Spotlight on Moon Water (Pam Webber), Plus Author Chat, Review & Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we're excited to spotlight Moon Water by Pam Webber.
Read on for more about Pam and her book, an interview, book review, and an giveaway!
Meet Pam Webber!
Pam Webber is a nationally certified nurse practitioner and nursing professor.
She is author of the bestselling debut Southern novel, The Wiregrass and its standalone sequel, Moon Water.
Pam lives in the Northern Shenandoah Valley near the setting for her stories.
Look for Pam at Virginia Festival of the Book of visit her at www.pamwebber.com.
Meet Moon Water!
Moon Water summons Pam Webber’s 51,000 readers for more multigenerational love, hate, sex, faith, and resilience as the standalone sequel to her bestselling first novel, The Wiregrass. (Historical Novel Society’s Editor’s Choice and Southern Literary Review’s Read of the Month)
Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains during the summer of 1969, Moon Water finds Nettie, 16, with her boyfriend wanting to breakup just as they are figuring out the sex thing. Nettie’s lifelong nemesis is jabbing her with perfectly polished nails, while her hellfire and brimstone preacher refuses to baptize her. Amid this turmoil, a Monacan Indian medicine woman gives her a cryptic message about a coming darkness, a blood moon whose veiled danger threatens Nettie and those she loves. To prepare for the darkness, Nettie and her best friend, Win, make a treacherous journey into the mountains to build a mysterious dreamcatcher of ancient elements.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
My children. Like The Wiregrass, Moon Water follows ordinary people in an ordinary place experiencing extraordinary, life-altering events. Events that are sometimes good and often times bad, even evil. As historical fiction, the story involves real places and actual events wrapped in a cloak of make-believe. I wanted the events and how the characters responded to them to be a map for my children, their children, and their children’s children as they navigate the ups and downs of life.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
My favorite character is Nibi, primarily because I had the most fun developing her. As a Native American medicine woman, Nibi lived and worked in concert with nature, which was pivotal to the theme of the story. In addition, she had the responsibility of preparing her granddaughter, Win, to carry on the tribe’s centuries-old beliefs and traditions as their next medicine woman.
While conducting research for Moon Water, I was lucky enough to get to know Victoria Last Walker Ferguson. Vicky is a full-blooded Monacan Indian and is the Monacan Life Interpreter at the Native American village at Natural Bridge, Virginia. This extraordinary woman embodies a contemporary Nibi.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel. The story has multiple connections to the moon and moon lore and takes place in the Blue Ridge Mountains where there are beautiful interconnecting rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and streams, as well as ferocious storms. Once I had these ingredients intersecting within the story, I knew what I needed the cover to convey.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
Moon Water has some very powerful scenes. I’m most proud of the scene were Nettie realizes she may have unknowingly been responsible for starting a life-long antagonistic relationship with her nemesis, Anne.
In times of conflict, it’s natural to believe we’re right and the other person is wrong, especially when the conflict costs us precious time and energy. Finding the strength to acknowledge that we played a role in initiating unnecessary conflict is a benchmark of emotional maturity, as begins the work of fixing it and moving on. Accepting this responsibility does not absolve the other person, but it does remind us of the escalating power of seemingly innocent words and actions, and their potential costs.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
It has to be the craft of literary writing. With my debut novel, The Wiregrass, I knew the story was compelling, but I had lingering questions about how I approached writing it. Subsequent to its release, I took several classes with a New York Times bestselling author whose teaching focused more on the infrastructure supporting the story than the story itself, the idea being that if the infrastructure is strong, the storytelling will be. My teacher was right. Once I had the infrastructure of Moon Water figured out, the writing became much easier, and I ended it with no lingering questions.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I like the sense of mystery surrounding the moon and its rare, vivid reflection. Human beings have been fascinated with the moon and its power, real and imagined, since the dawn of time. From its evolving face that gives us super moons, blue moons, harvest moons, and blood moons, to its waxing or waning phases that drive the tides and separate night from day, the moon exerts influence over our daily lives. These same influences are inherent in Moon Water and are symbolized on the cover. As you read the story, watch for how the moon’s mysteries are woven in.
YABC: What’s next for you?
Writers always have their next project simmering in the back of their minds. I started Moon Water when writing the twists, turns, and ending of The Wiregrass. And, I started book three while writing the twists, turns, and ending of Moon Water. I keep little notebooks around all the time - in my car, my pocketbook, next to my laptop, and at my bedside. Whenever I get an idea for a plot, characters, scenes, or setting, I jot them down. When I’m ready to start the next book, I compile and organize these notes and decided what to use and what to save for another day and a different book.
YABC: Is there anything that you would like to add?
I hope your readers enjoy the story and in doing so, find friends they want to visit time and time again.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
The attempted rape scene was the most emotionally difficult to narrate. Rape is such a selfish, evil act that it was hard for me to delve deep enough into the rapist’s thoughts and behavior to make the scene believable. My discomfort was compounded by the fact that it involved a character who up to this point had be a good guy. Representing good and evil as different sides of the same face is challenging, especially when the intentional harm they inflict on the innocent is so unfathomable.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: drafting or revising?
While revising is the most time-consuming part of writing, I enjoy it the most. Tightening and editing a scene to enhance the impact and not waste words is every writer’s goal. A mentor of mine once said good writers interview every word to determine its right to stay on the page. This succinct and intentional type of storytelling has a positive impact on the reader’s ability to engage with characters and put themselves in each scene.
~ Review ~
*Review Contributed By Olivia Farr Staff Reviewer*
MOON WATER follows Nettie in the summer of 1969 when her life is in turmoil. Nettie is 16 years old and her life is changing. She is not sure if she and her boyfriend, Andy- a childhood friend turned more- will last once they go to college, and this worry has been making her unsure of whether she loves him. Andy decides to give her a break until she can figure it out.
At the same time, she is preparing for baptism in the church. However, Nettie still has a lot of questions about religion that she isn't sure about, and her honesty means she cannot lie to the pastor, resulting in a delay in her baptism. He assigns her to work with another pastor more closely to go over material and believe more fully before she is baptized.
Nettie and her BFF Win are inseparable and do everything together, and this summer is no different. As per usual, they often take the train to Win's grandmother Nibi. Nibi is a Monacan Shaman or Medicine Woman, and she has warnings for the girls with the upcoming blood moon. As part of this, she is teaching them carefully how to make dreamcatchers starting with how to painstakingly gather the materials they need. Many other lessons are tucked into the process.
What I loved: The best parts of the book were those with the dreamcatchers and the lessons that Nibi teaches the girls. I would have loved to be even more fully immersed in the Monacan culture and Nibi's vast knowledge. The plot is fast-paced, a lot of the story told in dialogue, which keeps things interesting and moving quickly. There are also some interesting debates on Christianity and good/evil in the context of Christianity (I would certainly label this as Christian fiction), as Nettie prepares for her baptism. Some of the concepts/lessons, such as good and evil coexisting and not being easy to separate, are universal, however.
What left me wanting more: The book seemed more focused on the Christian spiritual journey than on the Native American, and I was looking for more along the latter. I would also love to read a book from Win's point-of-view, exploring her culture more closely. Here, it was a secondary plot.
This may be a spoiler, so if you want to avoid them- skip this paragraph. A big part of the latter story was sexual assault/harassment. While this is handled with some care (police mentioned), I would have liked to see more about the recovery/resources. Parents are hardly involved and no therapist or other resources are described. The book overall has a quick pace that does not get into the details, but this is a pretty big plot point here, so I would have liked to see more.
I would also add warnings for character death and natural disasters.
Final verdict: Overall, this is a fast-paced coming-of-age story that weaves some Native American traditions into Christian fiction with interesting morality and faith-based discussions. I would recommend for people looking for something unique that will spark interesting discourse on good/evil, sins, and moving forward after traumatic events.
*Find More Info & Buy Book HERE!*
By: Pam Webber
Publisher: She Writes Press
Release Date: August 20th, 2019
One winner will receive a signed copy of Moon Water (Pam Webber) ~ (US Only)
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