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Pam.   My interest in the environment definitely came first. I remember talking to trees as a child. My mom has a video of my as an infant, wrapped up in a blanket, staring up at the tree she had set me under, just jabbering away.

Pam. I have no idea what we were talking about, me and the tree, but it was in earnest. After college, I went to work for a law firm as a paralegal and after a year I was bored. My bosses convinced me to go to law school; I didn’t really want to be a lawyer.


Pam – But I decided that being an environmental attorney would be the one kind of law I could happily practice so that’s what I did. Ran it into the ground, you mean. 

 Pam.  No. Absolutely not.

Pam – Although, despite all my blog posts about how we have to care for the Earth and live sustainably, etc., I think we’re more like fleas on a dog where we and the Earth are concerned. She don’t pay us no mind when you really think about it and She will always have the last word (as women should!).

Pam — My favorite experience so far has been writing my novel, “Oil and Water.” It’s a crap-ton of fun, being in the zone, letting your characters lead you to wherever the heck they feel like going. I am working on another novel right now, but haven’t hit my stride yet from a time perspective — always a challenge to find enough time to write — so the characters haven’t started talking to me. I’m trying to find the magic hour where I can write every day. When I wrote “Oil and Water” it was 5 a.m., but I go to bed way too late to get up that early this time around.


Pam — Probably more than I even realize.

Pam – “Oil and Water” was an eco thriller, but I also wrote “The Quality of Light” which is about hydraulic fracturing and am currently working on another novel about pharmaceutics. Even when I’m not writing about the environment, there are eco themes running through the stories.  I start with a basic rough outline, not anything as elaborate as a five-act structure, but more like a screenplay’s three-act structure — in the beginning there is this premise (plotter), then there’s this wide open sea of possible ways to get there (panster), and then the end is going to be this (plotter). Not sure what that makes me.

Pam -Well, my husband had kept bees for a long time, long before we even met, and it became one of the staples of our marriage and what we did with the kids, keeping the bees, collecting the honey — every year we’d have a big party when we harvested the honey — making stuff like soap and lip balm and hand lotion with the honey and bees wax, and it’s not something I would have ever thought to do on my own. Sadly, the last few years we haven’t had bees. There were a few years in a row where they all just up and died or disappeared. We kept starting new hives and they’d make it through the winter and then die in the spring. My husband gave up in frustration and I can’t talk him into starting up again. He thinks we’d need all new equipment, that maybe the frames are contaminated with pesticides and that’s what’s killing the bees or maybe contributing to their disappearance. Some years ago we moved our bees to an organic farm, but bees have a 6-mile foraging radius so that wasn’t going to be enough to keep them from eating pesticide-laden food. Each of the last three springs I’ve thought I’d make a go of it on my own, but I really am not ready to do it alone, hence the apprentice.

Pam – It’s like breath. And it’s cheaper than therapy.

Pam–What’s next? A full deep breath and then another sentence.

When inventor Martin Tirabi builds a machine that converts trash into oil it sends shockwaves through the corporate halls of the oil cognoscenti. Weeks later, Marty and his wife, Ruth are killed in a mysterious car accident. Their son, Gil, a 10-year old physics prodigy is the only one capable of finishing the machine that could solve the world’s energy problems. Plagued with epilepsy from birth, Gil is also psychic, and through dreams and the occasional missive from his dead father he gets the push he needs to finish the job.

Meanwhile, Bicky Coleman, head of Akanabi Oil is doing his best to smear the planet in it. From a slow leak in the Gulf of Mexico to the most devastating oil spill the Delaware River has ever seen, Akanabi’s corporate practices are leaving oily imprints in their wake. To divert the tide of bad press, Bicky dispatches his son-in-law and Chief Engineer, David Hartos to clean up his mess. A disillusioned Hart, reeling from the recent death of his wife and unborn child, travels to Philadelphia to fulfill his father-in-law’s wishes.

There’s no such thing as coincidence when Hart meets Gil and agrees to help him finish Marty’s dream machine. But how will he bring such a revolutionary invention to market in a world reliant on fossil fuels and awash in corporate greed? To do so, Hart must confront those who would quash the project, including his own father-in-law.
You’ll find murder, mystery, and humor as black as fine Arabian crude filling the pages of Oil and Water. The characters are fictional, but the technology is real. What will we do when the oil runs out? Open up and see.


P. J. Lazos is the author of the novel Oil and Water, about oil spills and green technology, and of Six Sisters, a collection of novellas; a blogger for the Global Water Alliance (GWA) in Philadelphia; on the Board of Advisors for the wH2O Journal, the Journal of Gender and Water (U of Penn); a member of the Jr. League of Lancaster; a former correspondent for her local newspaper (Lancaster Intelligencer Journal now LNP); a literary magazine contributor (Rapportage); an editor; a ghostwriter; an author of a children’s book (Into the Land of the Loud); an environmental lawyer; and, because it’s cool, a beekeeper’s apprentice. She practices laughter daily.