Please welcome Pamela Beason, whose multi-faceted activities and unusual work history form her many writing projects.
Most books come both from an author’s imagination and from the author’s experience. That’s certainly true of my stories: my biggest challenge is preventing myself from emptying my brain into every book. I have worked as a mechanical and architectural drafter, geologic research technician, translator, technical writer, managing editor in a multimedia department, and many other jobs too weird to mention. You can imagine what a muddle I could create if I threw it all in.
These days, I am a licensed private investigator, which you might think would be a perfect job for a mystery writer. Alas, the work is not nearly as exciting as it is on television. The biggest reason is that real-life PIs have to obey the law because we may have to defend everything we do in court. Also, discretion is everything when it comes to investigation work, so I can’t write about any case.
But that’s not to say that my investigation experiences don’t go into my books. Lately I’ve focused on my young adult Run for Your Life suspense series. Why did I want to write young adult stories? One, I love to interview teenagers: they are at such an interesting point in life, where all things, terrific and horrific, seem possible. Two, I have met too many teens in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. They often end up there because their parents are criminals, addicts, or just plain negligent, and they are often in danger from relatives, associates, or their own bad decisions.
So I decided to write about a teenager who is forced out on her own because her parents were murdered. The killers are looking for her, too, so Amelia Robinson invents a new identity for herself. She becomes Tanzania Grey, an emancipated minor who learns from undocumented workers how to live under the radar of the authorities. She works hard at picking crops and then at a zoo, gets her GED at age 16, and educates herself though online apps. I was inspired by tough young women athletes to make Tanzania a champion endurance racer. Exotic, challenging, multi-day, cross-country endurance races actually exist and die-hard athletes of both genders seek them out. In my books, my fictional races allow my character to experience adventure and danger around the world.
In Race with Danger (Book 1), Tanzania is determined to win the Verde Island Race’s million-dollar prize to save the life of her friend Bailey. Treacherous terrain and wild creatures that fly, slither, and crawl around this tropical island turn out to be the least of her problems after she draws the name of Sebastian Callendro as her race partner. Sebastian’s personal life has recently put him in the spotlight, and his nosy followers are exactly the kind that Tana can’t afford.
In Race to Truth (Book 2), the exciting second book in the series, Tana receives an invitation to compete in an extreme version of the Ski to Sea cross-country relay race in her home town: Bellingham, Washington. She has always wanted to be part of Ski to Sea, and returning to Bellingham might allow her to uncover clues about her parents’ murders. But sleuthing around near the scene of the crime could also reveal her true identity and cost Tana her life.
I’m working on Book 3, Race for Justice. But I don’t want to neglect my other series, so I’m also working on Book 4 of my Summer “Sam” Westin wilderness mystery series (Endangered, Bear Bait, Undercurrents). Did I mention I’m a hiker/kayaker/snowshoer/cross-country skier/scuba diver? A lot of my outdoor adventures go into my Sam Westin series. I write about the wilderness not only because I want to share my passion for nature and wildlife, but because even when you can call 9-1-1 in the backcountry, help is unlikely to arrive soon. That means self-reliance is crucial for survival as well as for solving crimes, and that makes a perfect setup for a suspense novel.
And I’ve also begun Book 3 of my Neema Mysteries (The Only Witness, The Only Clue), which feature Neema, a gorilla who has been taught sign language in a psychology project. This series sprang not only from my fascination with animal intelligence, but also from my investigation experience, where I have worked on cases that involve the testimony of small children. A gorilla is believed to have the intelligence of a five-year-old human, so if a five-year-old child can testify, why couldn’t a gorilla who knows sign language? The problem, of course, is whether Neema will be believed, because like a small child, she is easily distracted, has a limited vocabulary and no sense of time, and often invents stories to get what she wants.
And finally, I am about seventy percent of the way to finishing a sequel to my romantic suspense Shaken, in which a handsome (of course) investigator is assigned to look into whether a business owner (Elisa Langston) is committing insurance fraud. I wrote Shaken because I know how difficult it can be to prove innocence when accused of a crime. Elisa is a gutsy half-Guatemalan young woman whose Mayan mother deserted her at age 9, leaving her to be raised by her Anglo father. After his sudden death, Elisa inherits the family plant nursery, and under her watch, the business quickly sinks into trouble. There’s an earthquake, vandalism, and arson, a lot of suspicious quirky characters running around, and of course, romance! The sequel focuses on Elisa’s adoptive mother, Gail Langston, who is afraid to fall in love again after her third husband (Elisa’s father) dies.
Pamela Beason often jokes that she suffers from multiple personality disorder. She’s pretty much interested in everything and can never decide what to focus on next, so she constantly juggles multiple book projects. When she tires of creating fictional escapades, she slips off into the wilderness for a real-life adventure. All her books are published by WildWing Press. You can find links to all her books and join her mailing list on http://pamelabeason.com.