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Growing Smitten Image with Pam B. Morris

I feel so fortunate to welcome another amazing Crimson Romance author to Romance and Beyond. Pam B. Morris feels like a kindred spirit to me. I’ve only just started her novel, Smitten Image, but I already love the whimsical touches and the rich, sensory descriptions. Pam had me rooting for the heroine in the first scene, sweet, artistic underdog that she is, err, Lily not Pam. And there’s a promise of magic! I’m hooked. I’d love to say more, but I had to drag myself away to post this article and Smitten Image is waiting, so now I give you Pam B. Morris:

Smitten Image, my first romance, futuristic and paranormal, was a breach birth. I never planned to write romances, instead kept my focus on young adult fiction. Until I joined two friends on a road trip to the Emerald City Writers Conference and learned how to plot, using colored sticky notes, from best-selling author, Cherry Adair. Did she know me? Not from Eve! But she changed my life that morning. During the eight hour drive back to Montana, we three hyped and totally psyched writer pals, helped each other “plot” our romances.

I started with a character, Lily Barnett, a drifty artist who’d rather live in her imagination than face reality; and an idea of painted men coming to life off of canvases. Stick figures written on sticky notes with each color representing plot, setting, character, conflict and setting, I plastered strategically across a storyboard. That became my first non-pantser working outline, ever! Creating detailed character sketches of Lily and Daniel Harris, her love interest, I began writing. Needless to say, the pantser in me deviated from my storyboard about ten pages in and never looked back.

Knowing in a romance that the best scenes are with the two lead characters together and in trouble, I mined my brain for dozens of quirky possibilities where I could throw them at each other. Lily, brilliant but a walking disaster, is a conglomerate character with some traits drawn from my own artistic temperament. And fortunately, I’m androgynous enough to create a male psyche and flesh out he-motives, weaknesses and strengths. I wanted Daniel to be an atypical hero, so made him an “empath” with psychic sensitivities easily accessible. His weakness is his psychic powers, which also become his strength.

Realizing early on I needed a lot of conflict, the ‘magical’ element I began with morphed from a subplot to front and center, taking on a life of its own. Thank the muses, because the storyline followed fairly smoothly from there, with enough ups and downs to exploit, play with, expand or rewrite completely.

Like my two pregnancies, I loved every minute of writing Smitten Image. I took the creation and craft seriously and when it came to the last trimester, i.e. the editing stage, I forced myself to seriously assess what I wanted in a finished product. I spent nightmarish sessions delving into the darker aspects of my own personal issues and somehow found honesty enough to put on paper what I felt uncomfortable bringing to the light of day. But it paid off. The birth of Smitten Image, though not as wondrous and all-fulfilling as the birth of my children (neither of which were breach) satisfied an almost equally joyous need in me.

Because finally, Smitten Image broke through the portcullis of the publishing castle and entered the long dreamed of kingdom. Long live Crimson Romance! Long live Queen Lily and King Daniel!

Hurry to buy Smitten Image here: Crimson Romance


Pam B. Morris spins stories out of imagination and whimsy where she writes and paints in western Montana with her husband Brett and their two quite grown up children, surrounded by friends, family and mountainous wilderness.

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  1. That’s it. I’m smitten.

    I love that you ripped from your core during the editing process, Pam. I sense that’s what will make this read memorable.

    I suspect I’ll revisit this post when I get to the core of my Protag during final edits. There’s a bit of our souls exposed when we put ourselves into the characters — our flaws and fears and victories.

    • Well said, Gloria. Writing often feels like we are exposing ourselves, and when we’re not, friends think we are.

    • That is more true, Gloria, than any of us care to admit. But it’s essential to the core of our creativity too, so I guess we’ll all be rattling our skeletons!! Thanks for your generous comments. Loved them.

  2. What a great author interview! Since every romance writer has a very individualized way of shaping a story, I particularly enjoyed reading about Pam Morris’ step-by-step process –learning how her novel morphed and changed along the way. Thanks for sharing your insights with all of us!

    • Thanks Alexia. My process is usually so out there and hard to define. I learned so much doing things in the right order. Not sure I’ll ever write a story the same way twice. But that’s the fun, right?

  3. Like Pam, I try not to be a pantser, or at least try to work from an outline. But not too far into my story, my characters take control of the key board and come up with all kinds of scenarios I never thought of in my initial outline. I think an author is on a learning curve when she begins the journey of writing a new novel, and it’s only by getting to know the characters along the way that we can craft a good page-turner. I follow Blake Snyder’s 15 beat outline, but don’t spend a whole lot of time on it, since I know it’s going to change before I get too far along.

    • You are so right, Becky. As a water-colorist I had to learn to just let the paint run where it would, a hard lesson. But as your style comes to the front in any creative endeavor, it’s so cool to see what it looks like. Amazing and heady stuff we do! Thanks for the comment. Love hearing from everyone!

  4. Loved reading this. And can identify with your description of the similarities between bringing a written baby into the world and birthing the babies you want to sell to the circus when they’re teenagers. Wait. I’ve had writing like that, too. Anyway, great interview. Look forward to reading your book.

    • Thank you, Peggy. Oh, yeah… teenagers. Could we share some stories… ! I love the organic processes, but structure has to come into everything at some point. I have to keep telling myself that! Happy writing.

  5. Hey…I remember that trip to Emerald City!! What a life changing adventure that was. You are a beautiful writer. You can paint a picture that I just want to sink into–with your words and with your brush.

    I am so happy we travel this journey together. The Crimson Romance ladies are so, so wonderful. I am so excited that we are part of that.

    I hope you have the best day!

    • Thanks, Rionna. And without you, there never would have been a me going to the conference or an outline brainstorm on the way back. How I love you, let me count the ways… !

  6. Hi Pam,
    I loved Smitten Image!! I had no idea that was how you came about writing the book. How incredible. Isn’t it amazing what a group of great friends is capable of?
    Here’s wishing you many books and a future filled with millions of fans! (Please hurry with the books, I can’t wait to read what your write next!)

    • You are the sweetest. And I’m surprised we haven’t talked about the “spawn of Smitten”! But thank you for your support always. Danica is one of the big inspirations in our critique group and she played a giant role at getting me to send queries out. She was so on my case!! In a good way! Love you always, Danica Winters!

  7. Great interview, Mom. Your honesty, as always, shines through with a truth many who write appreciate and understand. I also was pleased to catch a sense of the deep love you have for the craft of writing, which is missing in some other interviews I’ve read. Because it really isn’t about the product at all, is it? It’s about getting there for the writer; the process of the story as it “gestates.” It is that other magic in your writing that seeps through: the magic of creation. We’ve spoken about that peculiar and wondrous feeling on other occasions, but it never gets old to me. You have a particular talent for making that come out in everything you write. Thanks for putting it out there again! Cheers.

    • What a beautiful insightful response, Kate. How wonderful to have that understanding of story creation to share with your mom. You must be so very proud!

    • Thanks sweetie! So great to get complimented by your really talented progeny!! And yes, it is about creativity and pulling expression out of all that we write!

  8. Pam, wonderful article! You can tell how much you left love and creativity you have for your stories & creativity! Putting this on my to be read! Tweeted this article!

    • Thank you, Kay, for tweeting and your comments. I do love the creative process and especially writing and hope it’s a contagious kind of love I can spread all over the place!

  9. Hello Pam! What a wonderful introduction to your writing! You have drawn me in and I look forward to reading your work!

    • Thank you so much, Carole-Ann. When you write for the love of it, it kinda feels like a crap shoot whether you will get readers or not. So I really appreciate hearing how others feel and share and support. I’m so grateful, truly!

  10. I’m certain Lily has more talent than I do at painting: if my creations were to peel themselves off the canvas to walk into my life, it would a zombie invasion and not a romance.

    Very intriguing, Pam!

    • Thanks Carole. Good thing Lily has more talent at painting than me, too! That’s so funny. And zombie’s are creepy, really! In this story too!!

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