A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Saving Grace by Pamela Fagan Hutchins is 2012 publication. I was provided a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Katie is going through a bad patch. She lost her parents in a tragic accident and then the man she is in love with makes in crystal clear he is not interested in a relationship with her- period with about ten exclamation marks. As a result, Katie has been killing the pain with a few too many bloody Mary's. Her job as an attorney also suffers.
Katie's friends and family urge her to take some time off and get her act together. She agrees and heads off on vacation. The tropical island where her parents died in an accident to be precise. Once there, Katie meets Ava and the two forge a friendship. Ava helps Katie try to find out what really happened to her parents. But, before Katie can make any progress she must return home to Dallas. Back at work, she is given her first ever criminal case, which she promptly botches. When she gets a call from the island explaining that Ava's lover has died and the house Katie had been interested in is back on the market, she returns to decide where her future is headed. But things go from bad to worse with Ava is accused of murder.

This is the first book in this series and I can tell you I am hooked. I can't wait to read the next one. Katie is a flawed character, surrounded by even more flawed characters, but is supported by some really great friends.
I loved Katie's conversations with herself. She referred to herself as "Katie". Knowing deep down she is in serious trouble with her drinking, she just can't seem to stop. Her heart is broken by the death of her parents and the rejection from the man she just can not stop loving. A career nose dive puts the cherry on the cake. But, the island is beckoning as well a house that is haunted.
Not only that, there is a nice man that has taken an interest in Katie. Will Katie have the strength to put Dallas behind her for good or will the past come calling?

There are some really funny moments and some really sad moments in this book. There is a mystery to solve, there is a ghost, there is heartbreak, there is romance. It was hard to place this one just one genre. So, if you like contemporary romance, paranormal romance, chick lit, women's fiction and mystery, then you will probably like this book. Katie will have more adventures in the next book which if you read the preview will have you quite impatient to start on the second book. Over all this one gets an A.


1) When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

My third grade teacher told my parents I would be a writer, and I told them all how wrong they were. I liked to READ, but I wanted to be a veterinarian. I stubbornly insisted I had no interest in writing throughout high school, where I went on to become a UIL “Ready Writing” Champ, and into college, where I had placed out of all my English courses and left writing behind. In my third year of law school, I was hired to teach writing to the first year students. Throughout my legal and human resources careers, I wrote my fingers off, but only motions, briefs, and reports. But in my early thirties, without meaning to do it, I started writing. It was the little things at first: Christmas letters, family updates, then, when we moved to the Caribbean, weekly missives telling anecdotes about our whacky life. By my mid-thirties, I had started working in secret on my first novel. At forty, I came out of the closet. So, I guess I knew when I turned forty . . . but inside I had always known.

2) How do you decide on your character's names?

Well, do you mean the first, second, or tenth time I decide? I change them a lot, to see how they work together. First, I hone in on their family background, national origin, and ethnicity. Then I look to the personalities of their parents. I source names on internet sites, and I name the whole families of my characters. Then I think about what nicknames they would be likely to earn and tolerate. So, I knew I wanted an Irish name for Katie and her brother Collin in the Katie & Annalise books. I wanted Nick’s Hungarian roots to show in his name. Rashidi was easy, because I had fallen in love with that name when I lived on St. Croix. And Ava needed something sexy that sounded good in an island patois. For Bart I wanted something masculine and middle-American. I named many of the Local characters after people I knew in the islands whose names had the sound and rhythm I wanted. I don’t make it easy! I really, really work at names.

3) Where can readers contact you?

The best way to reach me is through my website, http://pamelahutchins.com, which has all my contact information. They can find me on Amazon (http://amazon.com/author/pamelafaganhutchins) and Goodreads, too (http://goodreads.com/pamelafaganhutchins).

4) Katie has a little trouble with drinking too much.  Was she just on a binge or should she seek professional help?

If Katie were my sister or my daughter, I’d be trying to get her to seek professional help. Unfortunately, Katie is not a “joiner,” so she takes the hard road with her problem and makes it worse before it gets better. I’m rooting for her!

5) Katie has as supernatural or paranormal experience. Do you believe in ghosts?

I do believe there is more around us than we can see, whether or not I’d call what I believe in ghosts or not, I’m not sure. I believe in the energy of the unseen, whether that’s spiritual energy, like angels, negative or demonic energy, or just the energy left behind by something no longer here. Sometimes that “something” hasn’t even died, but has just left a space, like when two people have a seemingly telekinetic or telepathic connection even when they are great distances apart. And I think the more we open ourselves up to these possibilities, the more we believe, the great the probability we can sense it. I absolutely know that our rainforest house Estate Annaly on St. Croix had some kind of spirit, one that my island-born husband called a jumbie. I never saw a ghost, but I knew “she” was there. The most dramatic example occurred one night when my husband was there alone and men came to break in the house and the house kept them out--even though the windows weren’t locked and one of the doors did not lock. They yelled and pounded. Their footprints and tire tracks were all around the house the next morning. But they didn’t get in. My husband actually barricaded himself in an upstairs room and called me to hear my voice, because he believed they would rob him and kill him (I was off-island), but it turned out to be for naught, thanks to our jumbie at Annaly.

6) What are you working on now?

Going for Kona! It’s a romantic mystery set in Southeast Texas. I explore loss in this book, and, while I still exercise my smart mouth and penchant for humor, it’s with an even darker twist than before. Here’s the teaser: Adrian Hanson brings tightly-wound Charlotte to life and the Triathlon World Championships, but his suspicious hit and run death leaves her with an empty heart and a full plate. Charlotte must convince the police her teenage son Sam didn’t kill Adrian and identify the killer before she or Sam meet the same fate, while completing her Ironman tribute to the husband whose devotion to her seems ever more questionable as her investigation unfolds. It comes out in October of 2014, and my husband and mother like it best of all my novels. It was actually the first novel I wrote, too.

7) Do you have a favorite quote you would like to share?

I do -- “If not me, who? If not now, when?” I grew up believing this “quote” meant to have confidence and go for it, and I loved it. I learned as an adult that it Rabbi Hillel actually said, “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?” and that I had completely messed it up and mixed it up. But I decided I don’t care! I love it as I embraced it, and it is my motto. I believe in taking risks and holding nothing back, and this quasi-quote embodies the essence of my philosophy.

Pamela Fagan Hutchins, President of Houston Writers Guild, is an employment attorney and workplace investigator by day who writes award-winning and best-selling romantic mysteries with paranormal twists (Saving Grace, Leaving Annalise, Finding Harmony) and hilarious nonfiction (How to Screw Up Your Kids, What Kind of Loser Indie Publishes?, and others) by night. She is passionate about great writing and smart authorpreneurship. She also leaps medium-tall buildings in a single bound, if she gets a good running start.

Visit her website http://pamelahutchins.com, or follow her on Facebook http://facebook.com/pamela.fagan.hutchins.author.

 Stay Tuned! Look for the review of Leaving Annalise  later today right here at The Book Review!


  1. Great review! I'm a huge fan of Pamela's work... looking forward to more!

  2. Great questions! Favorite quotes are so revealing, and I love the discussion on names. :)


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