Award-winning Irish author Pam Lecky joins me today to talk about her Victorian Mystery series, The Lucy Lawrence Mysteries, her passion for ancient Egypt, and her favourite children’s books (hint – we share a love of Enid Blyton!) Thanks for coming over Pam. And by the way, I love the gorgeous Irish landscape photography you post on your Facebook. One of my go-to social media stops when I need cheering up! Let’s get started.
What music do you listen to when you write (or don’t you)
I love to have background music on as I write and my playlists tend to be quite eclectic. While there is a predominance of classical musical (and also film scores), it really does depend on my mood. One thing I have learned over the years is that music is usually the best way for me to overcome writer’s block. Luckily, it doesn’t happen that often, but when it does, listening to music helps me to relax. And, when I am relaxed the ideas begin to flow again. The only time I tend to work in silence is when I’m doing line editing, as I have to focus 100% on the text.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you building a body of work with connections or themes between each book?
My newest release is the second book in my Victorian mystery series, The Lucy Lawrence Mysteries. The first book, No Stone Unturned, was published in 2019. Footprints in the Sand can be read separately, but for the full experience, and to see how my heroine changes over time, the books are best read in order. There are also plot threads throughout each of the books which will come together in my current work in progress, the third book in the series, The Art of Deception, which I hope to publish next year. Writing a series has proven to be a very enjoyable experience for me. I love the idea of developing the characters over time and seeing their lives evolve on the page, even though the characters sometimes go off on tangents I wasn’t expecting!
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Be bold and be brave. My debut novel, The Bowes Inheritance, was a labour of love and, if I’m honest, I wrote it purely for my own enjoyment, never even considering publication. It was only when I was brave enough to show a first draft to someone, and received wonderful feedback, that I decided to pursue publication.
Pam, tell us a little more about your newest release, Footprints in the Sand
What kind of research did you do, and how long did it take you?
Footprints in the Sand entailed a huge amount of research as it is set in 1880s Egypt, however, Ancient Egypt has always fascinated me so the process was a joyful one (and a great excuse for buying lovely research books). I devoured documentaries on Egypt and the famous archaeologists and read extensively. In fact, the greatest difficulty was pulling away from the research to actually write. My dream, someday, is to visit the sites used in the book. Victorian Egyptology is a fascinating subject and soon I was swamped with plot ideas and characters (making me a very happy author!) I tend to research as I write the first draft, so that element of the process is part of writing as opposed to a separate slot of time. First drafts, in general, take me six to eight months.
What did you edit out of this book?”
Although this book was a joy to write and research, it did pose a difficulty as regards the direction of the series. The first book features my heroine, Lucy, and a possible love interest. Even though they will probably have a HEA, I didn’t want that to distract from the evolution of my female lead. I wanted to show how it was possible for a Victorian woman to be independent (and lead an interesting life) and I wished my readers to see her grow and change with her circumstances. To include the male character, I felt, would be distracting. So, a great deal of time was spent writing him in and then taking him out again! My editor and I juggled the pros and cons for quite some time. In the end, he doesn’t feature in the book in a physical sense, but he is constantly in my heroine’s head as she negotiates the dangers of a murder mystery and possible new love interests. Some readers have complained about his absence, but my consolation for them is that he features heavily in the next book.
How do you select the names of your characters?
It is such a fun part of the process. I tend to research names that were popular at the time or use names I am fond of. My male lead’s first name, Phineas, actually comes from a favourite character from Trollope’s Palliser series of novels (Phineas Finn). In fact, when I started writing the series, he was to be the main character, however, it was soon clear to me that the female character had a much stronger voice, hence The Lucy Lawrence Mysteries
Quick Q & A
Tea or Coffee Tea
Dark or Milk Chocolate Milk
When were you the happiest? Happiest now
Favourite Children’s Book Secret Seven series by Enid Blyton
Favourite Adult Novel Faro’s Daughter by Georgette Heyer (my comfort read)
Footprints in the Sand
Cairo 1887: A melting pot of jealousy, lust and revenge. Who will pay the ultimate price?
Lucy Lawrence throws caution to the wind and embarks on a journey of self-discovery to the land of the pharaohs.Travelling to Cairo as the patron of the charming French Egyptologist, Armand Moreau, Lucy discovers an archaeological community plagued by professional rivalries and intrigue. It is soon apparent that the thriving black market in antiquities threatens Egypt’s precious heritage. When the Egyptian Museum is burgled, Lucy is determined to solve the case, much to the annoyance of the local inspector of police, and the alarm of Mary, her maid. But when an archaeologist is found murdered in the Great Pyramid, Lucy is catapulted into the resulting maelstrom. Can she keep her wits about her to avoid meeting a similar fate?
No Stone Unturned: https://MyBook.to/NSU
Footprints in the Sand: https://MyBook.to/Lucy2
Audio Books available exclusively in the US on Audible.com
About Pam Lecky
Pam is an Irish writer of historical fiction with a particular love of the late Victorian era and early 20th century. Her debut novel, The Bowes Inheritance, was awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion; was shortlisted for the Carousel Aware Prize 2016; made ‘Editor’s Choice’ by the Historical Novel Society; long-listed for the Historical Novel Society 2016 Indie Award; and chosen as a Discovered Diamond in February 2017.
Pam is represented by Therese Coen at the Hardman & Swainson Literary Agency, London. In April 2018, she published a collection of all her short stories, entitled Past Imperfect. With settings as diverse as WW1 era Dublin and a lonely haunted lighthouse, romance, mystery and the supernatural await you. June 2019, saw the release of No Stone Unturned, the first book in the Lucy Lawrence Mystery series, set in the late Victorian era. This was closely followed by the sequel, Footprints in the Sand, in March 2020, which is set in Victorian Egypt. Pam is currently working on the third book in the series whilst also working on a new novel set during WW2.