Pamela Milam, a member of the New York Chapter of the WNBA, is a reader, author, and therapist living part-time in both Dallas and New York. Represented by Jim Levine at the Levine Greenberg Literary Agency, her most recent book takes a closer look at what happens inside the therapy office. You can find her here: http://asdpublishing.com/our-authors.htm.
Welcome to the WNBA-NYC! How long have you been a member and what motivated you to join the organization?
I’ve been a member of the New York Chapter for about 6 months. Prior to that, I attempted to join the Dallas Chapter of WNBA and discovered that it no longer existed. I was motivated to join WNBA-NYC after reading a tweet about Great Group Reads. Since I split my time between living in Dallas and Hell’s Kitchen, it made sense.
What do you do as a committee member for Great Group Reads?
For the 2013 GGR Selection Committee, what I do more than anything is read. Our group reads between 20-25 books starting in March, comments about each book in a private blog, and then votes on our favorites in August. We’re looking for books that are worthy of being known and read by book clubs, the kind of books that generate robust and interesting discussions. This is my first time participating on the committee, and I’m enjoying every second.
Tell us about your book Premarital Counseling for Gays & Lesbians: Case Studies and Helpful Questions. Is this your first published book? What was the publication process like?
I wrote Premarital Counseling for Gays & Lesbians very quickly – worked fast to have it ready in time for the Rainbow Book Fair in New York last year. In the past, I’ve seen any number of opinion pieces about whether gay people should be allowed to get married and books about the legalities involved, but not many about the relationships themselves – the common problems and issues that arise prior to making a lifelong commitment, along with suggestions for how to communicate more effectively. In an interview with Kergan Edwards-Stout, Human Rights Campaign 2011 Father of the Year, I discussed the book in greater detail (What to Consider Before Tying the Knot: An LGBT Primer Courtesy of Marriage Counselor Pamela Milam).
It is my first book and the process was so easy that I fear I’ve been spoiled. My publisher, ASD Publishing, offered so much guidance and individual attention. I’m impressed by how helpful and capable they have been.
What advice do you have for our members who are trying to get published?
If you have a good idea, write it down and start working on it right away. I’ve experienced several different sides of the publishing process — self-publishing, working with an indie publisher, and signing with an agent to find a home for my second book (What Your Therapist Really Thinks About You, which is currently under submission) with a traditional publisher. I’ve enjoyed the learning process in all areas and none of it would have happened without my willingness to notice when I had an interesting idea, move efficiently toward exploring what to do next, and be persistent.
Your work as a therapist is obviously your motivation for writing. How do you decide what topics you want to put into a book?
I look for a gap in the market. What topic isn’t on the bookshelves that should be? What kinds of things would I want to read? What is needed and what is missing?
What future projects are you working on at the moment?
Right now I’m freelancing for Rewire Me. I’m a big fan of personal growth and this website is really onto something.
Periodically, you might find me on Huffington Post, like in this article about Counseling Awareness Month. But most of all, I’m in the very beginning stages of talking my mom into co-writing something with me about how families can cope with mental illness. My mom doesn’t realize it, but she’s an excellent writer with original thoughts and a wealth of knowledge about coping and managing life’s surprises.
What’s your favorite word?
This month, my favorite word is “Yes.” I worked in a clinic at the beginning of my career, and the owner’s motto was, “Say Yes when you can and say No when you have to.” It’s good advice for customer service and even better advice for anyone at midlife, realizing that time is finite and there’s still so much to do and experience.
What are you currently reading?
After I finish the tall stack of GGR books on my nightstand, The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud is waiting for me. Next up, I want to read every play Richard Greenberg has ever written.