As you write fiction, what’s your goal?
Mostly, I want them to be entertained. If the book has a message, it’s that love is a choice. I’m also trying to glorify God here, but without being preachy about it. My main character Karen gave up on God years ago, but over the course of the book she starts to reconsider and remembers some of the things she learned as a child. One of my side characters is a staunch Christian, and she’s fun. “God promised never to flood the Earth again; never said nothing about a zombie apocalypse. Don’t you worry, though; He’ll fix it.”
How do you find inspiration and stay on track?
I’m always looking for new ways to keep myself on track. I’m a big fan of tracking word count (in my day job, I’m an accountant, so I make spreadsheets for everything). I set deadlines for myself (must finish first draft by the end of this month!). I try to take advantage of “found time” when I’m not able to do other things. Every week last summer, I had to drive my daughter to an activity, and then hang out for two hours until it was over. It was too far to drive home, so I brought my laptop along and hung out at a nearby library. Got a lot of editing done that way. Also, I whine on Facebook in hopes that people will tell me to shut up and get to work.
For inspiration… I listen to the voices. Of the characters, I mean 😊 Being a writer is like having really pushy invisible friends. It helps to have characters you love, even when it’s difficult. Plus, I have to get to the end or they’ll never leave me alone! I also listen to music; every story has a soundtrack.
Who are your favorite characters in your new novel, Whispers in the Dark?
I love Leo – he’s just so adorable – but I think Karen’s my favorite. She’s a normal person thrust into bizarre circumstances, trying to protect the people she loves. She’s brave and kind and a bit snarky. She’s strong but in a feminine way, you know? She’s not Buffy, she’s not even going to try to beat anyone up. But she connects on an emotional level and sees the best in people – even in Leo, who is technically a monster. That kindness allows her to nurture Leo, to help him grow and recover. She doesn’t give up. When it’s something important, even when it seems hopeless, she keeps loving and trying.
What’s coming next?
I want to get back to a series of sci-fi books that I’ve been working on. It’s adventure and romance – not exactly comedy but not dark, either – with political intrigue and shifting loyalties, in a universe I came up with when I was in high school (mumble-decades ago). When I first attempted NaNoWriMo in 2013, I wanted to really explore that world. It’s a future-history thing, and I realized I needed to lay a lot of groundwork. It wasn’t until the fourth book, in 2016, that I (finally!) caught up with my original characters.
I have so much fun with some of the situations and dialogue (I crack myself up). I like romance but I stumbled onto a pretty fun bromance, along the way – Marcus and Robert start out enemies, work together, find they enjoy insulting each other and end up besties. Marcus and Val get together in book #1, Robert and Crystal get together in book #2 and the four of them have continuing adventures in book #3. Book #4 then jumps about eighty years ahead, which is where I get to Paula & Steve, from my teenage years, and Rafael, who showed up out of nowhere last fall. Those three will be continuing into book #5, whenever I get that written. The plots, though, are… well… they need work. I’ll most likely self-publish, once I get them into good enough shape.
Hit my website for more details! http://www.PamJernigan.com.