Wednesday, October 10

***Pamela Morsi - Beginning blogger braves new territory***

I want to thank you, Tara, for giving me the opportunity to blog on your site. I’ve never blogged before, so if I run long, will have discovered one of my big problems. I’m writing and I can’t stop!

Right now I’m between books, my last BITSY’S BAIT & BBQ came out earlier this year. And my next LAST DANCE AT JITTERBUG LOUNGE is scheduled for publication in May ‘08.

I love the blogname of RomanceReadingMom. That’s where I came into this genre. Well, probably not completely, I’m sure that on some level Louisa May Alcott and Laura Ingalls Wilder were both writing romance. But I didn’t realize that. All I knew back then was that I loved the stories those women told. And that’s what I wanted most in my life, to be a writer.

The problem for me, of course, was that I couldn’t figure out how one did that. Do you move to New York? Or a Paris loft? I took a couple of creative writing courses at college. They only succeeded in convincing me that I didn’t have anything to say. What could a white trash girl from the oil patch have to say to sophisticated readers of American literature? Obviously nothing.

What was significantly more clear was that I owed tons of money in student loans and that rents are charged worldwide accept for my mother’s house, where living was it’s own punishment.

So I got a Master’s Degree in Library Science. If I couldn’t write books, then at least I could be close to them. I loved library work and I don’t regret a day I spent there. Sharing books with people is almost a heavenly calling. And my view of the public library is that it is the last truly democratic institution in the United States. All the knowledge in the world equally available there to anyone who seeks it out

After the work day is done, librarians do a lot of reading, mostly involved with their job. Reference librarians read reference books and Children’s Librarians read children’s books and Adult Services Librarians read the bestsellers and the most highly touted fiction. I spent several years doing each of these jobs and I got accustomed to having my reading list pretty narrowly drawn.

Then I had a baby.

I was already a mom of sorts. My husband had a five year old son when I married him, so I was used to having peanut butter on the refrigerator door handle, rescuing garden snakes from the laundry basket and establishing a NO WHINERS zone in my local grocery market. But I had never stayed home with a child.

Those first few weeks, I don’t think I’d ever worked so hard in my life. I was up before dawn, not in bed until midnight. And no sooner had my day shift ended than my nightshift began. I sure wasn’t thinking about reading.

But then I kind of got a pace, I figured out how to get everything more or less manageable. My family and I settled in. My baby daughter had naptime. And my wild child, now seven, went to bed at 8:30. So there was a little time for me.

I read some baby books. Earth mother books. How to raise responsible citizens books. Those were all good. But that felt like reading at work. I wanted something that was just for me. Something that I could really identify with.

One day at the grocery store, with the little angel asleep in the snugly, I found myself wandering among the paperbacks. Librarians don’t buy a lot of paperbacks. They don’t last and we get hardcover books for free and well, who knows, but you rarely see a librarian reading mass market. But that day, I was desperate for something. And I found it, right there between the cereal and the frozen food.

These were books by women, for women and about women. And about the thing that sooner or later gets to be what women are all about, love and family.

I was hooked faster than you could say LOVE’S DARING DARNING NEEDLE. At first I just read at the end of the day. And then I figured out I could do it while I was breastfeeding. And before I knew it, I could cook, clean, supervise, referee, virtually everything but drive with a book in my hand.

I remember it as a really wonderful time. And my solitary life with the kids at home became filled interesting characters and storylines that got me through the long days and short years of my children’s childhood.

Time and seasons change.

I began writing when my daughter was about eight. And once you start writing, reading is never as pleasurable as it once was. But I still love a good book. When I finish one that was really great, I can’t resist hugging it to my chest like a dear friend. Hope you have something to hug at your house tonight.

A great big thank you to Pam for taking the time to visit and blog with us :)

PS--this posted a little early but I was afraid I wouldn't have enough time in the morning to get it posted before school and work :) Have a great day and ask lots of interesting questions.


Rosie said...

I'm up late (Tuesday) which is Weds early a.m. for you and am so happy because I caught this. Love her. I always love hearing stories about how authors got started.

This was great. I'd read romance before we brought Beanie home, but maybe a book a year. I really started reading when I became a SAHM. I too picked up a paperback at the grocery store and then found the wonderful world of UBS.

Thanks Pam and thanks TM!

Ann Aguirre said...

I miss her historicals. She wrote them like nobody else, and they had such a luminous downhome charm.

I might've written the same thing about the bribery plan.

Wendy said...

The charm and appeal in Morsi's stories is that she writes about "regular" people. Gives hope to the rest of us normies that we don't have be a Lady, Duke or Billionaire to find true love ;)

I don't think I knew she was a former librarian! Mass market is getting easier to find in libraries these days, but it's still a struggle for many. They are time consuming, as they need constant attention. We have tricks to ensure a longer shelf life - but all that takes staff time to maintain - and with the current state of budgets.....

A sad tale frequently told I'm afraid.

Zeek said...

I just read Garters for the very first time recently- I can't believe how "fresh" it felt! Simply adored it and am looking for more on the backlist.

I'll come back with questions once I think of one that isn't trite or over asked! (aka: where do your ideas come from?) :grin:

Anonymous said...

Morning ladies. I'm just back from the water aerobics and finishing up a sign for our local Holiday Parade. 11/17, be there or be square. I'm chair of the Recyclers. Our very green theme this year is Reindeer Gone Wild. I will be wearing antlers, but plan to keep my shirt down.
Anyway, thanks for all the nice kudos. Writing is a very solitary occupation. And there's never enough feedback. I miss writing the historicals, too, but I find myself sneaking back. About every other book I have a backstory that goes for decades. Of course, it's not the same, but I continue to enjoy what I'm doing.
If you have questions, I'd be happy to answer. Pam Morsi

Devon said...

I've only read Simple Jess, but I really loved it. I love the American setting which just isn't done so much these days (or so it seems), and as Wendy says, the regular but fascinating characters.

When I had my son, that's when I started reading again also. I had been a huge bookworm in childhood and adolescence, but really dropped off during college and after. I also blame breastfeeding for my computer addiction. Pointing and clicking, very easy while nursing.

Eva Gale said...

Simple Jess and Courting Miss Hattie are some of my favorite books EVER. And I have Bitsy's on my TBR. I'll have to think up some questions.

Anonymous said...

Hiya kids. I want to comment on your comments. Devon - - You're right. American setting aren't done these days. Publishers don't believe that readers will buy them. Which is why all the writers who used to write them, myself included, are now all doing other things. But these trends all come in cycles, so it's sure to be back eventually.
Glad that you and Eva Gale both read SIMPLE JESS. That's a story that really means a lot to me. And to a lot of other people too. I created the character as the heroine's brother in MARRYING STONE. But he was such a great guy I wanted to give him his own book. As soon as I'd finished, I proposed that and my editor turned me down. She said that readers wouldn't go for a mentally handicapped hero. So I moved on, wrote something else and then the movie FORREST GUMP came out and was such a splash, my editor called as said, "You know that book you wanted to write..." So I got busy on SIMPLE JESS. Unfortunately, during the time I got the okay and the time the book was completed, my editor left. The new editor was unfamiliar with my work and when SIMPLE JESS showed up on her desk, she was horrified. She didn't think that the relationship as it was written was "appropriate" and she wanted me to rewrite it to make him smarter. I couldn't do that because he was already in print in Marrying Stone. So after lots of upheaval and argument, SIMPLE JESS was released. The number of copies printed was very small, the cover was nondescript. And it went to the sales department with the notation "controversial" which basically means buy at your own risk.
Not a lot of people did buy it at first. Romance readers were as skeptical of a mentally challenged hero as the editor believed they would be. But slowly, slowly, slowly people began to read it. And they began to like it. I've gotten more feedback on that story than any other - - and all of it has been positive.
In the industry, people thought the story was a career killer. And it did kill my career at that particular publishing house. If I'd had any sense at all about how to get ahead and move up on the lists, I never would have written it. But I guess it goes to show you that sometimes being too stupid to know better leaves us open to achieve some pretty wonderful things.
Pam Morsi

Kate Diamond said...

Great post! Thanks for your candid description of what made you a writer. I love, too, that you looked at Alcott and Wilder as your gateway to romance.

I thought I started reading romance in middle school. Then I realized that the first chapter books I devoured were the Anne of Green Gables--and all for the Gilbert factor.

Tara Marie said...

Ladies, thank you all for commenting, I think I may turn Ms. Morsi's comment re: simple jess into a blog post, it's wonderful :)

Zeek said...

WOW, What a cool backstory on Simple Jess- (now I HAVE to get my hands on that one!)- I love hearing about an author making a stand for the characters!

Devon said...

Great story about SJ. So glad you stuck to your guns, it's a truly memorable story. Goes to show that sometimes taking a risk is worth it (and I'm looking at you, publishers) because it's a stand out book.