Monday, January 19, 2009
The Life and Times of Pamela Tracy
Hi, I'm Pamela Tracy and I'm one of the original Craftie Ladies who never introduced herself properly, so I’m excited to get to do it now. By day I'm a mommy, wife, schoolteacher, friend… but alone in my home office, I write suspense - complete with dead bodies and chase scenes. Aha, so you want to get to know me... well, okay, here's a bit about me.
How I got my first name? My mother originally wanted to name me Denise. She had it all picked out. Then, her cousin had a little girl a few months before I was born. My mom and dad panicked (well, not really, but they’d never talked about a different name). They bought a baby book. I guess it took them all the way to P to find a name they both liked. Ironically, I never met the other Denise. Then, too, I love the name Pamela. I think if that hadn’t been my name, I’d have wished it were.
How I got my writing name? Pamela Tracy is my maiden name. I already had eight books out by the time I got married. I didn't realize how quickly the maiden name fades. I thought because I spent forty years as 'Tracy', the Tracy part of me would be stamped everywhere. I think I was wrong.
How I pick my characters' names, good guy and bad? I’m a schoolteacher. I see names every semester. I know which names are popular for what age. Right now, I’ve got Sarahs and Jessicas galore in my classes. There are tons of Christophers, Joshuas, and Nicks, too. If I’m stuck, I got to my old class rosters. The book I’m writing now has Tamara as a hero. I think I saw the name online a lot. The hero is Vince. Really, he’s an old high school crush. The villain is William Massey. He tapped me on the shoulder and already had a name. I didn’t need to look.
Three Really Interesting Tidbits About Me… This one’s really easy. See, at my school, wheneever the school paper needs a quick story, they write about me because there are three things that make me unique.
One. I am adopted. I was adopted at birth by two super wonderful people. I had a Leave It To Beaver childhood. Mom stayed home and took care of me (only child) and Dad went to work. At five, I’d stand by the door waiting for my favorite person in the whole world to come home. About eight years ago, I found my birth family. It was a bit scary. I did the phone call, “Hello, my name is Pamela and I was born on October 22nd, do you want to talk to me?” Luckily, everyone did. My birth mother is involved in my life. She’ll be here to visit in a few weeks. I have a half sister. And, I have a full brother. They were in my wedding! I’ve also met my birth father and his two daughters. On a scale of 1to 10, our meetings have pretty much been tens.
Two. I had my first child at age 44. He’s Mikey. I never prayed so hard in my life. See, I married at 41. I’d just about given up thinking there was one for me. (Maybe that's why I read and wrote so many romances) Then, I met my husband Don and he figured it out first. He just kept coming back and calling. My friends loved him. Soon, I loved him, too. So, I was a first time bride at 41. He’s a first time husband (a little younger). We wanted kids. We never gave up. We lost three babies in a two year period. A specialist told us to stop trying. Top trying? If I stopped trying, I wouldn’t have Mikey. He was born at 8 pounds, healthy, and looks just like my husband.
Three. I’m a romance writer! Pinch, pinch. Today on the radio, the disc jockey was having a hard time saying “The Cardinals are going to the Superbowl!” Did I mention I'm from Arizona. Go Cardinals! Me, I don’t have a hard time saying, “I’m a romance… wait. I’m a published romance writer!”
How I stumbled into writing suspense... I didn’t stumble. I staggered. My first three published books were all contemporary romances. Then, there were two historicals. Then, a few more contemporaries… and mysteries kept sneaking into the contemporaries and historicals and the editor kept saying, "Pam, cut this..."
My favorite suspense book I wrote and why... Pursuit of Justice. I started it eight years ago. Eight! From the first page it had a different feel. Smooth, engaging. I knew I was doing something right. Every time I started working on it, I sold something else. Finally, I got an agent (Hello, Steve Laube!) and he sold it before it was finished. I got to finish it. It (and God) took me to the RITA awards.
My favorite suspense book I read and why... It’s Walking After Midnight by Karen Robards. I love the premise. A janitoress, cleaning in a funeral home, and a dead body that’s not really dead. A chase scene. And the heroine takes her cat. There’s suspense and humor. My critique group and just about everyone else keeps making me take the humor out of my suspenses. See, I watch CSI when I’m deep into the suspense. But, all the other times, I’m watching The Gilmore Girls. Sometimes my humor gets cutesy instead of snarky. Bad Pam.
All About Others:
1. My favorite author is.. Wow, there are so many! And since I’m afraid I’ll leave someone out, here they are in tiny, tiny, print. ( ) Wow, I didn't know you could make print that tiny. I’m sure your name is here.
2. My best writing friend is... Cathy McDavid has been beside me from the start. And, our careers pretty much parallel each others. She's my rock. Then, of course, I have Lisa Mondello, Roz Denny Fox, Georgina Devon, Kim Watters, Patti Osback, and the Craftie Ladies!
3. My most loyal fan is... Right now, Wendy Lemme. She helped critique my January 2009 Love Inspired Romance Daddy for Keeps. I put her in the dedication, and she bought 16 books! Hmmm, if I put Obama in the dedication, you think he’ll buy a lot of books? Then, there's Lynn Rush, an up and coming writer who is part of my local ACFW group. She's fan, friend, and a bit more.
The funniest thing that's ever happened to me because I'm a writer... I once scared a bunch of hotel maids because I was busy drawing the executive suite trying to get itin my brain for a book I was working on (picture me with a notebook and pencil scribbling like crazy while they cleaned). They thought I was immigration.
The craziest thing I've done gathering research for a novel is.... I called about ten funeral homes trying to find out when bedding was added to caskets.
A real life murder (crime) that fascinates me is/was.... Charles Starkweather.
Finally, I'm excited about this blog because... I get to know other LIS authors, not only do I get to know them, but they’re becoming friends. Okay, Lisa wants to be family! I’m learning so much from them. Plus, some of the LIS readers are becoming pals. I love this blog!
Have a great day. I need to take my old body and check on my preschool and maybe, just maybe, I'll get a little farther in that RITA book I'm judging. (Eight! I got eight!)