbour Heartsong. Since them, I’ve also sold Barbour eight novellas and two prayer books. I’ve also sold a romantic comedy to Kensington, and in 2007 I have two Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense books scheduled. Yabba Dabba! I’ve jumped on a lot of bugs since that first sale.
LISA: Tell us about your story in Sweet Home Alabama.
PAMELA KAYE: “Ready or Not” has its roots from my days as an elementary school teacher at a small private Christian school. The people I worked with at that school became family. They led me to a deeper faith and a better sense of self worth, which is what Callie, the heroine of “Ready or Not” so needs. Callie built her dreams on sand. Home, family, God, those are rocks. It’s about Callie’s journey to appreciate the before mentioned, and her journey of motherhood. It’s also about Darryl, the hero of “Ready or Not,” finding the helpmate he needs.
LISA: Can you give us an insight into writing a novella collection with three other authors?
PAMELA KAYE: After eight novellas, I hope I have a ‘grain’ of insight. First, let the leader lead, and thank the Lord when the leader isn’t a boss but a team player (Waving at Pamela Griffin - the other Pamela.) Next, don’t wait until the last minute to begin (frowning at how often I don’t take my own advice). Also, let the others read your work and make suggestions, especially when it comes to how you characterize their characters if they appear in your novella. Next, be flexible. Usually compromise makes the story better. LOL, near the end, put the novella aside for a month, read the other three novellas, and then rewrite your novella one more time (this seldom happens because you’ll never have the month you need, or like me, you’ll have a novella, a book, and galleys due in a week span (and a few months ago you agreed to judge a contest that week because it was so far in the future. Oh, and don’t forget your computer will crash that week). Finally, after you hit the send button and the novella goes off to publisher land, say a prayer of thanks to God because you are so blessed. What a dream come true… holding a book, your book, in your hands.
LISA: I find in my own writing that I often grow alongside my characters, especially spiritually. Is there a character from your book who you relate to and who made an input on your life?
PAMELA KAYE: I think I put a piece of me in just about every writing. My first book It Only Takes a Spark was somewhat about the lost me. The novella “Letters to Timothy” was about the teacher in me who agonized about lost students. I’ve turned up in books as a daughter dealing with a stepmother, as a waitress dealing with diners, as a older single woman maneuvering through the dating world (scary), etc. The books that don’t seem to have a piece of me are my suspenses. They take the longest to write and maybe I do learn the most from them. I learn how God might help people in true peril. I’m not sure I’ve ever been in true peril. And, for some reason, when I pick the scripture that goes with the suspense, I feel such ownership of that scripture’s message.
LISA: What is the number one thing you’ve learned from your writing journey?
PAMELA KAYE: Discipline is number one. And, from watching and learning from others, I’ve learned the best authors are the ones who know when and how to delete.
LISA: Any future plans for your writing you’d like to share? Any specific dreams you’d like to accomplish in the area of writing?
PAMELA KAYE: Short term: Finish the Love Inspired Suspense due Feb. 1st. Long term: My dream is write three books a year for Love Inspired.
LISA: Because I know there are many aspiring writers out there, can you share any tidbits of wisdom on getting published?
PAMELA KAYE: Sure, get involved. I only know a handful of people who managed to get published ‘alone’. Most did what I did. I took creative writing classes: made friends, joined a critique group. I got involved on the AOL romance writing boards. I joined RWA (acfw wasn’t around back then). I attended every workshop I heard about, I went to conferences, and I made friends who had the same goals I did. Plus, I read, read, read, read… Did I mention I read a lot?
Good luck all! Dreams do come true.
Thanks for the great interviews, ladies!