Interview with Pam Garlick

When and why did you begin writing?

I was twelve years old and wrote silly kids stories about upside-down statues and mysterious glacier movement.  Funny when you consider how far off base i was in my thinking.  Instead of growing glaciers threatening the lower 48 today we have glaciers melting.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I considered myself a writer even before I was first published.  I seemed to always know that was what I wanted to be.  At least since I was 12.  I stuck to it and finally, after taking many classes on writing, i listened to one tidbit of advice, and started to write non-fiction – mostly newspaper articles.  That was when i knew my dream was coming true.

What inspired you to write your book Into the Fire?

Novels were the first things i wrote after the children’s stories I mentioned above.  I had so many characters and plots going through my mind I hardly knew which ones to work on.  I still do, but I write down my ideas and get back to the project that is currently in the works.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Friends say they know when they are reading something of mine, so I guess I have a style.  I like to call it “my way,” because I try not to follow a formula. 

How did you come up with the title?

When I started writing “Into the Fire,” I came up with the title because of my involvement with the fire service as a fire police officer.  That’s a clue about the character in the novel that’s most like me, although the main character, lacy, is what I wish i were.

How much of the book is realistic?

A lot of the characters in the novel are based on actual people I’ve worked with when I was in the fire service.  The plot, of course, is pure fiction.  The things going on within the fire department are also very accurate to real life.  I even had readers check some of the procedures and techniques I used in the story for accuracy.  So, I guess you’d say it’s probably 50/50 real life and fiction.

Unfortunately some of the events are similar to those that have happened in my life; however not any of the driving forces of the main character.  I say unfortunately because I saw things happen — personality and philosophical differences — that weren’t quite as flattering to the ‘everyday hero,’ image. 

What will readers take away from your book?

My hope is that they will close the book with a warm fuzzy feeling.  What I hope they take away is that there is calm after the storm, but you need to have faith. You are never alone while going through that storm.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I’m embarrassed to say with moving and everything going on in my life, i haven’t been reading.  However, she’ll probably be embarrassed, but I see great potential in a woman who writes way out of my genre, Jennifer Stack.  She has started a novel about a dark work that has me begging her to write more – and trust me that’s saying a lot because as I said I’m not into that genre.  She is also a fantastic artist and i am trying to get her to combine her two skills into a graphic novel.  It would be fabulous!  I’d buy stock in her future.

What are your current projects?

Many years ago while working for the newspaper i covered a native american dance troupe.  They impressed me tremendously.  However, it wasn’t until one night after praying for guidance in my life, a plot came to me that i still call divine guidance.  That is the novel I am currently working on, with much to do to maintain accuracy and show my respect for the people in the story.  You can guess there are Native American characters, and there is the Christian perspective.  It is requiring a lot of research into the South Dakota reservation where it takes place.  It is a very poverty stricken area with one of the lowest income levels in the country.  This impacts greatly on the people, often in a negative way.  I hope to show both sides of this great nation.  That’s all I’ll say about ‘Father’s Legacy” for now.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

“Into the Fire,” is just the way I wanted: a glimpse into the real world of the emergency service.  There are ‘everyday heroes,” and Lacy is one of them.  The second in the series “rescued hearts,” tells Annie’s story.  Once readers meet Annie in “Into the Fire,” I am certain they will want to see what happens to her next.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Stick with it, persevere.  Practice your craft. And be patient because success rarely comes overnight.

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