So, Pam, I understand you were involved in a horrible accident
that inspired your book, How I Became a Fearless Woman. Please
give us a little background.
I've spent the past 32 years living my life … with the handicap that was the result of a car accident I was involved in at the age of 21. The anger and resentment I carried every time I looked back at my life could have destroyed me. Thankfully, I learned to adapt and love myself—just as I was. I believe that is where the true healing began for me.
Q: What was your life like before the accident?
I grew up figure skating, until I eventually trained to enter Ice Capades. I remember performing on the ice at the Los Angeles Forum, auditioning.
It was so smooth that I felt as if I was gliding on glass. I was so happy... until I got the "good news, bad news" reactions from the judges: My skating was good... but my thighs were too big. As if that wasn’t insulting enough, they added that, with constant travel between shows, I’d have no time to repair costumes if the seams were split. Not so subtle, were they! Well, I got the message, all right, and years later I was an instructor for Jack La Lanne’s Health Spa. Guess what? No more heavy thighs! (Take that, nasty judges!) Despite the obvious perks, it wasn’t a job with a future. I moved on, and became a prop maker for Warner Bros. Studios, working on popular shows like Wonder Woman, Fantasy Island, Eight Is Enough, and more. I also took “side jobs,” designing and constructing stained glass windows. And then came the accident.
Talk about a cliffhanger! All right…we’ll flex our "patience muscles," but only for a moment! Q: So tell us, Pam, where did you grow up?
I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, California, about 15 miles North of Hollywood.
Q: Any siblings?
My sister, Marilyn, who was and is my hero. She never gave up on me, even though I was such an angry young woman after my accident.
Q: What sort of "little girl" dreams did you have before the accident?
I don't remember much about my life before the accident, but I do recall that I wanted to marry Bobby Sherman. (Remember that show "Here Come the Brides?" OMG was I smitten!)
Q: Okay, you’ve kept us in suspense more than long enough! Tell us about the accident that literally changed your world...
On the night of December 6th, 1978, while driving home, I was broadsided by a truck. I was rushed to the ER, and, after hours of tests, the doctors gave me a 1% chance of surviving: I was in a coma and did not awaken for five weeks. In January of 1979, I was transferred to Rancho Los Amigos Hospital in Downey, California. Even though I did show slight signs of life, it still took me an additional five weeks to arrive at a state of awareness of my situation. I spent the next six months there.
It was hard work, getting from that point to where I am now, but well worth every agonizing moment of therapy! And now that I'm able pursue goals, I have not stopped! I faced hurdle after hurdle—and yes, they slowed me down, but only temporarily, because I knew there was a reason that I had survived, and I was eager to find out what it was!
Q: What inspired you to turn your experience into a book?
I started writing How I Became a Fearless Woman in the hope that I could help just one person who’d gone through something similar. I wanted to get the word out that with faith, perseverance and love, a person can overcome just about anything!
Q: How long did it take you to write the book?
I'd like to say that, I just sat down and Poof! it just popped onto the computer screen. But in reality, it was a culmination of years’ worth of work, partly because after numerous edits, I just didn’t know how to wind things up! Then I began working on the soap opera “General Hospital” and realized that was the perfect place to end it. The book... not me! LOL
Q: How much time did you spend on research (medical, psychological, spiritual)?
I sought out my doctors, who mostly corrected the medical lingo. Basically, Fearless Woman is an honest recollection of what could have been a tragedy... if God hadn’t blessed me with a willingness and a spirit to endured, overcome, and succeed.
Q: What do you hope your readers "take away" from the book?
I pray they’ll gain peace and assurance, and a mindset that inspires them to push themselves harder, and stop comparing themselves to others, like I did right after the accident. God has a plan for each of us, and we need to accept that gift and share it... along with the essence of beauty comes from the heart.
Q: Do you write full time? (If not, what is your 'day job'?)
My day job? Gosh, I'm a full time job!
Q: If you couldn’t "be" a writer, what would you do, instead (and why)?
I enjoy speaking to groups, encouraging them. I’d love to "make" a career of that! And I love acting, so... (Hollywood producers/directors can reach me through my web site!)
Q: How do you balance family, work, church, and playtime?
Oh, I just toss stuff up in the air, and it lands where it lands! Seriously? I trust God to work things out. And so far, He’s done a pretty good job!
Q: What’s the most difficult thing about being an author?
I think it's when we spend too much time considering how people want to see our work, instead of following our own lead.
Q: And the easiest (or most fun)?
I love being my own boss.
Q: What do you do to rest and relax after a long, hard day?
I thank God that I made it through another day, I watch Wheel of Fortune, I spend too much time on Facebook! Heeeeeee...
Q: What’s one fact about you that most of your readers don’t know?
Maybe that even now, when I meet a guy, I stop and ask the Lord if he's the one. I'm __ years old and single (sorry, Mom), and that's okay, because I've had such a busy life... but I still desire marriage to someone who loves the Lord like I do.
Q: Have you ever done anything others might consider "crazy"?
When I was 18, my girlfriend and I hitchhiked up to Los Gatos and lived there for 2 years.
Q: And what's next for you?
God only knows.
Q: Any advice for those "I’d love to be an author!" readers out there? (e.g., conferences, critique groups, entering/judging contests, how-to books, etc.)
Make sure to stay around positive reinforcement, so that your dream cannot be stolen, because discouragement will arrive from the least likely source. Also, join a writer's group, to be around people with similar dreams. Other than that, just follow your heart!
Q: Where can readers find you on the Internet?
Thanks so much, Pam, for taking time from your busy schedule to help us get to know you a little better. I think you’re my new hero, and it has truly been a genuine pleasure!