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What kind of research did you do for Claiming Mariah?
Generally, I read over my history books for a certain area, or go online to the chamber of commerce and view the tourist information if that’s an option. My research about specific details crop up as the story develops. I might need to know if the railroad is in an area at a certain point of history. Or when barbed wire introduced to the area? What kind of pistol would my hero carry? What kind of wagon or buggy would they have used? If something like that inserts itself into the story, and I don’t know the answer, I find out.
How did you come up with the plot for Claiming Mariah?
Several years ago, I read a novel where a bank robber tosses a sack of stolen money in the back seat of a hand-to-mouth college student’s car. She kept the money and eventually started a very successful business. She justified her actions because she anonymously created a charity to help destitute young women get back on their fee. But, as the old saying goes, two wrongs don’t make a right, and that wasn’t quite right from a Christian’s perspective, was it? I based Claiming Mariah on the following question: “What would a Christian do if they found out their whole livelihood had been based on a lie?” Mariah does the right thing by writing to Slade’s father asking for forgiveness, but the consequences of her actions end up being way more than she bargained for.
Share a brief blurb about the book.
When Mariah Malone’s dying father confesses that he cheated his partner out of the gold used to buy the family ranch, she writes a letter, offering restitution. But when the son of her father’s victim demands the entire ranch, she stands to lose everything. As these two let go of the bitterness of the past, Slade Donovan has to learn to forgive Mariah, her father, and God, while Mariah must learn to overcome her pride.
What role have your life experiences played in the characters and/or the situations you develop in your books?
The account of Yellow, the half-wild tomcat and his precarious beginnings after being born in the woods, is an almost exact retelling of a cat that I befriended several years ago. I had to work for that cat’s trust, just as Mariah earns the trust of both Slade and Yellow in Claiming Mariah.
The entire true-life account of Taming Yellow can be found here: http://calicotrails.blogspot.com/2012/11/taming-yellow.html
Do you see parallels or do you try to avoid using your own personal life as a source of inspiration?
I was born and raised on a farm, and from an early age I loved horses and all things western. I was a bit of a tomboy and cut my teeth on Louis L’Amour westerns. While I don’t necessarily use my personal life as inspiration, I write what I know when it comes to country life, farming, ranching, and hard work.
What are your own favorite authors? Genres?
My favorite genre to read and to write is the historical romance genre, especially westerns, harking back to my Louis L’Amour and John Wayne days, I guess. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy other genres and other time periods, because I do.
How has your passion for reading impacted your writing?
Probably the biggest impact is that I know all kinds of details about the oddest things. Just recently in a conversation over dinner, a woman couldn’t imagine writing historicals and getting the facts right. Years of reading historical fiction and non-fiction will cement details in an author’s head. The key is to listen to that niggling voice that alerts you when you don’t know something and to take the time to find out the correct date, or location, or term before your book goes to print.
Describe how you write a book – with your other responsibilities, does it tend to be something you work into your every day, or do you have to “set apart” time to write with open, undesignated blocks of time?
Until very recently, I worked a day job as a purchasing manager for an OEM company. But after holding down a full-time job, a part-time job as conference treasurer for ACFW, writing, and being a wife and mother, (I figure all of that together constitutes 3.5 jobs. Wouldn’t you agree?) I now only have 2.5 jobs. My first books were written in fits and starts sandwiched in between all my other jobs. Now that I’m working from home, I’m still trying to find my most productive way of writing. It’s a combination of both: writing every day, but I’m sure I’ll have to set aside large blocks of time when deadlines loom.
What provides your inspirations during that time – i.e. do you go out in nature, do you seek to be in a busy place with people or in a quiet library, etc.?
I work best with complete quiet and no interruptions. My best time to work is mornings while my brain is fresh, but I’ve been know to work into the wee hours of the night as well. Once I’ve brainstormed the backbone of the story, and I become immersed in their world, the characters and the situations they find themselves in become my inspiration.
How have social networking sites, even including email, etc. impacted your writing? Do you find the internet to be a helpful or harmful resource in research, advertising, reviewing, etc. your books?
I’m on my computer almost 24/7 either checking/responding to email, interacting through social media, writing, researching, taking care of business, the list is endless. In addition, since my books are ebooks through Tyndale’s Digital First Initiative, I can’t imagine not using the internet’s social media resources as my primary outlet for promotion. In the end, writers, just like any professional who uses electronics to get their job done, must weigh the time they spend on all of these activities.
Do you use these tools such as facebook as a means of observing the behavior of others which could be the basis of a character, or are you of the ‘old school’ that relies more on personal relationships and “human” touches?
I haven’t based any characters on someone I’ve encountered on social media. It’s not that I’m against that, it’s just that I just haven’t had one of those “aha” moments that triggered something like that. Although I have run into some interesting characters on facebook….
Pam is thrilled to announce the release of her second novel,
Claiming Mariah Links:
Claiming Mariah Amazon link: http://tinyurl.com/apnzl5n
Claiming Mariah B&N link: http://tinyurl.com/ays6fq7
Claiming Mariah CBD link: http://tinyurl.com/bvjx3m7
Claiming Mariah Goodreads link: http://tinyurl.com/d9u2k6jClaiming Mariah 1st Chapter: http://tinyurl.com/ageh54r
To celebrate, Pam is giving away two eReaders
(choice of Kindle Wi-Fi, 6" Display, or Nook Simple Touch)
Two Winners: One on facebook. One through Pam’s Newsletter.
Registering both places is not required but will double your chances of winning. Also keep in mind that you will receive updates more often being connected on facebook than through the newsletter. Just sayin’
Contest runs from January 1st until March 31st, 2013.
And....that’s not all! There will be prizes offered randomly throughout the tour.
(3 Pewter Bookmarks from Deirdre’s Handmade Jewelry PLUS 40% off coupon at Deirdre’s online store. Click link to register and for coupon code)
PREVIOUS STOP ON TOUR:
February 25th: Kathy Maher
NEXT STOP ON TOUR:
February 27th: Ginger Simpson
Pam Hillman was born and raised on a dairy farm in
Mississippi and spent
her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days,
her daddy couldn’t afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio,
so Pam drove the Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she
wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn’t mind raking. Raking hay doesn’t
take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up
stories in her head. Now, that’s the kind of life every girl should dream of! Claiming Mariah is her second novel. www.pamhillman.com
Pam Hillman’s Social Media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PamHillman or @PamHillman
Group blog: http://www.seekerville.blogspot.com
Personal blog: http://www.calicotrails.blogspot.com