Thursday 25 October 2012

Author interview: Pamela Terry

Sometimes you read a blog and wish for that blogger to write a book. You know in your heart it will be the most magical book – the sort of book that you simply can’t wait to read, the sort of book you can sink into at the end of a long day, the sort of book that is pivotal to a lazy Sunday, a picnic by a stream, a favourite armchair in a patch on sunlight. And so you click on their blog and hope one day, one day – and now that day is finally here! Pamela Terry, the writer behind the lovely blog From The House of Edward, has turned her beautiful words into a book, and I’m so very pleased for her, and for us!

Pamela and Edward
I’m also delighted to welcome Pamela (and Edward!) onto my blog to celebrate. Let's find out more...

Can you describe your book to us? 
The book is a collection of essays on a wide variety of topics, but mostly centering on how taking notice of the seemingly insignificant bits of life can make the world turn in a more beautiful and meaningful way.   I really wanted the book to be something beautifully made, something lovely to look at and delightful to hold in one’s hand and I’m thrilled to say that I think it turned out to be exactly that.

Where would we be ideally sitting reading your book?
Snuggled up in a four-poster bed on a rainy night or under a tree in an ancient forest would be ideal, I suppose.  But I’m happy to think you could dip in and out of this book anywhere from the breakfast table to the train.

What made you decide to turn your blog into a book?
To be honest, it never occurred to me until I began getting letters requesting it.  Those letters got more and more frequent so I decided to pull away from the novel I’m working on and make it happen.  It was a lot more work than I expected but now that’s it’s done, I’m really glad I did it.

How did you choose what posts to be included – is there a theme? 
The book is divided up into seasons, but I wouldn’t say there is a specific theme apart from the joy of discovering beauty in the quotidian parts of life.  Of course there are stories about Edward, my big white dog, scattered throughout.  He is a sweet and constant reminder of all that is good and after all, the book is named for him.

Will there be additional material for a long-term blog-reader to discover? 
Actually, all of the pieces have been reworked a bit and there are a few new things as well.  The editing process took much longer than I anticipated.

Describe where you like to write? 
I have a big, fat chair in my library that is covered in a velvet floral that I love. I sit cross-legged in that chair with my laptop. The room is lined with books and a couple of favourite paintings.  There is a hand-painted mirror on the wall by the door that I purchased at a tiny little shop in Paris years ago and carried home in my suitcase wrapped up in shawls and sweaters.  There is a long window over the desk to my left that I like to leave open; I can’t see out of it from my chair so it’s not distracting, but I can hear the birds singing and the wind blowing.  Edward is usually asleep at my feet.

What’s currently on your desk?
Far too much, at the moment.  There’s a spool of antique velvet ribbon and a skein of blue-black wool.  Several journals and a collection of favourite pens that, sadly, I keep losing.  A framed photograph of Jacqueline Bouvier when she was a little girl.  Something about her direct stare into the camera serves to remind me that we are born with our essential natures, we only embellish or strip away as we get older.  Eyeglasses.  My property tax bill... evil thing that it is.  And a photograph of Shilasdair yarn shop on the Isle of Skye, the setting of which is, to me, pure heaven.

What gives you inspiration? 
Just about everything, I’m afraid.  The way a snowfall changes the light in the house.  The individual personalities of trees.  Wind.  The colour of a perfect strawberry.  The way grass feels on my bare feet.  The rainbow of book spines on a library shelf.  The Highlands of Scotland.  Edward’s smile.  Adele’s voice.  Cinnamon.  Wit.  Really, inspiration is constant in my life.

If you could time-travel for a day, where would you go?
I was completely besotted with Elizabethan England when I was a little girl.  To wander around Windsor Castle or Hampton Court on a day when the Queen herself was in residence would be amazing to me.  And let’s not forget, Shakespeare would be around somewhere as well!  If I were only there for one day, my chances of getting in serious trouble would be greatly diminished.  I’ve read Wolf Hall... I know how precarious life was then!

Like me, you are a big fan of autumn / fall. What does this season mean to you?
Perhaps it’s because the summers are so sweltering where I live, but autumn signals the start of a new year for me each time it rolls around.   I love everything about it - the fragrance of woodsmoke in the air,  the brisk weather, the colours, the clothes, the food.  It’s a very sensual season.   And it doesn’t hurt that Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are celebrated during this time as well.  Every day in autumn seems like a treat to me.

What are Edward and Apple doing right now? 
Edward is asleep on the floor beneath my chair, with his head resting on my feet.  Apple is in the window seat in the next room keeping a constant vigil for her nemesis, the dreaded squirrel.  Upon spotting one, she will let out a yelp that will bring Edward running.  That’s Apple’s job as she sees it.  She’s the sentry, Edward’s the enforcer.

What song always makes you get up and dance around your kitchen?  
Have you been peeking in my kitchen window??  My husband and I are serious kitchen dancers!  Our last slow dance in the kitchen was to Because by the Dave Clark Five.  I highly recommend that one.  For fast dances, which both dogs join in on by the way, you really can’t beat Bruce Springsteen’s Cadillac Ranch.  Oh, and Son of a Preacher Man by Dusty Springfield is especially good when you’re making soup.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?
Fresh flowers, pedicures, great old country house hotels and coffee ice cream.

If you could be an artist, who would you be and why?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to paint!  I’d probably choose Lord Frederick Leighton. I adore the romantic atmosphere of his paintings; I could stare at the folds of the lady’s green dress in The Painter’s Honeymoon for hours. And as a huge added plus, if I were Lord Leighton, I would get to live in that exquisite house of his in Holland Park.

If you could live inside a work of fiction, what book would you choose, and why?
It’s tempting to say Harry Potter, of course.  To ride into town on a broom is outrageously irresistible.  I’d love to work in Mulberry’s flower shop, like Miss Pym in Mrs. Dalloway.  I’d spend my days looking out the window at that perfect London morning, surrounded by lilies and lilacs.  Or living inside Swallows and Amazons would be delicious. And, if you could remove the crazy lady from the attic of Thornfield Hall, I’ve always thought Jane Eyre wouldn’t be bad.  But I think I’d have to choose Mary Poppins.  To live in long ago London with the sense of grand possibility that she provided would be wonderful.  Imagine jumping into paintings!

Thank you so much, Pamela! I really enjoyed reading your answers.

It's a book! A real book! Yay!
Book details

From The House of  Edward
Essays by Pamela Terry

Available now from Pamela's website:

Blog details

Follow Pamela and Edward's adventures...

From The House of Edward


Out on the prairie said...

What an interesting book to read, I love it's path to being published

Terra said...

Hi Pamela, I came over from your blog to read your interview, and found it fascinating.

Veronica Roth said...

Nice to learn a little more about you Pamela. I love Elizabethan England too. For Halloween I painted two life-sized silent companions to stand outside the front door welcoming (so to speak) the children; one is in an Elizabethan costume. Wouldn't it be wonderful to just go back for a peek? My Malamute used to cuddle up under me, except then he'd get too hot and wander away to the marble floor. Aren't they great foot warmers?

Lovely interview Jayne.

sharon santoni at my french country home said...

what a great interview! Outstanding questions and wonderful answers - but what else would we expect?! My favourite QA is the one about finding inspiration.
Thank you, I really enjoyed this

Old Kitty said...

Lovely to meet you here Pamela and of course your beautiful Edward and Apple! And great to read that you and hubby enjoy dancing away in the kitchen - that must be some big kitchen!!

Awwww - your book of essays sounds wonderful. All the best with it!

Take care

ArtPropelled said...

Lovely interview, thank you!

Maggie May said...

That is just the type of book to read in a four poster bed! I enjoyed reading about Edward's book and see that it is a handsome book...... beautifully designed and it makes me immediately want to take a peek inside.
Thank you Jayne for introducing Pamela Terry and I wish her well with the book & future books.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Rachna Chhabria said...

Lovely interview. Nice to learn about Pamela.

Karena said...

Thank you so much for a wonderful interview with Pamela. As a longtime reader and blog friend; I aspire to have her spirit of adventure; as well as her grace.

Art by Karena

Deniz Bevan said...

Congratulations to Pamela!
What a great interview. That big, fat chair sounds lovely.
And I dream of the Isle of Skye, too - well, all the Scottish islands. Especially the Shetlands with all the sheep and wool and endless skies.

Dewena said...

Thank you, Jayne, for asking such great questions of Pamela. Her blog is always so satisfying and yet there is that constant wanting to know more about the House of Edward. And now I look forward to exploring your blog too. I bet it will be a treat!

helen tilston said...

Hello Jane

Thank you for featuring Pamela on your blog. I loved the questions you asked and have learned more about Pamela, whose blog I follow. I am looking forward to reading her book, under an umbrella, overlooking the ocean.

Helen xx

Karen Jones Gowen said...

This sounds absolutely lovely! I've always wanted to write a book of essays, some day may do it. Meanwhile, I'm off to find this wonderful blog!

Golden Eagle said...

Wonderful interview! From the House of Edward sounds like a really interesting collection of essays.

I love autumn days, too.

Talli Roland said...

Congrats to Pamela! I like the thought of a book divided by seasons.

myletterstoemily said...

this is my favorite interview ever! you
asked such eliciting question . . . and
her answers were beautiful and

thank you!

Jack Edwards Poetry said...

An inspiring and interesting post. I've now added her blog :)

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

I liked this interview very much. Good questions and charming answers! I like coffee ice cream too, and Mary Poppins was one of my favorite reads!

I love the idea of how her popular blog turned into a book. And love the concept of the book. I'm going over to her blog right now.

Jayne said...

Hi Out on the prairie – it really is a lovely book, Pamela’s a very good writer.

Hi Terra – glad you enjoyed it.

Hi Veronica – Thanks! I guessed Pamela would have fun with those questions.

Hi Sharon – I’m really pleased you liked the questions, and yes – wonderful answers!

Hi Old Kitty – Pamela’s book is fab, I’m enjoying dipping into it and being swept away into magical places.

Hi ArtPropelled – Thank you.

Jayne said...

Hi Maggie May – Absolutely! It really is a handsome book, perfect to hold, enjoyable to read.

Hi Rachna –Thank you.

Hi Karen – Oh, me too! She’s a total inspiration.

Hi Deniz – Yes, I was dreaming about the chair. I’ve never been to a Scottish isle, but I know it’s a beautiful part of the world.

Hi Dewena – Thanks! Yes, I love the House of Edward – it sounds like a fashion label, doesn’t it?

Hi Helen – What a perfect place to read Pamela’s book. I’m dipping into it late at night, while being cosy under a blanket.

Jayne said...

Hi Karen JG – I’m sure you’ll enjoy Pamela’s blog – each entry is a treasure!

Hi Golden Eagle – Autumn days rock my socks.

Hi Talli – Yes, it’s a good idea, isn’t it?

Hi myletterstoemily – What a lovely thing to say. Thank you.

Hi Jack – Excellent!

Hi Elizabeth – Thank you! Mary Poppins is a lovely story, both on the page and on the screen. I wouldn’t mind living down Cherry Tree Avenue.

Dolly said...

Happy New Year (again) as I attempt to catch up with blog-reading before I get too bogged down with the new term at Uni.

This was a very interesting interview and I particularly found Pamela's response to the inspiration question very good, and quite like what my own response would be.

Sigh, I agree with you Pamela, wouldn't it be wonderful to live in Lord Leighton's house in Holland Park!