1 Hard questions first: Lychees or Peaches?
Um…nectarines? Peaches if I must.
2 Okay, nectarines it is then (you’re such a rebel Pamela.) If you were written about in a newspaper, what would the headline say?
Funnily enough, I received a copy of an article about me today. The headline read: Top Author Shares Secret With Students. I’m okay with that one.
3 I wonder what that secret was – I bet it has something to do with drums – I guess we have to enroll in your novel writing course to find out! What is your favourite line from a book or movie?
This is hard…I’m a bit of a media girl. It’s likely to be a Monty Python line, like: Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Or We would like: a shrubbery. I also love the first line of George Orwell’s 1984: It was a cold, clear day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.
4 Which genre do you usually write in? And why do you think this is so?
This is a hard question for me as I’ve just changed genres. In the past, I’ve written mostly fantasy (plus science fiction, mystery and non-fiction). But my most recent novel is for adults and it’s straight history, set in World War I. It’s called A Soldier’s Wife. I suspect I may be writing more of historical fiction – I started a few years ago, with a book about Mary MacKillop’s childhood, but it’s been growing on me. I enjoy the research, I think. I used to do a lot of research for my day job, and I did find that when I started full-time writing I missed that element, so maybe that’s why I’ve turned to history.
5 Tell me a secret about yourself that nobody in the whole world knows? Go on tell me, nobody but me is listening.
I blush to admit it, but I don’t have many secrets. I talk too much for that and my husband knows me too well. Can I use one that he knows? I have a passion for real estate. I’m one of those people who are constantly going online to check out what’s open for inspection. I like to ‘keep an eye on the market’ just in case – even though we have no immediate plans to move! My husband indulges me in this. At least it’s a cheap hobby!’
6 If that’s the case, Pamela, I’ll remember not to tell you any secrets! What is your latest book about?
The last published book is a non-fiction book about how Australia changed during Mary MacKillop’s lifetime (a project book, really). The next one coming out is the fourth Betony book, Princess Betony and the Hobgoblin. And my current novel is the WWI book, A Soldier’s Wife, which is with the publisher at the moment. I’m waiting to find out if they’re going to publish it.
7 Good luck with A Soldier’s Wife! How did you come up with the title? Did it come to fistycuffs with your editor?
Not so far, but the cover designer hasn’t got hold of it yet! In my experience, that’s when you are most likely to be asked to change the title. In fact, I’ve changed it twice already. My first working title was 1916, which sounded like a text book; then I called it The Home Front, but I thought that sounded boring.
8 When you daydream about singing on The Voice (I know you do) which song do you sing and if you could have any celebrity judge in the world turn for you who would it be?
I love Joel so I would pick him. As for songs…. so, in my daydream, I sing a lot better than I actually do, of course, so I could handle songs I couldn’t really sing… something jazzy from the 30s, maybe? There’s a Bessie Smith song I heard recently (at a Hugh Laurie concert) which is so much fun and yet so heartbreaking that I couldn’t resist it. It’s called Send me to the Lectric Chair, and it’s a woman singing to the judge, asking him to give her the death penalty because she’s killed her unfaithful lover. Sounds appalling, but it’s a hell of a song! Judge, Judge, please Mister Judge, send me to the ‘lectric chair…
They would turn, oh yes they would!
9 What do you really, really, really, love?
My drum kit
10 Can you show us a quick snap of your work desk? No tidy spic and span ones please. I won’t believe you.
I don’t write much at a desk. The great advantage of writing in a chair is that it stays neater than a desk!
11 Lovely, lovely chair, I think you might have the secret to writer’s back health. Okay, serious stuff now: where can we purchase your latest book?
My kids’ books are available in most bookshops – or they can be ordered anywhere, Dymocks, Booktopia, Amazon. You won’t find Betony at Big W, because it’s a small (gorgeous) edition and they can’t shelve it, but once it’s out in paperback you’ll be able to get it there too (next year). My adult fantasy books can be ordered also – I would recommend Pulp Fiction books if you want them quickly (0732362750)
Thank you for taking the time to do Lychees or Peaches, Pamela!
Pamela Freeman teaches a novel writing course at the Australian Writers’ Centre in Sydney, her next one starts in June, and I think there is still a couple of spaces if you are quick!
Pamela can also be found on Facebook at pamelafreemanauthor