Sunday, February 24, 2013

Introducing PAM KELT

It is my great pleasure to have PAM KELT share a little about what inspires her writing. As a Museitup editor I have been privileged to work with Pam on her upcoming YA Fantasy novel ICE TREKKER. Mark your calendar to watch out of her release date. Pam creates a wonderful world full of incredible creatures, characters and adventure. 

 Pam KELT......
With a background in languages, editing and journalism, Pam now has five ebooks coming out: 
Ice Trekker, Half Life and Dark Interlude (all with Muse); 
The Lost Orchid (Bluewood Publishing) and Tomorrow’s Anecdote (Crooked Cat).
 She lives in Kenilworth, with her husband Rob, a professor of inorganic chemistry, keen pilot and WW2 aviation enthusiast with whom she co-wrote Half Life.

 Her daughter Lauren is doing History of Art at the University of Edinburgh. Pam loves murder mysteries in any form, Victoriana, art galleries, botany, bird-watching and blockbusters. And, of course, walking the dogs.

Scenes to be believed

Chester and Lottie enjoying the January
 snow in our local spinney
I walk the dogs every day. They need the exercise. I need a screen break. But dog walks make great locations. I can hear the theme tunes of Murder She Wrote or Midsomer Murders every time I pass by an overgrown ditch.

There’s a particular one, near Henry V’s folly a few minutes’ walk from Kenilworth Castle that is begging for a corpse.

My favourite location is a genuine Gothic ruin by the river. Built in 1751 and abandoned in the 1950s (long, long story), its empty windows look out over a picturesque bend of the Avon.

Guy’s Cliffe House in true Gothic mood, 
on 14 February, the day after the snow melted. 
The river has flooded the lower meadows

Guy’s Cliffe House is a hidden gem, not open to the public. To add to its mystique, it’s haunted, so they say. It even sports a hermit’s cave and a medieval love story with a tragic ending.

There’s a path on the other side of the river. You start at the Saxon Mill pub, the site of the original watermill, next to a weir filled with oozing, treacly water. I love the place and its ancient atmosphere.

One day in early summer a few years ago, I was trundling down the path with my two daft hounds. Ahead lay the manor with its glowering façades, overgrown rhododendrons and noisy jackdaws nesting in the chimney pots. I wondered if anyone had ever written a story about the place. It seemed more than likely.

But no. The nearest I found was that Granada TV had filmed a  Sherlock Holmes mystery with Jeremy Brett there in 1992 and managed to set fire to the ruin, causing even more damage. Eerily, the story was called The Last Vampyre. You can still see the scorch marks.
My desk on a rare tidy day when I was
making notes for Dark Interlude.
 Reverting to a fountain pen is
a miracle cure for plotitis.

I mused on what story I would set there, if I had the time to write it. Before I knew it, I’d snowballed all manner of personal interests into a plot. A retired plant collector. Orchids. A spooky mansion with a dark past and a sinister purpose.

Many writers burn to tell a particular story. In my case, the setting came before the story … and seems to be my MO. I stuck to Kenilworth for the book, called The Lost Orchid, set in the 1880s when Britain was orchid-crazy. It was fun creating a historical mystery NOT set in London.

Locations have inspired everything else I’ve written. I’m not sure why: perhaps there are so many stories to write, I needed to narrow down the choices.

Apart from my two dogs, these orchids are my
constant companions.
 The pink one on the left has been flowering
constantly since October 2011 (yes, 2011).
The next book sprang to life after a visit to Tromsö at the very top of Norway. Solid mountains, jetty, weatherboard houses, tundra, islands and lakes … I took hundreds of photographs, especially of its botanical garden, thinking I might do a sequel to the orchid story, but out popped Ice Trekker, a teen fantasy filled with monsters and mayhem. (I’m convinced Phillip Pullman visited a harbourside museum Tromsö before writing Northern Lights. It’s filled with quaint dusty cases full of 19th-century exhibits telling stories of fur-clad explorers in hot-air balloons.)

Exhibit from Tromsö museum 
The Arctic setting also sowed the seed for Half Life, a film noir thriller set in Norway before the Nazi invasion. I roped my husband into that one for his scientific expertise.

A half-term break to Loch Lomond kickstarted Dark Interlude, a romantic adventure set in post-WW1 Scotland.

Tomorrow’s Anecdote is set in the West Country, where I used to work in provincial journalism. Every pub, restaurant, house, flat, bus stop, doctor surgery and office is authentic – this time from memory, topped up by online research.

I can’t wait to finish Machiavelli’s Acolyte, a murderous tale in Bohemia in the 17th century, based in Cesky Krumlov, a dramatic Czech castle with a gruesome past.

It looks like I’ll be visiting Porvoo, a medieval city near Helsinki this summer. I wonder what story will come of that?

Click on the link to follow PAM's website and blog

Thanks for sharing some of your world, Pam, your website and blog are lovely. Well worth a visit and to follow.
Congratulations on the many releases you have this year... 2013 the year of Pam Kelt :)


Edith Parzefall said...

Great article, Pam. I haven't come across a ditch begging for a corpse yet, but I totally understand what you mean with locations inspiring stories. I also love to read novels set in exotic locations, contemporary or historical.

I'll keep an eye out for you books. Wish you great success!

Anonymous said...

Great blog, and great photograph of the ruin. I wish I could photograph there. Good luck with your writing!

(SS Hampton, Sr., MIU author)

Rosalie Skinner said...

I love the 'what if's' of different locations and exotic settings. Old houses, lonely valleys, even watching people in a crowd I like to wonder and or create a world for them to be moving through, an adventure for them to live through.
Life never gets boring. :)
Great post Pam. Thanks for sharing.
Stan, Edith, thanks for dropping in. :)

Wendy said...

What a rich post, such a lovely read and stimulating photos. I understand how your stories come from settings first. Certain places tend to speak to you and I totally agree about the fountain pen as an unblocker. No wonder you have so many books coming out this year. Congratulations and wishing you much success, Pam.

J Q Rose said...

What a wonderful post and beautiful pictures. So appreciate getting to know you better, Pam. Continued success with your writing career (and nurturing orchids).