Welcome to Clubhouse Chat page. Those of you who are not a member won’t be aware that the location of the Clubhouse is shrouded in mystery. The only way to visit it is via membership or an invite to the tearoom. Every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation with all sort of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers. Over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, I shall be chatting with my guest about their work in progress, or latest book release.
Today I’m chatting to Pamela Fudge in the clubhouse tearoom. Welcome.
Thank you for the invite, Paula. This tearoom is rather special. 😊
Yes it is. Now we have our drinks may I start by asking you when you first begun your writing journey what drew you to your chosen genre?
I started my writing life back in the 80s as a published author of short stories and, only after 5 years of success in women’s magazines, did I feel accomplished enough to take the step into trying my hand at novels and, only then, because all the writers I knew seemed to be doing that with varying amounts of success. Initially I just wanted to see if I could. My early efforts were romantic novels and simply because, back then, they were the shortest books at 50,000 words that you could actually get published. After couple of successes in that genre I tried my hand briefly with sagas, saucy and psychological thrillers. Only when I decided to write the type of novel that I liked to read myself – contemporary family fiction – did I find my niche and the rest, as they say, is history.
How many unfinished projects do you have on your computer?
Interesting to count them up! I discovered I have six full or part novels languishing on my computer and they have been there for many years. There would have been many more but, over the years, I have rewritten quite a few that were eventually published. Thankfully, in time I reached a point in my writing life when every novel started was completed and published.
Do you write a synopsis first or write the first chapter, or let the characters lead you?
I start with two main characters and a very rough idea of the plot and then I gradually build on that. I never know quite how the story will develop or how it will end – I do let the characters lead me and they introduce new characters and all the twists and turns I could wish for as the book develops.
Were any of your characters inspired by real people?
I try very hard NOT to use real people as inspiration. Although a cousin of mine always swore I used family members that could not be further from the truth. I do write about family life, but I go out of my way not to use my family or any of the scenarios they would be familiar with. Having said that, I often have readers tell me that something in one of my books happened to them. The closest I ever came to using a real people were when the hero in my first romance was based heavily on my late husband in his looks and the fact that he was a builder, too, and that was Eddie’s idea and the book was dedicated to him as well. This was long before his death and he was thrilled to bits! I used my own experiences of being a widow in Widow on the World but feelings rather than scenarios. Another example was the ex-husband of a friend of mine who was rather controlling and always wore grey or beige. He did make an appearance in A Blessing in Disguise but I’m confident he wouldn’t recognise himself, if he ever bothered to read the book. I can’t think of any others and I prefer to use my imagination.
What did you learn when writing your book? In writing it, how much research did you do?
In any book I write I don’t research until it becomes necessary and I do thank Google from the bottom of my heart for making research so much easier! The reason I’ve never attempted writing an historical novel is my dislike of research.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I got far more writing done when I was working. In those days I would arrive home, walk my dogs (I’ve always had dogs) and then I would sit down and write. I’ve never really plotted or tried to work from a synopsis, everything just develops as I write, and my imagination rarely lets me down. My work schedule is far more free-and-easy now that I’ve retired, and I am easily tempted away from my computer by family members and dear friends. I’m older now and live alone, so I realise the importance of getting out and enjoying company. Lockdown is good at focussing my mind, however, and I love the fact that I am never bored because I am a writer – and a reader.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I did consider writing under a pseudonym, but I decided right back in my short story writing days that if I was going to have 5 minutes of fame, I was going to enjoy it under my own name. I would have preferred my writing name to be Pam Fudge, but publishers always favoured Pamela because of the shorter surname, so Pamela it has always been. I have a close friend who is also a writer, and she bitterly regrets now that she always used a pseudonym – but it is a matter of choice, of course.
How do you select the names of your characters? Do you know everything about them before you start writing their story?
Personally, I use a book of baby names and I carefully avoid the names of people I know well. I don’t know much at all about the characters to start with, but their back story emerges as I write and often dictates the way the story goes. I find it fascinating!
What was your hardest scene to write?
The hardest scene I had to write was the way the news of the death of a character was delivered to the main character in A Blessing in Disguise. I used my own experience of when I was told of the sudden death of my second husband when I was at home by myself and then was left alone and in shock to deal with that.
How long on average does it take you to write a book? I often used to write two short stories in a day. I never timed myself regarding writing a novel until I was asked that same question for an article. The novel I wrote that year took 10 months from start to edited finish and it was subsequently published. I always aimed for a novel a year and the length usually averaged 80,000 words.
Thank you for joining me today, Pam. When you’re ready to leave please let Brutus know, and he will drive you to the destination of your choice.
If you want to find out more about Clubhouse Member’s Books don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops too.