Pamela Samuels Young is a Los Angeles-area attorney and the author of four legal thrillers. Her latest release, Buying Time, is her first stand-along novel. A former television news writer, Pamela is the Fiction Expert for BizyMoms.com and is on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. She is a graduate of USC, Northwestern University, and UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law.
To contact Pamela or to read an excerpt of her books, visit www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com.
Q: Thank you for this interview, Pamela. Can you tell us what your latest book, Buying Time, is all about?
A: In Buying Time, Waverly Sloan is a down-on-his-luck attorney who provides quick cash to terminally ill patients. His clients, however, must agree to sign over rights to their life insurance policies before they can collect a dime. When Waverly’s clients start dying sooner than they should, he’s the number one suspect. Unwittingly drawn into a perilous web of greed, blackmail and murder, Waverly goes on the run—with a determined female prosecutor hot on his trail.
Q: Is this your first novel? If not, how has writing this novel different from writing your first?
A: This is my fourth novel. I now write with a lot more confidence and I’m actually a much faster writer and a better storyteller.
Q: How difficult was it writing your book? Did you ever experience writer’s block and, if so, what did you do?
A: With four books behind me, the writing part isn’t difficult. What’s hard is finding time to write while still practicing law and promoting my books, which takes up quite a bit of time. Somehow, I manage to get it all done. Fortunately, I’ve never experienced writer’s block. I’m so grateful whenever I have time to write that I’m not about to waste it staring at a blank computer screen. Writing is my job just as much as practicing law. I’d never tell I client that I can’t help them because I have lawyer’s block. So I’d never use writer’s block as an excuse for not writing.
Q: How have your fans embraced your latest novel? Do you have any funny or unusual experiences to share?
A: Fans have been absolutely wonderful! I have a scrap book with emails from fans who’ve written to tell me how much they enjoyed my books. Their emails are a tremendous source of motivation for me. I attend lots of book club meetings and it’s so weird to hear people talk about my characters as if they’re real people. The conversations get so animated that sometimes I have to stop and remind them that the characters are a figment of my imagination.
Q: What is your daily writing routine?
A: I still practice law, so I’m not able to write every day. Lately, I write early in the morning or on weekends, if I’m not out promoting. I simply squeeze in writing time wherever I can find it.
Q: When you put the pen or mouse down, what do you do to relax?
A: Reading absolutely relaxes me, especially if it’s a really, really good mystery.
Q: What book changed your life?
A: The book that had the greatest impact on me as a kid was Claude Brown’s Manchild in the Promised Land. I can still remember stumbling across a copy of it at my aunt’s house when I was about twelve. It was the first book I can remember reading that had African-American characters and I was thrilled to be reading about people who looked like me. It was also a very gritty and graphic coming of age story. I promptly “borrowed” the book without asking for permission for fear that my aunt would think I was too young to be reading such a sexually graphic book. After that, I developed an insatiable appetite for African-American literary fiction. That led me to Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Toni Morrison and other truly great writers.
Q: If someone were to write a book on your life, what would the title be?
A: Never Give Up!
Q: Finish this sentence: “The one thing that I wish people would understand about me is…”
A: . . .that it might look like I have it all together, but sometimes keeping all my balls in the air is really tough.
Thank you for this interview Pamela. I wish you much success on your latest release, Buying Time!