I recently interviewed Pamela Gossiaux, author of Mrs. Chartwell and the Cat Burglar, Trusting the Cat Burglar, and the most recent title: Romancing the Cat Burglar.
Please tell us about your new title and where it is available?
Romancing the Cat Burglar takes place in Paris, a city I fell in love with several years ago when I visited. I had a lot of fun writing the story because creating the setting gave me a chance to remember the beauty, the timelessness and the art of that wonderful city. And of course, the food! I wanted to capture enough of the atmosphere in the book so the reader feels like he or she is there! In this story, the third in the series, Abigail has to impress her boss with her presentation at the Louvre and bring in some funding for their library or she’s going to get the boot. Tony’s along for the ride and wants to search for his family’s history while he’s in Paris. But when Abigail’s ring gets stolen, and mysterious paintings start to appear in Paris’s finest museums, the two get caught up in a dangerous hunt. As they seek answers, the line between right and wrong blurs. With Abigail’s future in jeopardy, and Tony’s reputation following him, how far will they go to find the truth?
Why did you choose to tell this story?
I wanted a story that is fun and flirty, but also brings in a question about integrity. Abigail has always walked the straight and narrow, but Tony is a reformed cat burglar. When they start tracking a thief and much is at stake, how far will they go to help the one they love? This book talks about “crossing the line” and when, and if, it’s okay to do so. My other books have a theme in them too: Mrs. Chartwell talks about forgiveness, and Trusting the Cat Burglar is of course, about trust. My characters ask questions about things that I sometimes find myself struggling with. Don’t we all from time to time?
How did you research the book?
I went to Paris! I also took French back in college. It’s a bit rusty now, but between Google Translate and my hazy memory of the language, hopefully I didn’t mess it up that badly! There are some French phrases in there, and the Parisians sometimes speak a word or two of French to give the book an authentic feel.
Please describe your current work?
I am working on a fourth Cat Burglar book, which will be out later next year. It’s about a stolen violin. My sons both play violin, so again, I thought I’d write about something I know. My most current project that I’m in the middle of writing right now is a Young Adult novel, that will hopefully be out in the spring. More to come on that later.
Which writers inspire / inspired you?
Well, Gregory French, of course! I have loved Madeleine L’Engle’s books since I was a kid. I read such a wide variety of genres today, and some of my current favorites include Joshilyn Jackson (I love her characters!); Connie Willis (Sci-Fi and fun with some great research thrown in!); Patsy Clairmont (Christian inspiration and humor); and of course the awesome J.R.R.Tolkien and J.K. Rowling for world-building. And C.S. Lewis because he’s so quotable.
Why do you write?
Because I can’t NOT write. Creating stories is something I’ve always done. It’s my passion and I don’t feel complete unless I am creating. I guess I have a lot to say and I want to get it all down on paper. Also, writing fiction gives me a grown-up excuse to play with my imaginary friends!
What are your common themes?
Although I don’t always start out to write Christian books, I find that my faith creeps into all of my stories. Our beliefs are a part of who we are, and my stories are a way, in part, of my exploring my faith at a greater level. For example, in Trusting the Cat Burglar, Abigail has to decide if she can really trust Tony or not. But the greater question the book explores is can we really trust God? God lets some scary things happen to us. How/why can we continue trusting Him despite this?
How often do you write and where?
I write every day. My goal for my own books is 2000 words per day, because I have a full-time job as a writer/editor for others. I write in my office when the family is home. That’s a closet transformed into an office in my bedroom. But when I’m home alone and the house is quiet, I bring the laptop to the kitchen table, where I can look out back and watch the birds come to the feeders. It’s so peaceful and pretty. And when I write, I am always surrounded by my cats. Usually one of them is on my lap.
What question do you wish I had asked?
What is your advice for aspiring writers? I am contacted by so many people who want to write a book but don’t know where to start, or don’t have the time, etc. Some writing can be cathartic, or just for fun, and that’s okay. But if you want to write a book for publication, I believe in a Butt in Seat approach. The only way you are going to get a book written is to write it. Every one of us has a story in us, and some of us simply have to tell it. If you are one of those people, sit down every day and write. If you only write on page per day, that’s 365 pages per year, which is a pretty big book. And I don’t believe in writer’s block. I worked as a journalist for many years, and when there’s an 8 a.m. breaking story and you have a 9 a.m. deadline for the paper to go to print, you don’t have time for writer’s block. You just write. Train yourself like you would for any other job. Just show up, do the work, and it will get done.
Thank you, Greg! I have enjoyed talking with you and I can’t wait to read what you are working on next!
You can find Pam and her fine novels at the following. Don’t hesitate, these are great mysteries by a brilliant writer.