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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Writing Wednesday - Author Interview

I am very happy to have an author interview for you today on Writing Wednesday!
Sit back and enjoy learning a little about Pam, her mother and their writing.

Pam Hanson and her mother, Barbara Andrews.


Pam, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 
I’m a former journalist and college teacher whose known since the age of ten I wanted to be a writer. My mom and writing partner, Barbara Andrews, sold her first short story to Highlights for Children magazine in the mid-1960s. She’s always been my role  model. I have two sons and am married to a college professor. My mom has lived with us for a dozen years. I was able to realize my lifelong ‘dream’ of writing full time last year.

How did you choose the genre you write in? 
Our current genre, women’s inspirational fiction (including inspirational romances) actually chose us, I believe. Years ago, one of my aunts owned a flea market and gave my mother a bag of romance novels. My writer mother thought she could write them too, and she did. She’s the author of more than 50 books under her own name and ones co-authored with me. Several years ago, we felt a pull in a new direction and have written for three series for Guideposts. Incorporating inspirational themes into romances seemed a natural extension for us, also.

How many books have you had published? 
Together my mother and I have had 30 books published with two more slated for later this year. In addition, this fall Guideposts is releasing a Christmas book featuring three original Grace Chapel Inn novellas. We were very excited to be asked to write one of them. Do you have a favorite? One of my favorites (and my mom’s) is ‘Keeping the Faith,’ a Grace Chapel Inn novel. It emphasizes the determination people can have and how their faith sustains them. Also, it shows what people can accomplish when they set their mind to it.

When and how did you start your writing career? 
I started my writing career as a newspaper reporter in Iowa, fresh out of college. When I was pregnant with my first son (he turns 21 in December!) my mom suggested she and I team up. She wanted to make writing fun for her again. She’s magical when it comes to characters, and I love plotting. We’ve been writing together ever since.

Where do you get your ideas and have you ever experienced writer’s block? 
Honestly, I get ideas from so many sources. And since I’m the idea person in the writing partnership, that’s a good thing! An item in the newspaper, something I see on television, once a phrase in a fairy tale (The Prince’s bride, a version of the Cinderella story) inspired me. And I have never had writer’s block but I have had ‘idea’ block! The best way to get out of it, for me, is to simply try to relax, read, not be afraid to try and reject several idea or combine them, until the block unblocks!

Could you tell us about your latest writing project? 
I’d love to! My mom and I are thrilled about our latest writing project. It’s an original inspirational romance we plan to release this month on Amazon for Kindle. The title is ‘Faith, Fireworks and Fir’ under the name Pam Andrews Hanson. We’re really excited to be trying a new venture. And we are also excited to be part of a new Guideposts series, Miracles of Marble Cove. ‘Seaside Summer’ comes out this year, and we’ve recently been asked to write another.

I think it is neat that you and your mother write as a team. How does that work?  Does writing with someone as a team always run smoothly?

My mother and I always say we have a ‘symbiotic’ writing relationship. The things she excels at and likes to do are different from what my strengths are and what I like to do. Characterization is her forte, and plot is mine. I always say it’s my job to come up with a story and her job to add the magic. We never sit down next to each other and write in tandem. That would last about ten seconds! We do however have ‘story conferences.’ Over the years the method we’ve found works best for us is to use a large folding cardboard display board that we paste big sticky notes onto to keep track of the different book components. We revise the manuscript as we go along, and I do the final edit.

Overall, ours has been a very smooth writing partnership for more than 20 years. On the few occasions we’ve disagreed on something, it’s only taken a conversation to figure things out. My advice to anyone considering writing with a partner is to have a clear delineation of duties. If both partners are interested in plot but don’t care about the characters or vice versa, problems will arise. Check your egos at the door, also. My mother and I have always viewed writing as a profession and that means always being professionals.

The very best thing about being part of a writing team is always having someone to talk to about writing. In elementary school, I used to list my mother’s occupation as ‘free-lance writer’ on those little informational index cards we had to fill out. To follow in my mother’s footsteps and be her writing partner gives me immense joy.

What is the best thing about being a published author?  
The glamour….oh I am so kidding! Seriously, I think as a voracious reader myself, it gives me so much joy to know people may want to read what we’ve written. Books are both my vocation and avocation. I can’t imagine a more fulfilling job for me.

What is the best writing advice you can give? 
Write. Don’t talk about writing, don’t say you’re going to write someday, don’t plan to write and then never do. Just write. And then write some more. Give yourself permission to write junk. Be delighted when you write gems. Just do it. And keep doing it. Don’t dwell on ‘rejections,’ but do revel in successes. That’s my best advice!

What other thing would you like your readers to know about you? 
I adore Nancy Drew books, I feel blessed to write with my mother and to have a great support system of family and friends, I blog at http://pamshanson.blogspot.com, and before I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be a musical comedy star on Broadway..alas the lack of talent kept me from pursuing that career!

I hope you enjoyed my interview with Pam as much as I did. I really loved learning about her and her mother and the advice she offered. 

Please feel free to leave your comments.

Happy Writing!

15 comments:

  1. Loved hearing what Pam had to say about writing with her mom. How cool is that?
    When I get my desk cleared, or before, I want to get some of her/their books and read them.
    I'm in a learning phase here and have lots to learn from wherever I can!
    Thanks, Janet for putting this together.
    Good luck to Pam and her mom with their new endeavors.
    Blessings to you, Barb

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  2. Pam, how fortunate you are to be a writing partner with your Mom. And what fun, too! The thing with writers is that we could talk writing all day, and you get to do that too, I'm sure. I recently worked with my daughter in designing my website, and it was wonderful to connect with her in the process as the finished product took shape. It's nice to share that connection.

    Thanks Janet and Pam for sharing today :)

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  3. Thanks Janet for having Pam write on your blog. I feel fortunate to know Pam Hanson, and she is one of my favorite authors. I think it would be great to have a writing partner.
    Thank-you Pam for taking the time to tell us about you and your mom.
    Love ya, Deb~

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  4. Great interview! How wonderful to write as mother and daughter.

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  5. Hi Janet,
    Great interview. Wednesday must be the day for guest bloggers. I have a guest on my blog today, too.

    Hi Pam,
    I love the fact that you and your mom write together. What a blessing! Your advice about writing is to write is so true.
    And I love Nancy Drew books. I'll pop on over to check out your blog.
    Donna v.
    http://donnasbookpub.blogspot.com

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  6. What a great interview and very informative. What a great writing team. I want to read some of their work so bad.. Thanks Janet and Pam.

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  7. Thanks Janet so much for doing this!!! And for everyone's lovely comments!

    All the very best to you Janet, and all of you!
    Pam

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  8. Hi Janet! Loved your post today, what a wonderful interview! I hope you are having a good week and are keeping cool where you are. Delisa :)

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  9. Great interview! I didn't know about Pam's mom--how did I miss that? Thanks, Pam for sharing and thanks, Janet for posting this.

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  10. How nice to read about a mother/daughter writing team! What a heartwarming post. Thanks so much for bringing this dynamic duo to your blog, Janet.

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  11. Great post, Janet! Pam is one of my favorite people:) Always love hearing about how she (and her mom) write(s).

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  12. A delightful interview! Any chance of being interviewed here? My new book, 200 Shorts, is a follow-up to Flashing My Shorts. Both are flash-fiction collections available at Amazon.com

    Salvatore Buttaci

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  13. A wonderful interview! I so enjoyed hearing how she and her mom work together. What a blessing that they've been doing it for 20 years!

    Though, we write seperately as well, my younger daughter and I love to team up for writing projects and my oldest daughter is a fantastic editor for us as well as an 'idea person' when we are stuck on a portion of a project.

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  14. Really enjoyed that interview! Thanks for sharing.

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