Sunday, December 19, 2010
Interview: Pamela Turner
Today, I have the honour of sitting down with Pamela Turner, the author of Death Sword, a paranormal romance coming soon from Lyrical Press, Inc.
Let's get down to business!
Clara: Tell us a bit about your book.
Pamela: Death Sword is about a young woman, Karla Black, who learns she’s a half-human angel of death. But her new boss, Samael, resents her relationship with her partner, Xariel, who happens to be Samael’s ex-lover. When Samael takes his hatred to a higher level, Karla and Xariel vow to stop him. The problem? They’ve lost their powers and are facing a relentless angel of death who wields a poisonous rapier capable of killing both humans and angels.
Clara: What led you to choose angels as the subject for this book? How was the idea born?
Pamela: Angels have fascinated me for years. We tend to humanize them, downplaying their power. There’s often an incongruity between how we perceive them and their true appearances. For example, we usually see them with wings and kind, beatific expressions. But the Ophanim, for example, appear as wheels with many eyes. The archangel Raphael turns into a dragon-like beast so he can move through the underworld. Azrael is said to have 70,000 feet and 40,000 wings while Metatron’s size and height, according to the Zohar, “equal to the breadth of the whole world.”
Honestly, I don’t remember how the idea for Death Sword was born. I’m somewhat obsessed with death and I suppose my interest in angels, particularly the fallen angels and angels of death and vengeance, was instrumental in bringing the two ideas together. :)
Clara: From your blog, you seem to have done extensive research on angels. Exactly how much time did you put into the research for Death Sword?
Pamela: Hard to say. At least a couple of years. I started Death Sword for National Novel Writing Month in 2008 and it was accepted for publication in March 2010. I’ve compiled research on particular angels from various resources, particularly A Dictionary of Angels, Including the Fallen Angels (Gustav Davidson), Angels A to Z (James R. Lewis & Evelyn Dorothy Oliver), The Book of Angels (Ruth Thompson, L.A. Williams, and Renae Taylor), and The Encyclopedia of Angels (Rosemary Ellen Guiley). I recently became aware of Malcolm Godwin’s Angels: An Endangered Species which I plan to add to my research collection.
Clara: Share an interesting legend and/or fact about angels with us.
Pamela: According to Angels: An Endangered Species, “The term angel derives from a Greek translation of the original Hebrew mal’akh, which originally meant the ‘Shadow side of God,’ but later came to mean messenger.”
Clara: That is fascinating. Just the image starts to spur the imagination :)
Was there ever a point where you were afraid your dreams of being published wouldn't come about?
Pamela: Of course. I sometimes regret waiting so long. (I’ve published freelance articles and reviews but Death Sword is my first book.) I wish I had had the confidence to submit my work earlier. Then again, maybe it’s a good idea I waited. :)
Clara: What (so far) has been the best part of the writing and publishing process? What has been the worst?
Pamela: The best part was watching my manuscript improve as I worked with my content editor and my line editor. And there’s something magical about seeing your cover for the first time. With each step (cover, ISBN, galley), you know you’re getting closer to publication.
There really hasn’t been a “worst” experience. Call me weird but I even enjoy mundane jobs like revising.
Clara: Do you have any favourite characters, from this book or from any others you're working on?
Pamela: Xariel’s my favorite. He’s endured a lot, including being the victim of a sex curse and losing his wife to suicide. That’s probably why he feels such a strong sense of responsibility toward Karla and wants to protect her from Samael. Like my other angels, he’s not perfect. He tends to drink and swear too much, but he really cares about people.
Clara: Which writers have inspired/influenced your work?
Pamela: Let’s see... I’ve read several authors but these are the ones who’ve influenced me the most: Robert Arthur, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Madeleine L’Engle, Phyllis A. Whitney (YA mysteries), Stephen King, and Albert Camus. (I might be forgetting a few.) They’ve all had an impact on my writing even if in a very indirect way. They also inspired my love of mysteries, fantasies, and horror.
Clara: What do you do to overcome writer's block?
Pamela: Deadlines are a great antidote to writer’s block. LOL Seriously, though, I like working on several projects at the same time. If I get stuck on one, I move to another. Sometimes I read the Tarot cards to help me work through a particular problem. If I simply can’t focus, I step away from the writing to paint, draw, take photographs... When it comes to the last one, I can always say it’s for field research. :)
Clara: Sounds like a good plan to me!
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Pamela: Be patient. Writing is an involved process and if you’re too eager you can fall victim to unscrupulous agents and publishers. Learn about the industry and keep working on perfecting your craft. Write, rewrite, then rewrite some more. Take classes whenever possible. The industry is in a state of constant change and you need to stay current.
Most of all, have fun. If you don’t enjoy the story you’re writing, readers will notice.
All best! Thank you to Clara Hanoux for interviewing me. Much appreciated!
Clara: My pleasure.
Pamela Turner is the author of the upcoming short novel, Death Sword, scheduled to be released by Lyrical Press in January 2011. You can visit her at Haunted Dreams, Dark Destinies or her website.
Come back on Wednesday to hear about Felicity Heaton's new series featuring angels!