May 28, 2014Author: Martin
Creative Frontiers caught up last week with Pam Fudge, the author of twelve novels. She took time out from working on her thirteenth novel to talk to us.
CF: Tell us a bit about yourself, please.
PF: I live in a little house backing onto woodland and heath with my (rescued) Pomeranian dog, Honey, and my (rescued) 20-year-old cat, Ellie. I’m far from lonely with two sons and a daughter and six grandchildren and numerous friends of both sexes. I love company, but also my own. Love reading, writing, shopping, sunshine, chocolate, animals, and walking, and hate housework, cooking and sport.
CF: What subjects or genres do you like to read?
PF: Autobiographies – because I’m interested in other people’s lives. Historicals – because I’m interested in how people used to live as part of a good story. Family based, character led fiction – because I love a good and believable story involving various generations.
CF: Who are your favourite writers?
PF: I love Georgette Heyer (she wrote the best historicals) and LaVyrle Spencer (she wrote the best relationships in fiction that I’ve ever read). Jodi Picoult (unusual plots), JoJo Moyes (You Before Me is the best book I’ve read in a very long time), and Adam Dickson (fantastic new writer) but I’ll read anything as long as it’s good.
CF: What do you most enjoy about writing?
PF: I most enjoy the fact that I never get bored or lonely. I do have a life apart from writing, with wonderful family and friends, but writing is what I do and a writer is who I am.
CF: What subjects or genres do you like to write?
PF: I started my writing career writing short stories because I discovered that fiction was my thing. I moved on to romantic novels because I liked a good romance and the (shorter) length appealed. I’ve ended up writing contemporary family fiction because there is endless scope in the ups and downs of family life.
CF: How did you know you wanted to write?
PF: Once I learned how to write I never stopped. I wrote poetry and told stories from a very young age – I just never imagined that ordinary people like me could possibly become published authors.
CF: How did you get the confidence to start?
PF: I gained the confidence to start writing for publication when I joined a creative writing class. My first short story was accepted after 4 months and then there was no stopping me!
CF: If you can remember the day you went from non-writer to writer, how did that feel?
PF: It would have been my first day in the writing class in September 1983. The tutor made us believe that anything was possible and I came home to write my first assignment in a state of high excitement.
CF: Do you find novels or short stories easier to write?
PF: When I began writing short stories I couldn’t even begin to imagine ever wanting to write a novel. I loved writing short stories and was getting published regularly. I only wrote my first novel to see if I could – and because all of my fellow students seemed to be writing novels. My second novel was the first one to be published and for a time I wrote both. Now I find novels easier.
CF: How do writing ideas come to you?
PF: I’ve always had a vivid imagination, so I can sit down with a pad and play around with ideas. Sometimes a headline or an article can provide the beginnings of a plot. I find that a basic idea can quickly grow into something great with a lot of ‘what-ifs’ thrown into the equation.
CF: What writing methods and discipline do you practise?
PF: I start with an idea and then the characters (I use pictures cut out of magazines and these are pinned above my desk). I’m lucky enough to have an office, so I sit at my desk and write directly onto the computer (rough notes and a brief out-line first). I’d like to say I’m disciplined but that’s not strictly true. I can sometimes be more productive in an hour than I am in a whole day, but mornings are best if I can make myself sit there.
CF: How much do you edit and polish?
PF: I have to say that, though I love the editing, I don’t tend to do much of it. I always feel that I’m not happy with the book as I’m writing it, but when I get to editing I usually find it’s usually pretty much as I want it to be.
CF: Which do you find easier: constructing characters or building a plot?
PF: I find it easier constructing characters because they bring the plot to life as they begin to interact – just as real people do. Cardboard cut-out characters will kill the best plot.
CF: What’s the hardest thing about writing for you?
PF: Making myself just sit there and write. I’m such a fidget, always on the go and very easily distracted – even when the writing is going really well. I get so annoyed with myself but the novels do still get written so I must be doing something right.
CF: Do you fall into writing ‘dumps’ and, if so, how do you get out of them?
PF: So many times over the years – especially when the rejections landed on the mat – I’ve asked myself why I was putting myself through it. I almost gave up after I was widowed (twice) but if you’re a writer you can’t stop. I’ve put books ‘on hold’ if they don’t seem to be working but always eventually go back and finish them. Walking the dog is always good to think about a plot and get it moving again.
CF: If you’ve suffered rejection, what works for you in dealing with it?
PF: Every writer will get rejections – it’s a fact of a writers’ life – but every piece of completed writing means you are a success and every rejection is only one person’s opinion. Keep telling yourself that. My daughter was the one to remind me to look at what I’ve achieved instead of always worrying about the next project, so I framed all my book covers and hung them on my dining room wall. That works for me!
CF: What are you working on at the moment?
PF: I’ve recently completed my twelfth novel and am just getting to grip with the next one. I have notes, an outline, a title and the first page.
CF: What further ambitions do you have for your writing?
PF: I went to a talk once by a writer called Joan Moules and she’d had 15 novels published, and from that moment that became my ambition. (She is still writing so I still have a way to go to catch her up!) I would also like to finish writing my life story.
Pam Fudge has published the following novels:
It’s In The Cards (December 2014)
Widow On The World (Kindle) http://goo.gl/5sOGdv
Not What It Seems
Turn Back Time
Never Be Lonely
A Change For The Better
A Blessing In Disguise
Widow On The World
Reluctant For Romance