Thursday, May 17, 2007
Interview with Pamela Thibodeaux
Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder/President & Treasurer of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.” Check her out at http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com
“Inspirational with an Edge!” What do you mean?
In March, 2001 I attended the NOLA STARS conference where one of the guest speakers was Susan Grant. For those who don't know her, Susan is a pilot who writes "aviation romance" and who's first book, Once a Pirate, sold out 3 days before it hit the shelves! She was speaking on book promotion, and since Tempered Hearts had just been Epublished and Tempered Dreams was due out in June, I knew I needed to learn all I could.
One thing Susan stressed was the importance of a tag line and how hers "aviation romance" really set her writing apart. After all, she is a pilot so who better to write about women pilots?
My initial thought for a tag line was 'the Nora Roberts of Christian fiction.' Not knowing how that would sit with Nora or her fans, I kept searching for a more suitable tag line.
While talking with a book seller one day, he asked what made my books different from other inspirational or "Christian" romances. I explained that I have a higher level of sensuality and –- as stated by reviewers -- 'gritty realism.' He commented, "Oh, so you write Inspirational with an edge."
That was it!
Most people associate “Christian” or “Inspirational” romance with something sweet and safe. Your romances have been describes as steamier than the usual Christian romance—has this alienated some readers or editors, or been a breath of fresh air?
Both, I think. Many people have told me that they love the way I put God in my books without being "preachy or sappy" and others have said that they enjoyed the books because they are "spiritual without being preachy and sensual without being smutty."
I honestly believe there are numerous readers out there that want this kind of writing….more sensual and grittier with more realistic characters and situations (again, words of my readers) as long as those characters stay within biblical principles.
However, there are some who won't read my books or feel that they push the limits just a little too far.
But, my goal is to reach readers outside the traditional "church" and CBA readership; those who wouldn't normally pick up a "Christian" romance; those who are disappointed with the normal Christian romances, and yet equally disappointed in the explicit and sometimes vulgar portrayals of intimacy in other novels.
What’s the best thing anyone’s ever said about your writing? What’s the worst?
If you're talking about reviews, the best thing ever said was said by Elizabeth Burton about Tempered Dreams. In her review, Ms. Burton said, "Although undeniably Christian, it is never dogmatic or insular -- she offers faith rather than religion. Fans of inspirational romance are certain to enjoy Tempered Dreams, and even those whose tastes don't run in that direction would do well to sample Ms. Thibodeaux's work."
If you're talking about personal comments, I had one fan say, "I love Nora Roberts, but you beat her!" (Honestly! )
As for the worst…well, I had readers complain to Christian bookstore owners about the sensuality and grittiness and ask them to remove all copies from the shelves of the stores.
Alas, we can't please everyone and everyone has their own idea of what should and shouldn't belong in a Christian novel; which is why I write "Inspirational." That said; EVERYTHING that gives God glory deserves to be praised!