Welcome to our Author Spotlight, where we shine a light on writers, authors, and literary wonders worldwide.
Today our spotlight is shining on Pamdiana Jones, author of the comedy travel memoir When in ROAM.
1. First, tell us a little about your book/project?
My comedy travel memoir "When in ROAM" is my debut as an author. I was supposed to travel to Africa with a friend for three months, but my friend left early. The trip accidentally turned into three years around the world SOLO through South Africa, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand in the '90s. The cover is me getting shoved from the bungee platform after I'd just told the guy that I wasn't going to go, that I was too scared. He said OK, and then shoved me! You can see the look of panic mixed with hurt feelings on my face... The picture sets the tone for the entire book of me fumbling through I-shouldn't-be-alive adventures!
I'm currently writing travel memoirs 2&3, plus three children's adventure stories about my twins.
2. What kind of research did you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I'd been told for 20 years that I should write about my adventures, and after 'Eat, Pray, Love' and 'Wild' came out, I thought, "Why not me, too?" I've been chased by a herd of wild elephants, slept on top of a live volcano, scuba'd with sharks while my hand was gushing blood, forced to skydive, plus many more quirky, awkward, clumsy, hilarious moments. I opened my old travel journals and photo albums to remind myself which things would make for a fun, exciting, quirky vacation read...Having zero confidence in my style as a new author, I took three years to write and two years to edit before finally putting it out there. I am so truly humbled that other people are enjoying my story!
3. If you could tell your younger writing self one thing, what would it be?
Write the book fearlessly! For the first two years, I'd kept some things secret- racial tensions, some violence, drug use, an awkward 3-way, cultural misunderstandings, conspiracy theories, paranormal moments, cringeworthy things I thought at the time- until I met another author who told me that Everything I don't want to write IS my book... So I re-edited it with all of those things put into it, and I think my raw honesty and showing my flaws is exactly why it's connecting with people.
4. Can you tell us a bit about your writing space? Is there something you need to have when writing a book?
I have young twins, so I can only write when they are in bed... so I've found myself enjoying a cup of chamomile tea, a piece of dark chocolate, with my yellow lab Sawyer wrapped around my neck as I'm writing, on my favorite spot on the couch, with the fireplace roaring... my creativity and humor come alive in those moments of insomnia.
5. If you could be a character from any book for 24hours, who would you be?
I think I can only be me since my book is a memoir! But if I could share with you that in this crazy world right now, I find great comfort and peace re-reading my adventures from a time long past. There's a moment where I attend an Indonesian wedding on a small island, another moment hugging police officers in New Zealand, a time with water dripping onto my face from a whale's tail in the Australian sunshine, along with all of the outrageous life-long friendships I made along the way. I could re-live that all day, every day!