Today we sit down to interview award-winning historical and contemporary romance author Pamela Ford. Learn more about her and her books at her website.
When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
I've always been a voracious reader and was an advertising copywriter, so you'd think I would have always wanted to write a novel. But in truth, the idea didn't cross my mind until I was almost thirty. And even then, once I sat down and wrote the beginning and ending, I had no idea what to put in the middle! It wasn't until many years later that I decided to give it another shot – and while I did finish that first book, it's up in the attic, never to see the light of day! I sold my third book...and credit RWA (Romance Writers of America) with helping me learn what I needed to know to craft a good novel.
How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
I've been writing for ad agencies and as a freelancer for a long time, but it probably took ten years to realize the dream of getting a novel published. During that ten years there were large spans of time during which I was having children (three!) and working and doing a lot of other life stuff which caused the twin goals of writing and publishing to often drop low on the priority list.
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
Where do you write?
I write at home at my desk or in our three-season porch (I love the breeze blowing through when it's nice out!) I also like to write in coffee shops. After years of writing at home alone, I've come to love the human connection and the hum of conversation around me when I write in coffee shops.
Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
I can listen to music in coffee shops and it doesn't bother me at all. But if I put on music at home, it has to be instrumental only; if there is any singing, I end up singing along and it's just not very easy to write and sing at the same time! While writing To Ride a White Horse, I listened to a lot of haunting Irish music by Phil Coulter, particularly his Sea of Tranquility CD.
How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
To Ride a White Horse is built around actual events in Ireland and America in the 1840s, but the main characters and their lives are completely my invention. I interwove Jack and Kathleen's stories with history, creating a love story during a tragic time period in Irish history. In general, with my contemporary books, I may get an idea for starting point or a cute meet from an event in real life, but that is just a kicking-off point from which I create the rest of the plot and story. As for characters, I've never yet based a character on someone I know, but there are a couple of people I'm thinking I may get some satisfaction from killing off in a book...so never say never!
Describe your process for naming your character?
I don't have a real process. Baby name websites are helpful. I just go for what "feels" right for a particular character.
Real settings or fictional towns?
I do both. To Ride a White Horse is set in real locations in both Ireland, Canada, and the U.S. But some of my contemporary books are set in fictional towns. It's fun to write using fictional towns because you aren't bound by reality – if you need a bookstore on the corner of Main and Vine, you can have one!
What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
I'm not sure this would be characterized as a quirk, but Kathleen's mother in To Ride a White Horse is always providing guidance by quoting Irish proverbs. Even when Kathleen is thousands of miles away from home, she still finds guidance in her mother's proverbs.
What’s your quirkiest quirk?
I have an overactive imagination and am always coming up with wild scenarios for people and situations I encounter throughout the day.
If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley). This is a long, complex novel, but from the first sentence to the last, I was captivated. She did such an incredible job with this story that at the end, I so wanted it all to be true. Oh, did I wish it all was true!! As soon as I finished reading it, I immediately read it again.
Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
I would have believed Joe Konrath several years ago when he was extolling the virtues of indie publishing, and I would have jumped into the indie market sooner.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
When I'm talking with someone and s/he starts answering text messages in the middle of the conversation.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
My husband, my dog, and a library!
What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
I was working for an ad agency and had to ghost-write long articles for clients which were then placed in industry publications with the client's byline. The topics were often so complicated (and I wasn't allowed to ask the clients questions), that sometimes I put my head on my desk and cried.
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
There are so many books I've loved, but if I have to choose just one, I'd have to go with The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.
Ocean or mountains?
Ocean... waves, beaches, whitecaps, balmy breezes...oh, I think I need a vacation!
City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
Country girl...casual, barefoot, and makeup-free
What’s on the horizon for you?
I just finished writing a light contemporary novel that is the first is a new series I plan to launch in the next couple of months.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
To Ride a White Horse is a big departure from the type of books I had previously written – most obviously, it is a historical and my other books are all contemporaries. After all the blood, sweat and tears I put into this novel, it has been so rewarding to see how the story has resonated with readers and reviewers. I love hearing from readers. Reach me through my website at pamelaford.net, and follow on facebook.com/pamelafordauthor, or twitter @pamfordauthor.
To Ride a White Horse
Your feet will bring you to where your heart is. Set against the backdrop of 1840s Ireland and America, To Ride a White Horse is an epic historical saga of hope, loyalty, the strength of the human spirit, and the power of love.
With Ireland ravaged by famine, and England unsympathetic to its plight, Kathleen Deacey, a spirited and strong-willed young Irish woman faces a devastating choice—leave her country to find work or risk dying there. Despising the English for refusing to help Ireland, she sets sail for Canada, determined to save her family and find her missing fiancé.
But her voyage doesn't go as planned and she ends up in America, forced to accept the help of an English whaling captain, Jack Montgomery, to survive. As Jack helps her search for her fiancé and fight to save her family and country, she must make an impossible choice—remain loyal to Ireland or follow her heart.