Saturday, January 12, 2013

Guest Post with Author, Pam Grimes (Winner of the Shirley You Jest! Book Awards)

How Nancy Drew Saved my Bacon

I was raised by a mother who loved books and insisted we all become readers. In the mid 1960’s my parents bought a beach cabin in Cannon Beach, Oregon where we spent nearly every weekend, as well as spring and summer vacations. Anyone who knows the Oregon coast knows about the weather; rain, rain and more rain. And back in the 60’s Cannon Beach was little more than a handful of weather-beaten buildings on a dusty main drag. Not exactly the entertainment Mecca for kids. In those prehistoric pre-cable days we were lucky if the old black and white TV at the cabin picked up any stations at all.  My sister and I spent hours trying desperately to twist and contort the ancient rabbit ears into picking up something beyond white noise. Eventually admitting defeat, we would lumber over to the bookcase and stand like zombies staring at the dated titles while Mom and Dad sat in silence, noses buried in the latest Danielle Steele or James Michener novel. Occasionally one of them would peek over the top of their book and wave in irritation toward the bookcase, tossing out a quasi-encouraging suggestion such as “Just pick one for heaven sake!” I see now that this lack of involvement on their part was perhaps by design. They wanted us to make our own choices.

Scanning the bookcase for anything current was fruitless, most were ancient leather-bound tomes with titles like The Book of Knowledge or historic tales of various world wars. It wasn’t until years later that I discovered a row of first edition Nancy Drew novels by Carolyn Keene stuck in the back of the bookcase. Their plain blue covers offered no hint as to the mysteries and intrigue nestled between the pages. Titles like Nancy’s Mysterious Letter weren’t exactly dripping with intrigued, but I was just bored enough to give it a shot. The first book I tackled, The Secret of the Old Clock, had me hooked! The characters fascinated me. Nancy, a teenage detective, was the fiercely independent child of a single parent, who drove a super-cool roadster and got into all kinds of dangerous hijinks with her pals Bess, Ned and the sexually ambiguous George. The teen sleuths virtually tripped over one exciting adventure after another. I was smitten!

I continued my love affair with Nancy Drew well into my teen years, reading every Nancy Drew Mystery I could beg borrow or steal. Eventually I outgrew Nancy Drew but will always have a fondness in my heart for those novels. Those stories encouraged me to begin writing as a young girl and I credit the hours spent reading those novels with my lifelong love of reading.

My mother was one sharp cookie who knew that by putting bored kids in front of a stack of books it would eventually pay off. I’m eternally grateful for the years spent in that boring old beach house, for a broken down television and for the patience of my mother who knew that once I discovered the joy of good storytelling I’d never look back.

Thanks Mom! 

Pam Grimes, author of Confessions of an Edgy Suburban Mom, is the 2012 Shirley You Jest! Book Awards/Shirley HAH non-fiction winner.

“Pam Grimes' "Confessions of an Edgy Suburban Mom" spins a handful of humorous yarns. The best of them, such as "The Great Toilet Paper War," sparkle to life when the author pulls back on the jokes and, with a deft, light hand, lets a great story tell itself.” ~  Shirley You Jest! Book Awards

Pam Grimes is an author, humor columnist, and domestic diva who lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, three teenage sons and their slightly bi-polar dog. Shaped by a childhood resembling a Rat Pack movie (complete with Sinatra soundtrack), Pam was raised on a steady diet of off-beat humor, producing a unique, if not somewhat twisted viewpoint, far from the politically correct. Her first published work, Confessions of an Edgy Suburban Mom is a collection of hilarious tales of family life set against the backdrop of that bizarre no-man’s land known as suburbia. Confessions is steeped in hilarious observations of parenting and family life and strives to both entertain as well as touch the hearts of its readers. Conjuring images from the sixties through today, Grimes’ stories refresh our collective memories of youth while drawing sharp comparisons with today’s culture. Confessions of an Edgy Suburban Mom is available on in both paperback and Kindle.

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