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Would my mother and I have written books together without our trial partnership in the antiques trade?
Pam Hanson and her mother, Barbara Andrews, are the authors of the Chesapeake Antiques Mysteries Forgotten History and Hidden Treasures.
Once upon a time when I was a junior in high school and my mother, Barbara Andrews, was a struggling freelance writer, we had an idea that became the first step in our longtime writing partnership.
Two horses were trapped on an icy mountain. Would help arrive in time?
I needed a summer job. She needed a reason to indulge her love of all things old, especially family antiques she’d found in my grandparents’ house.
It was a happy coincidence that my Aunt Marge was managing a Saturday flea market in an old corset factory less than an hour away from our home in Southwestern Michigan. We signed up to rent a table, and just like that we became antiques dealers–or some might say junk dealers.
After sorting out books, glassware and things we’d kept when my grandfather’s drug store was closed, we managed to fill our table. In the months to come, my mom and I became garage-sale shoppers and auction goers, keeping us supplied with merchandise for what was to become a one-year enterprise.
We moved to the Detroit area, I went to college, and my mom went on to publish 22 books, mostly women’s fiction. When all four of her children had finished college, she decided she’d written enough books. Little did she know this was far from the end of her writing career.
After graduating from college, I got married and worked as a newspaper reporter. When I was pregnant with my first son, I needed a new challenge. Happily my mom wanted to get back to writing books because she loves creating characters, but she never enjoyed plotting novels.
I’m an avid reader and plots are my strength. We decided to work together long distance and were thrilled when we sold our first book. We wrote a number of novels, including many for Guideposts. Our partnership became even smoother when my mother began living with us in 1999.
Would we have written books together without our trial partnership in the antiques trade? There’s no way to know, but our brief time as dealers showed we could work together in harmony. And in the new Chesapeake Antiques Mysteries books, we got to draw on both partnerships in a most satisfying way.
Pam Hanson and Barbara Andrews have authored more than 40 novels. Pam, a former reporter, and her professor husband have two sons. Barbara writes a column on collecting postcards for an antiques journal. They remain best friends after writing together for 20-plus years!