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Interview: Suzanne Jenkins, Author of Pam of Babylon

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Suzanne Jenkins resides at the west Michigan lakeshore with her husband, two dogs and two sheep.  Her latest books are Pam of Babylon, Don’t You Forget About Me and Dream Lover.  If you haven’t read her work, be sure to check it out!

Readers can learn more about Suzanne Jenkins and her work by visiting the following links:

Website ~ Facebook ~ Blog ~ Twitter

Could you please tell us a bit about your book? The story? The characters?

Pam of Babylon is the story of a middle-aged, Long Island housewife who discovers secrets and lies about her husband Jack’s life when he has a heart attack on the train from Manhattan. She had what she thought was the perfect life until events uncover the truth.

How did you come up with the title and how much say did you have on the cover design?

The title just came to me! I knew right away what the basic story would be, but the twists and turns and other characters came to me as I wrote. I never knew what the outcome of much of it was until I was in the midst of it. E.L. Doctorow said “Writing a novel is like driving a car in the dark. You can only see as far as your headlights shine, but you can make the entire trip that way.” Or something like that. When I read the quote, it was very validating because that is exactly how I write. If I had to have an outline before I could begin I would be in big trouble.

The cover is also serendipitous. I had an idea of a woman in a beach chair, because Pam lived at the beach, with the urn of her husband’s ashes at her feet. The ghost of the man was the jacket designer’s idea! I thought it was perfect.

Do you have a favorite line or excerpt that you would like to share from your book?

Yes, thank you.

In this scene, Pam is meeting her late husband Jack’s mistress, Sandra, for the first time, just outside of his hospital room where they had gone to view the body. Pam’s sister, Marie is standing with Sandra.

Pam was as gorgeous as a fifty-five-year-old woman could be. Although hardly at her best now, you could tell she took good care of herself. In addition to good genes, she worked out daily, stayed out of the sun, and spent a small fortune on her hair and skin. It showed.

Now they stood face to face. Marie needn’t have said a word. Pam was no slouch. She knew who this young, at¬tractive woman was. She could see immediately why Jack was attracted to her, why he would betray his wife for her. It must have been uncontrollable.

She stood looking at Sandra and put out her hand, not to shake, but to grasp.
“I’m Pam Smith,” she said. “Please, who are you?”

Sandra started to weep again unattractively, snort¬ing. She could barely get the words out. “Sandra. Sandra Benson. I am so sorry.” The tears cruised down her face, dripping off the end of her nose. Pam took a step toward her, and Sandra looked up startled, fully expecting her to haul off and slap her across the face. Instead, she placed her hands on the young woman’s shoulders and pulled her to her bosom. She had to stand on her toes to hug Sandra.

Then she started to weep, too.

“I’m sorry, too. Poor Jack. I’m sorry, too.

I love this scene because it prepares the reader for what’s in store, exposing Pam and setting up the dynamic between the three women. I don’t want to give away too much more.

What are some of your favorite ways to promote your work?

I think being lucky enough to have book bloggers review your work and hopefully give positive reviews is probably the best way. While I’m waiting for it to happen, I am doing the following.

I love Goodreads for pay per click advertising and book giveaways. Book blogger sites that allow advertising are another means I use. Twitter, and services that Tweet for a price have helped. Facebook is helpful, but I worry that the people who have ‘liked’ my author page are getting bombarded with too much stuff over and over again. My son has a lot of ‘friends’ on Facebook, so I spam his profile page as often as I can. Pump Up Your Book is proving to be a great find. I am so thrilled to be interviewed here, for instance, and it was made possible by PUYB.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

I write every day, and when I am not writing, I blog, update my website and market my books. It’s a full time job. I often start out at dawn and am able to get a few hours in before the distractions of the day begin.

What are some ways that you like to relax?

I love word games on my iPhone and lace knitting.

What author/s do you think are overlooked in the writing/reading world today?

Paul Theroux, without a doubt. He is a prolific writer, and I love his books.

What author would you most like to meet and why?

Euripides. I thought I had a vivid, twisted imagination!

Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to share with readers?

The fourth “Pam of Babylon” book is about to be released. Prayers for the Dying begins to tie up some loose ends from Dream Lover, the third book. I thought it would be the last in the series, but then I started writing the fifth which tells more of the story of what became of Jack’s only male lover, Ashton. Come Back to Me should be released Winter 2013.

What is something about yourself that would come as a surprise to many people?

I have two books being edited which may be released together if I complete the rewrites in time; Prayers for the Dying, that fourth Pam book, and a new series beginning with The Greeks of Beaubien Street, a story of a Greek family who live in Greektown, Detroit. The heroine is the thirty-something daughter of the family who is a Detroit homicide detective.

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