A native of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Pamela S. Meyers currently lives in Arlington Heights, Ill. She served on the Operating Board for ACFW 2005-2009, and is president of her local ACFW chapter. Her debut novel Thyme for Love releases November 14, 2011 and her historical that is set in her hometown, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, will release in June 2012. She has published articles in Today’s Christian Woman, Christian Computing, Victory in Grace, and Ancestry. She is also a contributor in the compilation book, His Forever. Visit Pamela’s website here.
Tell us about your new release: The best way to do that is to give you the back of the book description: April Love has always dreamed of being a chef. But she didn’t expect her former fiancé or murder to be part of the recipe for her new job.
When April Love signs on to be an in-house chef at an old lakeshore mansion in Canoga Lake, Wisconsin, she comes face to face with her long-lost love, the drop-dead gorgeous Marc Thorne. It doesn’t take long for their old magnetism to recharge, but how can she trust the guy who left her nearly at the altar eight years earlier? Her gut tells her something happened to Marc in between—something he’s reluctant to reveal.
When April’s boss is murdered, Marc is accused of the crime. Unless April can find out who really killed Ramón Galvez, her chances for love will end up at the county jail. But someone else is just as determined she not solve the mystery…and will go to any length to stop her.
How did you come up with this story? Was there a specific ‘what if’ moment? I’ve always loved to read mysteries and romance, so I decided to put the two together in a story. HGTV used to have a show called If These Walls Could Talk and that got me to wondering about some of the old mansions that are on the lake shore of Geneva Lake in Wisconsin where I grew up. As I began plotting I realized the story would work better if it were in a fictional setting so I developed Canoga Lake, just east of Lake Geneva a bit so my characters could drive into town and eat at the local restaurants and that sort of thing. There wasn’t any specific what if moment. The story just came together as I brainstormed it.
Did anything strange or funny happen while researching or writing your book? I did have an interesting conversation about the coroner and what the procedures would be if someone died in their home with a funeral director in Lake Geneva. The director attended high school with me and he had a wealth of stories to tell, as you can imagine.
Every novelist has a journey. How long was your road to publication? How did you find out and what went through your mind? Although I’ve always written, having received a diary when I was eight, and I’ve always made up stories as far back as that time when I used to play with my paper dolls for hours, making up stories of their lives from day to day, it wasn’t until I enrolled in an accelerated adult program at the local college and one of my professors said I had the chops to get paid for the words I write. I didn’t get serious about writing fiction until around 2000, and it has taken until almost 2012 to see my dreams come to fruition. I have received a lot of rejections over the years, but God had His reasons for delaying this next step in my writing journey. Last May my agent, Terry Burns, called me from the Colorado Christian Writers Conference to tell me that Ramona Tucker of OakTara had read my manuscript and wanted to buy the book. I sat there for a couple disbelieving moments as the information sunk in and then I screamed, and then I cried. It’s was quite a moment. All I kept thinking was “Thank you, God.”
Do you ever bang your head against the wall from writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it? Don’t all writers? Usually if I pick up a novel that someone else has written in the same genre I’m writing in and start reading that story, it helps me get into the groove.
Do you consider yourself a visual writer? If so, what visuals do you use? I am a visual learner, and I have to say that I am also a visual writer. I like to have pictures of my characters and the setting so that I can work from those visuals when I am describing the people or the setting. This is especially true at the beginning of the story. Usually be the end I know them so well, I don’t need to look at a picture.
Novelists sometimes dig themselves into a hole over implausible plots, flat characters or a host of other problems. What’s the most difficult part of writing for you? Getting started. I’m a plotter, so I do a lot of advance work ahead of the actual writing. I characterize, I develop their goals, etc., I brainstorm, I layer in conflicts and outline the storyline, all before I actually sit down to write. That first chapter is generally very hard to write.
How do you overcome it? Good old self discipline. I have to make myself plant seat in chair and start writing.
Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy attic nook? When I got my contracts (yes I have three others now, 2 sequels to Thyme for Love, and Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin which comes out June 2012) I realized I needed to establish a new writing area. Since I’m single my dining area is pretty much unused space except on the rare occasions I have dinner guests. So I got rid of my big table and chairs and replaced that with a drop-leaf that goes up against one wall and set up a folding table for a desk (wood one to come later) and put my file cabinet from the bedroom next to that. Now every morning I cross the living room and “go to work” in my office. I love being next to the window and being able to look out and see the changing seasons. Oh, I also purchased a good chair with memory foam. Huge difference!
What does a typical day look like for you? My best writing time is morning. I am so not a night owl like a lot of my writing friends. I wake up usually at around 5:30 a.m. and after plying myself with coffee, have my devotional time with God which I call Quiet Time. Then after breakfast I head into my office and first answer any important emails that cannot wait. That done, I start writing. After lunch I run errands if that is necessary and start working on other responsibilities, like marketing my new book, answering interview questions like this one , and soon as ACFW’s new Genesis Coordinator, I’ll be working on that as well. By the end of the afternoon, I’m ready to shut down.
Some authors report writing 5-10 thousand words a day. Do scenes flow freely from your veins or do you have to tweeze each word out?
Sometimes scenes do seem to roll off my fingers into the keyboard and at other times, not. The first draft usually goes fairly quick. It’s the second and third times through as I go back a layer in details, etc. and tweak that it slows down.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve heard? Two things. Pray before every writing stint and second, even when you don’t feel like writing, WRITE!
Do you have any parting words of advice? I was asked this in another interview and what I said is the key word is to persevere. Some writers have far less time to wait for their first publishing contract. Maybe I should say most writers. But God has a plan for each one of us—an individual plan, tailor-made for us. And sometimes the only answer we receive when we ask “When?” is “Wait.” I say wait and learn by taking writing classes, going to conferences and attending workshops there, all that is necessary to grow in the craft. Get on the social networking sites, join good writing organizations like American Christian Fiction Writers if you write fiction, and pray and wait. Persevere.