Tuesday, January 26, 2010

January Author of the Month--Pamela Morsi

Another new addition to my blog this year is featuring a favorite author of mine each month. To kick off the year I’m starting with one of my all time favorites, Pamela Morsi.

The first time I ever met Pam was way back in 1992 in Chicago at the RWA National conference. Her first book, Heaven Scent, had just won a Waldenbooks award and I took advantage of the moment by snapping a picture. Although I hadn’t read the book yet, I was working as an assistant manager for Waldenbooks at the time so I knew who she was.

My first reading experience with one of Pam’s book actually came with her third book, Garters, which came out the following month after that conference in Chicago. We’d received some bookmarks from the publisher there at the book store and since I’d just met Pam I was doubly excited to give one of her books a try. As soon as the book came in I grabbed a copy, read it, and was hooked! Proud, determined Esme Crabb captivated me from page one.

I then went back and read Heaven Scent and Courting Miss Hattie, and waited impatiently for every Morsi book to come down the pike. Eventually, she published a book entitled Runabout. Oh, I absolutely loved that book. Recently jilted Tulsa May Bruder loves the independence the cantankerous Runabout car gives her. Much to her surprise, she ends falling in love with the one man who has a talent for fixing it. This story is a true delight and Morsi delivers a homey, small town, turn-of-the century atmosphere with this story that I just love.


Then in 1995, Pam published Something Shady. Oh! Something Shady is my all-time, A-#1 favorite Morsi book. Yes, all of Pam’s historicals are on my keeper shelf, but if I had to give up all but one, Something Shady is the one I’d fight tooth and nail to keep. Again, Pam does a terrific job of bringing the turn-of-the-century small town to life. And she does it by creating characters you can empathize with, laugh with, root for, and just plain fall for. I love Gertrude Barkley’s unapologetic and independent ways, and when she finds herself in the middle of a sleepy town scandal, she discovers the man next door, who she has known for years, is really the man of her dreams.

And Pam’s writing is always fantastic. The woman has a way with prose, let me tell you. And setting, she’s brilliant when it comes to creating setting and atmosphere. One of my favorites lines from Something Shady demonstrates exactly what I mean. The moon was a mere sliver in the autumn sky, turned like the edge of a teacup pouring out the last dregs of luster on the night. (sigh) What can I say? That one line always inspires me to be the best writer I can be.

Other delightful books, Simple Jess, The Love Charm, No Ordinary Princess, Sealed with a Kiss, Sweetwood Bride, and Here Comes the Bride, followed. All of them are wonderful books I love, but in my eye, Something Shady is the best of the best.

So, a few years ago when the historical market hit kind of a lull and Pam decided to branch out into contemporary, I was bummed. Big time. As a writer I understand the need to make a living, or to spread creative wings and try new things, but oh, how I miss Pam’s historicals. And I’ll be honest here. (Sorry Pam) I haven’t read a single one of her contemporaries. I’m sure I’m missing out on some absolute gems by being stubborn like that, but I so love her historicals that I’m afraid reading a contemporary will taint, or take away some of the magic she created in those historical characters I love so much. I don’t know. It’s my twisted way of thinking, I guess. If Pam would come back to writing her small town historicals you bet I’d be first in line to plunk down my cash.

So, how about you? Are you a fan of Pam’s historicals? If so, why? And, if you’ve read her contemporaries, which one(s) do you recommend? Maybe you can convince me to shove aside my stubborn streak!

33 comments:

Julie Miller said...

I don't read a lot of historicals, but I loved her book, SIMPLE JESS! It truly is a unique romance with its mentally-challenged hero, but, oh, how she made it work. He had such a good heart, and the heroine saw that/needed that. He was smart enough to save her son, and kind enough to save her family. Great story.

And the dedication inside made me cry. :(

Valerie Oakleaf said...

Thanks, Sherry...now I have ANOTHER author I have to read. When will I ever write my own story? haha
You make Pamela's books sound very intriguing and I will definately be looking for her.

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Sherry James said...

Hey, Julie. I remember sitting in on a chat with Pam at a later conference where she talked about Simple Jess. If memory serves me, at first her publisher didn't want it,too much of a risk, then after the movie Forrest Gump came out they came back and offered for the book. And, yes, I agree with the dedication. Pinches your heart!

Sherry James said...

You're sooo welcome, Valerie! ;-) But trust me. You won't regret the time spent reading one of her books.

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