Today, we’ve invited Pam Hillman to the IC Hotseat. Time to get to know the author of the book Claiming Mariah.
I knew I wanted to be a writer as soon as I discovered that people used their imagination to string written words on paper to create stories. There was a small public library where my brother and my cousins and I checked out books once a week on the way home from school. I checked out the maximum allowed (I think it was 3) and my cousin checked out 3 more that Iwanted to read. I’m sure I even twisted her little brother’s arm and made him check out books for me!
Ouch! Poor kid.
What inspired you to write this particular book?
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 Mariahon 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.
Hmmm. Sounds intriguing.
How long did you write before you sold your first book?
I starting pursuing publication in 1994, so that would be….hmmmm…seventeen years, give or take. But I’ve wanted to be a published author ever since I can remember. As a child, I was fascinated by how authors put all those stories on paper. Somehow, my brain just naturally made up stories. But for years, I didn’t write them down. I tried to get started a few times, but didn’t know how to construct a compelling story with an interesting beginning, firm middle, and satisfying ending. So out of lack of knowledge and fear of failure, I just kept dreaming. I think I had the idea that as long as I didn’t attempt to write, I couldn’t fail at writing. In 1994, I decided that if I was ever going to write, I had to stop kidding myself and get to work.
Makes me think of the parable of the talents. Sometimes you need to just take the risk.
Where do you get ideas for your books?
Everywhere! Church. Books. Movies. Drinking coffee. (Oh, what a good idea. Be right back…)
Pam? Pam? I’ll get ya some in a minute. Hang on now …
… Watching ants crawl out of a flooded anthill. Boom! I immediately see coal miners fleeing a mine, or WWII soldiers climbing out of bunkers. Oh, sorry, you were asking…
Book ideas, Pam. Like what inspired Stealing Jake.
For Stealing Jake, my debut novel in 2011, Tyndale House Publishers used to publish 2 Heartquest anthologies a year. Tyndale has been my dream publisher from the beginning, and I submitted novella proposals several times trying to break in. Stealing Jake was one of those submissions. Tyndale put out guidelines for a Cowboy Christmas anthology, so the story had to involve Christmas and have a historical setting. Stealing Jakedidn’t make the cut for the anthology, but I loved the idea so much that I went back to it later and turned it into a full-length novel. It just happened to be the novel my agent and I were shopping when word went out that Tyndale was launching the Digital First Initiative.
I honestly can’t remember how I came up with the exact idea for the pickpocket theme, but it was the old adage of opposites attract. If she’s a thief, he’s a lawman. Okay, she’s a reformed thief…or is she? lol
Yes! Love those opposites.
In three words describe your style of writing.
Three words? You’re kiddng right? ha ha Wait…I can’t stop laughing. Seriously? This reminds me of the youtube video my husband showed me of the bride who couldn’t stop laughing at her wedding. I got nothing on this one. Three words? ROFLOL!!!
Pam? Pam? <Connie swats on the back> Breathe now, Pam.
Okay, okay. I’ve contained myself. Let’s check some Amazon reviews. Hmmm, pretty nice. Stop reading the reviews, Pam, and pay attention to the question.
Oh, here’s one. PLAIN GOOD WRITING. Yeah, that works. Simple, but direct, and what I hope to leave with readers. You know, I kinda like that.
Am I forgiven for laughing? Lol
<Sigh!> I guess.
Let’s talk about juggling … Pam, put those pins away—not that kind of juggling. Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family or other obligations? How do you balance it?
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 nowonly have 2.5 jobs. And, the scary part is I’m just as busy as when I worked outside the home. The biggest challenge for me is to not have tunnel vision so bad on one task that other equally important tasks don’t get done on time.
Pam, I asked you to put <Connie ducks> those pins <Connie ducks again> away.
Is there any scene in your book that came from a real-life happening?
Not just a scene, but an entire thread threaded throughout Claiming Mariah. 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
Oh, I love good animal stories. We have a few on this site.
Have you won any awards with your writing?
A few. I cut my teeth on unpublished writing contests and finalled and/or won almost 40 contests. My work finalled multiple times in RWA’s prestigious Golden Heart, ACFW’s Genesis contest, and a host of other unpublished contests. As a matter of fact, my current release, Claiming Mariah was a Golden Heart winner. And I’m also excited that my debut novel, Stealing Jake,is an EPIC eBook Awards Finalist, and an International Digital Awards Finalist.
Wow! What an accomplishment.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
First: Believe in yourself. I tamped down the dream until I was almost thirty years old because the author bios and the glamour shots on the back of the books in the bookstore intimidated me. Who was I to think I could compete with such poise, such sophistication, education, and competence? Surely those authors came from wealth and power. But sometimes that glamour shot might be an illusion, the bio polished a little too brightly. You, dear writer friend, are just as worthy as the next person.
Second: If you’re writing Christian fiction, join ACFW. Develop friendships with other writers, not just connections, but true-blue, ask-me-anything, I’ve-got-your-back friends. It took me years to find those friends because I’m a fairly private person. I don’t open up to others very well, but those friends are the veryreason I can be this candid with you today. Find them. Embrace them.
Yes! Joining ACFW was the single most important thing I did to begin the journey myself.
What is the coolest, wackiest, most risk-taking thing you’ve ever done?
I got caught in a stampede of 100 Holsteins once. In the dark, in a cutover cornfield. I didn’t know which direction they were coming from, but I could hear their pounding hooves, and I could feel the ground shaking. When I realized I couldn’t outrun them on the uneven ground, I turned to face them and started jumping up and down, waving my arms, and screaming my head off. They parted like the red sea, and I sank to the ground, shaking like a leaf, and scared out my wits.
Oh, my! I’m sure I would have died of a heart attack. It seems God had other plans for you. Glad to see you alive and fulfilling those plans.
Where can fans find you or your books on the internet?
As always, they can visit my website, www.pamhillman.com. I’d love for them to sign up for my newsletter so we can keep in touch. And since so many of my friends and family are hanging out on facebook these days, they can like my facebook page. That should do it!
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
Pam is thrilled to announce the release of her second novel,
In light of her father’s death, Mariah Malone sends a letter that will forever alter the lives of her family. When Slade Donovan, strong willed and eager for vengeance, shows up on her front porch, Mariah is not ready to hear his truths: her father’s farm, the only home she’s ever known, was bought with stolen gold. With Slade ready to collect his father’s rightful claim and force Mariah and her family out on the streets, Mariah must turn to God for guidance. Though Mr. Fredrick Cooper, a local landowner, promises to answer her financial woes if she agrees to be his bride, Mariah finds herself drawn instead to the angry young man demanding her home.
With the ranch now under Slade’s careful eye, he will unearth more than he ever imagined as a devious plot of thievery, betrayal and murder threatens more than the well-being of the ranch, endangering the lives of those who hold it dear. With days dwindling until the rest of the Donovan clan arrive to the Lazy M ranch, Mariah and Slade must rise above the resentment of their fathers and see their true feelings before greed alters their futures forever.
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/d9u2k6j
Claiming 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.
Facebook Drawing: Kindle/Nook Giveaway
Newsletter: 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.
The Prize Vault Is Open!!
This week’s giveaway on facebook. Click here to register:
Winner will also have their choice of ebook version of
Stealing Jake or Claiming Mariah
PREVIOUS STOP ON TOUR:
January 31st: Blogging with Jennifer Slattery
NEXT STOP ON TOUR:
February 4th: Blogging with Jean Kinsey