Pamela Lee and I initially met online through LinkedIn, from there we connected on Facebook and then moved onto communication through email. In this crazy world of social media and online networks, occasionally a real one-on-one friendship evolves. I was fortunate to have discovered a genuine friend in Pamela, a colleague to share ideas, inspiration, and encouragement. The following is a text from a recent interview I conducted with Pamela.
Pamela Lee, Author
Interview with Pamela Lee
Dale: How and when did you get into writing?
Pamela: Writing came to me at age 7—my pencil poised above my ‘fancy paper.’ In the middle of a patch of Mayflowers, I had tramped down into a perfect circle. My own first created writing sanctuary.
How blissful to be close to the earth, with the sound of bees buzzing around me, the sun shining on my skin. I could almost TOUCH the air, nibble on it. The scents, sounds. That was the day my senses were truly awakened. The day I became AWARE… and was reborn.
As I write now, the image of blonde little tomboy [me] appears and I remember being so proud and careful each time I took a sheet of that floral scented paper from the box of stationery my Gramma gave me for Christmas. Each sheet I carefully titled with my word of the day—starting with the very first one. SPECTACULAR! I loved using exclamation marks. From there I added goals, wishes, observations. I was intense and passionate about life, even at 7.
We MUST have passion in our hearts to be writers, oui? For, what more lonely existence is there than that of a writer when we drift into that place. After all, with no passion—how can we writers persistently and consistently go on..and on.. and on.
Life ensued from there. Writing, a thing I did here and there through school, through several careers where I did ad copy, business plans, letters to editors. Etcetera.
I began WRITING, seriously, on October 1, 2006 — 50 years later. There is a long and involved story about why THAT date but suffice to say it involved invasive breast cancer, a follow-up heart attack to put a period on the end of that sentence, mother murder, a need to honour that mother—and a sense of my own mortality.
Dale: Which genre(s) do you prefer to write, and why?
Pamela: You could have knocked me over with a feather when I discovered I had poems within me—in 2012. Again, over the age of 60.
Much to my astonishment, I have won awards with my poems. Go figure!
I always assumed poetry was beyond my education and ability (I have grade 10) and was only for egg-heads. The smart people. Little did I know until these alien things (poems) started rushing out of me that you can say SO much in 600 words! Taught me yet another life lesson. NEVER assume.
F.Y.I, dear reader, poetry is the polar OPPOSITE to my writing style where I use many words and love to spin imagery with my prose… as you may have picked up here… lolol
I wonder if I should add that I am currently working on a lit erotica novel and yes, I do love writing in that genre. It’s all about commercial when it comes to writing about that subject. Wouldn’t we all love to make a living with our writing?
Dale: Who is your most favorite character from your own writing, and why?
Pamela: Louise Kovats. Beloved Sister and best friend of protagonist Annie. An intensely complicated and endearing character in my Holy Snappin’ series, introduced in Book 1, Call Me J.
Louise appears firstly as a simple, sweet incredibly humble and giving female child whose only wish in life is to be a good mother and wife. Her wishes are realized as she builds a home and a family of four beautiful children, circa mid-century set in South Western Ontario, Canada.
Her world falls apart when she suffers postpartum depression with child #3 then unravels completely with postpartum psychosis with child number 4. It was a huge challenge to define the level of care for severely compromised mentally ill patients in that era—or lack thereof, and their families. The paragraphs involving this character are graphic and upsetting with such images as the description of her obsession with cutting off her own lips with scissors. But, sadly, many parts of Louse are irrefutably relatable for who does not have someone in their family dealing with this debilitating malady? Louise’s struggles were hard to write for this book is grounded on a true story close to my heart. Louise will eventually commit suicide in Book 3 of the series after YEARS of a truly handicapped lifestyle, losing her family and suffering greatly with this debilitating disease.
Dale: What do you hope to get across in your writing?
Pamela: That no one is immune to horrific pain—that everyone has a story that no screenplay could outdo-—that we are never alone–and that we must NEVER give up. My family saga Call me J and ensuing books in the series is a story of faith, love, unrelenting hurt AND joy. And that there IS a ‘’6 degree of separation.”
Dale: Are there any genres you would never consider writing, and why?
Pamela: Sci-fi/fantasy The genre does not move or engage me—So, even if someone said to me “Here’s a cool million. Create a sci-fi novel”—I’d have to rip up the cheque (not that anyone pays with cheques anymore—lol)
Also—horror—I find it difficult to read some Stephen King’s stuff. SOME I can do, but others? NOT! Even at close to 70, my mind is still too fertile and susceptible to seeing what he is writing. Freaks me the heck out! Example-The Mist. But loved the Green Mile.
Dale: What is your favorite book you have read, and why?
Pamela: When asked this question I made myself zone out, avoid overthinking and just let the answers come. Oh and here’s something interesting. Once I had gathered my notes, I noticed that all of these books have a movie adaptation. How fascinating!
#1-Hawaii—James Michener. Why? Like my aha moment at age 7, reading this novel was a life-changing experience. 12-year-old tackles her first big fat read. And falls in LOVE with reading. Every Michener novel hence evoked the same emotions.
#2-Clan of the Cave Bear—Jean Auel. Who WASN’T fascinated with Ayla and her story?
#1-True Crime—In Cold Blood—Truman Capote. Edgar Award winner but failed to haul in the Pulitzer. I would SAY, considering it wasn’t exactly fiction! I read a piece somewhere that Harper Lee, a buddy of Capote’s, helped him collect 6000 pages of data on the crime. The Why? Riveting. Sickening. Massively gobsmacking at how base humans can be against their species. I couldn’t put it down.
#2-The Lovely Bones—Alice Sebold. The most memorable first lines, ever!!! “My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.” I wanted to ROOT for her sooooo bad—like we do for the heroine…but how could I? Breathtaking.
#1-The Notebook—Nicholas Sparks. Oh, come ON… Of COURSE, this had to top my list. I (and every heterosexual woman) wants to be Allie. I want my man to be Noah.
#2-Where The Heart Is—Billie Letts. Oprah’s Book Club choice. Fabulous movie adaptation to a NEVER GIVE UP novel.
Autobiography—Why Not?—Shania Twain. I felt like her SISTER! Great job done by Shania and her (assumed) ghostwriter!!
Non-fiction. On Writing—Stephen King. FINALLY, short and sweet and oh so authentically real. I did not feel alone in this crazy thing we do once I read On Writing. From the very first bite into this book, I was transported. I found myself nodding and nodding again. It was like I myself was sharing all the nuances of the art. Sooo much like my experience. Yours’ too, I’m sure. Nooo, I am, not holding myself up beside the writer, Stephen King—but instead beside the man who understands and lies it all out on the table.
Just because books—To Kill A Mockingbird, and Gone With The Wind.
Dale: Which authors have inspired you, and why?
Pamela: I cannot deny it. I am in awe of the prolific writer. Like—how do they DO that? The research. The art of chaining it all together without losing theme or character progression, storylines and depth—page one to the last word. Book after book after book. It still stops me up when I browse through my local library and see an entire row of novels—from the same author. I am particularly keen on series with the same characters—Example: The J.D. Robb In Death Series. Ohhh, Eve, Darling. There are too many to list.
Dale: What genres do you most enjoy reading?
Pamela: Family sagas. Historical fiction. Murder mystery.
Dale: Many writers/artists/content creators adopt habits in dress, writing paraphernalia, location. Tell us about your day?
Pamela: When I accidentally fell into writing at 58 years old, I quickly realized I had to look at it like a business. Writing, untrained writing with trial and error strategies and an end goal, must be taken seriously. If I was going to look at this new discovery as a career, then I must attack it as I had done in my past careers.
I write from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. I dress comfortably, often in loose PJ’s. a baseball cap. I do not answer the phone but have a local favorite classic rock radio station playing softly in the background. I like to sit where I can look outside towards nature. I make NO other plans for the day. It is my J.O.B. for the day.
Dale: Any final words?
Pamela: Yes. Before I became a writer, I had NO idea how it would take over my life when I wrote. I had no idea how my work would, on occasion, be regarded as frivolous and selfish. And that loved ones would be jealous of the time I took to pursue this thing that had taken over me over the four-odd years it took me to write my debut novel and two additional books in the series.
As writers, poets, content creators, all too often, we have to FIGHT to be recognized that we DO have a job in our writing.
See. You are not alone.
Our chances of being successful and recognized are about the same as winning the lottery. It is all about timing, luck, patience, tenacity, faith.
With a big ole jigger of self-love to bring us through day after day.
NEVER, ever give in.
Or give up.
If you believe you will fail in completing your work, living that dream, you will fail.
If you believe you will succeed in finishing that work, you will.
Pamela Lee is a mother, grandmother, teacher, entrepreneur, Internet TV personality, survivor, friend, poet, author, and writer.
To learn more about Pamela visit her author website.
Purchase Pamela’s books at these fine retailers.
Contact Pamela through her contact page.