- No Room For Truth (1995)
- Our Heritage: DeSoto County Mississippi (1992)
by May Hannigan (SHS)
It was on April 4, 1950, that one of Mississippi’s writers was born. Pam McPhail was raised in Slate Springs, Mississippi, in Calhoun County. There she lived on a farm with her English whiz mom, storytelling dad, and her brother and sister. McPhail began writing at the tender age of ten. Most of her early writings were poetry, and at the age of thirteen, she wrote her first play. McPhail attended the University of MIssissippi and majored in journalism, from which she graduated in 1972.
Fresh from college, McPhail worked on a newspaper in Desoto County. Her newspaper soon became the biggest local paper, reaching three counties. After getting married and after selling her paper, McPhail decided to write her first novel. Ten years after living her life in Desoto County and working on the newspaper, McPhail wrote No Room For Truth. According to her, No Room For Truth, is an autobiography turned into a fictional novel.
McPhail now lives in Calhoun City and is working on her second novel. Along withNo Room For Truth, McPhail has also written Our Heritage, a history book about Desoto County.
A Review of No Room for Truth
by Mary Hannigan (SHS)
No Room For Truth is a fascinating and interesting novel by Pam McPhail. McPhail keeps the reader wanting more by her change of stories and never- boring plot. Filled with mystery, corrupt politics, friendship, and even love, McPhail’s novel will make you want to read it cover to cover, time after time.
Scottie, a fresh young reporter from Kibbee, Mississippi, moves to a small town in Dekker County, where she becomes the editor of The Jefferson Patriot, a small local paper. As she makes changes in the format of the newspaper, she discovers many hidden truths about Dekker County and its leading people of power. Working long nights and uncovering truths hidden from the public and stirring up trouble, Scottie finds herself sinking in the corrupt politics. Soon after her move, strange things start happening and love finds its way into Scottie’s hectic life. As the climax rises, the book will draw you in, and you will not want to put it down.
Pam McPhail’s style of moving from story to story will keep you wanting more. Her writing leads you to think one thing is going to happen, but the plot twists and turns with a different, surprising end. The endless problems and great descriptions of characters’ thoughts just add to the plot and suspense. The mixture of mystery, politics, journalism, love stories, and friendships kept me up long into the night.
I enjoyed the book very much. McPhail’s style kept me wanting more. Her great details add length, but not so much so that it was too long or even boring. The variety of things that happen in everyday life make the story believable. Even though some things seem to disappear, they are brought back in the end for a great ending.
Set in Dekker County, northern Mississippi, McPhail talks about the issue of corrupt politics. Through Scottie, McPhail allows the reader to learn about the hidden truths and the way they affect everyday life. Scottie’s many relationships also teach readers that friends are always there to help during the hard times. Filled with many characters from different back grounds, the story comes to life. Prostitutes, politics, lawyers, FBI, and native citizens all add to this fantastic story.
I think this novel is a great book for anyone interested in mystery, politics, friendship, and life. This book does make minor references to sex and prostitution, some illegal drug dealing, violence, and some graphic language, so if any of these would offend you, this book may not be for you. Otherwise, I strongly recommend this novel for everyone.
by Mary Hannigan (SHS)
Can you tell me about your childhood? Parents? Birthday? College?
Well, I was born on April 4, 1950. I’m 52 years old, and I was raised in Slate Spring, Mississippi. It has the population of 150 people total. I lived on a farm. I had one brother and a sister. My father always told stories, and I think that is what made want to write. My mom was a whiz in English. I attend Ole Miss and majored in journalism and graduated in 1972. I once owned a newspaper in Desoto County called the Desoto Times . It was the largest weekly newspaper of its time.
Is your book some how based on your life?
It is a true story all the way through up until the part where the politician is killed. I did not write the book until 10 years after everything had happened.
Who is your favorite author or authors?
I do not have any favorite authors really. I read a book because I like it, not because of the author. Though I really do enjoy Joe McGinniss’ s books.
Why did you choose to write about corrupt politics and journalism for your bookNo Room For Truth?
Because I lived through it, I have seen what politics can do in Mississippi.
When did you become interested in writing?
Around the age of 10, I wrote lots of poetry and my first play at 13.
What kind of student were you in high school?
Your average student, dreamed out the window and everything.
How long did it take you to write your first book?
It took about a year to write the book on Desoto County, and I borrowed my friend’s house while she was on extended vacation and wrote No Room For Truth in 2 months.
You said that your first novel ( No Room For Truth) was self published. Why and why Desoto county?
Because I had a target area, and Desoto County is where the story actually took place.
Have you received any awards for you writing?
Yes, many when I was writing on the newspaper.
You said you were working on your second book; what is this one about? And will you self publish it this time?
It is about someone who was put in jail for something they didn’t do. Right now someone is looking at making it into a movie; then I’ll publish it because you have to have a target area to sell books in Mississippi
Do you have any advice for future writers?
Do not quit your job to write, don’t just think you can write and become famous overnight.
How has Mississippi or living in Mississippi influenced you writing?
I write very simply because of my roots. I write on a sixth grade level so that anyone can read it.
- McPhail, Pam. No Room For Truth. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Professional Press, 1995.
- McPhail, Pam. Telephone interview. 10 December 2002.