{Interview} Pamela Morris, Author of The Witch’s Backbone Talks To Kendall Reviews.

Raised was in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, but forever longs for the white sands of her birthplace in New Mexico, Pamela has always loved mysteries, the macabre, and all things witchy. She proudly embraces her ancestry as a 7-times great-grandniece to Rebecca Towne Nurse who was executed July 19, 1692 for witchcraft in Salem Village, Massachusetts. Pamela is further inspired by such authors as Wilkie Collins, Edgar Allan Poe, Tanith Lee, Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, and Richard Matheson.

When not writing, Pamela tries to watch bad B-Movies and creepy psychological thrillers, take road trips with her husband on the Harley, paint, and spend whatever time she’s given with her two grown children. She’s a self-proclaimed Raven Lunatic who’s doing her best to convince the crows that frequent the back yard that she’s a friend, not a foe.

The Witch’s Backbone (Part 2 – The Murder)

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Independently published (March 3, 2019)

KR: Coffee?

KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?

I was born at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, my dad was in the Army at the time, but I grew up in a small town in the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate NY after dad’s enlistment ended. Back home, as it were. Members of my mother’s family were some of the first settlers in this part of New York State and I’m a descendent of one of the women accused and hung for witchcraft in Salem. I still live in the Upstate NY area I was raised in, though a different small town. I’m pretty much an introvert, though I do like going out to karaoke now and then with my husband – he sings, I just hum along – and to the occasional Bike Night, weather permitting. I love to travel and stop at all those roadside attractions. How else would one get to see the World’s Largest Wooden Rocking Chair?

KR: What do you like to do when not writing?

After not painting for years and years, I finally picked up a paintbrush this past spring and did a painting inspired by Mexican Day of the Dead art. I’ve since done three more, plus several landscape pieces. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed the process. I love to sit back and watch a good, old-fashioned Murder Mystery or Horror flick, too.

KR: What is your favourite childhood book?

There were so many, but I think my favorite would have to be “Heidi” by Johanna Spyri. The copy I have was previously owned by my mother when she was in middle school in the 1950s. I even named one of my cats Heidi in honor of the book’s main character. I’ve read it numerous times and am thinking I need to do so again soon.

KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?

As a teenager, I was a huge fan of KISS and AC/DC and loved all those 80s ‘hair bands’. But, I also had a secret adoration for John Denver and classical, Mozart being my favorite. In my mid- 20s I discovered how much I loved the Blues. In fact, when I want to get down to some serious writing and have a few hours of alone time to do so, it’s to the Blues that I turn. No artists specifically, though you can’t go wrong with Stevie Ray Vaughn or B.B. King or someone like Justin Johnson. I just turn the Blues Channel on and let it play.

KR: Do you have a favourite horror movie/director? 

My favorite Horror movie would have to be The Legend of Hell House, though it runs a close race with the original 1963 version of The Haunting based on Shirley Jackson’s book The Haunting of Hill House. I don’t pay any attention to who directs a film or who stars in it for the most part. I care about the story and how the presentation works for me.

KR: What are you reading now?

I’m deep into Stephen King’s The Outsider and am really enjoying the combination of Horror and Murder Mystery going on. That’s right up my alley.

KR: What was the last great book you read?

I absolutely LOVED Andy Davidson’s In The Valley of the Sun. I can’t recommend it enough! Without giving too much away, Davidson has taken a classic horror monster and given it an amazing twist that really, really worked for me. It was one of those books I couldn’t wait to get back into every time I was forced to put it down.

KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?

Paperback. Light, easy to tuck into my bag, requires no recharging, no light glare to deal with, and I love the feel of a book like that in my hands. I spend way too much time looking at screens for work. Picking up a paperback is definitely a welcome break from technology. It’s true Me-time.

KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?

I was probably first inspired by Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew series. One of the first stories I ever wrote as a kid, at around age 11, was called The Strange Well. Poorly written, but it does have a Nancy Drew feel to it. Years later, I’d discover Tanith Lee’s book Red As Blood which is a series of short and twisted stories based on fairy tales. It inspired me to write a few twisted fairy tales of my own.

KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?

Mostly I wing it. I’m a panster as they call it, but I did have to outline quite a bit when I wrote my two Horror-themed Murder Mysteries. You have to keep track of everyone’s alibis and secrets for those. Keeping it all straight in my head would never have worked out well. I also tend to include a lot of history and genealogy in my books so have written up more than my fair share of fictional family trees to keep it all sorted out properly.

KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Every book is different but, yes, I always do some sort of research depending on the time period the title is set in. My first three novels, erotica titles, were set during the US Civil War so there was a lot of research when it came to where and when battles were happening in the books’ settings. I look at maps and street views as well to makes sure my descriptions of places I’ve never been, or have only been to once or twice, are relatively accurate.

KR: How would you describe your writing style?

As mentioned earlier, I’m a pantster, or what I’ve also heard called an organic writer. I start with a basic seed idea and let it grow organically as I write. I may not have any idea where the plot is going to take me, or I may have a slight idea where I want all of it to end and try to find a way to get there, unruly characters permitting.

KR: Describe your usual writing day?

I wish I had a usual writing day, but being as I work full-time, I have to write when I can. Due to being involved in a motorcycle accident in July, getting a concussion, and breaking my collarbone in the process, I’ve had a lot of time on my hands while at home recovering. After a couple of weeks, I was able to start writing again. I’ve long been a morning writer so after my pain pill and a cup of coffee, I’d get down to it for a few hours. That’s when I’m most creative. Unfortunately, I’ll be heading back to my day job in a couple of weeks and those morning writing sessions will be limited to weekends. I’ll be back to writing for a couple of hours after dinner if I’m awake enough to do so.

KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?

I’ve never been comfortable with writing short stories. I have a few on my website to give folks an idea of my style and have gotten some decent feedback on them, though. I recently published one called Because, Spiders that folks just seem to love – so, I guess that’s my favorite.

KR: Do you read your book reviews?

Every single one of them. I like to know where I excelled and where I fell short and try to use that feedback to improve the next story.

KR: How do you think you’ve developed as an author?

I like to think I’ve learned more about the Show, Don’t Tell rule over the years. I don’t want to be that old woman at a campfire simply telling a story, I want to pull the audience into the world I’ve created and make them forget about everything else going on around them.

KR: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received regarding your writing?

Keep writing. That’s what everyone tells me. You’re really good at it and don’t give up on your dream. Those little boosts from other people have kept me going when I felt like a total fraud and wondered what the point of all this work is. I have to write for myself first and my audience second. If the piece makes me cry or get pissed off, chances are it will have the same effect on a reader – which is what I want.

KR: What scares you?

Loneliness. Seriously. Yes, I’m an introvert and really enjoy my time alone, but – at the end of the day, I need human companionship. Being lonely and having no one to share my life with is my absolute greatest fear in the world – that and spiders. Definitely spiders.

KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?

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In March 2019 I released two titles. My short-story Because, Spiders and Part 2: The Murder, of a set of novels The Witch’s Backbone. The Witch’s Backbone is the third title in my Barnesville Chronicle series that are all set in the fictionalized version of my tiny hometown (population of under 2000). It’s a kind of coming-of-age story where five kids in their early teens decide they’re going to disprove the existence of an old witch and her curse that’s become a local legend over the past hundred years or so. Because, you know, hundred-year-old witch’s and deadly curses are just stupid. What sort of fool would believe in that crap? Unfortunately, the legend has some ideas of her own about these little upstarts.

KR: You can buy Because, Spiders from Amazon UK Amazon US

KR: What are you working on now?

It’s a novel called The Inheritance. I’m a big fan of Gothic Horror; Wilkie Collins, Ann Radcliffe, E.A. Poe, and Daphne du Maurier all interest me. With that in mind, I decided to try my hand at writing something along those lines, keeping with the traditional plotting established by authors like Radcliffe, but bringing it into the present day. Inspired by a trip to West Texas in 2018, I decided it was going to be a Texas Gothic Horror. Sister-Brother twins, Liberty and Choice Hill, are contacted by a lawyer from Alpine, Texas who informs them they may be eligible to inherit 33 million dollars and the family estate that goes with it, but they must meet certain requirements first. Are they interested? Hell, yeah! Of course, once they get to the very isolated location of the ranch and decide to go for it, it turns out not to be quite so easy as they thought. The ranch is haunted by a couple of their ancestors as well as a large group of suitably pissed off Apache. When Choice suddenly comes up missing, Liberty pretty much begins to lose her mind.

KR: You find yourself on a desert island, which three people would you wish to be deserted with you and why?

You can choose…

a) One fictional character from your writing.

The librarian from my Barnesville Chronicles books, Nell Miller. I’d always have someone to talk to about most any subject and I think she’d know enough about a lot of things to be a great deal of help on a wide range of problems we’d face.

b) One fictional character from any other book.

Henrik Kooper from Hunter Shea’s novel Savage Jungle. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s badass and we’re gonna need someone like him to help build structures and kill things for us!

c) One real-life person that is not a family member or friend.

Survivalist Creek Stewart – I think the reasons to bring him along are pretty obvious.

KR: Thank you very much Pamela

Pamela Morris

PamelaWebsite: www.pamelamorrisbooks.com

Facebook Author Page: PamelaMorrisBooks

Amazon Author Page: PamelaMorris_AMZAuthor  

Twitter: pamelamorris65

The Witch’s Backbone (Part 2 – The Murder)

The free-wheeling days of the summer of 1980 are over.

September has inched into October and chilly autumn winds blow through the village of Meyer’s Knob. Four friends sit atop the highest hill they know of. What should be a joyful occasion is one of mourning and sadness, instead. If only they’d known the curse was true, they’d have stayed away. They’d not be standing here sending their friend postmortem birthday wishes.

The curse and the witch that goes with it, are both real and by the end of this particular day, they are going to come to realize their nightmare is nowhere near over. While the friends struggle to overcome their grief, they search for ways to unbind themselves from the horror that seems inescapable. They call on their local priest and they delve deeper into the world of witchcraft – desperate and terrified.

Cryptic whispers and messages from beyond the grave seem to be pointing them in a certain direction, but they don’t understand what the dead are asking them to do. Only one man knows the answer, the key that will end it once and for all, but his fear keeps him from revealing the secret to anyone, let alone a group of budding teenagers.

He tried once and failed. Will the horrible knowledge passed down to him through his ancestors really work? Or is there truly only one way to end the witch’s curse, to let it play out and watch one child after another die?

You can buy The Witch’s Backbone (Part Two – The Murder) from Amazon UK Amazon US

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