Pamela Bauer Mueller has never been able to resist a good story. It turns out the Jekyll Island resident is in the perfect place for uncovering intriguing tales.
Coastal Georgia is home to a number of interesting historical figures and fascinating events. These have always served as inspiration for Mueller, who began writing about the area several years ago.
Since picking up her pen (or perhaps more likely — sitting down to her computer), Mueller has shared the stories of everyone from the millionaires of Jekyll Island (“Splendid Isolation”) to Native American Mary Musgrove (“An Angry Drum Echoed”) to former slave Neptune Small (“Neptune’s Honor”).
“When I realized that no one had written about his life, I approached his descendants, interviewed them and asked for their permission to write his story, which they were happy to give,” she said of Small.
Of course, Mueller had some previous writing experience, though it was very different than sharing the story of Small or Musgrove.
“My first book, ‘The Bumpedy Road,’ was written in 1999, while working full time for the U.S. Government and living in Vancouver, B.C. Canada. I wrote it as a tribute to my two daughters, to honor their courage and support,” she said.
Over the years, Mueller’s work continued to evolve, with she and her husband, Michael, establishing their own company — Piñata Publishing. In total, she has written 12 books, so far.
Her latest, in fact, will soon be released. Titled “Fly, Fly Away,” this story explores the story of children and families living in Fidel Castro’s Cuba during the early 1960s.
“Thousands of families in Castro’s Cuba made the heart-breaking decision to send their children, unaccompanied, to freedom in Miami. This dramatic post-revolutionary movement was called Operation Pedro Pan (Peter Pan),” she said.
“The loss of freedom, the fear of persecution and the idea of losing their children to the communist government forced many parents to save their children by sending them to the United States.”
It was something Mueller was entirely unfamiliar with, even after visiting Cuba three years ago.
But it was while working as a role player at FLETC that Mueller met an attorney who first told her about the Pedro Pans.
“She had read two of my books and asked me if I knew about the Pedro Pans. I said I had not, and listened to her story, spellbound and with increasing goosebumps, as she explained what had happened, why and how,” she said.
It turns out, however, that this woman had a very personal reason for sharing the story of the Pedro Pans with Mueller.
“At the end of her narration, she leaned toward me and told me, ‘I am a Pedro Pan. I’d like you to write our story,’” she said.
“Tears filled my eyes as I processed this challenging request. I told her that I would consider it. After a year of prayer and faith, I told her I would write it.”
And that she did. It took Mueller five months of research and four months of writing. While it may seem a lengthy process for many, it was actually faster than usual for the author.
“I usually spend 12-14 months on my historical novels. I felt extremely motivated to get this one written,” she said.
Mueller will officially be launching the book at the Shrimp and Grits Festival on Jekyll Island, from Sept. 20 to 22.
She will have copies of the book on hand, situated in a booth near the Morgan Center in the island’s historic district.
“I’ll be happily signing copies,” she said.
While Mueller is primarily focused on getting her new book into the hands of readers, she has also been busy with other exciting projects.
Mueller says that there is an interest in making both “Splendid Isolation” and “Neptune’s Honor” into movies or documentaries.
“We have not yet learned how to develop this, but realize that sometimes things happen on their own,” she said.
“Presently, a screen play on ‘Neptune’s Honor’ is being presented for option to various production companies, so my husband and I are excited to see what happens.”
Coastal People appears Tuesdays. Contact Lindsey Adkison at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 912-265-8320, ext. 346 to suggest a person for a column.