Welcome to BookView Interview, a conversation series where BookView talks to authors.
Recently, we interviewed Pamela Ellen Ferguson,a journalist, author, and award winning teacher of Asian Medicine in over a dozen capitals across Europe, the Middle East, Southern Africa, Canada and the USA. CROSSING LINES is her 11th book (Read the reveiw here).
Pam has lived and worked as a journalist, author, and award winning teacher of Asian Medicine in over a dozen capitals across Europe, the Middle East, Southern Africa, Canada and the USA. CROSSING LINES is her 11th book. An avid cyclist she has exhibited her photos of bicycles taken in every context on her travels. She is also a breast cancer survivor and crafted new ways of working with cancer she taught globally prior to Covid. Pam writes a regular column in the monthly “Acupuncture Today”, and is the dean emerita of Asian Bodywork Therapy of AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, Austin Texas.
She was born in Chihuahua Mexico and holds dual American and British citizenship. Website: http://www.pamelaferguson.net
What inspired the premise of your book?
PEF: A variety of factors. –
: The harsh politics/economics of the Tex/Mex Border.
: The appalling cases of femicide of young workers at the Juarez maquilladoras.
: Border myths and legends dating back to the Spanish colonial era.
: I was inspired to weave all of the above into the compelling story of two families and a link through a grisly murder scene in the first chapter. I was also inspired to craft Buzzy McBride the protagonist as a young progressive Austin based architect and member of one of those families. She lives on the banks of Lady Bird Lake in a converted rail yard building.
How did you decide on this title CROSSING LINES?
PEF:I juggled with various titles through many drafts of the book but CROSSING LINES says it all – as the title reflects various crossings involving the Border, gender, and family.
What life experiences have shaped your writing most?
PEF: A global upbringing. Living and working in a dozen world capitals.
: Crossing Lines is my 11th book and reflects over two decades of living and working in Austin Texas with time at the Border, and combines my journalistic eye for the unusual beauty of the city and West Texas, while studying the harsh realities of Border economics and politics.
: My previous books reflect my twin careers in journalism -and as a teacher of Asian Medicine. Global topics range from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, to political thrillers, to investigative works on the tobacco and liquor industries, to industrial design, to a work of fiction for children, to textbooks in my field of Asian Medicine. Multiculturalism has shaped my writing, along with a dedication to human rights, feminism, political activism, and a sense of adventure.
Were your parents interested in literature? Did they read a lot? What books did you have in the house?
PEF: My parents were passionate readers. Our Cornish Mother introduced us to the classics early. She read to us every night. My brothers and I have fond memories of her reading Oscar Wilde’s stories like the Selfish Giant and A.L. Rowse’s A Cornish Childhood. She also introduced us to Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet , and to the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.Our American father was very much a Hemingway and Steinbeck man. Both parents loved Graham Greene and F. Scott Fitzgerald and I relished their collections. I grew up reading my parents’ favorite authors at a very young age and was certainly influenced by their reading habits, even after they divorced. Our global households were always littered with books.
How hard is it to establish and maintain a career in fiction writing?
PEF: Extremely hard unless you hit the jackpot! Or have a regular source of income. Neither of which I had! During my years as a fulltime journalist in London UK I’d drop out for a month or work part-time in order to complete a book and I wrote rapidly. But during the late 1970s I happened to start training in Zen Shiatsu in New York City and ended up doing the teacher training and later helped develop Shiatsu schools in Canada, Switzerland, Germany and Austria. Not only has this helped with a steady income, but teaching – – a group activity – is a wonderful balance with writing – very much of a solo activity.
: Also because of my background in journalism I can write fiction and non fiction which is a great advantage and another balancing factor. In short, to maintain a career in fiction writing requires tremendous flexibility, discipline, and, at times, surviving on very little income.
What’s next for you?
PEF: Three major projects. My budding memoirs titled CORNISH CACTUS. Second, an anthology to be edited with a dear colleague Randall Sexton NP reflecting different aspects of PTSS. And third, I’m also scouring hundreds of boxes of research material I’ve toted around with me for too many decades, for my upcoming archives at the Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports on the U.T. Austin campus.
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