Writers On Writing / Pamela Cook on how writers develop self-confidence

We spoke to Pamela Cook to find out what inspires her stories and how a writer can find the self-confidence they need to rediscover their creativity.

Where do you find inspiration for story ideas? 

Each of my book ideas has come from a different source. My first novel, Blackwattle Lake started with a single image of a woman standing at the gate of a horse property. We are a horse riding family so no mystery there. Another novel, Close To Home, came out of a rather heated conversation about the Hendra virus which prompted some ‘What If?’ thoughts in my writer’s brain. And The Crossroads came from one of those strange half-waking half-sleeping moments, which conjured up a whole storyline. That’s the long answer. The short answer is: inspiration is everywhere.

What are some ways a writer can develop self-confidence?

A great question. You build self-confidence by doing the writing. Write until you are comfortable and familiar with your voice. Until that time, keep your writing to yourself or only share it with trusted friends, preferably other writers. Join a writing group so you have a cheer squad for the highs and some good solid shoulders to cry on for the lows. And most importantly, go to courses and keep learning and improving your craft.

What author has inspired you the most?

There are so many authors who have inspired me in terms of their writing style, including Michael Cunningham, Liane Moriarty and Tim Winton but the author who I’ve found most inspiring recently is Kim Kelly. Kim writes beautiful historical fiction but it’s the way she approaches her writing with grace and wisdom, and the way she has taken control of her publishing career by straddling the traditional and indie worlds which has given me the courage to attempt to do the same.

Pamela Cook is a city girl with a country lifestyle – and too many horses. Her rural fiction novels feature complex women, tangled family relationships, and a sprinkling of romance. Her first novel, Blackwattle Lake, was published in 2012 after being selected for the Queensland Writer’s Centre/Hachette Manuscript Development Program. Her following novels were Essie’s Way (2013) and Close To Home (2015), and her fourth book, The Crossroads, was released in December 2016. She is currently working on her fifth novel, a women’s fiction title, Cross My Heart.  In her past life Pamela was a high school English teacher and in her latest incarnation she is the co-host of the exciting new podcast Writes4Women. When she’s not writing she wastes as much time as possible riding her handsome quarter horses, Morocco and Rio.

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