Pamela Kay Hawkins grew up in an eclectic atmosphere of books, ballet, opera, plays, musicals, music and art. She taught herself to read at the age of four, while forced to remain bedfast for an entire year with a heart murmur and “all the measles’ varieties one can ever possibly contract.” Before the omnipresence of audio-visual stimulation, the remedy to consistent boredom became the AV of imagination.
“Mother read to me until her voice and patience wore out,” Hawkins remembered. “Since I’d heard the books over and over, it became my mission to decipher the words for myself, so I could have some independence, even if bedridden. Books became my teachers, my friends, and my addiction. Keep your chocolate, but give me a book!”
Drawing and painting, other passions: “I drew everything I could see, and won a city-wide children’s coloring contest celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. I still have the doll. I found a section in The World Book called ‘Races’ before race had pejorative connotations. To me, the varied bone structure, eye shapes, lips, etc., were beautiful. So I drew them, over and over. People’s faces. I thought seriously of becoming a professional artist. That dream vanished for 30 years, but now I’m painting watercolors. I find the process relaxing. I might even try to sell one or two.”
Music: Hawkins took piano lessons for nine years, before deciding she wanted to just play music. Theory never took. “Imagine my surprise when I discovered the reason was that I played by ear, and that my silly little tunes were actually wanted.” Of course, in order to produce the tunes, she had to learn theory….
The usual: primary, secondary. The interrupted: college–Hawkins started out as an art major and ended her freshman year as an English Lit. major. She married and changed universities twice before deciding graduation would have to wait. She bore three children before going back to university to finish her B.A., graduating with 167 hours and a double minor. She entered journalism school and earned an M.A. in Journalism/Mass Communications with an emphasis in Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma (OU). Her thesis was a novel.
Hawkins began taking her writing seriously in Dallas, Tex., after landing a job with a political public relations firm. “I knew nothing then about political PR,” Hawkins said, laughing, “but the president of the company admired my imaginative writing and hired me to ghost his autobiography for Random House. I worked for several months doing that before he had a heart attack and died. His widow decided not to continue the project.” Hawkins wrote several children’s books for Golden Books under the last name Broughton. She taught English and a course in writing for children at the OU both as a Lecturer, then, while pursuing a Ph.D., as a Teacher’s Assistant (TA).
The economy derailed her work at OU and her Ph.D., just before she began her dissertation. For the next ten years, Hawkins made her living and supported her children by writing articles for various newspapers and magazines, scripting and directing corporate videos, writing various copy for public relations and advertising firms, and writing and editing several corporate newsletters. She also taught various subjects as a lecturer at Tulsa Junior College, now Tulsa Community College.
After forming her own company, Rocking Chair Enterprises, LLC, Hawkins released a children’s music CD, Rockin’ the Day Away, under her label and DBA Pamela Kay Hawkins Publishing. The album and songs are available on iTunes as downloads. Rocking Chair Enterprises, owns the rights to an unproduced musical, but no longer exists as a retail company. Pamela Kay Hawkins Publishing, LLC, took the primary spot in 2014. It released a novel, A Defect of Character, through Create Space, in 2015, and has two more novels–a young adult/women’s novel, The Girl in the Back of the Room, and a quasi-memoir, Dreaming Family, in the works. Hawkins is also painting again.
Current Societies and Memberships:
Daughter of the American Revolution (DAR).
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). member.
Green Country Watercolor Society, GCWS, since 2014.
National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) 2015