Educator, editor and novelist Pam Watts Harris developed an interest in writing at an early age. She studied Liberal Arts, Spanish and French at the University of Tennessee Martin, and is an active board member of a branch of Dolly Parton’s Reading Railroad Imagination Library, an organization that provides free monthly books to children from birth until age five. She also works as an editor for Mantle Rock Publishing.
A native Tennessean and former resident of Arizona, Pam creates characters that reflect the Southern and Western culture she knows so well.
What started you on your writing journey?
I have been writing ever since I learned to read. My elementary teachers humored me and allowed me to read my stories aloud to the class. I wrote poems and short stories during my teen years, mostly typical teen angst stuff, and then tried to write a novel or two in my twenties and thirties. It was a lot harder before computers, and I became frustrated and gave up. The desire to write, however, never left me, and I finished my first novel, a ’tween book for girls ages eight to twelve, about four years ago.
Just as all good novels include a plot twist, the Author and Creator of our lives often writes in a twist that ultimately blesses us more than our original plan. Have you ever experienced such a “Divine Detour”?
Oh, definitely! More than one. My life has not turned out as I’d planned at all, but I can see God’s hand in guiding me down paths that were best, if not for me, then for others. I realize I am not in this world to fulfill my own selfish dreams and goals but to help others along the way. And it is more than likely that He worked out what was best for me, whether I realized it or not!
Let’s talk about your new book, Smoky Mountain Brides (Mantle Rock Publishing, October 2017), co-authored by Katt Anderson. Please tell us about it.
Kyla Porter and Becki Hunley had been friends since childhood. They had gone to church and school together and had graduated from the University of Tennessee. They parted ways when Becki moved to Nashville to enter the country music field while Kyla continued her education in veterinary school and eventually moved to northern Mississippi to practice veterinary medicine.
Scarred by a tragic ending to a relationship, Kyla finds it hard to trust any man, even the handsome teacher she meets at Graceland. Becki finds the perfect man for her, a handsome doctor she meets at church, and both she and Kyla become engaged within a few months of each other. They had always dreamed of being each other’s maid or matron of honor when they married, but their plans are in jeopardy when their wedding dates are in conflict. Will they be able to solve their dilemma, or will their dream die?
What led you to write this particular story?
Katt Anderson suggested we write a book together, and it was her idea to have a Christmas wedding plot. We brainstormed, wrote our individual novellas, compared notes and made changes, and finished the book with one chapter that is a combination of Becki’s and Kyla’s weddings. My character, Kyla, has relationship issues to overcome, while Becki’s conflicts are career related.
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
I love chips and salsa. I will blame that on my having lived in Arizona about twenty miles from the Mexican border when I was growing up.
What Bible passage or story best describes your journey of faith?
I was raised in a Christian home, and I cannot remember a time when I did not have faith, so my journey has not been as challenging as some. As a teen, my favorite verse was Philippians 4:13, but my struggles now are very different from the ones I faced then. I rely heavily on Romans 8:26.
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
Well, one of my sons said strong, female lead and the other said the girl next door, so I think I’m a combination of both. I am strong and independent, but at the same time, I’m down to earth and appreciate the simple things in life. When I was growing up, I wanted to be Trixie Belden, but as an adult, I wanted to be the corporate executive.
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I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
I’m a dog lover too. Anyone in our family will tell you our favorite pet ever was our sweet husky mix, Sable, who died of acute pancreatitis in 2010. She was so special, truly a member of the family. I even incorporated her into Smoky Mountain Brides. We’ve had other dogs, but none like Sable.
Thanks, Pam! It’s nice to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.
Thank you so much for hosting me!
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For more information about Smoky Mountain Brides, visit the Mantle Rock website.
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Pam congrats for your new book, I am so proud of you as was your dad he was my good friend and cousin growing up. Love Dell Richmond