Yes. A name has to have the right feel for the character I have in my head. I often start with one name and keep switching it until it has the right feel for me. In the book I’m working on now, Attorney-Client Privilege, which is the next book in the series after Murder on the Down Low, I’ve changed one character’s name three times.
2. Why do you write for children instead of adults or vice-versa?
I write for adults because as a lawyer, I love legal thrillers. I don’t consider the legal fiction genre suitable for children.
3. Who would play you in a film of your life?
Wow, now that’s a question. I’d love to see Angela Bassett play me on the big screen.
4. What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
Perseverance. You have to understand that rejection is part of the business. Nine publishing houses rejected Murder on the Down Low, yet readers love it. You have to believe in yourself and believe in your talent. No matter what.
5. What do you find to be the biggest challenge when writing?
My biggest challenge as a writer is describing people! It’s just awkward for me. When I’m really having a hard time, I’ll go to Starbuck and see if I seen someone who looks like one of my characters and jot down their physical traits. I also don’t like to describe my characters in too much detail because I like to leave that up to the imagination of the reader. So you’ll usually find minimal physical descriptions of my characters.
6. Do you enjoy giving interviews?
Yes, if the questions are interesting (like yours)! I like meeting readers even more. If you look at the tour page of my website, you will see that I’m everywhere. I’ve met with over 100 book clubs and I’m starting a campaign to increase that number to 500. So if any of your readers are in a book club, please email me. I would love to attend their book club meeting via speakerphone or Skype.
7. How much impact does your childhood have on your writing?
That’s an interesting question that I’ve never thought about. I think the fact that my mother was always reading and always made books available to me led to my becoming a journalist and later an author. I can still remember the book club magazine arriving in the mail every month. I would get to pick out a new book every month and that was so exciting. I think I was in the first grade when she started that. But … I never dreamed of becoming an author.
8. What inspired you to write your first book?
When I finished law school, I developed a passion for reading legal thrillers. But I never saw women or people of color depicted as attorneys in any of the books I read. I would close the novels feeling satisfied with the story, but disappointed about the lack of diversity of the characters. One day, I decided that I would write the kind of characters that I wanted to see. In the process, I discovered my passion!
9. Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes, short chapters, snappy dialogue and fast-paced action, ala James Patterson. Long before I was published, my writing coach suggested that I read some books in my genre and study the story structure. I chose The Firm by John Grisham and Roses are Red by James Patterson. I actually studied the dialogue, the action, the description, the length of the chapters, how the authors opened and closed each chapter. My enjoyment of those two writers helped me develop my writing style.
10. You state Author’s Note section that a main purpose of this novel was to promote education within the black community about AIDS/HIV and encourage women to get educated, get tested, and protect themselves. Do you think this is happening?
I pray that it is! There are so many dedicated health care workers out there trying to get the message out, but they have a tough job. There’s such a focus on sex in our society. Watch TV with the sound off sometimes and just look at the images. Everything is so sexual. In commercials, in cartoons, on the news (our news anchors are even showing cleavage, at least in Los Angeles). People young and old think it’s okay to “hook up.” Meantime, HIV is quickly expanding its reach. Oprah did a show featuring six white women over 50 who were infected with HIV by the same man. They didn’t’ think they needed to use protection. People still mistakenly believe AIDS is a gay disease. You don’t get infected with HIV because you’re gay. You get infected with HIV because you’re available.
Click HERE to visit Pamela Samuels Young's Website
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Pamela has graciously offered to visit your book club meetings via Skype or speakerphone - if you are interested, please leave your contact information below and I will pass it on.