Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Meet: Pamela Samuels Young

My friend Ella Curry gave me permission to use this great interview she did with author Pamela Samuels Young. I know readers here raved about Murder on the Down Low. Now Young is back with Buying Time.

Intimate Conversation with Pamela Samuels Young

Pamela Samuels Young is the Essence bestselling author of the legal thrillers: Murder on the Down Low, In Firm Pursuit, Every Reasonable Doubt and the newly released Buying Time. The former journalist and Compton native is the fiction writing expert for BizyMoms.com and is on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Pamela served as legal consultant to the Showtime television series Soul Food. She is a frequent speaker on the topics of writing and self-empowerment.

Where are you from? What is your favorite book?
I grew up in Compton, California, which gave me a very grounded perspective on life. When I mention my hometown, people automatically assume that I dodged bullets on the way to school every day. But it was nothing like that. I had two strong, hard-working parents, who still live in Compton today. The foundation they laid – faith in God, hard work and education – is responsible for who I am and what I have achieved.

I'm an avid reader who enjoys reading both commercial and literary fiction. I enjoy a broad spectrum of writers, so it's impossible for me to pick a favorite book. But if there's one book that impacted me more than any other, it would have to be Claude Brown's
Manchild in the Promised Land. I can still remember stumbling across a copy of the book at my aunt's house when I was about twelve. It was the first book I remember reading that had African-American characters and I was thrilled to be reading about people who looked like me. It was also a very gritty and graphic coming of age story. I promptly "borrowed" the book without asking for permission for fear that my aunt would think I was too young to be reading such a sexually graphic book. After that, I developed an insatiable appetite for African-American fiction. That led me to James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Richard Wright, Toni Morrison and many, many other great writers.

How did you feel when you saw your first book on the shelf?
I still have a very vivid memory of seeing
Every Reasonable Doubt on the shelf at the Barnes and Noble near my home in February 2006. I went to the store on the book's scheduled release date, not really expecting to find it. My stepson and I searched the shelves but couldn't find it. I was about to leave, but decided to, ask for it at the reception desk. To my delight, the clerk found it and led us to the book. I just stood there staring at it. So much blood, sweat and tears led me to this point. My stepson took out his cell phone and snapped a picture of me holding the book. And just as I started to started to tear up, he promptly warned me not to embarrass him by crying in the store.

What is your process for creating a novel? Do the characters speak to you?
I will spend any where from a few weeks to as long as three months outlining a book before I sit down to write. I also mull over my story a lot. I'm thinking about it in the shower, while I'm standing in line at the grocery story, during my 45-minute commute to work. I can almost see each chapter as if it were a scene in a movie. Only after I have a completed outline do I start writing. And when I write, I go from page one to the last page without doing much editing. For me, it's psychologically motivating to complete that first draft, even if it's so bad I'd never dare show it to anyone. Once I have a finished first draft, then the real writing starts. I revise, and revise and revise some more. That process can last six months or more.

How do you spend your free time?
Free time? What's that? Writing is how I spend my free time and I love every minute of it. I still work part-time as a lawyer and when I'm not at work, I'm usually someplace writing – be it at home, the library or the nearest Starbucks. Sometimes I write early in the morning before work, other times I'm up until one or two in the morning typing away on my laptop. My most productive writing time is when I can get away from home and lock myself in my timeshare in Palm Desert for a weekend. When I'm in that environment, the writing is non-stop. When I'm writing, I'm happy.

Share with us your latest news and book releases.
I’m extremely excited about the upcoming release of my fourth legal thriller and first stand-alone novel,
Buying Time, which goes on sale November 1st. In Buying Time, Waverly Sloan is a down-on-his-luck lawyer who comes to the aid of terminally ill people in desperate need of cash. Waverly finds investors eager to advance his dying clients thousands of dollars—including a hefty broker's fee for himself—in exchange for rights to their life insurance policies. Once the clients take their last breath, the investors reap a hefty return on their investment. When Waverly's clients start dying sooner than they should, both Waverly, and a high-powered lawyer who’s bucking to become the next U.S. Attorney General, are unwittingly drawn into a perilous web of greed, blackmail and murder.

You can read excerpts from all my books at my website:

To schedule a visit with Pamela, email her at

Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young

ISBN-10: 098156271X | ISBN-13: 978-0981562711

Pick up a Copy Today at Amazon

Pick up a Copy Today at Barnes and Noble

Bookclubs, select one of Pamela’s novels for your book club meeting and she will join you in person, via webcam or via speaker phone. Read more book excerpts here: http://www.pamelasamuels-young.com/books/index.html


Lovenia's Place said...

Awesome post! Hadn't heard of this writer, but will be sure to check out her books. Already checked out her website and it has some really great information for aspiring writers. Thanks for this post!

Pamela said...


Thanks so much for the plug!

Hope you all enjoy my latest, Buying Time. This writing business can be quite a challenge, but nothing can beat the thrill of having a new book go on sale. I still like to drop by stores just to see it on the shelf.

To those writers out there who are still trying to make it happen, stay with it. If writing a novel and getting it published were easy, everyone would be doing it. If this is your dream, your passion, don't let anyone deter you.


Pamela Samuels Young

Chris Eldin said...

Saw the link on Twitter and decided to come over... Great interview! I like the discussion about your writing process. Rings so true!