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Why did you decide to become a writer? I have always loved stories and some of my earliest memories are of my parents reading to me. I grew up in a house filled with books, always reading, and soon I wanted to create my own stories. My first “published” story was a children’s book I wrote in sixth grade for a class project, which I also had to illustrate. We were required to read our books to the younger students. The kids loved my book and after that I was hooked. I have been writing ever since.
Do you have authors who inspired you to write? If so, whom? I loved Madeleine L’Engle’s books as a child and she was a big inspiration to me. Still is. Of course I read every horse book that was published, especially Margaret Henry’s books and The Black Stallion series. I wanted to write books like that when I was young. In the world of non-fiction, as an adult I admire Patsy Clairmont and her humor-filled inspirational books. I read so many different genres that it’s hard for me to list all of the authors who inspire me!
What genre(s) do you write and what made you choose it(them)? My first two books were inspirational Christian non-fiction. The first one is about a difficult period in my life and how my faith got me through. I had a story and felt that God was leading me to share it. It was hard to write because I had to remember some difficult times I had gone through, but I have heard from so many people about how it has touched their lives that I know God is using it. I have a book out about writing, called Six Steps to Successful Publication. I wrote that because I teach a lot of writing workshops and wanted to give people something to refer back to. I also write inspirational fiction/romance and chick lit. My latest book, which came out on Nov. 14th, is called Mrs. Chartwell and the Cat Burglar. It’s a romantic mystery and I hope readers have as much fun reading it as I had writing it!
What kinds of classes, workshops, organizations, groups helped you learn the craft of writing? I can’t stress enough how important it is to find a group of writers to hang out with. I have learned so much over the years from my local writer’s group. We meet once a month and share ideas, and admittedly sometimes we just visit, but I always come away inspired. I also have a critique group that I am in, where I share my work. Formally, I have a dual degree in Creative Writing and English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan. I also worked as a journalist for The Ann Arbor News for many years. As a journalist, you are edited daily, have some pretty intense deadlines, and have no time for writer’s block. I think this practice helped to hone my skills and taught me to focus in a busy newsroom. Now I can write anywhere!
Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how often do you meet? Yes I do, as I mentioned above. It’s wonderful! There are only three of us, and we meet once a month. Before we meet we send out our latest work for critique and are ready to discuss each other’s projects when we get together. It’s a blast and I get to hear what others think of my work in progress. I take notes and use them when I go back to rewrite/edit. We all write different genres, but we are avid readers in all genres so that helps with our critiquing.
Tell us about your first break into publication experience. That was a God moment! I went to a women’s business dinner with a friend, just for fun, not as a writer. There, I met a publisher who just happened to publish Christian non-fiction, and I had a manuscript sitting in my drawer waiting for me to have the time to send it out. I had a new baby at the time so was pretty busy with him. She asked to see it and after reading it, accepted it. It was really fun to work with her publishing company and the book sold pretty well. It’s called Why Is There a Lemon in My Fruit Salad? How to Stay Sweet When Life Turns Sour.
What’s one tip you’d share with other writers? It can be a practical how to tip or an inspirational/encouragement tip. Write! It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many people talk about writing, attend writing workshops, read about writing and never write! I call it the BIS rule: Butt in Seat. You must make writing a priority or it will never get done. Write every day if you can. Even if you only write one page a day, in a year you will have 360 pages and that is a book! Set a goal – 10 minutes a day, 300 words a day, whatever – and stick to it. The only way you get better at something is to practice and writing is no exception. Each book will be better. Each day you will grow more confident. Write!
Please share your most recent book title and the opening line. (Please include a buy link.)
Mrs. Chartwell and the Cat Burglar: a Romantic Mystery
Mrs. Abigail Chartwell filed away the last document in her stack and prepared to go home for the evening, but the gentleman at the counter kept talking.
Pamela Gossiaux is a humorist, inspirational speaker, and the author of the books Good Enough, Why Is There a Lemon in My Fruit Salad? How to Stay Sweet When Life Turns Sour, and A Kid at Heart: Becoming a Child of Our Heavenly Father, as well as the highly anticipated inspirational romance, Mrs. Chartwell and the Cat Burglar.
Pamela has been writing and working with writers for several decades. She has a dual BA degree from the University of Michigan in Creative Writing and English Language and Literature, and over 20 years of journalism writing experience. She teaches writing workshops and has been the editor for published books in a wide variety of genres, both fiction and non-fiction, including best sellers. She has self-published a book on writing called Six Steps to Successful Publication.
An avid horse enthusiast, she enjoys being outdoors and working in her garden. She also loves chocolate, and prefers to curl up with a good book in her downtime. Pamela lives in Michigan with her husband, two sons, and three cats. Visit her website at PamelaGossiaux.com.
SM Ford writes inspirational fiction for adults, although teens may find the stories of interest, too. She also loves assisting other writers on their journeys.