Hi Pamela! Thanks for volunteering to be on Rebbie Reviews this month! I’m excited to have you and see how I can promote your work!
Hello! Thanks for having me.
So, you’ve got quite a few titles published and out into the world, what is one thing you’d like readers to know about your work before they start to indulge?
One group of books I have are The Barnesville Chronicles. They aren’t a series, per se, but they do all take place in the fictionalized version of the area where I grew up, the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York. There are currently four of these. I’m working on the fifth right now. They border on YA, in that there’s no gratuitous sexual content, but they aren’t exactly squeaky clean, either. If that makes sense. The first two I wrote in this series were Murder-mysteries with quite a bit of Horror-Paranormal stuff going on in addition to trying to figure out who-done-it. The non-Barnesville titles get a lot darker and much more sexually graphic and certainly aren’t for the YA crowd.
For a new reader who has never read your work before, which title would you recommend they start with?
Depends on what they’re looking for, the more YA feel or the darker, weirder ones where the content is much more mature. Of the Barnesville books, it doesn’t really matter where you start. They weren’t written and aren’t meant to be read in any certain order so you can start anyplace. I’d suggest Secrets of the Scarecrow Moon only because that was the first one written. Of the non-Barnesville titles, I’d go for Dark Hollow Road, I guess. The darkness of the subject matter surprised even me!
Which of your books did you most enjoy writing and which did you least enjoy writing?
I enjoyed writing them all, otherwise I’d not have finished writing them! If it isn’t fun and entertaining for me, I don’t think it would fun and entertaining for a reader. Be that as it may, some were easier to write than others.
My most recent release is The Inheritance and was probably also the easiest because I set out to write something with as traditional a Gothic plot as I could, but wanted it in a contemporary setting which, in this case, is the West Texas desert, a location I just love! Due to the tradition plotting, I knew pretty well where the story would go and how it all would flow. Being a Pantser, this was a refreshing change of pace.
The hardest work was probably the second Barnesville book, That’s What Shadows Are Made Of. It’s that whole Murder-mystery thing where you have to know not just who was murdered and how, but why and by whom. All your suspects need to have a motive, an opportunity to do the killing, and at least one secret they don’t want anyone to know. The Pantser in me balked at this but in a bad way. I really had to keep track of a lot more things than I normally do so it would all make logical sense in the end. It hurt my brain a little bit and slowed things down having to go back and check and recheck to make sure people were where they were supposed to be doing what they needed to be doing.
I believe you’re a fan of Hammer Horror films, aren’t you? Which film is your favourite?
I just love those old movies! Especially the vampire ones. I’m huge into vampires and at one time my vampire book collection numbered in the hundreds. Alas, I’ve forced myself to downsize and have only kept my reference books and a handful of favorites. As for my favorite Hammer film, without hesitation that would be Dracula AD 1972 (also known as Dracula Today) starring good old Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Christopher Neame who played Dracula’s minion Johnny Alucard, was so darn sexy and I loved that early 70’s theme, the music, the lingo, all of it, even the Alligator Man song that so many other people complain about.
How much inspiration do you feel you take from existing media?
Little to known. I write what my Muse wants me to write which never follows anything trendy or topical in the news or social media or what other writers are making a killing at. I see a lot of calls for short story anthologies with various themes and I just can’t come up with something like that on the spot and feel like it’s worth submitting. If I have an existing story that fits, great, I’ll send it out, but otherwise I can’t do it. You know, like, “Oh, zombies are big this year, we should all be writing about zombies!” No, not happening for me.
What most inspires you to write?
Location, location, location, a house or a town or just a place I see that whispers there’s a story to be told there someplace.
Dark Hollow Road, for instance, came about while on a road trip through the Eastern Pennsylvania countryside. I saw the road sign out of the corner of my eye and said, “If that’s not the title of a book, I don’t know what is!” I’d not have a story to go with the title until over a year later when one of the characters made himself known. It is, of course, set in Eastern Pennsylvania.
Other times, the character will come first, a name and a vague idea who they are. This was the case for The Inheritance. There’s a very small town in Central Texas called Liberty Hill. My husband pointed this out to me and said he thought it would be a great name for a character in one of my books. I agreed and again, it took several years before Liberty’s story came into being. In that case both main the character’s name and where she’s from where the inspiration along with a trip to West Texas.
For The Witch’s Backbone, I was inspired by my love of urban legends. I decided a creepy area I knew as a kid would be a great setting for such a legend and off I went with it. And, being as it was a real location from my childhood, putting it in the Barnesville world was perfect.
You also have a Children’s Book out, don’t you? Can you tell us a bit about that?
Yes, Bill, The Worm Who Ran Away came out in September 2020. There’s a long story behind Bill the Worm. But, to keep it as simple as possible, I wrote the story when I was nine and gave it to my dad, whose name just happens to be Bill. Go figure, huh? My dad saved that booklet, fully illustrated, I might add, and while going through old papers of mine found it and gave it back to me for safe keeping. I decided it was high time Bill the Worm became more than some typing paper stapled together, my terrible penmanship at the time, and a narrow drawing palette of black, blue, green and red office pens! Bill the Worm has some younger siblings who tag along bothering him all the time. One night, he decides he’s had all he can take and runs away. It seems like a good idea at the time. I also did all the illustrations and have two more Bill the Worm adventures being released in 2021.
You’ve been writing since you were just a child, is being published something you’ve always dreamed of or did it begin as a recreational activity?
Yes, it all really began with Bill the Worm when I was nine. My dad and I always talked about me being a writer when I grew up. It’s been my dream job for as long as I can remember. Both my parents were and still are very encouraging of my writing and I have at least half a dozen notebooks full of stories I wrote, from around the third grade all the way through high school. The stories weren’t very good, grant you, but it’s always been something I’ve loved to do. Becoming a published author was very, very emotional! I burst out crying when I opened that first box of books with my name on them and saw them for the first time.
Do you find that you read the same genre or style of books as you write, or does it differ?
I definitely write what I read. I’ve been a fan of Murder-mysteries for a long time so that’s where that whole aspect of combining that with the Horror I write comes from. I love to read Thrillers and Horror and love all that old Gothic fiction from the 19th century. I don’t read a lot of fantasy or sci-fi, but have tried my hand writing both of those genres with not much success. They say to write what you know and for me that centers around Horror. Ironically, the first genre I was published in was erotica and I don’t read romances, let alone erotica, unless it is somehow part of the genres I prefer.
What is one thing you want readers to know about you as a person?
I think I sometimes come across as a little aloof or uninterested or maybe even bored while with a group of people when I’m not. I don’t talk much. Even as an adult, I’m very shy. I’m an introvert and am content being quiet and listening instead of talking. Being the center of attention terrifies me! I’ll almost never start a conversation. It’s never been my way. But, if someone else says hello to me first, then I’ll pipe up. Once I get to know a person and feel comfortable with them, the very chatty, goofy, side of me comes out. Once that happens, watch out! There’s no telling what I’ll say or do then.
What is your experience of being a published author in the Writing Community?
The Writing Community in general seems very willing to help each other out. The established writers who are doing this for a living all seem more than willing to help the rest of us out as much as they can. Following their wisdom isn’t always easy or in some cases possible due to financial constraints, but there’s always someone out there who has something useful to offer. For me, being so shy and quiet, asking for help or reaching out is never, ever easy. But when I do, I’m seldom disappointed in the answer or help I am given.
What is your experience of being a Woman in the Horror Community?
I often feel like a female version of Waldo in “Where’s Waldo”. There’s a vast and deep ocean of male Horror authors and out there and we ladies are sort of clinging to the life ring, bobbing up and down in the waves, arms flailing around trying so hard to be seen and heard and read and appreciated. I think female Horror writers approach the genre from a very different angle mentally than the guys and maybe that’s not quite understood yet, but we’re getting there. I certainly know about and have read a lot more female Horror writers than I did just ten years ago. There’s hope for us all yet!