My guest author today has tackled a subject that has romance authors in a quandary at times: the pandemic. Should one include it in some way in a contemporary romance or not? Pamela Ferguson is here today to tell you how she answered that question. Let’s take a look at her bio and then find out more about her writing.
Award-winning author PAMELA FERGUSON writes contemporary and historical romance fiction, fantasy, and light romantic suspense. Wings of Love, her first novel set in the fictional town of Lilac, won a 2017 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® Award. Readers can meet relatives of her contemporary Lilac characters in her World War II-era historical romances. In 2021 she published Time Will Tell, the first book in the Hackle County time travel romantic suspense series. Upcoming books include a sweet contemporary Lilac Christmas romance (Fall 2021), a serialized ghost story (stay tuned for launch details), and the second book in the Hackle County series. Pamela collaborates with fantastic vocal artists to produce audiobooks for all her stories and encourages readers to sign up for her newsletter to read the latest news about her books.
Betty: What inspired you to write the story you’re sharing with us today?
Pamela: Three ideas inspired me to write this story. The first was the stress of living through a pandemic lockdown. I was privileged to have a job that allowed me to work from home, but many people had to go to a workplace each day and face risks I never had to. Their resilience inspired me. The second was the tendency to put our ancestors on pedestals and focus only on the boast-worthy things they did, as if looking at the whole person diminishes people instead of making them more human. The third was the desire to escape—which is where the time travel comes in.
Betty: Which character arrived fully or mostly developed?
Pamela: April Islip. As a county health inspector, she’s on the front lines of battling COVID-19. Unfortunately, her boyfriend, tavern owner Clay Nolan, doesn’t want to follow the pandemic regulations she has to enforce. Despite the fact that this is set during a pandemic, their relationship is actually funny.
Betty: Which story element sparked the idea for this story: setting, situation, character, or something else?
Pamela: Both the situation (the pandemic) and the setting (a rural county that’s fallen on hard times). There’s lots of conflict built into that combination. Then, of course, the element of time travel adds complexity to the situation and the setting by providing glimpses of life before the pandemic.
Betty: What kind of research did you need to do to write this story?
Pamela: If my browser bookmarks are any indication, I spent a lot of time learning about quarries, drones, and keeping the local health inspector happy.
Betty: What rituals or habits do you have while writing?
Pamela: I love using the Dragon dictation software. I think in dialogue, so I often draft an entire scene by first dictating the conversation. I then go back and layer in the action, setting, and emotion.
Betty: Every author has a tendency to overuse certain words or phrases in drafts, such as just, once, smile, nod, etc. What are yours?
Pamela: Back. Down. Out. There are too many to list. Thankfully, the Scrivener software provides counts that help me fix those overused words.
Betty: Do you have a special place to write? Revise? Read?
Pamela: I do most of my typing at my desk, which is ergonomically arranged to help me avoid muscle strain. I enjoy dictating outside on the back porch when the weather is nice. When I’m travelling, I like to write in coffee shops and bookstore cafes. I hope to do more of that now restrictions are eased and more people are vaccinated.
Betty: Success looks different to different people. It could be wealth, or fame, or an inner joy at reaching a certain level. How do you define success in terms of your writing career?
Pamela: Finishing a book and having an idea ready to go for the next one.
Hackle County health inspector April Islip believes handsome tavern owner Clay Nolan might be Mr. Right—until he refuses to make his customers wear masks. Local residents are riled up about COVID-19, threatening April when all she’s trying to do is save lives. When one of Clay’s irate customers runs April’s car off the road on the Fourth of July, she’s mysteriously transported back in time to 1970 and given the chance to right a past wrong. Can she thwart a dangerous plot involving Clay’s grandfather that doomed Hackle County’s future and her relationship with Clay?
Sounds like an interesting story, Pamela. Thanks for stopping by!
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