What type of writing do you do? (Books, blogging, articles, genre, audience, etc.) And are you traditionally published or self/indie published?
Pam: I write contemporary fiction appealing to both men and women. My indie publishing company is Phoebe Books, named after an imaginary childhood who lived in our mailbox. I also blog at PamGreenWrites.com.
What inspired you to begin writing?
Pam: From the time I had my first library card, I’ve been a bookworm, and authors were my heroes. Two elementary school teachers, Mrs. Laura Wright and Mrs. Sally Alne, encouraged my earliest writing efforts. My mother also loved to read and served as a willing audience and gentle critic.
As a young adult, I taught French and Spanish by day and attempted a free-lance writing career on the side. I sold less than a handful of articles and poems, then put writing on hold, although I continued to write for church publications occasionally.
When my husband became ill with cancer, I loaded my Kindle with Christian Fiction, which I’d barely sampled. The excellent books I read gave me a high standard to aspire to, and the less-than-stellar ones helped me realize I could probably write something falling somewhere in the middle. Tom and I took leave from our teaching jobs and planned to retire at the end of the school year. Tom announced my plan to write cozy mysteries to nurses, doctors, and visitors. I was committed!
After Tom passed away, writing was the life preserver the Lord provided, and I started swimming in deep water! I joined ACFW and began writing a story about a teacher who, like me, had to reinvent herself due to circumstances she couldn’t control. The Substitute wasn’t a mystery, but it did follow the time-honored advice to “write about what you know.” Although it was my first novel, The Substitute follows The Jesus Car in the Sully Parkway series.
How often do you write?
Pam: When I started writing again in 2016, I wrote daily for a couple of hours in the evening, spurred on by the accountability of ACFW’s Novel Track Writing loop. The Jesus Car benefitted from the double accountability of NTW and NaNoWriMo. At other times during the day, I journaled and jotted down little vignettes from married life so I wouldn’t forget them. There was no need to be legalistic about daily writing, because I looked forward to the pure pleasure of writing. Now that the Sully Parkway series is finished and I’m starting a new story, I hope to get back to the rhythm of daily writing. I also look forward to getting together with friends for write-ins as soon as possible—writing on Zoom just isn’t the same!
Are you a pantser or an outliner?
Pam: Note cards and outlines never worked for me in college, and that hasn’t changed. I do start out with a general idea of where my story is headed, and maybe a list of main events/chapter topics. After that, I’m happy to go where my characters take me.
When do you bring in outside help? Beta readers or street team? Editors? Book/cover designers? Marketing help?
Pam: I started with outside help—the local ACFW chapter members and the ACFW Scribes (critique) and Novel Track Writing loops. Their acceptance and well-timed advice helped me persevere. I think I learned more from critiquing others’ writing than I did from receiving critiques myself.
My wonderful editor, Deirdre Lockhart of Brilliant Cut Editing, is the perfect combination of coach and cheerleader. Roseanna White, my multi-talented cover designer, adds a beautiful, professional touch to each book.
Since I want many more readers to discover my stories, two of my goals for the next year are to assemble a street team and work on systematic marketing.
Who are your favorite authors and why?
Pam: Jan Karon is one of my favorite Christian authors. Her books are uplifting without ignoring life’s challenges. The structure of her books is unique—she uses vignettes rather than a day-by-day plot. Of course, her characters are unforgettable and usually quite endearing.
On the secular fiction side, I continue to enjoy cozy mysteries featuring animals. I appreciate their pure entertainment (i.e., escape) value and their characters. Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s Joe Grey series featuring sentient crime-solving cats is a favorite. I also love Spencer Quinn’s Chet and Bernie series, where Chet the dog narrates the story in a very doglike stream of consciousness fashion.
What are you working on now?
Pam: The final book in the Sully Parkway series, The Restoration, appeared in June. Now I’m working on Church for Sale, a spinoff from the Sully Parkway series. My pantser heart is urging me to make it a cozy mystery. Who knows?
What would you most like to share with other Christian writers?
Pam: Embrace the fact that your contribution goes far beyond creating excellent written work. I’ve been blessed by so many generous authors who have befriended me, shared their expertise, and prayed for me. We all have something to give to each other as writers.
Pam Green made her writing début in fifth grade when drafted to write the class play, Ghosts! Ghosts! Ghosts! At twelve, she fell in love with the French language. After a satisfying teaching career, she still peeks in the windows of empty schools while traveling and lingers in school supply aisles in August. Her Sully Parkway series shows that God is always working in the lives of His children and seeking new members of His family.