Please help me welcome Pamela King Cable to today’s blog. Pamela says she is a Southern Fried Woman, as per her blog, but her words have the ring of universal truth.
|Author Pamela King Cable|
Pamela: I was born in the South, a coal miner’s granddaughter, but my father escaped the mines, went to college, and moved his family to Ohio to work for the rubber companies in 1959. My younger siblings and I (2 sisters/1 brother) spent every weekend when we were little traveling back to the Appalachian Mountains. My memories of my childhood run as strong as a steel-belted radial tire and as deep as an Appalachian swimming hole. As a little girl, I was a transplanted hick in a Yankee schoolroom. I grew up in the North. So my influence comes naturally from both regions. But the dust-laden roads in the coal towns of the sixties are where my career as a writer was born.
Caroline: Were you considered a "bookworm" or a jock? Married, single? Children?
Pamela: Neither. I marched to my own beat. Although I read constantly as a child, my nose could be found in romance magazines and novels as a teenager. Later, I progressed to the classics. These days, my library is filled with everything from Richard Russo to Joyce Carol Oates to Anne Rivers Siddons.
I’m happily married, and together Michael and I have three children and three grandchildren. (We’re very young grandparents, by the way.)
Caroline: Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?
Pamela: I’m extremely eclectic in my reading. Truthfully, I don’t care about genre. Give me a great story that’s beautifully written, I’ll read it. Of course, I love to read what I write, Pat Conroy, Barbara Kingsolver, Lee Smith, and Charles Frazier. But I’ve been found with my nose inside an Orson Scott Card novel more than once. I’ve bought my share of Stephen King, Sue Grafton, and Tess Gerritsen. Anne Rice, Alice Hoffman, Dorothy Allison, and Anne Perry. Susan Howatch and Kate Morton. I love them all. How can you pick? Of course, my favorite author – Pat Conroy. Without a doubt. Followed by Diana Gabaldon, running a close second.
Caroline: Meeting Diana Gabaldon was a great moment for me. I actually sat by her at a luncheon and found her incredibly intelligent and friendly. What's your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?
Pamela: Well, reading of course. But I live on a working horse farm. Relaxing on my front porch swing, talking to my family, gardening, cooking, antique shopping, and simply … time at home is precious to me. Time spent with my grandchildren. Hobbies? Who has time for hobbies? Living is my hobby.
Caroline: Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?
Pamela: I have three great ones I use repeatedly.
1.) “Everything I know, everything I put in my fiction, will hurt someone somewhere as surely as it will comfort and enlighten someone else. What then is my responsibility? What am I to restrain? What am I to fear and alter—my own nakedness or the grief of the reader? I want my stories to be so good they are unforgettable; to make my ideas live and my own terrors real for people I will never meet. It is a completely amoral writer’s lust. If we begin to agree that some ideas are too dangerous, too bad to invite inside our heads, then we stop the storyteller completely. We silence everyone who would tell us something that might be painful in our vulnerable moments.” Dorothy Allison, New York Times Book Review, Sunday, June 28, 1994
2.) “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.” Helen Keller
3.) “It is not merely enough to love literature if one wishes to spend one’s life as a writer. It is a dangerous undertaking on the most primitive level. For, it seems to me, the act of writing with serious intent involves enormous personal risk. It entails the ongoing courage for self-discovery. It means one will walk forever on the tightrope, with each new step presenting the possibility of learning a truth about oneself that is too terrible to bear.” Harlan Ellison.
Caroline: All great quotes, but Helen Keller is such a heroic figure. I admire her so much. How long have you been writing?
Pamela: In the 6th grade I wrote a story that made all the girls cry. For years afterward, I filled diaries, journals, notebooks, and shoeboxes with my musings. Later, I pounded out short stories on an old IBM typewriter. But for me, my writing career began one day in 2002 when the man I was about to marry looked up from a manuscript I’d written and said, “This is a great story. Let’s find a way for you to do this full-time.”
Caroline: Aren’t we lucky to have supportive men in our lives? Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?
Pamela: I need quiet most of the time. Music without words when I’m editing is helpful. It sets the mood in many scenes, like putting together a movie. Solitude is a must, unless I’m brainstorming. I write on my PC in my office, surrounded by my library of books and overlooking the barn and the horse pastures.
Caroline: I listen to classical music when writing--or have silence. Are you a plotter or a panzer?
Pamela: A plotter. Definitely. Even though I often write several outlines, the plot always changes on me. I shouldn’t be surprised when that happens, but I always am. My characters have a mind of their own. They write their own story, despite my best effort to guide the plot.
Caroline: But we love when that happens, don’t we? Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?
Pamela: TELEVENGE was inspired by my spirituality and my own story. It’s true that like Andie, I cut my teeth on the back of a church pew and eventually joined a church where I experienced a world that encompassed both the sublime and the bizarre. For twenty-five years, I was a member of a megachurch operated by a TV evangelist. As part of its inner circle, I was married to a ministry team member for seventeen of those years. My husband traveled with this televangelist who held mammoth faith-healing crusades all over the world. Under much distress, I left the church in 1988 and lost everything in the wake of my rebellion.
Although there are many similarities, TELEVENGE is not about me. My eyes are green, my dad never smoked cigarettes, and the father of my children was not like Andie’s husband, Joe. The characters are a mixture of many people I have known. Although it was difficult to revisit so many dark places in writing the story, the characters are purely from my imagination. While many scenes were inspired in part by real life, I wrote Andie’s story. Not mine. Which in itself, was more than inspiring. It was a high that I have yet to come down from.
Caroline: Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?
Pamela: I write every day. But I don’t set limits. How many writers really meet those word count goals on a consistent basis, anyway? Every writer attacks the work differently. Some days I’m whipping up one chapter after another, and other days … I need lots of breaks. Coffee. A nap. But I’m at my computer seven days a week. That’s a fact. Lately, I’ve had to spend a great deal of time on social media. Deadlines are looming.
However, when I’m deep into story I live in my own fantasy world. Plunging beneath the stormy surface of the novel, I can go days without coming up for air. And then there are times I’d rather be folding laundry or painting the house than thinking about my story. It all depends on what lemons life is throwing at me.
Caroline: I can’t stop thinking about my stories. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?
Pamela: My intentions are to transport my readers into the story and to pierce their hearts. To enlighten. To write stories with powerful messages of faith and deliverance and strength of the human spirit. Unforgettable tales of heartbreaking loss and incredible courage. Stories that remain in my readers subconscious forever.
Caroline: What long-term plans do you have for your career?
Pamela: To continue to study my craft, encourage other writers, and write my heart out. Other than that, a movie deal would be nice.
Caroline: Wouldn’t it, though? Would you like to tell us what you're working on now?
Pamela: THE SANCTUM. A story about Neeley McPherson who accidentally killed her parents on her fifth birthday. Thrown into the care of her scheming and alcoholic grandfather, she is raised by his elderly farmhand, Gideon, a black man, whom she grows to love. Neeley turns thirteen during the winter of 1959, and when Gideon is accused of stealing a watch and using a Whites Only restroom, she determines to break him out of jail.
The infamous Catfish Cole, Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon of the Carolinas, pursues Neeley and Gideon in their courageous escape to the frozen Blue Ridge Mountains. After Gideon’s truck hits ice and careens down a steep slope, they travel on foot through a blizzard, and arrive at a farm of sorts—a wolf sanctuary where Neeley crosses the bridge between the real and the supernatural. It is here she discovers her grandfather’s deception, confronts the Klan, and uncovers the shocking secrets of the Cherokee family who befriends her. Giving sanctuary, the healing power of second chances, and overcoming prejudice entwine, leading Neeley to tragedy once again but also granting her the desire of her heart.
THE SANCTUM is a coming-of-age Southern tale dusted with a bit of magic, and set in a volatile time in America when the winds of change begin to blow.
Caroline: I can hardly wait to read THE SANCTUM! What advice would you give to unpublished authors?
Pamela: First define your passion. What are you passionate about? What comes out of your soul like a rocket? Write that. Don’t write just what you know about, but what you care about. And always remember: writers can do without a lot of things. Courage isn’t one of them. I was told it takes ten years to become a breakout novelist. I have to agree. In the end, there is a simple formula to follow. Read. Write. Never stop. Read. Write. Never stop.
Caroline: Wonderful advice. What’s a fun fact readers wouldn't know about you?
Pamela: I change my accent like I change my socks. I switch on my Southern accent once I cross the Mason Dixon line. My folks are from the South. I was born in the South, and lived in the Carolinas for over a decade. But when I speak to groups in the North, my accent changes. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s a natural process. Happens all the time.
|Pamela and her husband Michael|
Caroline: Yes, my husband’s West Texas accent gets stronger when he goes to visit relatives there. He loses his accent when we are around people in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. He isn’t conscious of it, but I notice. What’s something about you that would surprise or shock readers?
Pamela: I can’t wear a watch, because they all stop within days of purchase. My husband’s GPS on his Smart Phone doesn’t work when I’m in the car. When I was writing TELEVENGE, strange things happened. I was writing late at night and suddenly, the hair dryer in the bathroom started on its own. I walked past the television and it turned on by itself. Twice. I got locked in the bathroom even though the lock was on the inside. We had to take the door completely off to get me out. I can tell you the sex of your children-past and future, and I’m spot on. I’ve only had one family member who I was wrong about. Maybe it has something to do with the fact I was born Friday the 13th. Who knows? But if you think this is strange, you should listen to my mother’s “experiences.” Maybe it runs in the family. Think? Does it bother me? Scare me? Concern me? Not at all. We’ve learned to laugh about it in our house.
Caroline: We have family members like that. For instance, my maternal grandmother was never wrong about the sex of an expected child. And watches don't last for me either, and the more expensive they are, the shorter their life. Thirteen is our family's lucky number/ Is your book a series? If so, how long? Family saga, other?
Pamela: This saga of romance, religion, and crime has a few loose ends that could possibly be tackled in a sequel. We’ll see. (grin)
Caroline: Tell us something you learned researching your book that surprised/interested you.
Pamela: Sorry. Nothing about televangelism surprises me. Even though I interviewed more than 100 people who broke away from their church for many of the same reason I did. Similar threads of unbearable losses ran through all of our lives. But I can tell you what does surprise me. How many emails, letters, and messages I receive every week, relaying something about televangelism or their pastor or their church that has negatively affected them or someone in their family. It’s more prevalent than I ever realized.
It is interesting, however, what Business Week online said in May 2005. “…religion is the hottest category in books.”
Televangelism is a billion dollar industry protected by separation of church and state. With the saturation of TV evangelism, new religious radio stations are born at the rate of one per week. Religious TV channels at one a month. In 2000, estimates were that over a half billion dollars was spent on religious programming a year in our country alone.
Caroline: I know, my own sister suckered...um, donated to a televangelist who was exposed as an embezzler. She still believes in him. What is TELEVENGE about?
Pamela: Andie Oliver is a faithful woman—to God, to husband Joe, and to televangelist Calvin Artury, a Godfather in a Mafia of holy men. Joe works limitless hours on the megachurch ministry team, falling deeper into debauchery, while Andie attempts to free him from the Reverend’s control and far-reaching influence. Uncovering long-hidden truths—even murder—she loses everything, including her children. Andie fights for redemption for her family and herself, confronting the very definition of sin, and shaking the Christian evangelical world to its core. Evading ruthless adversaries who will go to any lengths to protect Reverend Artury, Andie battles the dark side of televangelism.
Caroline: Would you like to share reviews about your book?
“A captivating, beautifully rendered, unforgettable look at a world so few of us
understand. Ms. Cable has courageously opened the door...and my eyes.”
Lesley Kagen, NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling Author of Good Graces
“Pamela King Cable’s debut novel breathes good and evil, frost and fire. You can finish
it, but it won't let you go.”
Jacquelyn Mitchard, NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling Author of The Deep End of the
TELEVENGE is “ … an emotional rollercoaster that ends as intensely as it begins . . . those
who commit to Cable’s tome will find themselves captivated and deeply devoted to
Andie. Fans of Fannie Flagg and Janet Evanovich will be hooked on this saga of religion,
romance, and crime.”
Library Journal Editor’s Pick BookExpo America 2012
Shannon Marie Robinson, Library Journal
Caroline: Wonderful reviews. How about an excerpt?
Pamela: If readers click this link, they can download the first chapter for free.
Readers can also hear me read the first scene of TELEVENGE here: http://www.southernwritersonline.com/take-five.html
Caroline: What a lovely idea, Pamela, to read a scene. Where can readers find TELEVENGE?
For Kindle(Amazon): http://tinyurl.com/cmusplr
Satya House: http://www.satyahouse.com
Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?
Facebook Book page: https://www.facebook.com/southernfriedwomen
Book Trailer: http://www.televenge.com/trailer.html
Caroline: Is there anything else you'd like readers to know?
Pamela: Although TELEVENGE is a novel about the dark side of televangelism, it is also about the light of unconditional love. I write about my passions, what moves me, what shoots out of me like a rocket. I wrote TELEVENGE to help myself heal; to show that “pastors are human”; and to encourage others struggling in dogmatic churches to share their stories. Having interviewed over 100 people who left their churches for many of the same reasons I did, I was inspired by their incredible courage, their unbearable losses, and for many, their tug-of-war with their former pastor for a family member.
For me, it is within sanctuaries of brick and mortar; places of clapboard and canvas that characters hang ripe for picking. From the primitive church services of the mountain clans to the baptisms and sacraments in cathedrals and synagogues all over the world. From the hardworking men and women who testify in every run-down house of God in America to the charismatic high-dollar high-tech evangelicals televised in today’s megachurches, therein lie stories of unspeakable conflict, the forbidden, and often, the unexplained.
Surviving life’s heartaches and hardships gave me the edge in my voice as a writer. But more importantly, I want readers to know – when you’ve been told all hope is gone, when you believe there’s nothing left to live for, when you think you’ve sunk as far as you can go and there’s no more light left in your tunnel, my message is … there is life … there is hope … even after hitting bottom. No matter your age or how desperate the circumstances, you can still inch your way up and come out of the dark and into a life that is calling your name.
Caroline: Thank you for sharing with us today, Pamela. Best wishes for success.
Readers, thank you for stopping by!