1). How has the experience of publishing _Widow on the World_ surprised you? What about the experience has stood out from your other writing endeavours?
I've been surprised at how excited I have been with each step along the way - from the acceptance of the manuscript for publication by Transita, to the moment I held the actual copy of the book in my hand. It's been lovely that all my family and friends have shared the excitement. I've been very touched by the interest and positive comments I've received from strangers as well as friends (also by the kind reviews, including yours!) To be honest I thought my experiences of life - including the fact that I was widowed twice in seven years - meant I would find it impossible to get excited about anything ever again. It just goes to show how wrong I was!
What has stood out most about the experience of seeing Widow on the World published and available in shops and libraries has been the much greater interest generally. My two previously published novels were romances and mainly available in libraries only. There was little publicity generated apart from local interest. Apart from that my short fiction has been published by women's magazine nationally - that was how I started out as a writer around twenty years ago. I really enjoyed seeing my stories in print, but have to say having a book published has a whole new feel to it. So much of yourself and your experiences goes into the writing of a book, I think.
2). What writing projects are you working on currently?
I'm currently working on a new book and am nearing the end of the first draft. It focusses on family relationships as Widow on the World did, but I think it is very different. I've given the characters a whole new set of problems. I'm looking forward to the polishing and editing which I love. I write poetry all the time - mainly for my family and friends - and still write the odd short story and a few articles.
3). Do you practice any writing rituals?
Apart from procrastinating, you mean?! (Most writers' favourite pastime)
I used to handwrite everything in the early days because I couldn't type, which meant I could write anywhere. My daughter, who was a teenager then, used to type it up. Now I write on a computer and find I can't write anywhere else.
I like to start with a rough outline and perhaps an opening line. The characters must be named first and then I look for a picture that matches the one I have in my head of that person very closely. Next comes a character sketch, including the vehicle they will drive and I find the house they will live in in property pages.
If I get stuck at any point I will walk the dog or do the ironing and rush back to work when the next bit comes to me.
4). What have you been reading lately? Is there anything you're reading now, or have read recently, that's impressed you?
I've read several Transita books lately including 'The Dangerous Sports Euthanasia Society' by Christine Coleman, 'Uphill All The Way,' by Sue Moorcroft and 'Scuba Dancing' by Nicola Slade. I enjoyed them all. Presently I'm reading 'The Thirteenth Tale' by Diane Setterfield, which has been loaned to me by my boss at Bournemouth University, and which he insisted I must read as he 'couldn't put it down.' I couldn't believe it when I saw you had reviewed it on Bluestalking and I forwarded the review on to him. I've only just started 'The Thirteenth Tale' but I'm hooked already.
One of my favourite authors of all time is LaVyrle Spencer, the American author, who I think writes the best romance ever. Unfortunately, I think she has now retired. I do miss the book a year that used to be published in England around Christmas time each year.
Basically, I just love books, and though writing myself means I don't get the chance to read as much as I'd like these days, I do always have a book on the go and it doesn't have to be fiction.
5). Aside from writing and reading, what else do you feel passionately about?
I feel passionately about my family and friends (and my pets). Without them it would have been very difficult to sustain the positive attitude that has got me through some very difficult times in my life.
I hate cruelty of any kind, particularly when it involves children and animals.
I love my job and my home and I feel passionately that life is for living and we are here to be happy.
6). Do you have a favourite quotation, or perhaps just a few words, you feel sums up your philosophy on life?
'God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.'
I have no idea where that came from but I've tried to make that my philosophy and it seems to be working for me.
7). If you were marooned on a island, stuck on an elevator, or otherwise cut off from society, what one book would you want to have with you?
Now, that is a difficult one! I love so many books and many of them I would be happy to read over and over again. I plan to do just that when I am too old to do anything else and will have lots of time on my hands. I guess it would be 'Gone With The Wind' by Margaret Mitchell, which is a great romance and a real page turner, with believable characters who are very human and get things wrong - just like the rest of us.
8). What memories do you have, from your childhood, about your experiences in public libraries? Did they play a role at all in your love of books and reading?
When I was a child we lived right across the street from a public library - just how great was that? My mother was a great reader herself and took us (my two sisters and me) with her to choose books from a very early age. As soon as I was old enough I went there on my own (as did my sisters) and I quickly worked my way through the children's section and just kept going! It was like treasure trove to me.
When I had my own children (two boys and a girl) the whole process was repeated with them, and now my grandchildren bring piles of books home from the library, too. I think a love of reading is the greatest gift you can give to a child.
Libraries gave me a taste for seeing a pile of books beside the bed waiting to be read. I still can't bear to be even close to running out of reading material. I could live without a lot of things, but I don't think that I could live without books.
When I started writing, the librarians - who knew me well - got totally involved, helping with research material, and advising on publishers. It was such a thrill to see my own books on the very shelves I had spent so much time perusing. It was also a librarian who encouraged me to give my first talk and that was a sell-out!
Yes, libraries certainly played a huge part in developing my love of books and reading. My parents weren't well off, and as a family we wouldn't have had the means to go out and buy even a fraction of the books we had access to through the library. I have wonderful memories of the hours I spent in what was pretty much my second home, and I'm happy to say that little old library is still standing today.
Pamela Fudge's book Widow on the World was published by Transita in April 2006.
My review of Widow on the World (A Novel About the Stages in a Woman's Life) was featured here on July 12, 2006.