Name: Pamela Morsi
Author’s Website , Goodreads
Hometown: Oilton, OK
Current Residence: San Antonio, TX
Education: Masters of Arts in Library Science
Briefly: 2 Rita awards, USAToday Bestseller, Starred review in Publisher’s Weekly. Author of Courting Miss Hattie (1992) and Something Shady (1996), Heaven Sent.
Author Crush: I grew up loving Louisa May Alcott. I think she is the reason why I am a writer. But she doesn’t seem to be putting out a lot of new stuff. So I console myself with Billie Letts and Barbara Kingsolver. But my total crush is Mary Balogh. I can’t tell you why I prefer Mary over all other living authors—so many fabulous writers to choose from—but Blue Monday or Christmas Day, I always choose Mary.
Pet Peeves: The whole respect loop. So many writers feel as if they don’t get enough respect and sometimes this results in disrespecting other writers. Ugh. Any writing, whether it is soup cans or the Great American Novel involves putting yourself out there. Very scary stuff. I respect everyone who is willing to do that.
Fiction How-To-Book You’d Recommend: Bird By Bird by Anne Lamont. I’m not much on how-tos because I think all of us find our way on our own. But Anne gives us the courage and the support to move forward when we might doubt ourselves.
If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…Sad? Well, probably not really. I am such an upbeat person and I have enjoyed every job I’ve done. But being a writer is pretty cool.
What You Have Lined Up Next: Mr. Right Goes Wrong is scheduled for September 2014
What’s your earliest book-related memory from your childhood?
I’m the youngest of three girls, so there were always books in my life. All of them lovingly pre-owned. My older sister taught me to read before I went off to school. But we started with the comics. I was thrilled to be able to add words to the pictures. I went from there to Golden Books. My parents bought a set of encyclopedias, one volume at a time, from our local grocery store. Reading aloud from them was a kind of family entertainment. Things must have gotten tough because we were stuck on S for much of my childhood. Therefore my knowledge of anything T through Z is a bit shaky.
For years, you worked as a librarian. Do you think that laid the ground work for your marketing? After all, that role gave you an overview of reader demographics, book designs that attracted readers, what was selling, and what readers wanted, but couldn’t find on the book market.
Well, not really. It did get me reading a lot more commercial fiction. And ultimately that inspired me more than the more literary reading I’d done in high school and college. When I began, I didn’t really imagine that I would actually ever finish and get published. I wrote just for my own entertainment. Since that worked, I’ve stayed with it. I write stories that appeal to me. This may not be the best choice for marketing, but it does a lot for job satisfaction.
What advice would you give to other people who are working in another field or industry, but, who ultimately would like to become authors?
There is never going to be a truly great time to start writing. So start. You don’t have to give up your day job, adopt-out the kids or hide away from friends. We can all find a few moments a week for something we need to do. The more you do it, the more easily you’ll find the time.
What sparked the idea for The Cotton Queen?
My friend Teri Medieros once teased me that in my books all the mothers are always dead. What’s up with that? Like a lot of women, my relationship with Mom was pretty complicated. It was easier in my writing to simply to keep the mother out of the picture. Teri’s words prodded me to try. By the time I got to The Cotton Queen, I was actually eager to write about some of the miscues we get because we don’t really know how Mom got to be the way that she is. I picked the Queen theme because it was a familiar one. My mother was a very beautiful, socially charming woman who had the misfortune of having three pretty ordinary looking , nerdy bookworm daughters. For a lot of my life, I felt as if we were living in alternative universes. Ultimately, I think we both were able to appreciate each other. And I wanted to bring some of that resolution to readers
Looking back on your own experience as an author, what do you think every author should know prior to making their big debut in the writing world?
That it’s not a cannon shot but a long, long battle. Nothing about this business if fair. You will meet people who don’t write as well as your do, who find tremendous success. And you will meet people whose talent blows you out of the water, yet they continually struggled. Everybody’s path is different. When it comes to this business, fear and envy are totally wasted emotions. You’ll be better off with joy and determination.
The Bentleys Buy A Buick has an interesting premise and interesting angle. Clara the temptress, Erica Bentley, the overly trusting wife…and the never-erring husband Tom who’s not sure he wants to renounce temptation.
I think the germ of the idea came from noticing how contagious divorce can be. And how easily negativity about love and marriage can spill over and effect the relationships of those around us. I especially get sad about how men are portrayed on TV and often in film as sloppy, selfish idiots. So that was how I started thinking about this story. And because I am a lover of old cars, the 1956 Buick seemed to me as a crush anybody could get. I love to write love stories where the couple are married. It seems like our obsession with happily-ever-after often leaves us feeling as if once you say I do it’s all over. When, in fact, the challenges of a relationship may be just beginning. I saw one of those lists on the internet recently. It was like Ten Romantic Comedy Couples Who Wouldn’t Still Be Together. It was somewhat funny, but what it imagines is a static relationship, that the behaviors, priorities and interactions do not change with circumstances. We all know this isn’t true. So, it’s fun not to limit myself to pairing up unhappy singles.
Do you enjoy editing?
I actually do. Pushing forward is often so hard that polishing up can be a pleasure.
At which part of the writing process, do you decide on a book’s title?
I’m all over the place with this. Bitsy’s Bait & BBQ existed as my title before I’d come up with the idea or written one word. By Summer’s End was titled by a committee months after the book was completely finished and nearing publication.
Is By Summer’s End, your most autobiographical novel?
No. All my stories have bits of autobiographical stuff. But as I think about it, By Summer’s End may be one of the least autobiographical. This story was very special to me because it was a tremendous writing challenge. It has two parallel stories with the same characters facing different challenges. I loved using chaos therapy as a theme. Some readers think if is my best work. Other readers did not like it at all, so it is what it is.
Do you have to be in a certain mood to write?
Not really. Once I get into the story and it sort of creates its own weather, so to speak. The trick, of course, is to sit down and get to work and not let myself be talked into, “I’m so tired”. “This is such a stressful time.” Or, I” feel sad.” I am always my own biggest stumbling block.