Interview: Pamela S. Thibodeaux, Romance Writer
Meet Pamela S. Thibodeaux
Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as,“Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”
The blurb from her most recent novel, The Visionary, reads: "A visionary is someone who sees into the future. Taylor Forrestier sees into the past but only as it pertains to her work. Hailed by her peers as 'a visionary with an instinct for beauty and an eye for the unique,' Taylor is undoubtedly a brilliant architect and gifted designer. But she and her twin brother, Trevor, share more than a successful business. The two share a childhood wrought with lies and deceit and the kind of abuse that’s disturbingly prevalent in today’s society. Can the love of God and the awesome healing power of His grace and mercy free the twins from their past and open their hearts to the good plan and the future He has for their lives? Find out in…The Visionary ~ Where the power of God's love heals the most wounded of souls."
Ms. Thibodeaux has kindly agreed to be interviewed at this site. Read on for some insights into the mind of the writer of The Visionary.
And... to whet your appetite, there's a bit of a sneak peek (by way of an extract from the novel) below as well.
SB: Your writing has a reputation for being a little edgier than much inspirational writing. Why do you think you tend toward edginess?
PST: When I started writing nearly 30 yrs. ago in 5-subject notebooks, I wrote romance. Plain and simple. In 1989 I recommitted my life to Christ and committed my writing to HIM, praying that I never write “just another romance.” I still wrote pretty steamy romance but the characters’ faith became an integral part of the story. When I was ready to submit, I went to the library and researched, writing down prospective publishers on an index card to put in a file so I could keep track of the submissions. Back then the process was still hard copy via US Postal Service. I had no idea there was a Christian market, CBA, or guidelines. I submitted a novel to a Christian publisher and received a nice rejection with a copy of their guidelines..... heroine could not be portrayed in her night gown, no curse words or even euphemisms such as “shuck”, “heck” or “darn”, chaste kisses, etc. Well I broke ALL of those within the first three chapters LOL! but I discovered the CBA market so I started reading those books.
I began revising & toning down to where I hardly recognized my own story and trying to fit in a market I am clearly not called to write for. When my debut novel, Tempered Hearts was finally accepted by an E-publisher, my writing was tagged as “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™due to the “gritty realism” portrayed and the fact that I didn’t gloss over or hide the characters’ passionate embraces, yet still stayed within Biblical principles. The tagline has remained true for all of my work and I’m still not called to write the “chaste” romances traditional CBA publishers are known for. All this is not to say what I write is better, only different ~ everything that gives God glory deserves to be praised!
SB: How do you balance the demands of "inspiration" and "entertainment" in your writing? Is this something you think about consciously, or do you let it work itself out naturally?
PST: I am a SOTP writer so when I begin a story it is with neither in mind, but since some of my stories deal with weighty issues such as child abuse or domestic violence, it’s hard to say if there is a balance and how it plays out in the novel. As for being concerned that my story be more entertaining and less preachy - I balance that by making sure God is as real to the characters as HE is to me.
SB: Are you a part of a writers' circle? If so, can you let us in on who else forms a part of the group? What would a typical meeting of your group look like?
PST: Although I am the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group. I do not belong to any single group where I attend meetings on a regular basis.
SB: You write both fiction and nonfiction. Does your writing process for each differ, or do you find the two genres to be very similar?
PST: My non-fiction usually develops the same way my fiction does, begins with an idea and I write until I feel the topic is fleshed out and the article, essay or book is complete.
SB: How did you first break into the Christian fiction market? Would you recommend other writers take the same path, or has hindsight made you feel there might have been a better way of going about it?
PST: Since I am not published in the traditional Christian fiction market, I’m not sure I am qualified to advise authors on the best path. But I will say this...if you want to write for the traditional market, then read, read, read! Get the guidelines and follow them to the letter. Same goes if you want to write from a Christian worldview for the general market. That said, stay true to your voice and you own unique style and let God take care of the details.
SB: Of all the books you've never read, name five that you hope to read before you die.
PST: This is a tough one because if I want to read something badly enough, I’ll buy it or if push comes to shove, check it out from the library.
SB: Would you be more likely to set a story in the distant past or the distant future, if you had to choose between the two? Why?
PST: Would have to be the distant past because I have a tough enough time focusing on the here and now to worry about what the world will be like in the future. Besides, when dealing with the past what you don’t know, you can research whereas the future is only speculation.
SB: If you had to choose between two punishments, would you rather endure lifelong exile from the country of your birth or confinement to a 50-mile radius from your place of birth?
PST: 50-mile radius from place of birth because there’s no place like home.
SB: What is the most egregious mistake a writer can make?
PST: Being arrogant enough to think your story is the best ever written - the world is full of great books and exceptional authors. Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t believe in yourself and your talent, what I am saying is you should stay open to constructive criticism, stay flexible to changing guidelines and respectful of your editors opinions (not all publishers edit the same), be teachable and continue to hone your craft.
SB: Was there a question you were hoping I'd ask that hasn't yet come up in our interview?
PST: Not really but if I may, I’d like to take a moment to tell you about my online magazine, The Wordsmith Journal ~ The Premier Magazine for Lovers of the Written Word. TWJM is designed to introduce readers to writers of Christian fiction and clean, wholesome, books within the general market that have a strong moral message. The Wordsmith Journal is updated monthly and is recreated as a pdf and offered as a free download from the site, on ISSUU.com and available on Kindle and Nook for only $0.99!
SB: What can readers look for next from Pamela Thibodeaux?
PST: Currently I’ve submitted a WF novel, Circles of Fate and I’m working on another titled My Heart Weeps. I also have a short story, Lori’s Redemption that needs some strengthening so I can re-submit it and I have several other WIP’s in various stages of development.
Excerpt from The Visionary
“Thank you for taking such good care of me.”
“I’m not through yet,” he mumbled, then slid off the couch and swung her up in his arms.
Fear snuck in, darkening her eyes. She stiffened and opened her mouth to protest. He brushed his lips over hers and silenced her objections.
“I just want to hold you,” he whispered and laid his forehead against hers. “That’s all. I promise,” he added, unable to camouflage the need in his voice.
He’d offered her another step to relinquish her fear and trust him. Triumph lit his expressive eyes when she wrapped her arm around his neck, smiled, and whispered, “Okay,” then snuggled her face against his shoulder and let him carry her to the bedroom.
With exquisite tenderness, he laid her on the bed, crawled up beside her, and took her in his arms. Taylor felt the strength of his need in the heat and tensed against the hardness of his body. He eased his grip and propped up on one elbow beside her. His eyes pleaded for grace when he stroked the hair off her face and said in a soft, husky voice, “Please don’t be afraid of me; please trust me. I will never force or even persuade you to give more than you’re ready to.”
They gazed at each other for a long, tender moment. She cupped his cheek in her hand, brushed her thumb over his mouth, then curled her fingers in his hair and urged his head down to fasten her lips to his. A low moan escaped his throat, yet he held himself taut.
Taylor ran her hand over his shoulder and back in a soft caress then wrapped her arms around his waist. “Hold me, Alex, I trust you.”
The emotions reflected in his tone caressed her heart when he thanked her in that beautiful velvety-rough voice. He rolled onto his back, pulled the covers over her, and held her while she slept.
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