As an advance introduction to the authors, Renaissance (RTW) asked them questions related to their writing and some of the conflicts presented in the play SEX WITH STRANGERS by Laura Eason.
RTW: Can you describe your current book? What genre is it? What do you like about that genre? And what other kinds of writing do you do?
PAM: The book, DONE DARKNESS, is an anthology, a collection of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. I like anthologies for the variety of the writing, but understand it’s not a high-sales genre. Within the anthology, my piece is an essay, which I also performed as an audio essay on Lake Effect on Milwaukee Public Radio, WUWM. In addition to essays and creative nonfiction, I have also published short fiction, including excerpts from my novel, which is not yet published.
RTW: What inspired you to write? What kinds of fiction genres do you like reading?
PAM: I’ve written, and read, for most of my life. My first diary, when I was nine years old, was a small one with a lock and psychedelic flowers in pinks and yellows on the cover (very 1969). Throughout my school years, I enjoyed writing for myself and for school. My teachers often read my essays and stories aloud to my classes. I was shy then and while this embarrassed me, it also helped me gain some confidence about my writing. So, though I write often, I didn’t think of myself as a writer until my early forties when I left teaching due to illness.
My favorite fiction genre to read in is literary fiction. I adore the slower pace and character-driven stories of Marilynne Robinson, Elizabeth Strout and Kent Haruf.
RTW: How heavily does “New York Times Best Seller” weigh in an author’s favor? Will that sell books? Make your book legitimate? Make you a legitimate author?
PAM: Being on the NYT Best Seller list of course weighs in an author’s favor as that placement does affect many readers’ choices and some book clubs. Obviously, it helps sell books. I don’t consult the NYT list as I’m more interested in word-of-mouth and Goodreads reviews for determining what I will read. I don’t think landing on the prized list bears any weight on a book or an author’s legitimacy. An author is a creator, an artist, and awards, prizes or lists can enhance an author’s reputation, but legitimacy? I don’t think so. If an author has had a publication, which was vetted, meaning chosen and selected from among other submissions by a reputable publisher, then said author is legitimate in my opinion.
Pam Parker is a New England native who calls suburban Milwaukee, WI home. Her work has appeared in numerous print and online publications and has been featured on WUWM, a Wisconsin Public Radio Affiliate. She co-edited the anthology, DONE DARKNESS, about surviving depression. She tries to chip away at the stigma of mental illness by being open about her personal struggles. She has received awards from the WI Broadcasting Association, the WI Writers Association and the WI Academy of Arts, Sciences & Letters. Learn more about Pam and her work at pamwrites.net.