IN THE PITS

Pamela Britton

This month IN THE PITS welcomes...ME!

Bwuah!

I don't know why I find that so amusing, but for some reason the thought of me being the guinea pig this month really tickles my funny bone. Okay. (Pam clears her face and attempts a serious expression.) (Like, NOT!)

Thanks to Carol and her friends at the Jeff Gordon Network for thinking up such great questions!

Okay, so here we go...

When you aren't writing, what do you like to do with your time?

Sleep. Seriously, I really, really, really like to snooze. However, given that my writing deadlines are so close together—and I have a five-year-old—sleeping is more of a pipe dream, really. And so what I tend to do whenever I get a moment is make necklaces. I tell people I must have been a crow in a past life because I love blingy things. The more bling the better. Those Swarovski Crystals are the coolest things in the world and I like nothing more than stringing a whole bunch of them together so my neck looks like a disco ball.

Do you have any hobbies?

Well, I used to show horses a lot but that doesn't happen much anymore (see above). But we have a couple of horses in training and so I hope to get back into it when things settle down. I ride English—and I have hunter/jumpers. One Warmblood and a couple of Quarter Horses in my "string".

Do you have any pets?

We have tons, and I do mean TONS of pets. I think something like twenty-two animals at last count. Seven horses. Three cows and one bull. Four cats and eight dogs—yes, eight. It's a menagerie. In fact, I've got a foolproof way of discerning whether someone's a nice person or not—just invite them over to my house and if they laugh and giggle while being assaulted by canine tongues then chances are they're good to go. If they complain about the dogs jumping up on them then I figure they aren't worth the time.

What person really excited you when you met them.

You know, I'd have to say that meeting Richard Petty was pretty cool. And he was so nice and personable. I was really impressed by him.

Who would you like to meet that you haven't met?

Hmm. I'd have to say—and don't laugh—that I'd love to meet Benny Parsons. (For those of you non-NASCAR fans, that's a television announcer who used to be a race car driver). Benny seems like such a jolly ol' guy that I think he'd be fun to sit and talk to. Maybe one day I'll get to meet him.

I notice you have interviews with some racing personalities on your website. Do you have plans to interview any other drivers and their wives or girlfriends?

Absolutely. I plan on doing that on a regular basis. I even know exactly who I'm going to hit up next time, LOL. I'd like to try and keep future columns to women, however, because we so seldom get to hear from them and so I'm thinking one of the female drivers would be a good victim—er, subject.

Do you have any gifts given to you by fans that you find very special?

I do. As a matter of fact, I was just looking for one the other day. It was a sweatshirt one of my readers made me. Actually, she made it for my little girl—it had ghosts and goblins on it. It's so cute and my daughter just loved wearing it for Halloween.

But the best gifts I get are letters from my readers. Seriously, they're so touching. Many times they bring me to tears. I had one reader write to me to tell me that she started my book prior to having heart surgery so she could have something to look forward to. (Dang it, that still makes me cry.) Her surgery was a success and she told me that she was certain that was due, in part, to my book. Wow. Is that neat, or what? And that, my friends, is why I've stuck it out in this business.

Some writers use personal experience, some use their own fantasies, some use experience or fantasies of family or friends. Where do you get your story lines?

I truly get them from all over the place, and I very rarely use anything from my own real life. About the only time I do that is when I'm trying to characterize villains. I've met some real you-know-whats in my life and so I think about them whenever I'm writing about someone who's a jerk.

I usually have to plot out my stories with a group of individuals (with a nod to Kellie, Rae and Jaime for this last round). I start with a very basic idea and then my friends help me to expand on it. For example, the book we just plotted is another NASCAR book and my friend Jaime is a scientist and so she suggested (rather jokingly) that my heroine should be a scientist and I went, "Hey! I like that idea." And so, viola, a heroine was born.

It's interesting to note that the ideas we came up with during that plotting session have already morphed. I sat down to write the first chapter and what we came up with just wasn't working. It took me two weeks to come up with a twist that I really liked and so now I think I'm ready to write the book. It's the same story concept, just a bit different than what we plotted.