Q&A with Pamela Gossiaux
Updated: Jun 26, 2020
Pamela Gossiaux is the international bestselling author of the books Ordinary Girl, Good Enough, Why Is There a Lemon in My Fruit Salad? How to Stay Sweet When Life Turns Sour, and A Kid at Heart: Becoming a Child of Our Heavenly Father, as well as the highly acclaimed inspirational Russo Romantic Mystery series. Pamela has been writing and working with writers for several decades. She has a dual BA degree from the University of Michigan in Creative Writing and English Language and Literature, and over 20 years of journalism writing experience. She teaches writing workshops and has been the editor for published books in a wide variety of genres, both fiction and non-fiction, including best sellers. An avid horse enthusiast, she enjoys being outdoors and working in her garden. She also loves chocolate, and prefers to curl up with a good book in her downtime. Pamela lives in Michigan with her husband, two sons, and three cats.
Q: Hi Pamela. and thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. Can you tell us a little about the woman behind the brand?
A: Authors have to market themselves or nobody will know about their books, but I really don’t like to talk about myself! That being said, what can I say? On the business side of things, I love to work. I love my job and I never take for granted that I get to stay home and do the thing I love the most – write! My office overlooks my horse pasture, and I often work with a cat on my lap or curled up on my desk. There’s chocolate close by. I couldn’t ask for a better job! It’s not perfect, because we have been through a very difficult year (that will probably be in a future book!) but I try to count my blessings every day. As for who am I personally…well, often the characters in my books reflect a little bit about my personality, but I guess that’s true of most writers. I love cats and try to put one in every book. I love Jesus, and most of my books (even the secular stories) all have an element of faith in them, even if it’s just the character questioning their own beliefs. My faith is so engrained in who I am that it’s difficult for me to envision a worldview without it. I have always had horses and my latest romance series all take place in the equestrian world in one way or another. And I love to garden!
Q: Your books are Contemporary Romance and Mystery Romance. Where do you get your ideas from?
A: There are so many stories in my head that I don’t think I’ll ever get them all down on paper! I don’t know where they come from; they just show up! My mind is always working, always busy, and sometimes I’ll just see something and all of these ideas start tumbling out from that one thing. I was scrambling eggs the other morning and wondered how Tony (from the Russo Romantic Mysteries series) liked his eggs and suddenly a conversation sprang up in my head between him and Abigail, and I stated working it into a plot and burnt the toast! Overall, I love books that don’t quite fit a certain genre, and characters that surprise me, and that is how I tend to write.
Q: In your latest book- Finding Hope- Tori is a horse whisperer. You have described so well the way Tori works with horses. How did you get about the research?
A: Finding Hope is one of three stand-alone romances that all have horses in them. These are particularly fun books for me to write because horses have always been part of my life. I got my first pony when I was eight, and have had horses ever since, except for the past few years. Nearly all of the research is actually life experience. I trained horses for showing, and also gave riding lessons. I did read the Monty Roberts book, “The Man Who Listens to Horses” as I was writing this to see what else I could add. Many of his strategies are ones I have used with my own horses, and they really do work. Horses will give you their best if you “ask” rather than “tell” them. They love to please.
Q: Again, about Finding Hope- Is the legend true you Tori told Matt true?
A: Yes! I owned and showed Arabian horses for decades and that story is a well-known Bedouin legend. Among Arabian breeders. I don’t know if the actually story and facts are true, but there are rare horses out there with the “bloody shoulder” marking and they are considered special because of that story.
Q: Out of all your books, which one is your favourite and why?
A: I like them all for different reasons. I think the Russo Romantic Mysteries are the most fun to write. I just love hanging out with Tony and Abigail, and they both do cool, sleuth-like things that I would love to do! And Tony is so romantic!! (swoon!) J It’s also an Amazon bestseller so I think people enjoy it too! The Horses and Hearts Inspirational Romance series is fun to write because I started out by digging into my horsey memories. I even pulled out old photographs of me on some of my horses as a kid. It was a fun trip down memory lane. The hardest book by far to write was Ordinary Girl. That’s a completely different book than I typically write, with a difficult subject matter: human trafficking. It was a story that I felt needed to be told. I interviewed trafficking survivors and my main character Heather’s experience is based on their stories. I had to take breaks while writing and editing. I just hope it helps protect people as they learn how traffickers work.
Q: What is your favourite trope in romance? And do you choose the trope before writing or does it come alive as your story develops?
A: I am a pantser, which means I don’t plot my story out ahead of time. I just sit down and “write by the seat of my pants!” I come up with a character or two, and a basic idea, but for me, the story develops as I write. For the Horses and Hearts series, I tried to follow certain romance tropes because I know readers like that. Happily Ever Afters, etc. But with each of the books, when they started out, I wasn’t quite sure where they were going. One of these days I’m probably going to write myself into a hole I can’t get out of! LOL!
Q: Now, if one of your books was a Hollywood blockbuster- Who would you like to play the role of the Hero/ Heroine? (and which book)
A: I wrote Good Enough with a total romantic-comedy vibe. From the very beginning, I pictured it as a movie and even included songs that my main character Amy listens to, that I can imagine on the soundtrack! I’m not sure which actress or actor I would chose…the actress would have to be funny but not perfect, and very likeable. Probably a more contemporary version of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks from “You’ve Got Mail” or “Sleepless in Seattle.”
Q: How do you come up with the titles for your books? Do you create them before or after your book is finished?
A: Titles are hard for me. I had Ordinary Girl before I wrote the book, because traffickers don’t always prey on homeless kids or runaways. Sometimes the title comes in the middle of the book, and sometimes not until the end. I think I had Mrs. Chartwell and the Cat Burglar right away. With the Horses and Hearts series, the covers were created before I wrote the book, so those I had to come up with way ahead of time! And since I don’t plot out my novels, that made it a very interesting way to write!
Q: Have you always wanted to be a writer? When did you write your first novel? Tell us about it.
A: I have always loved stories, probably because my parents used to read to me so much when I was little. In the sixth grade, I had to write and illustrate a children’s book for little kids, and then read it to them. I wrote a story about a little dragon who couldn’t blow fire. I enjoyed the process, the kids loved it, and I was hooked from there.
Q: What are your writing habits? Do you listen to music or need total silence? Do you snack while you write?
A: Writing is a job and must be treated as such. I don’t believe in writer’s block. I worked as a journalist at a newspaper for many years, and if there was a breaking story at 8 a.m. and deadline was 9 a.m., you had to get the story written regardless. The presses wouldn’t wait! At home, having a routine is very important if I want to get work done. I sit down every morning after breakfast and work most of the day. If I don’t get my word count in, I make it up that evening or on the weekend. This allows me some flexibility to be a stay-at-home mom and attend events at the school, etc. I like to write in silence (but can and have written in a noisy newsroom, or with my family around me during COVID isolation!) It helps if I have a cat or two around, and there must always be chocolate nearby!
Q: Can you describe your writing space?
A: I used to work in a “cloffice” which was one of my bedroom closets transformed into an office. We moved just before Christmas to a new home and I love my new office! It has a big windows overlooking my horse pastures and the wildlife out back, and lots of sunlight. There is room on the walls for bookshelves, which I’ve filled to capacity. It’s my happy place.
Q: What is your favourite part of writing/ publishing?
A: The actual writing. I enjoy the process of sitting down and getting lost in another world of whatever story I am writing. I also love doing author events, where I get to meet readers.
Q: And to stay in the same area, what is the most difficult part about writing?
A: I hate doing the business end of things – invoices, taxes, book-keeping! I also work as an editor/ghostwriter, so I have a lot of business things to take care of.
Q: Healing Faith is coming out end of June. Will there be more in the A Horses and Hearts Inspirational Romance Series? And what can you tell us about Healing Faith that is not in the blurb?
A: Right now I’m writing Saving Grace, which is the third stand alone novel in this series. It’s about a feisty, driven young woman named Hannah (some might call her spoiled!) who is on her way to a qualifying competition for the Olympics in dressage when her trainer quits. Her dad hires Chase Livingston, a gold medallist .. And he happens to be very handsome… J So there will be some fireworks! Dressage is like “horse dancing”. It’s beautiful, and often put to music. And Healing Faith…what I can tell you that isn’t in the blurb, is that I go deeper with this book, and I ask some hard questions about faith and forgiveness. Also, it takes place in the world of equine-assisted therapy, which I volunteered with for about two years, so most of the background comes from personal experience.
Q: What is your favourite book of all time (I know this is hard, but just pick one) and why?
A: There are so many! I absolutely love Madeleine L’Engle as a writer so it would have to be one of hers. I’ll just pick A Wrinkle in Time. And no, I didn’t like the movie.
Q: Any advice for someone who is just starting out writing or who is thinking about writing?
A: You have to start somewhere. Even if you only write one page a day, that’s 365 pages in a year which is a novel. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it. Just begin and see what happens! We all have stories in us. When telling yours becomes something that you can’t let go, you know you’re a writer. Get it down on paper.
Q: I guess I know this answer to this one, but what are you doing when you are not writing?
A: Sleeping? I have a t-shirt that say “Eat. Sleep. Write. Repeat.” That’s pretty much it! LOL! I love spending time with my family, binge-watching shows on TV (usually NetFlix), horses, gardening, and my cats. I also love to read. There’s not enough time in the day!
Q: Finally, a dinner with three famous people (dead or alive) who would it be?
A: Ooooo! That’s hard. Lemme think: Jesus. C.S. Lewis. Madeleine L’Engle. If I wasn’t married, I’d say Bon Jovi…
Q: Are you on social media? Where can people interact with you?
A: I love to hear from people! You can find me at:
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