Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Author Pamela Tuck Takes a "Book Break!"

I'm pleased to welcome author, Pamela Tuck, as she stops by Mrs. Merrill's Book Break, to share with us her reading and writing life.  Thanks Pamela!

This picture is my reaction after receiving my first copy of As Fast As Words Could Fly.
As Fast As Words Could Fly is on the 2016 New York State Charlotte Award intermediate ballot. 

I came to write As Fast As Words Could Fly . . .when my husband, Joel Tuck, found out about Lee & Low Books offering the New Voices Award. He urged me to write my dad’s story for the contest. I read several titles published by Lee & Low Books to get a feel of what they were looking for. I was impressed by their focus on diversity and featuring courageous and tenacious characters. I referenced a previous New Voices Award winning book, Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds by Paula Yoo, while writing my dad’s story.               

Readers should read my book . . .because my goal as a writer for children, is to enlighten and inspire my readers to believe in themselves, embrace diversity, and have the courage to make a positive difference. Although my book exposes the cold realities of the Civil Rights Movement, I want the rewards of hard work, determination and, perseverance to resonate. My desire is that every child who reads my book realizes that you don’t have to do something big to do something great and you don’t have to be famous to be recognized.

My favorite place to read is in my comfy chair by the bookshelf in my living room, especially in the winter when the fire is crackling in the woodstove.  

I have several bookshelves in my house, but this picture is our Living Room Collection that consists of many autographed copies of books.

A book that has touched my heart  is Peace Bound Trains by Haemi Balgassi. This book tells the story of a family’s train rooftop escape from Seoul during the war. This story touched my heart because it shows how strength can blossom from love, even after loss.

I collect my ideas and inspiration for writing from different areas, but mainly from family stories. My ideas are also inspired by photos, conversations, observing people, and of course my children.

Readers should know . . . that I am a mother of 11 children! Yes, you read that correctly… eleven: the number that follows ten. The funny thing about all of this is that I was raised as an only child, but I was surrounded by a large extended family of cousins, aunts and uncles. I came from a family of southern storytellers who were also Civil Rights activists. So we have a lot of interesting family stories circulating.  I began my writing career in 2nd grade after winning 1st place in a school poetry contest. I continued writing poetry and eventually branched out into short stories and plays. As I became older, I used my writing skills for personal gifts and inspirational uplifts for family and friends. After sharing off-the-top-of-our-heads stories during a family night of storytelling, my husband encouraged me to start writing books for children. It was a long discouraging journey, but as a writer, you have to believe in yourself and your story. You also have to learn to sift criticism. Take what will help you become a better writer and let the rest go. Don’t be discouraged by rejection. Just look at it as a stepping stone toward a better story. There have been numerous authors who received loads of rejections, but their stories became best sellers and classics. So believe in yourself and that confidence will radiate in your writing.

A project that I’m currently working on is another family story! This story is about my mother’s journey from sewing to surgery, and how she became one of the first African American surgical technicians at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in 1970s Greenville, North Carolina.

No comments:

Post a Comment