Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Interview with Author Pamela King Cable

Pamela King Cable

Good morning, Pamela, and welcome to Vision and Verse, the Place for Art and Authors. What have you written?

First book, a collection of short stories: Southern Fried Women, Satya House Publications, 2006

“With a clear Southern voice and a remarkable gift of storytelling, Pamela King Cable has crafted a masterful collection of short stories. In themes ranging from flea markets to coal mine strikes, Southern Fried Women speaks of the wounds, joys, and sacrifices experienced by women who held strong in the winds of adversity and emerged bruised but miraculously unbroken. Each story is as thought provoking as it is beautifully written.”
~Beth Hoffman, NYTimes Bestselling Author, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

Second book, a novel: Televenge, Satya House Publications, 2012


“Televenge is … an emotional rollercoaster that ends as intensely as it begins . . . those who commit to Cable’s tome will find themselves captivated and deeply devoted to Andie. Fans of Fannie Flagg and Janet Evanovich will be hooked on this saga of religion, romance, and crime.” Library Journal Editor’s Pick BookExpo America 2012 ~LIBRARY JOURNAL

Newest release, a novel: The Sanctum, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, 2016

“Pamela King Cable has created an unforgettable heroine in Neeley McPherson, a remarkable young woman of such courage and spunk that she dares to stand against unspeakable abuse and injustice not only for herself but also for her beloved caretaker, Gideon …Thoroughly enjoyable book!” 
~Cassandra King Conroy, Bestselling author of Moonrise and Same Sweet Girls

“This coming-of-age tale, The Sanctum, brings readers deep into the underbelly of the Carolinas, introducing us to a spunky young woman named Neeley who captures our hearts and breaks them at the same time. When life takes a few bad turns, she hits the road with a friend she is determined to protect from the dangers of violent racism. Tucked in the mountains, Neeley comes head to head with robed Klansmen while learning the secrets of her family’s past. With a circle of compassionate strangers, a first love on the brew, and a pack of wolves in her midst, Neeley discovers the true meaning of family and faith. In this gothic but inspirational tale, Pamela Cable thrills readers with her tight plotline, lyrical scene descriptions, and complex character development. She also leaves us aching for more.”
~Julie Cantrell, NYTimes and USA TODAY Bestselling author of the Christy Award winning novel of year, Into the Free

What is your favorite genre to write?

Southern Historical, which includes a bit of the supernatural. There’s so much material to cover in Historical Fiction. Like a black hole, drawing me in with no end in sight. I have stories of this genre in my head that may never see the light of day. There’s so little time allotted to any of us. It would take two lifetimes to get these stories from my head onto the page.

Favorite food.

Anything with pasta.

Tea or coffee?

Coffee with cream

Pizza or ice cream?

Both and in that order

Wine or beer?

Either. Red wine with dinner. Ice cold beer on a hot day.

Where would you like to visit?

Nantucket, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard. I’ve seen everything else I want to see.

Favorite musical artist. Do you listen to music when you write? What?

Growing up in the late 60s and early 70s, I’m a classical rock kind of girl. I have many favorite artists. But when I write, I listen to music without words. Words are distracting. Classical music, or arrangements from motion picture soundtracks can set a scene into motion. I’m not one to write in coffee shops or anyplace with commotion. I work hard to keep my ADHD self on track.

What makes you laugh?

Old TV sitcoms. My son reminiscing about Marine Corp boot camp. My dog, Dixie, when she tries to talk.

This is an art and literature website, so I am obliged to ask: What is your favorite work of art or sculpture?

I have no particular favorite. I’m a sucker for anything shabby chic. Paintings of Victorian landscapes, people, and watercolors by unknown artists. I collect what I love. I adore old linens and china. I don’t care how valuable it is to someone else. I suppose the charcoal silhouette of my husband when he was 16 is quite special to me. My house is full of the garage sale, estate sale, yard sale items I’ve collected over 30 years.

How old were you when you started writing?

I’ve been writing since the 6th grade. I remember it vividly. I wrote a story called My Dog, Joey, which my teacher, Miss Rizzo, told my mother I should be a writer because I made all the girls (and some of the boys) cry. My mother then proclaimed me a Drama Queen. I think it embarrassed her, that I did such a thing. I didn’t care. Growing up, I always knew I wanted to write. I either had my nose in a book, or pen to paper. Later, life dictated a different path. As a single mother, I had other obligations that stole the dream of writing from me.

But one day in 1997, sitting in my office where I worked at a major teaching hospital in Akron, Ohio, the Chairman of the Urology Department spied one of my short stories on my desk. He was also an author. He grabbed the story, took it home, returned to my office the next day and closed the door behind him. “Why are you working here?” he said. “This is what you should be doing.” A few years passed, but in 2003, I began writing full time. It has been my passion—the grease in my wheels that keeps me going forward in life.

Describe your perfect evening.

A good book, or a great movie. Or a re-run of NCIS. Just me, Michael, and our dog on the couch and maybe a bowl of ice cream. Doesn’t take much. After a certain age, you want your life as simple and uncomplicated as possible.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I write about religion and spirituality with paranormal twists unearthed from my family’s history. I write about my passions, what moves me, what shoots out of me like a rocket. My key inspirational force is my spirituality.

I was born in the South, a coal miner’s granddaughter, but my father escaped the mines, went to college and moved his family to Ohio to work for the rubber companies in 1959. I spent every weekend as a little girl traveling back to the Appalachian Mountains. My memories of my childhood run as strong as a steel-belted radial tire and as deep as an Appalachian swimming hole. As a little girl, I was a transplanted hick in a Yankee schoolroom. I grew up in the North. So my influence comes naturally from both regions. But the dusty roads in the coal towns of the ‘sixties are where my career as a writer was born.

On my thirteenth birthday, I received a copy of Gone with the Wind. I devoured it in a weekend. Margaret Mitchell became my hero until I discovered Flannery O’Connor, Harper Lee, and Eudora Welty. The rich story content of the south fans the flames of many writers’ fires. But for me, their work was a springboard, catapulting me into the possibility of creating my own unique stories driven by compelling and unforgettable characters.

For me, it is within sanctuaries of brick and mortar; places of clapboard and canvas that characters hang ripe for picking. From the primitive church services of the mountain clans to the baptisms and sacraments in cathedrals and synagogues all over the world. From the hardworking men and women who testify in every run-down house of God in America to the charismatic high-dollar high-tech evangelicals televised in today’s megachurches, therein lie stories of unspeakable conflict, the forbidden, and often, the unexplained.

What do you do when you get a writer's block?

Easy. I stop writing for a few days. Clears my head every time. Writer’s block is often Writer’s Overload. Get away from it. Shut it down. Reboot.

Who is your favorite author?

Seriously? How can anyone pick a favorite author and be honest about it? I love the works of many. Pat Conroy, Lee Smith, Silas House, Dorothy Allison, Alice Monroe, Diana Gabaldon, Maya Angelou, Barbara Kingsolver … the list could fill this page.

Best book you ever read.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, with Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird at a close second place.

Last book you read.

The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell

What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer?

I don’t know. I never wanted to be anything else. But I’d like to teach History at the grade school level. In another life maybe.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?

Donald Maass, author and literary agent. Don is to the writer what Lee Strasburg was to the actors in his time. I am a graduate of the 2005 Breakout Novel Intensive and have studied under Don at different times and locations around the country. Don made me a better writer, and I am ever grateful to him for it.

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?

I have no name. The most influential publisher in the world. I don’t know who that is, but I’d love to sit and talk shop with this person. Ask some point blank questions, and try to understand what’s rolling around inside their heads up there on Mahogany Row in New York City.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?

I could get myself in trouble, answering this question. If somebody tells you they’re not writing to make money, they are lying to you. We all want paid for our work. If a painter gets paid for his masterpieces, if a landscaper pockets cash for the curb appeal he adds to his client’s homes, and if a caterer makes a living on the weddings and parties she slaves over, then a writer should get paid for her books that took years to complete and publish.

But if you think the money comes easy, think again. You’re not going to get rich. In fact, keep your job. Writing will not pay your bills. Not for a long time. There’s a balance, and unfortunately it’ll take blood, sweat, and tears to find it. The writing and publishing industry is in desperate need of a major overhaul. Know that up front.

Realize the length of time it takes from finishing the novel to publication is painfully long. Get your heads out of the clouds and see the writing world for what it truly is. If after you’ve done that, and you still want to write and publish … then do it with your eyes wide open to one final realization. It takes no less than ten years of writing, rewriting, and learning your craft before you are actually ready to publish.

Now, with all that said … there is no greater sense of accomplishment than leaving a legacy of a hard-earned published book. Nothing greater than that …

Do you have a website and a blog? If so where can we find it?

You can find my blog on my website:
Twitter: / @pamelakingcable

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