5 Minutes with Pamela Ewen

Pamela Ewen, author

A retired lawyer and accomplished public speaker, Pamela Ewen is the author of three books. She also co-founder of the Northshore Literary Society in the Greater New Orleans Metro area north of Lake Pontchartrain. Recently she was honored with the 2009 Literary Artist of the Year Award by the St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana Arts Council.

Her novel Secret of the Shroud (formerly titled Walk Back the Cat) is enjoying its re-release as of September 1st 2010. It has a beautiful new cover and additional content.

Pam and I have known each other for several years now. So, it is with great pleasure that I give you…

5 Minutes with Pamela Ewen.

1) Not every author gets a chance to go back to their first novel and give it a fresh start. What is the one thing that you where able to accomplish with this chance that you are excited about?

Walk Back The Cat (the original printing of Secret of the Shroud) was published  several years ago. It’s unusual to rerelease a book like this. But an unusual turn of events warranted the rerelease. As you may know, the Shroud has only been publicly displayed four times since its original exhibition in the 1300s. The next public viewing has for years been scheduled for 2025.  Last May however, the Vatican (current owner of the Shroud) held a surprise exhibition and I believe this occurred because it has now been fairly well established that the Shroud is the actual burial cloth of Jesus. This is a new and exciting position for the Vatican to take. Previously their official position was somewhat unclear. My husband, Jimmy, and I traveled to Turin , Italy to attend the exhibition with Barrie Schwortz, one of the world’s most knowledgable experts on the Shroud. He is not only the documentary photographer of the Shroud, but also maintains an enormously influential web site on which almost all scientific publications on this mysterious artifact can be found. My publisher and I realized the significance of the public change in mindset about the Shroud, and wanted to update Walk Back The Cat, which is fiction based on fact—the actual facts and research on the Shroud—and we also wanted to change the title to more accurately reflect the focus of the story.  In addition, Barrie gave us permission to use his famous photograph of the face of the Man of the Shroud in the book. It’s amazing. And we were able to place beneath the photo a quote given on May 2nd, during the Exhibition, from Pope Benedict XVI. The quote makes it clear  that this cloth reflects the image of only one person—the Messiah.

2) I loved your blog post where your characters were all talking to one another.  If you could sit down with Wesley Bright and have dinner, what would that evening be like?

Wesley Bright represents a composite of ‘so-called’ religious experts who have built their careers on the idea that Jesus was only a man with a good message, not the Christ. Controversy sells.  I wrote my first book, the non-fiction book Faith On Trial to counter that idea with objective, factual evidence. Christianity is the only world religion based upon statements of facts testified to by witnesses. I was a lawyer for 25 years and I know that a fact can either be proven or it cannot be proven. After many years of research  and reviewing evidence surrounding the Gospel testimony—archeological evidence, writings of contemporaries at the time, medical evidence, scientific evidence, etc.—I found a powerful chain of proof to support the fundamental principles of Christianity. This is a rock-solid foundation for faith, and for those who have questions. So I would sit down with Wesley Bright and tell him that the burden of proof for these ‘Christianity lite’ or pop-psychology ideas about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and even the existence of the Divine, is now on his shoulders. Perhaps we’d start  with whatever proof he could come up with—objective facts and reasoning- not speculation– as to how the universe came into being .

3) Now, for a little about you. What is your strangest possession?

It’s the hair of a sacred white elephant from Siam, now known as Thailand. In The Moon in the Mango Tree, a story based on a period of my grandmother’s life in the 1920’s, there is a scene involving my grandmother confronting a sacred white elephant owned by the King of Siam. My grandfather at the time (1926) was the royal physician to the King, and as such, he was the only person allowed to touch the white elephants other than the King and the elephant’s mahout. In this scene, as a result of my grandmother’s involvement with the elephant (I don’t want to spoil the story by describing it), a young Siamese princess cut a hair from the elephant’s tail when no one was watching, and presented it to my grandmother afterwards. My grandfather had the hair wound in a circle around a topaz on a gold bracelet for her as a gift. I have the bracelet today.

4) What do you use as bookmarks in your personal reading?

I have to confess, I order thousands of bookmarks a year for my books and you’d think this wouldn’t be a problem.  But nevertheless, I’m a terrible page bender!

5) What is the last GREAT book that you’ve read and why?

OKAY. I HAVE to talk about TWO last great books that I’ve read. First, The Missing, by Tim Geautreaux. This book, set in the 18th century world of Mississippi River Steamboats ,is one of the finest  I’ve ever read. The plot was absorbing. The character development was not only masterful, but the voice and manner of the characters were so authentic that as a reader I felt that I’d stepped into another world.

The second is The Glass Rainbow, by my cousin James Lee Burke. His writing is lyrical and deeply philosophical, which is quite amazing to find in a mystery series. He just seems to have unending talent. In this story, he explores several ideas that have long intrigued me, such as the nature of ‘time’. This is something I also delved into in Secret of the Shroud. Think of all the different theories that exist on this subject. There is our time (mankind’s), which is chronological. And God’s time, about which we can only speculate, but which probably isn’t chronological. Einstein’s theories of relative time, linear time, quantum theories, etc., etc. You could go on forever  (no pun intended)!

I want to thank Pamela for taking the time out of her busy tour schedule to answer a few questions for my first ever author interview. You can learn more about Pamela and her books at her website: www.pamelaewen.com or order Secret of the Shroud at B&N, Amazon, or Book Depository.


It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (Sept. 6th)


This week I reread Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland. This is  a good paranormal police procedural that involves the hunt for a serial killer. I rarely reread book, so I was surprised to find myself caught up in the action all over again. This is the first book in a series and is set in Louisiana. Diana is a friend of mine and if you haven’t checked out her books, you should.  Visit: http://www.dianarowland.com/

And speaking of writer friends… Another dear friend and local author Pamela Binning Ewen‘s title The Secret of the Shroud just hit the shelves on September 1st. She is currently touring, so if you see her out and about say hi. She’s a great lady.

Reading (or should I say rereading):

Blood of the Demon by Diana Rowland — This is book two. Book three comes out in January.

Trouble in Triplicate by Rex Stout — I finished the first “case”, there are three stories in this book, and I loved it! The plot felt familiar so I am thinking they used it for the A&E TV show. I am such a Nero Wolfe fan, I have the whole series on DVD, lots of old radio programs on CD, and I am working my way through the novels.

Other News:

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi won the Hugo Award for best novel. Actually it was a tie, but this is the one I’ve read. I really liked it because it was one of those scifi novels that made me want to dig into some of the idea presented. I talked about it here.

Book links are for Book Depository of which I’m an affiliate. ———————————————————————————————

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is organized by Sheila over at Book Journey. Be sure to stop by her site and read the great blogs of the other participates.

( On a personal note I’d like to thank St. Jude, St. Rita, the Blessed Mother, and Heavenly Father for all the prayers they’ve answered in the last month and to continue to ask for their help and blessings.)

Pamela Binnings Ewen

Pamela Binnings Ewen, author of Moon in the Mango Tree, has a new website. http://www.pamelaewen.com
Pamela is has been name St. Tammany Parish’s literary artist of the year and she is also the co-founder of the wonderful Northshore Literary Society.

Take a minute and visit her new website. Leave a comment!

Afternoon at La Provence

The Northshore Literary Society met tonight at La Provence and it was the biggest event yet. Pamela Ewen and Deb Burst, the founders of the NLS,  planned an exquisite afternoon. There where so many new faces that I believe that people got use to introducing themselves and continued to do so even to people they knew. The wine flowed until it ran out and the waiters circulate with hors d’oeuvres they couldn’t quite name.

The guest speakers Elizabeth Moore and Alice Couvillon we’re delightful. They were funny and entertaining as they explained how they began writing together.  I love the part where they revealed how they found their publisher by working their way through the phone book.  Moore and Couvillon also told us about upcoming projects, one about the largest Indian mounds in the Western Hemisphere and one about Spanish fairy tales.

Also in attendance was Lynda Deniger who’s children’s book Salty Seas & His Heroic Friends has just been publish. I have been watching this book since its manuscript stage and it is simply beautiful in its finished form.

Ewen and Burst are moving the Society towards having paid memberships. The membership cost for the year is $25.oo and the money will go toward the cost of putting on the Sunday Events. Please check out the website http://www.northshoreliterarysociety.com for more information or ways to contact the founders. The Northshore Literary Society is the area foremost literary organization working to bring readers and writers together.

Northshore Literary Society (Aug. 9th)

Join us August 9th at Speakeasy Too in Madisonville, LA at 4pm.

Deb Burst and Pam Lott have organized a wonderful afternoon. This meeting’s special  guest are,  Diana Rowland who will be talking about her novel Mark of the Demon and Gene Lipps who will exploring the song writer’s craft.

Donation of $5.00 at the door — light refreshments will be supplied.