Sometimes a good book really is all you need. They have the power to transform, take your mind off of troubles, whisk you to fantasy lands, and even if for a mere hour, allow you peek into the intimate details of someone else’s life. So we’re saluting the authors who keep us on the edge of our seats and leave us wanting more–sharing with you our favorite scribes who put pen to paper and uplift voices for the unheard.
Name: Pam Ward
Clutch: Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
Pam Ward: When I was a kid, I read like a dope fiend every damn day. I read my dad’s political books, my brothers porn stash and when I got through my mom’s pile of worn dog-eared novels, I marched to the library and checked out some more. Back then, a library card felt like an American Express. I read “Cornbread, Earl and Me” for free and didn’t have to lay out one cent. Books were like crack and I was hooked at a real young age. Books were snap shots of life in all its beauty or hideous glory. I am a notorious eavesdropper and love speech in all its creative forms. I remember reading “PIMP,” by IceBerg Slim and being completely blown away and then marveling over “To Kill A Mockingbird’s,” cool southern drawl or the sweet prose of Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raison in the Sun.”
Clutch: If you weren’t a writer, what do you think you would be doing?
Pam Ward: I’m very proud to be a female writer today. In fact, if I was a male, I’d have to be a cross-dresser because being a girl is so much damn fun! I mean look, it wasn’t that long ago that woman had to publish under male pseudonyms to make it. Louisa May Alcott used to be A.M. Barnard and Charlotte Bronte used to be Currer Bell. Hell, even J.K. Rowling of the “Harry Potter” series used initials because she said she didn’t think boys would want to read a book by someone named Joanne. But if all bets were off and I couldn’t be a writer, I’d be screaming my stories from the Transamerica Building downtown while a slideshow clicked across the wall. Film, documentaries, some form of multimedia expression.
Clutch: In your opinion, what’s the one thing one must possess if they want to become a professional writer?
Pam Ward: You better have a full tank of gas and a scraper that can make it! Writing is not for the faint of heart for two reasons. One, you can not afford to sugar coat the truth and real truth can be cold and pitch-fork hard. Sometimes feelings get hurt or the subject matter is intense but a writer can not afford to look away. Two, a writer’s life sounds way more glamourous than it really is. You have to be diligent. Writing takes work and penning a novel can be grueling. Sitting for hours, editing, watching the sun rise and fall and knowing you have never seen the light of day can get to you sometimes, but when you get a character’s voice right and the novel’s truth is humming under your thumbs, it is downright nirvana.
Clutch: How has the Internet and Social Media helped you as a writer?
Pam Ward: By using the internet, you can create an immediate social presence without leaving your front door. It’s super easy to create blogs, websites, and radio shows on your own, right on your laptop. But, and I say this with a capitol “B” it takes an incredible amount of time and energy. You can get sucked in the web and all your time can vanish before you know it. Don’t sacrifice your artistic craft by building notoriety. A big ego trip and a bad book don’t mix.
Clutch: Tell us about your current book?
Pam Ward: BAD GIRLS BURN SLOW is deliciously wicked, cat and mouse story about crime, identity and the funeral business. It takes place during this real life child-sex scandal that happened in L.A ’85. I became fascinated with the unleashed power children had during that period and how innocent people were literary tossed to the flame,” The story centers on a child villain and her fiendish mother Margie who ‘work the funeral circuit’ as a means for luring lusty older men. Everything you can sell off the human body is thrown in, filled with serial killers, cremations, wheelchair sex and a body rolled up in a rug. My neighbor did the makeup at Forest Lawn for eighteen years so maybe some of that rubbed off. Living right next to Rosedale, the second oldest cemetery in Los Angeles and home of the oldest crematory in town, was a great back drop. Finding wonderful facts, like LA Unified being built over City cemetery, LA’s oldest and now defunct burial ground, served as fuel and folly.
Clutch: What advice would you give to up and coming writers?
Pam Ward: My mantra is to write for five minutes every day. That’s how I wrote my first novel, WANT SOME GET SOME. I just chipped at that bitch each day. People will tell you you have to write a certain number of pages a day to make it. But that’s the wrong way to approach art. Don’t think page count, think heart. Concentrate on the feelings you’re trying to convey instead of word count or amount of sheets and you may end up with something worth saying. Stretch. Read work out of your normal comfort zone. Right now I’m reading Moby Dick and Lil Wayne’s song lyrics! Be bold. Don’t take no for answer. Don’t end your dream because some fool slammed the door. Run your ass down the street and knock on the house next door! Victory, like other good things, may sting at first, baby, but you get over it and your success is well worth it.