Pittsburg State University graduate Pamela Peters is an instructor of mass communication at Lane College in Jackson, Tenn., and a co-owner and lead photographer of Wild Radiance Photography in Richmond, a small town in Franklin County.
Now she's also a published novelist. Her first historical novel, set during the Civil War, was released Nov. 4.
"I started writing the book while I was working on my master's degree at Pitt State," Peters said in a telephone interview. "I've been working on getting it published the past 5 1/2 years."
While doing her collegiate documentary, "The USS Dunlap: Recollections of Those Who Serve," she interviewed numerous World War II veterans.
"For 50 or 60 years their experiences were bottled up and they never get over them," Peters said. "Some of them told me things they'd never told anybody else."
She said that writing a novel about a soldier's experiences during the Civil War was her way of getting such issues out into the open, without offending or betraying the confidence of the veterans she interviewed.
"The War Within" follows main character Daniel Reed, who makes his way across the country at the end of the Civil War. Reed, who left the South to fight for the Union, must watch helplessly as his best friend dies in his arms and struggles to survive a horrible night on a battlefield. When the fighting is over, he must search for meaning in his life.
The paperback book may be purchased at Amazon.com, and will also be available on Kindle.
"This is the first book in a series of three," Peters said. "The second one will probably be released in November of 2014, and third one a year after that."
Peters is also working on putting together her first photography book, which will contain photos she took from a recent trip to Kenya.
"I visited three national parks in Kenya and saw every animal I wanted to see, including wildebeests crossing a river," she said. "I stood within 10 or 15 feet of a white rhino."
Peters also saw some big, big pussycats.
"Our Landrover got stuck in a pride of lions, and we spent two hours watching a pair of leopards mating," she said.
Peters said that leopards tend to be elusive and solitary animals, so it's very unusual for humans to witness them in such behavior.
She expects the photography book to be ready in six to eight months. She also recently sold photos at the Sugar Mound Arts and Crafts Festival at Mound City.
"I've had a camera in my hands probably since I was 5 years old," Peters said.
She holds a master of arts in communication from PSU and has been recognized as a collegiate broadcaster at the state and national levels. In addition to her "USS Dunlap" documentary, she also did another student documentary, with Kristen Livingston, titled "Osa Johnson: The Woman Time Forgot."
"I've also started in a lecture series and have a speaking engagement set in December," Peters said. "I want to get kids interested. If I'm doing this, why not share my experiences with students and get them excited, too?"