Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Thank you Mr King... I can call myself an author...I think!

Last week was not a particularly great week for me. Lucas is having a really hard time with a mystery illness at the moment. It's such a worrying time but he is under the care of our wonderful NHS and we will in time get to the bottom it.

When he is off, I do try to continue to write but always around his needs. By the end of the week though I get really frustrated and upset with myself because I haven't done as much I wanted to do. I really have to stop beating myself up and remember I am only ONE human being.

Last Friday saw the first anniversary of the release of Beyond the Past. I can not believe where the year has gone and more so what I have done in that twelve months. In 2014 I faced my ghosts and in 2015 I intend to be a Ghostbuster (Yes cue the 1980s movie theme music. "I ain't afraid of no ghosts!"). I couldn't find the photograph of Wes and I with the Ghostbuster car in Florida, taken pre-Menieres. All my past insecurities, worries and people who have treated me badly have been left in 2014.

If you would like to read the interview I gave on the first anniversary of being a published author, it's here.

GoodReads Giveway 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Beyond the Past by Pam Charles

Beyond the Past

by Pam Charles

Giveaway ends January 31, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win
To thank you all for your support I  am running a free giveaway of my signed book. This one is UK only (sorry, money is always tight after Christmas). Beyond the Past is my debut novel which was published on the 23 January 2014. Just click to enter. Good Luck

The first three chapters of Beyond the Past are posted on my website to give you a taster 

This weekend, I read an article by Stephen King - 22 lessons on how to be a great writer - read it hereIt gave me so much heart, encouragement and confidence. So much so I have printed it out and keep it on my desk. Without knowing it, I have been doing the twenty one of the twenty two points but I do need to work on finishing a draft in three months. Whilst knowing I have something in common with such a master of his trade, it may not help me sell any more books but it does provides me with enough confidence to know I am on the right track. After all, Mr King's first book was turned down by publishers and later went on to sell over one million copies. There is HOPE for all of us.And before anyone twists my words, I am in no way comparing my novice writing to such a great writer!

Beyond the Lies

Followers will know this is a sequel to Beyond the Past and is in my editing stage before I release it to the publishers and editors. This book has taken longer than I wanted but I wanted to get it right. The hatchet job is going well. There is no greater critic than yourself.

Facebook Groups

I want to say a huge thank you to the readers and contributors of all the book and author groups that I am part of on Facebook and the parents in the parenting blogging groups. Writing is a solitary business and it has to be in order for you to create. Having fellow writers and readers on hand to help thrash out queries, give and receive advice and have a laugh with, is priceless. Never under estimate the effect one positive comment can have on lifting someone’s spirits. I love receiving constructive comments and feedback and you lovely lot never disappoint. 

This week I have been asked what’s the one lesson you have learned over the first twelve months of being an author? I have actually learned so much but without doubt the one thing I have done is grown a thick skin. As a writer, as in life you need to weed out constructive, well-meaning criticism from the nasty, vindictive, green eyed monster criticism. Not everyone that smiles at you, wishes you well! I’m following Mr King’s advice and primarily writing for myself. Not everyone will love what you do.That's okay by me.

From Behind the Painted Smile

I started this and then started again. I aim to finish the draft in three months, subject to marketing, childhood illnesses and everything else that is thrown at me – obviously if I can fight ghosts I can find anything!

Rugby League

So the new era of rugby league starts at the beginning of February and I have to admit, I am really excited about it. I was never a fan of the franchise system and love a good relegation battle, obviously as long as my team is not in it!! Lots of you have asked how Wes is doing in the Academy and I am happy to report he is working hard and loving every minute of it although he has said this week, if he doesn’t make it in rugby league, he would like the opportunity to play NFL!! I’d love the opportunity to spend some time in the US but I have a feeling it won’t be for a long time yet.

The Academy games start in March. I’m looking forward to seeing them play and the road trips, even the one to Swansea! It’s been a long pre-season. Good luck to everyone in rugby league this year but especially the Sheffield Eagles’ teams (Yes I am biased!).

New Book Idea

You never know when the new idea will come to you and whether that first tiny seed is big enough or strong enough to grow into a full story. That is a huge problem when you are trying to set timetables for your writing. However it is a problem I can definitely live with!! So I spent the whole of yesterday writing a synopsis for another new book idea, that's why the blog is late. I don't have a title yet. As usual I have fallen in love with the characters and if I follow the advice of three months per draft I should be able to write four books this year. YEAH RIGHT! In my dreams and maybe if I could lock myself away which will never happen! With the current state of affairs – Menieres, single Mum and chauffeur – I’d be happy with two books per year and marketing of the other books. I have to remember I may be a ghostbuster but I’m not Wonder Woman.

Harry's Last Stand

I am currently reading this. One thing we mustn't EVER lose sight of is the sacrifice millions made for our freedom. We all take our lives for granted. My job as a Mum is to ensure that my children remain humbled and understand what sacrifices others made for them to have a the life they have today. Harry is a true hero to me. 

Well, I'm off to meet my new deadline. Have a fabulous week and enjoy every moment of it.



Friday, 23 January 2015

a year ago today... how time flies

My 1st anniversary interview  

This was published on Friday 23rd January 2015 by Fiona McVie on her author interviews blog. Thank you Fiona for your time. I know some of you have been struggling to find it on the site so here it is:

Name: Pam Charles
Age: 46
Where are you from? Leeds, Yorkshire, UK.
A little about yourself i.e. education, family life, etc
I am single Mum to two boys aged 16 and 8. I worked in the insurance broking industry for twenty years but lost my job when I was diagnosed with Meniere’s syndrome. In 2011 I graduated with a first class honours degree in Business Information Systems. After graduation, I decided to follow my dream I hadn’t dared to follow when I was fifteen and write a book. Actually, I wanted to write scripts and books but the book came first. When I am not writing, I am busy running the boys to football and rugby league. My eldest is an academy player at the Sheffield Eagles Rugby League Football Club and he is hopefully on the first step to becoming a professional rugby league player, a dream he has held since he was six years old. I spend most of my time being his driver attending training and games.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Today, 23rd January 2015 is the anniversary of the release of Beyond the Past, my debut novel.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing on the 26 December 2011. I remember it because it was Boxing Day and I had just finished reading Wuthering Heights again for the umpteenth time. It was something I had wanted to do when I was fifteen but didn’t have the confidence or encouragement to pursue it.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I am not sure I do yet. I still feel like a rabbit in headlights most of the time.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
This is going to sound corny but my boys. I spend all my time encouraging them to work hard, follow their dreams and be determined to succeed. I actually followed my own advice for once and decided I was going to follow my dreams. We were broke anyway so we really had nothing to lose. I stopped worrying about what other people would say and started writing.
Fiona: So you have a specific writing style?
Honestly, I am not sure yet. I like to think that I write to captivate a reader with a bit of Yorkshire humour thrown in.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It really just came to me. The essence of the book is about two people who meet in their mid to late forties and want to start a new life together but issues from Mark’s past re-surface with disastrous consequences not just for the them but for their family and friends too. One thing I have to say though, is the title has caused a bit of confusion with some readers thinking it is historical fiction. An important lesson when creating a title!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not really other than it is never too late to have fun!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I don’t think you can be authentic without bringing in life experiences. The rugby league elements are realistic and anyone that loves sport will relate to the story line.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
This is an interesting one. There are elements of the book that relate to real life. I have been watching rugby league for over thirty years (yes, thirty years!) so yes, some of it is based on events in my own life but I hastened to add all the characters are fictional.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? A mentor?
Without doubt Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights. I studied this at A Level and hated it. Didn’t understand it. However, when I came to read it in my early twenties it all suddenly made sense and the characters are so intense. I also love James Herbert. I read Rats when I was fifteen and the book was glued to my hands until I finished it. Then I read all his books. Finally, John Grisham. His books absolutely blow me away. In fact, when I think about it there are so many books and authors that inspired me and continue to inspire me all for very different reasons. I could probably write a book on the very subject!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Usually when I pick a book up I have to read it until it is finished – a day or so and then it is finished. When I am working on a new book I try not to read as much because I don’t want my writing to be influenced by their style. Having said that I am reading Peter James, Not Dead Yet and Ian Rankin, Standing in Another Man’s Grave. Both excellent. I also have a reading list that is getting bigger by the day.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I may upset some people if I leave them out or call them new authors when they have more experience than me. My reading list includes a number of authors that are part of the Books Go Social Authors Group on Facebook and I will get round to reading them and leaving them reviews, honest!
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am currently editing the sequel to Beyond the Past which is called Beyond the Lies. I have finished the first rough draft and now I am doing a hatchet job on it.
The other project I am currently working on is a new novel, From Behind the Painted Smile. Following the discovery of four bodies in Yorkshire Rivers the police embark on a serial killer murder inquiry that leads them to a very unusual suspect.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Without doubt, the people and businesses of Wetherby have been really supportive through the networking group Wetherby hour. Beyond the Past is set in Wetherby, a small market town in Yorkshire where both boys played rugby until recently. The local business group, radio station, TempoFM and in particular Catherine from Sant Angelos Restorante in Wetherby have helped promote the book.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes I do but like any new career it takes time to progress and learn.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No I don’t think I would. It’s not perfect but you have to start somewhere and I absolutely love the characters.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
This is going to show my age. I was about twelve or thirteen and there was a detective series on television, Shoestring starring Trevor Eve. I had a crush on him (LOL). I started to write a script for the series. I never dared send it in but I loved writing it.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Beyond the Lies is the sequel to Beyond the Past. I can’t say too much about it because I don’t want to spoil the end of the first one but this sequel unravels the full extent of the conspiracy and leads to places you would never have imagined.
From Behind the Painted Smile. Following the discovery of four bodies in Yorkshire Rivers the police embark on a serial killer murder inquiry that leads them to a very unusual suspect.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The silence. Definitely the hardest of all is not knowing whether your book is being read, enjoyed, bought, etc.
Fiona: Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
It is very hard to choose one author when I love so many people but if I have to it would be Emily Bronte, or maybe Jane Austin. I love the complexity of the characters, the detailed descriptions and the language used. It is truly amazing to think these books were written at a time when women really didn’t have a public voice.
Fiona: Do you travel much concerning your book?
I haven’t at present. I have tried to stay local and that’s only because I don’t have the funds to go far and wide. Having said that, if an opportunity came up and would definitely take it.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The cover was designed by my publishers, Pegasus Elliott McKenzie. I love it.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The writing is the easy part. The hardest part for me was trying to get published and the marketing that is required once the book is released. There is no help with either unless you have money to pay people to do it for you.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned lots of things really. I realised how resilient and persistent I was. I realised that actually I am quite good at writing and that ideas for new novels came when I least expected them to.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t give up. Be persistent and believe in your talent but write what is right for you. As a writer you will receive criticism and bad reviews, it is inevitable. Don’t chase popularity, be yourself.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Wow, it was such a long time ago. The first ‘grown up’ book I read was Ingrid Bergman’s autobiography. I love old movies and she fascinated me. The first adult fiction book was James Herbert Rats but the first one to scare me senseless was Gorky Park, Martin Cruz Smith probably because I was maybe fifteen, on my own and sat reading it in the middle of Portmeirion (North Wales), where Prisoner was filmed! The imagination is a wonderful yet terrifying thing.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/ cry?
I love Laurel Hardy, Charlie Chaplin and the Stooges but I’m a Yorkshire lass so I find all sorts of things funny, sometimes when I shouldn’t! Cry is easy – anything remotely romantic, about children or animals.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
John Lennon. I want to ask him about his song writing and his views on world peace.
Fiona: What do you want written on your headstone and why?
“She came, she faltered but got there in the end”
Preferably with some spelling mistakes for people to laugh at. It sums up my life perfectly and one day I will write a book about the dozen or so lives I have lived before finally finding me.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I love sport, watching more than playing, although I do swim – it helps clear the mind! And Cars. I am a petrol head. I love everything about them. Touring cars, rallying and formula one are my favourites along with football and of course, rugby league. Most of time is spent driving the boys to their sporting events.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love detective series on television and political dramas, spies, etc, so Spooks, Scandal, Blacklist, DCI Banks, Broadchurch, Happy Valley, Law & Order UK and others.
Films – James Bond, by far my favourite. Fast & Furious, Italian Job – I think there is a theme?? I do like political thrillers too.
Favourite food – Italian.
Colour – Yellow.
Music – too hard to pin down. I love all kinds of music from Bob Marley to John Lennon, The Script, Robbie Williams, Motown, and Paloma Faith. Very often I love a song and don’t even know who the artist is – I guess that’s when you know you are getting old!
Fiona: If you were not a writer, what else would you like to have done?
A PhD and research study. I love reading about new things and would love to contribute to new discoveries and policies. If not I would have loved to have been a political researcher.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/ website? If so what is it?