Sit back and enjoy learning a little about Pam, her mother and their writing.
Pam Hanson and her mother, Barbara Andrews.
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.
Please feel free to leave your comments.