~Getting to know the~
~Petit Fours and Hot Tamales Crew~
March’s Spotlight is on Pam Asberry
Who are the ladies of the Petit Fours and Hot Tamales Blog? Why should you spend your precious time reading our daily posts? Why do we want you to follow us and read our books, our personal blogs, our FB status updates and our Tweets? Let us tell you why…
Once Upon a Time ~~
I started piano lessons when I was seven years old and decided my career path that very day. So even though I have loved reading from the moment I learned to string sounds into syllables, during my adult life writing has been primarily a tool used to support my music teaching and home schooling. Although the notion of penning a novel was always in the back of my mind, I never tried my hand at fiction. Instead, I wrote numerous nonfiction articles and even had a few published here and there; eventually, I even started a blog. But there came a day I decided I didn’t want my epitaph to be, “She meant to write a book.” So I signed up for an online fiction writing class through Writer’s Digest and attended my very first Georgia Romance Writers meeting on my fiftieth birthday. At this point in time I have completed two manuscripts and working on the first draft of my third. But I get my happily-ever-after ending whether or not I ever achieve my goal of being traditionally published (although I believe I will). I write because I am.
How many “careers” have you had throughout your lifetime?
Several! I put myself through college working in the cafeteria food service freshman year and in an accounting office for three years after that. I have also worked in a fabric store, sold Bernina sewing machines and taught sewing classes. When I was home schooling my children, I developed a how-to-homeschool seminar and presented it to area support groups and spoke at homeschool days at theme parks around the country. Now I design and create handmade jewelry and sell it on Etsy (http://etsy.pamasberry.com). But I have been teaching piano since I was in high school. I have had home studios in Carbondale, Illinois; Peoria, Illinois; and Raleigh, North Carolina. Currently, I teach in Dacula, Georgia and am active in professional music teachers associations at the local and state levels. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all the hats I wear but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What is a typical writing day like for you – from the time you get up to the time you go to bed?
I am a single mom but my children are older and quite independent. My 16yo gets himself on the bus every morning and eats breakfast at school, allowing me the luxury of sleeping until 7:30 or 8. I make myself a pot of French press and spend an hour or so online, catching up on email and checking in on Facebook and Twitter and reading the day’s Petit Fours and Hot Tamales post. Next I review my goals and affirmations, meditate, and write morning pages (as recommended by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way). Then it’s time for my work in progress; my word count goal is 500 words per day. After that, I do a quick tidy of the house before I head outside for a run or to the gym if it’s cold or rainy. I am training for a half marathon in April (http://petitfoursandhottamales.com/2012/03/put-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other/)so that’s a top priority for me right now. After that, I come home and shower and dress for the day and divide whatever time I have left before piano students between practicing piano/clarinet/mandolin, beading, updating my Etsy store, studying French/Spanish, etc. There is never enough time to do everything on any given day, so I keep track of my activities on a checklist, and try not to skip anything two days in a row. I fail miserably all the time. But writing, exercise and teaching are non-negotiable. My teaching day starts around 2 and ends sometime between 7 and 9, depending on the day. When my last student is gone, I try to spend a few minutes with my kids (I have a 20yo who lives with me, too) then wind down the day with my laptop or a book or some knitting and a cup of tea or a glass of wine. I am a terrible insomniac; I am rarely asleep before midnight and sometimes it’s much, much later.
What writer advice would you give someone just starting to dip her toe into the writing world?
Writing fiction is tougher than I ever imaged it would be, and the odds of being traditionally published seem smaller than ever. But there is nothing better than agonizing over a scene and finally getting it right or the camaraderie I have experienced through Georgia Romance Writers, Petit Fours and Hot Tamales, and elsewhere. If you dream of writing a book, don’t let another day go by. Go for it! But don’t expect a walk in the park. Take classes, read books on craft, and find a support group.
Why you should read my blog …
Inspired by Laurie Perry (http://crazyauntpurl.com) whose memoir Drunk, Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair really resonated with me a few years post-divorce, I started my own blog, Sometimes It’s Cloudy, Sometimes It’s Clear, back in 2008. At first I wasn’t clear about what direction I might take and posted infrequently. Over time, though, it has become an account of my personal journey – successes and failures, struggles and triumphs, hopes and fears. I spent nearly twenty years of my life in an abusive marriage, hiding behind carefully constructed safety mask, keeping my personal fire carefully in check. Ten years later, I am barely recognizable as the person I was then and I am very proud ofeverything I have accomplished since and grateful for loving family and supportive friends. I know there are plenty of other women out there living lives of “quiet desperation,” and I hope that by sharing my experiences I might empower someone else to step outside her comfort zone and take a risk or two in order to make her own dreams come true.
What is your most rewarding experience?
Besides watching my little boys grow up to become strong, handsome young men? I love it when one of my readers tells me that something I have said in a blog post has inspired her to make a change in her own life.
What’s a little-known fact about you no one would suspect?
I am terrified of thunderstorms. I make no apologies for this.
Are you a Petit Four or a Hot Tamale?
I recently discovered a recipe for “chocolate chili bites” – tiny chocolate cakes seasoned with (surprise!) chili powder. Complex, right? That’s me.
What Pam’s friends have to say..
Pam is a dynamo. If someone met her on the street and didn’t know her age, they would NEVER believe she was in her fifties. She has the heart and spirit of a thirty year-old. She is full of adventure, never afraid to try something new. Having Pam as a friend is like having found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Thanks for putting me in the hot seat – er, spotlight! – today.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!