Today I welcome to my blog, Pam Line, whose flash collection, Between the Lines we published recently.
So Pam, can you tell me why you write?
Why do I write? I have asked myself this many times as it can be a cathartic occupation. For many years life has been hectic making a living keeping the wheels on the cart and generally enjoying the world of discovery. Now that I have some spare time the urge to chronicle my roller coaster existence is something that I want to share.Assuming that anyone is interested!
Do you have a dedicated work space?
My work space is at the dining room table looking over the valley towards Burley Woodhead, and the moors in one direction, Bradford the other and in the far distance Haworth, with red kites and kestrels entertaining me with their acrobatic skills. I'm easily distracted.
Tell me abut your writing process
When a tale or idea comes to mind words tumble out in a slapdash fashion before the impetus leaves. Friends offer gentle criticism and advice especially when it comes to punctuation, the learning of which seems to have passed me by at Oaklands School for Girls. It was more of a place to prepare one to care for a husband, domestic science, how to iron a shirt, speak correctly and play a mean game of hockey.
Do you have any plans for any new work?
Writing a novel wouldn't be me. There have been one or two false starts but when reading Steinbeck, (I cry buckets) and Hemingway, (whom I admire) I realise that, what I have done and seen is my metier. Kate Atkinson is one of the few modern writers who has managed to avoid extraneous back stories that distract the reader. (and gives me a legitimate reason to use parenthesis.)
Book two of short stories is almost ready and my memoir Unhappeningness will shock one or two,[Mother would have a throm] and will have to start looking for a publisher
And now can you tell us about Between the Lines?
Between The Lines available from Chapeltown Books and Amazon and with reviews on Good Reads, came into being through the auspices of Gill. Seven of the stories are true, one a tribute to Hemingway and the remaining four are hearsay.
I decided to write to my hero, Alan Bennett:
Dear Mr Bennett,
My Mother is 99, her sole purpose being to clog on until December, get a letter from HM Queen and keep Sanatogen wine in business.
The enclosed book/pamphlet, of which I am inordinately proud, I thought she might enjoy reading.
‘Oh, what a lovely cover. I’ll read this when I can find my glasses.’ She said and went back to watching an episode of Cash in the Attic.
A few days later I arrived at Mothers, with the usual hugging of shopping and a carrier bag full of lotions and potions. Having cleaned, made her lunch and meals for the coming days, I asked tentatively if she had enjoyed my stories.
She sat up ramrod straight, placing her hands on the arms of her wheelchair, and rather like the Queen said,
‘I am disgusted with you. Your father and I did not bring you up to speak broad Yorkshire, and as for, ‘She was up the duff,’ were you talking about me? I have never heard such disgusting language.’
And with her nose in the air, she did a swift three-point turn and glid towards her bedroom.
I thought that I would share this with you.
p.s. A few years ago I was early for a talk that you were giving for Script Yorkshire. I was in the bar underneath the Carriageworks and had settled down with a drink when you came by looking for the route to the box office. I dashed after you, made a fuss getting you to the right place. You said that the train was late, and you felt discombobulated, so was I, as it is the first time in my life that I’ve abandoned a pint of Tetleys."
I’ve received a postcard from Mr Bennet.
"This is a thank you for your very enjoyable stories, the dialogue of which makes me laugh. [You can tell you’re your mother] and you’re better at plots than I am
Thank you, Alan Bennett."
A more encouraging response than from the local librarian:
At my local library I mentioned that I had a book out if they were interested, thinking that it could lead to me giving a talk and selling dozens of copies. The librarian said, 'Really.' and went back to whatever she was doing on her computer?
Time, then now, to don a warm coat and furry hat to walk Blossom the Dog to Otley via the Chevin; there's bound to be a story waiting to happen.
Pam Line is very modest about her achievements. The fact that she managed to get through four husbands, run a restaurant in Spain basically single-handed (hubby three was more of a hindrance) can insulate a roof and install a bathroom come way down the list. One of her advantages as a writer is that she has plenty of back-story to rely on, and some of it is even printable. Another is that she has a lovely flair for capturing dialogue, seeing the funny side of life and (practically) always remaining up-beat. Read her stories and you'll find a slow smile will start forming on your face. Yes, you'll say - life's like that.
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