Hi and welcome to my stop on Pamela Holmes’s Wyld Dreamers blog tour with Urbane Publications and Love Books Group Tours 🙂
Interview with Pamela Holmes…..
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
My name is Pamela Holmes and I’m a writer of short stories and novels. I live in London have two sons, travel by bike, grow food on an allotment and sing in a band.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
For my first book, I was inspired by a vicar’s wife. I didn’t actually meet this woman. She died in 1868. But when I saw what she’d done – painted an incredible ceiling with golden angels and leaping seraphs on the ceiling of a tiny church in Suffolk, I was inspired. This wasn’t a casual dabble dashed off on a wet Tuesday. I’d always written, worked as a journalist for print and TV, songs for my band, bits of this, scraps of that. But seeing her achievement and the resolve it demonstrated, flicked a switch somewhere inside. Two years later, I’d written The Huntingfield Paintress, the story of what drove Mildred Holland up the ladder.
I was soon on to my second book for there were subjects I wanted to tackle. One was about how a young woman coped with her mother’s death. My mother died when I was 16 and it changed my life; that goes without saying. The character in Wyld Dreamers is most definitely not me but some of Amy’s reactions draws on my experience. I’m also fascinated by secrets. When they’re revealed – which they inevitably are – relationships that seemed unbreakable can implode. On the other hand, coming out with truth can also heal and deepen the bonds between people.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
You can only write about what you know. All my characters are based on people I’ve met but so vaguely that no one would see themselves. Characters are a mish-mash of personalities, a patchwork of motivations and reactions of the people I talk to, see on TV or hear about on the radio, sprinkled with imagination.
How do you pick your characters’ names?
I change my character’s names as I write. At first, the name I use just pops into my mind. But as the characters begin to live and love, their name might start to feel wrong, somehow. Then I have to listen for other names. I always carry a notebook. When I come across a name or combination of a first and a surname that seems just right, I’ll write it down. I used to assume I’d remember everything because it seems perfect. But that’s not proved to be the case.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
They key is to slip from bed when my body is barely awake but my brain is clear and constructive. Sipping weak Earl Grey tea, I sit at my computer and, on a good day, write until lunchtime. The afternoon is when I think about plot and how the action or scenes fit together. I’m useless by tea time. I might review and edit what I’ve written before supper.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
I have just read and loved the touching novella West by Carys Davies, the enthralling short stories in Bad Dreams by Tessa Hadley and Aftershocks by AN Wilson, a novel of earthquakes and true love. These authors are my favourites at the moment. I often turn to Elizabeth Strout for her piercing prose and Ian McEwan for his brilliant stories.
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I’d be fascinated to meet Charles Dickens and to hear about his varied life as a writer, social commentator and journalist. In particular, I’d ask him to describe the process of characterisation and how he creates people we can care and feel about so strongly.
Were you a big reader as a child?
In US kindergarten (as the first class was called) we were given books about two children, Dick and Jane. ‘Go away, Spot’ was the book that taught me to read. The front of the book showed Spot with the hose in his mouth, spraying Dick with water. Hilarious, I thought. Then one day I found could read the words and I fell off the little stool I was sitting on.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
There’s so many books I could mention but I’ll say Small Island by Andrea Levy which is a racism and the power of love which everyone should read, or Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier (not because it’s set in Charleston South Carolina where I was born), which is about a love that is strong enough to drive a soldier, wounded in an appalling civil war, home to his woman.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
I have a website with a sign-up box which I’d ask anyone interested to use to get in contact. Or they can contact me or my agent by email. I love having contact with readers, hearing what they think and what they enjoy reading, too.
In the ‘blog’ section of my website, I also mention events and talks I’m doing. I love to meet readers in person.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Pamela 🙂
In the summer of 1972, a group of friends is invited to Somerset to help photographer Seymour Stratton renovate a dilapidated cottage on Wyld Farm. Over the next year the group come to regard the farm as offering them a place to be for the rest of their lives, to enjoy ‘the good life’. But despite the commitment and camaraderie the rural idyll collapses.
Twenty-five years later, the group is brought together again in unexpected circumstances. Can events of the past be forgotten? Or will the secrets that are revealed devastate once unbreakable friendships?
Happy reading 🙂