Pamela Schoenewaldt

About me

My first two historical novels, WHEN WE WERE STRANGERS (HarperCollins, 2011) and SWIMMING IN THE MOON (HarperCollins, 2013) deal with the immigration experience, worker justice, women’s issues, and treatment of mental illness. My interest in immigration comes from the 10 years I lived in Italy and fascination with the challenge, the strange pleasures, and the displacement of being “a stranger.” Now I live in Knoxville, TN (a displaced Northerner) with my husband Maurizio, a physicist, and Jesse, the dog.
My academic background is Renaissance literature, and for many years I wrote short stories for pleasure while working as a professional writer of scripts, speeches, articles, and brochures. I’ve taught writing at the University of Maryland, European Division and the University of Tennessee where I was writer in residence.

From my website

What we share with oaks

My interaction with the Knoxville Utilities Board over a big tree produced an illuminating view of mortality. It happened like this. We have a red oak near the street which had grown until its bark was rubbing against— actually stripping insulation from— the electrical cable. One day our neighbor noted…

Dangers of over-describing

At a recent literary conference, a speaker was warning of “drivers license descriptions.” That is, the character appears on the scene trailing specifics: “Tommy Lengley, 6’1″, blonde, tanned, well-built, with a faint scar on his left cheek . . . ” Which put me to wondering: do we really know…

Putting real people in stories

In writing workshops, the question often comes up: “What about putting people I know in stories? Is that ok?” It’s an interesting question, touching on issues of decency, law, human psychology, and the nature of narratives. I don’t consciously import people from my life into stories. A character may be…

 
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