Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”
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A visionary is someone who sees into the future Taylor Forrestier sees into the past but only as it pertains to her work. Hailed by her peers as “a visionary with an instinct for beauty and an eye for the unique” Taylor is undoubtedly a brilliant architect and gifted designer. But she and twin brother Trevor, share more than a successful business. The two share a childhood wrought with lies and deceit and the kind of abuse that’s disturbingly prevalent in today’s society. Can the love of God and the awesome healing power of His grace and mercy free the twins from their past and open their hearts to the good plan and the future He has for their lives? Find out in…The Visionary ~ Where the power of God's love heals the most wounded of souls.
What inspired this novel? How did it come about?
When I first wrote The Visionary in a 5-subject notebook (where most of my stuff began way back when) I had in mind a sweet romance featuring m/f twins and their love interests. When I first typed the novel, I thought, “this is my light romance!” which was a great relief after some of my other work which dealt with subjects like domestic violence, grief, and betrayal. However, one day I sent off the first 3 chapters to a friend and her response was, “these twins are awful close, you need to be careful.” Of course that made me wonder Why? What happened to them or between them to make them so close (I couldn’t seem to tone down their intense feelings for one another). Then one day I walked out of my office into the living room where my husband sat watching a popular talk show. In a heart-wrenching scene the young man on the show apologized to his sisters because he couldn’t stop the abuse they suffered at the hands of their father. I swear, every drop of blood drained from my body and I began to argue with God…. No! Not that! Anything but that! I can’t write this! I have no experience in this! I’m not qualified as a minister or therapist! God….PLEASE….no. Three days of wavering, three days of arguing, three days of not being able to sit down and write a single word and God finally confronted me with…. “Who are you writing for anyway?” I capitulated and wrote the entire story in 4 months during the busiest time of year for a bookkeeper/tax preparer (Jan - April).
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part of writing The Visionary was depicting the gruesome abuse the twins suffered as children and then realistically portraying the healing available through the awesome power of God's love and their struggle for relief from a past too horrendous to live with any longer.
How did you come up with the concept and the setting?
Characters came first then setting for The Visionary I wanted to do a book around a set of M/F twins, don’t know why, just thought the concept would be interesting and I hadn’t read anything similar so I thought it would be something different. My family history goes back to the early settlers of Lake Charles, and I’d visited the old ‘LeBleu’ homestead so the idea that these twins would be hired to restore/remodel this home back into its previous grandeur and was supposed to be a light-hearted story until the twins revealed to me the horrific abuse they suffered as children. This has been my most difficult—yet most rewarding—books to write.
Is any part of The Visionary factual?
Yes, the research Taylor uncovers about the LeBleu estate is factual as I actually did the research into the family history myself. However, that homestead no longer exists—the family sold the property to a pipe manufacturing company.
How much research did The Visionary take?
Other than the research into the LeBleu estate –which I enjoyed immensely—actually very little, after all, the book is set in the area where I grew up so the setting was very easy to incorporate.
What is the message you hope to get across in this story?
That regardless of where you’ve been or what you’ve done the awesome love of God has the power to heal the most wounded of souls and to forgive the ugliest of sinners.
What is the one question you wish an interviewer would ask you?
Q: To what or whom do you credit your success?
A: Many people have a love/hate relationship with their muse. My muse is the Holy Spirit and I accredit every ounce of success to the grace of God because without HIM I seriously doubt I could write a single word, much less stories that bring hope and healing to so many.
What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
Unlike many writers, I'm not strictly disciplined. Sometimes I feel I need to be because I haven't written anything new in quite a while. I've completed a couple WIP's and edited existing projects, but nothing brand new—and how I long to just throw everything out and start fresh LOL! However, when I am actively writing, I write—very little editing, or working on other projects, limited time online, not much networking or blogging, sleep comes only in snatches, meals are scarce and light, and definitely no playing!
When do you feel like it all began to come together for you as a writer—was there a particular moment?
After years as a closet writer, penning stories in 5-subject notebooks, I'd have to say when I purchased my first, USED word processor and started typing in all those handwritten manuscripts I really began to feel like a writer.
Who has influenced you most as a writer and why?
There is really no one person to whom I can attribute this to, so many have helped me along the way. I’d have to say that my love of reading has influenced me the most. Reading opens doors to the imagination, takes you places you’d never be able to go otherwise and improves your visualization and vocabulary skills. Now, I’m able to implement all those things into my own writing.
What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
The biggest challenge I face is not having my work accepted by the “Christian” publishers. As one reviewer said, “though undeniably Christian, it is never dogmatic or insular; offering faith rather than religion.” (Review of Tempered Dreams by Elizabeth Burton for Blue Iris Journal) My books deal with issues in a way that is unacceptable in the traditional CBA market. Now that is not saying that my books are better than those published through traditional CBA publishers, only different. As I’ve said many times, everything that gives God glory deserves to be praised!
What are a few writing tips you could share with aspiring writers?
The bible exhorts us to “study and show yourself approved.” Keep studying, keep writing, keep learning, stay open to constructive critique and NEVER GIVE UP! Writing is both gift and talent given to you by God. Don’t hide your gift or bury your talent. Whatever you write, write well. Strive for excellence. Stay teachable, pliable, and flexible. Never believe that you know it all because knowledge is power and the more you know the more valuable you become. Above all share what you learn with others and make someone’s load lighter to bear.
Any marketing tips?
Marketing is an intricate part of the publishing business and publishers today expect authors to do their fair share. However, marketing/promotion can be overwhelming as the more you learn, the more there is to learn. For every thing you accomplish, there are hundreds more you can do. My motto is: Do something every day and your best then let God do the rest and remember it takes time to build a career.
What is your goal or mission as a writer?
A committed Christian, I firmly believe in God and His promises. God is very real to me. I believe that people today need and want to hear more of His truths wherever they can glean them and I do my best to encourage readers to develop a personal relationship with Him. The deepest desire of my heart is to glorify God and to get His message of faith, trust, and forgiveness to a hurting world. My hope is that all of my stories will touch the lives of everyone who reads them and - in some way - bring them a truer knowledge of God and urge them into a closer walk with Him.
Taylor Forrestier awoke with a muffled scream. Her feet tangled in the bedcovers when she tried to bolt, and she landed on the floor with a thud and a whimper. She kicked free of the sheets and blankets then crawled into a corner. Eyes wide with horror, she tried to make sense of the shadows that danced around her, to separate the ones in the room from those in her mind. Her heart thundered. Breath escaped in short pants. She drew her knees to her chest, took several deep breaths to keep from hyperventilating, then closed her eyes and rested her head. Shivers overtook her slender frame. A sob escaped. Oh, God, would the nightmares ever cease, the ghosts ever rest in peace?
Resolve straightened her spine. Eyes still closed, she inched her way to the bedside table. Her hand trembled when she turned on the lamp. The light forced darkness from the room, but only one thing would push it from her mind. Agility born of fear drove her to her feet. She fumbled into a sweat suit, socks and tennis shoes, scraped her hair up into a ponytail, then fled.
Thank you Shonell for hosting my tour! Be sure your friends know every time they comment their name will be placed in the drawing for an autographed copy of The Visionary!
What a powerful story and such an inspirational interview. Thank you both for great questions and heartfelt responses.
I wish you the best of success with your novel. Certainly adding it to my TBR list.
Thank you so much Angela for stopping by. My prayer is that The Visionary brings a measure of healing to everyone who reads it.
It was awesome having you, Pam, and I will definitely tell people about the free book giveaway!! :-D
I would love to win a copy. I haven't had this exact experience, but I've heard if you have 7 women in a group, 4 of them were molested as children.
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