A huge thank you to Pam Lecky for being my 4th Guest Author on my blog, and for answering my questions….. Enjoy!
I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? And have you always been drawn to the Historical novel?
Hi Jude, and thanks for having me on your blog.
No, it never occurred to me to become a writer, but the signs were there. I dabbled in poetry as a teenager (and yes; it was awful stuff!) and did some writing for a community magazine in my late teens, but I never imagined I’d eventually become a full-time writer of fiction. However, from an early age, books were on my radar.
My father was an avid reader and one of my earliest memories is of him bringing me to our local library to get my first library card. Again, my father read a lot of non-fiction history and loved to watch historical drama on the tv. I absorbed it all, and it certainly influenced my taste in books as I got older. When my father bought me the complete works of Jane Austen, that was it—I was hooked and raced off to read every classic I could get my hands on.
Did you have to do much research for the characters in Her Secret War?
Yes, I did, but thankfully, I love doing research. However, up to now, my books have been set in the late Victorian era, a time I’m very comfortable and familiar with at this stage. Luckily, I have always been fascinated by world wars and tend to watch anything related on TV, such as documentaries or movies. However, it was my agent’s suggestion that I explore writing a WW2 story with a strong Irish flavour. That made my antennae twitch. At the time, I was editing Footprints in the Sand, which is set in Victorian Egypt, so I had to be careful not to mix up my timelines and include Spitfires flying over the Great Pyramid or corset-wearing heroines in Blitzed London!
The greatest challenge was getting up to speed on day-to-day life. I knew a lot about the timeline and events of the war, but it was the nitty-gritty details of life in Britain on the Homefront during those terrible years that I needed to research. Basically, I had to read a lot and thankfully, there is an enormous amount of wonderful material out there, from eyewitness accounts to newsreels.
The plot and storyline of Her Secret War, is amazing and has many twists, how did you come up with the idea?
When I started to write the book, I knew only two things: it had to be an Irish story and it had to be an espionage novel. Essentially, the story is about spies and fifth columnists, and luckily, I came across a fantastic book by Tim Tate, Hitler’s British Traitors, which not only gave me a huge amount of background information but also threw up a few plot ideas too (always a bonus!).
Both my family and local history inspired Her Secret War. My mother and her sisters left rural Ireland to work in Britain during WW2. One aunt was following her boyfriend, who had joined the RAF, and she went to work in a factory making munitions. Another aunt wanted to study nursing, and my mother was a ‘clippie’ (bus conductor) on the Birmingham buses. Her Secret War is not their story, but there are glimpses of their experiences hidden amongst the fiction. The bombing of North Strand, which opens the book, happened only a few miles from where I grew up and as a young child, I passed the bombed-out sites regularly on the bus, knowing nothing about them. I was in my late teens before I learned of the bombing and the relevant history.
Who would you like to see playing the parts of Sarah and Rob if Her Secret War was turned into a Movie/TV Show?
It would have to be an Irish actress to play Sarah. I loved Niamh Walsh in Smother—I think she would do a great job. As for Rob, I think Oliver Jackson-Cohen would suit the role perfectly.
As a child growing up, were you an avid reader? Do you have a favourite childhood book?
I was an only child and spent a lot of time on my own, so I listened to a lot of music and read a huge amount. As a child, I was a fan of Enid Blyton books. The Secret Seven series was my favourite.
Do you have a favourite Author or favourite book of all time?
I greatly admire Georgette Heyer’s books—she was a wonderful writer. No one else comes close when it comes to writing romance, not least because she was a master of creating such wonderful, well-rounded characters and there is always humour in her books. My favourite book of hers is Faro’s Daughter. However, her detective stories weren’t as good. For that genre, my favourite will always be Dorothy L Sayers (who doesn’t love the characters of Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane?).
How many books have you written, and which is your favourite?
I have now written six novels and one collection of short stories. It is always difficult to pick a favourite, but I really did enjoy writing the sequel to Her Secret War, which will be coming out in April next year. Her Last Betrayal follows on immediately from the first book and takes Sarah on quite a roller-coaster ride with plenty of action and a good old dollop of romance, too.
Do you play music when writing, and if so what’s your favourite?
Yes, I usually have music playing in the background, unless I’m doing line editing or proofreading when you must concentrate one hundred percent. What music I play really depends on my mood. The era I’m writing about can also be an influence. For instance, I played quite a bit of swing music while writing Her Secret War. Most of the time, it will be instrumental music that isn’t too distracting but great for setting a mood. I also find, when I hit those writers’ block moments, that it is listening to music and relaxing that usually helps.
What’s the greatest gift you’ve ever received?
The complete works of Jane Austen from my father, which still has pride of place on my bookshelf. It ignited my love of the classics and made me a huge fan of historical fiction too.
Are you currently writing another book?
I am in the final editing stages for two books. The third book in my Lucy Lawrence Series, The Art of Deception, is due for release in December, and Her Last Betrayal, the second book featuring Sarah Gillespie and MI5, is slated for release in April 2022. Currently, I am putting together synopses for future books, including a psychological thriller, which is an entirely new genre for me.
Pam is an Irish historical fiction author with Avon Books UK/Harper Collins. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society, The Crime Writers’ Association and the Society of Authors. She is represented by Thérèse Coen, at the Hardman & Swainson Literary Agency, London.
From an early age, Pam had a particular fascination with all things historical, from food and clothes to architecture and social history, so it is little surprise that her books are set against historical backdrops, from the late Victorian era right up to and including WW2.
June 2019 saw the publication of the first book in Pam’s historical mystery series – The Lucy Lawrence Mysteries. No Stone Unturned is a fast-paced adventure set in 1886 and was awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion. Footprints in the Sand, the second book, set in Egypt, was published in March 2020 and won a Silver Medal in the Coffee Pot Book Club Book of the Year Awards 2020. Pam is currently working on the third book in the series.
Her debut novel, The Bowes Inheritance, was awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion and was shortlisted for the Carousel Aware Prize 2016 and longlisted for the Historical Novel Society 2016 Indie Award. Her Secret War a WW2 Historical Novel is the first book of two with Avon Books UK/Harper Collins and tells the story of an Irish girl who travels to England only to be caught up in the dark world of espionage, where lies and treachery reign
She is also rather fond of short stories and writes both contemporary and historical tales, all of which can be found on Amazon.
You can contact Pam directly here – firstname.lastname@example.org.