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Interview: Pamela Fagan Hutchins, Author of Saving Grace

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A writer of award-winning mysteriy women’s fiction and relationship humor books, Pamela Fagan Hutchins holds nothing back. She is known for “having it all” which translates to: she has a little too much of everything, but loves it and has not one single complaint.  Among her accomplishments and career titles are: writer, mediocre endurance athlete (triathlon, marathons), wife, mom of an ADHD & Asperger’s son, five kids/step-kids, business owner, recovering employment attorney and human resources executive, investigator, consultant, and musician.

Pamela lives with her husband, Eric, and their two high school-aged kids, plus 200 pounds of pets in Houston. Their hearts are still in St. Croix, USVI, along with those of their three oldest offspring.

Pamela Fagan Hutchins’ latest book is the mystery/women’s fiction, Saving Grace. Readers can learn more about Pamela Fagan Hutchins and her work by visiting the following links:

Facebook ~ Website ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads ~ Google+ ~ Amazon

If you had to describe your book in two sentences, what would they be?

Katie Connell is a high-strung attorney whose sloppy drinking habits and stunted love life collide hilariously in a doomed celebrity case in Dallas. When she flees to investigate the suspicious deaths of her parents on the Caribbean island of St. Marcos, she’s bewitched by the voodoo spirit of an abandoned house in the rainforest and discovers that she’s as much a danger to herself as the island’s bad guys are.

Do you have a favorite line or excerpt from your current work?

“Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve all had a bit of excitement, but the officers have it under control and we need to let them do their jobs,” the judge said.

I heard a keening noise. The kind a cat makes when it’s trapped up in a tree.

Hush, I thought. Just hush. Everyone hush.

I sank to my knees on the courtroom’s tile floor. I put my head in my hands. And that’s when I realized the sound was coming from me.

After I quit mewling like a crazy cat woman in front of the whole courtroom and started acting somewhat attorney-like again, I asked the judge for a mistrial.

He actually considered it for about five seconds. Or at least he stayed completely silent for that long. He could have been devising elaborate torture rituals or plotting my death. When he said no, I knew he meant “Hell No Katie Connell And Don’t Ever Darken The Doors Of My Courtroom Again.” I’m empathic like that.

It didn’t improve things for me when Mack and I were walking away from the bench and the prosecutor said, “Bet you wish your client had accepted that plea bargain now.”

Mack almost became the second person I assaulted that day.

What are five important things that you take into consideration while writing your story?

1. Escalating tension in a just-within-the-bounds-of-plausibility plotline.
2. A likeable, relatable, deliciously-flawed protagonist and a bad guy whose actions have credible motivation, even if he is a scumbag.
3. Rich, specific description that prompts the reader to paint the rest of the picture.
4. A balance between the comedic and the tragic.
5. Straight-to-screen dialogue, with just enough flavoring of regional/cultural differences.

Why should readers pick up your book?

Saving Grace will sweep you away to the islands to fall in love with a rainforest jumbie house and a main character that will have you cringing for her at the same time as you laugh with her, cry with her, and cheer her on. It’s a fantastic mystery wrapped up in an exotic vacation.

What was the turning point when you realized you wanted to write and share your voice with the world?

My husband goaded me into it. Lovingly. Repeatedly. And, finally, mercilessly. It’s nice to have a sadist who believes in you. Anyway, once I started writing seriously, I just couldn’t stop.

What genres do you prefer to read? Which do you enjoy writing in?

I love reading dramatic literary fiction a la Larry McMurtry or Pat Conroy, but I also love a good cry over Old Dan and Little Ann in Where the Red Fern Grows. My go-to airport purchase, though, is a mystery or thriller. I think my take on the mystery genre aspires to the larger-than-life characters of McMurtry, the zany humor of Evanovich, and the deep emotion of Conroy. Plus I throw in some dogs, so I manage to do a little of everything I love best.

What five things would you have with you at all times if you had to be prepared to take a trip at the drop of a hat?

I would never, ever leave home without my bio-identical hormones!! Give me my iPhone, my one-eyed Boston Terrier, my husband, and a pair of tweezers, and I’m good to go.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

My super power would be that I didn’t have to sleep. How marvelous it would be to have seven more hours a day, every day for the rest of my life! I might even have a prayer of getting through my to-do list every now and then.

What footprint do you want to leave behind in this world?

My husband and I have five kids. If we prepared them to be responsible, caring adults who take charge of the pursuit of their own health and happiness, I would feel complete.

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