Monday, November 16, 2009

"The Story Behind the Story"--an Author Interviewed: Pat Bertram

"The Story Behind the Story--an Author Interviewed: Pat Bertram

This week I am featuring author Pat Bertram on my "Story Behind the Story" segment of my blog. Be sure to post some questions, connect with her online and share the interview with others!
Thanks Pat for accepting my invitation!

Author Pat Bertram featured on Bobby Ozuna's Blog @

Q. Let's start by introducing yourself.
My name is Pat Bertram. I was born in Colorado, and I’ve always lived here except for a very brief stay in Wisconsin. Daughter Am I is my third novel to be published by Second Wind Publishing, LLC. Also available are More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire

Q. What genre is Daughter Am I? Who is your ideal audience?
Daughter Am I is being sold as mainstream, though it could just as easily be considered a mystery. My ideal audience is anyone who loves mysteries, old-time gangsters, and a bit of humor.

Q. In 150 words or less, what’s your book about?
When twenty-five-year-old Mary Stuart learns she inherited a farm from her recently murdered grandparents-grandparents her father claimed had died before she was born-she becomes obsessed with finding out who they were and why someone wanted them dead. Along the way she accumulates a crew of feisty octogenarians-former gangsters and friends of her grandfather. She meets and falls in love Tim Olson, whose grandfather shared a deadly secret with her great-grandfather. Now Mary and Tim need to stay one step ahead of the killer who is desperate to dig up that secret.

Q: Apart from being an author, who are you in relation to your gifts?
I’ve always been creative, and right now I’m focusing that creativity on the internet and promotion. I also have a life-long love of learning. Somehow, between the creativity and the learning, I hope to figure out how to sell a ton of books.

Q: Of all the stories you could have written…why did you choose to write this particular book?
Daughter Am I was the combination of two different stories I wanted to write. I’d read The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler, and the mythic journey so captured my imagination that I knew I had to write my own quest story. I also liked the idea of telling little-known truths about the mob, and I settled on the story of a young woman going in search of her past. As she listens to stories of old-time gangsters and bootleggers -- her mentors and allies -- she gradually discovers the truth of her heritage. I’ve always liked stories within stories.

Q: How much of your personal psyche, your struggle and your insecurities are hidden within the characters of this particular story? (Please elaborate)
To be honest, there is less of me in this book than my other novels, but Daughter Am I does reflect two of my struggles: my journey as a writer and my quest for identity, which perhaps come down to the same thing. My hero Mary isn’t a writer, but she does set out on a journey to discover who she is in relation to her unknown grandparents. I think the quest for identity is one of the strongest themes in books because it reflects two stages of life we all go through -- adolescence and obsolescence.

Q. Apart from writing stories, in which direction do you see your career heading and what will you bring to the literary world outside producing new stories.
I’m involved with several writing groups, and I’m developing a following for my blog. I’d like to think I’m bringing generosity of spirit to the literary world by sharing what I’m learning on my seemingly impossible journey to becoming a self-supporting author.

Q. What writer influenced you the most?
My biggest influence was Taylor Caldwell. She told wonderful stories that showed history in the context of fiction, and I’ve tried to do the same. She also used a hundred words when a single sentence would have sufficed, and I’ve tried to do the opposite.

Q. What has been your greatest inner struggle to overcome with relation to your literary career?
My greatest inner struggle is a reluctance to commit to writing. I have a one-track mind -- I’m not a multi-tasker by any means! Writing a novel is an all-consuming task, one that takes months, even years to complete, and during that time, I really can’t get involved with other mentally demanding activities. Right now, my focus is the internet, and I will have to cut my time online to a bare minimum in order to free up my mind for writing, and I’m not yet ready to make that change.

Q. What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?
I’ll be leaving the world my books, which are words enough, but besides that, this is how I’d like the world to see me: "Pat Bertram has a marvelous ability to write the longest parables in all of literature. She unglues the world as it is perceived and rebuilds it in a wiser and more beautiful way." -- Lazarus Barnhill, author of The Medicine People and Lacey Took a Holiday

Q. Where can folks learn more about your books and events?
I have a website -- Pat Bertram Homepage--where I post important information, including the first chapters of each of my books, but the best way to keep up with me, my books, and my events on a daily basis is by way of Bertram’s Blog.
All my books are available both in print and in ebook format. You can get them online at Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, and Smashwords. Smashwords is great -- the books are available in all ebook formats, including Kindle, and you can download the first 30% free.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Bobby. Thank you for being part of my blog tour. It's been a fun ride, but the best part has been the people I meet along the way.

Anonymous said...

Pat's story parallels that of many POD writers. Thanks for a quality interview, and best wishes to Pat for success with her book.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, thank you for the good wishes. I am not a POD writer, however. I've been published by a small independent publisher, and as such, I had to go through a submissions process, editors, copyeditors, the whole shebang.

A. F. Stewart said...

A wonderful interview. I don't know how you do it, Pat, you make it seem effortless.

Sun Singer said...

Cool interview, Pat.


Anonymous said...

A.F. I'm so pleased it appears effortless. Mostly I do the interviews after midnight when my guard is down, otherwise I might not be quite as forthcoming. Once the tour is over, I plan on sleeping a week. Oh, I forgot. I plan to write. I guess I'll be giving up on early nights for the time being.

Malcolm, it's always a treat to have you stop by. Thank you.

Bobby Ozuna said...


The pleasure is all mine! I took a small break this year (four LONG months) and I miss featuring others, talking with others and of course, interviewing others! I will surely pen a date in the very near future where the two of us can interview and follow-up on these questions in a LIVE interview on The Indie Author Show!!!

I am here to serve your literary needs!!!

Bobby Ozuna said...

I know we didn't have as many comments as we wanted, but we did get (thus far) 27 visitors on today's article alone! That's not bad considering it came out a bit late! I will be sure to post the rest of your VBT updates on this website and my facebook/twitter pages as well!!!! Keep me connected with EVERYTHING you are doing, so I will be sure to blast it online and of course, on the air next week!!!

blindogg said...

Good interview.
Pat, you seem like a very interesting person. I love the concept of Daughter Am I. I'll be putting it on my reading list.
If I may ask you a few questions - When you read, do you tend to stick within your chosen genre or do you "roam around?"
Next I'd like to know how much time you devote to reading vs. writing. Myself - I seem to spend so much time writing that my reading time falls to the wayside.
Finally (this is my favorite question) If you could sit down one-on-one with any real person from history - who would it be and what would be the first thing you would talk about?
Thanks for sharing Pat and thanks to Bobby for his continued support of the indies.

Bobby Ozuna said...

@Blinddog, that's a good question because I tend to read OUTSIDE what I write as much as I write INSIDE what I read.... Many people have this idea [that] a (as an example) fiction writer ONLY reads fiction and a fantasy reader would only write fantasy....when its actually preference of the author/reader.

I read many types of works, but my voice, my muse, communicate differently than what I enjoy reading! Great question! I can't wait to see what Pat says!

Anonymous said...

Bobby, I'm looking forward to the live interview. Should be interesting.

Blindogg: I roam. I read anything -- mysteries, thrillers, science fiction, mainstream, classics, literary, non-fiction. I've even read romances when nothing else is at hand.

When I write, I don't read much, just three or so books a week. (I used to read ten to twenty books a week.)

As for what historical person I would talk to and what we would talk about . . . hmmmm. Perhaps the architect of the pyramids. I doubt we'd be able to converse, though. Once we got past the word language barrier, there would be the number language barrier. Still, I'd like to know the truth. Is the great pyramid an energy-creating machine?

Debra Purdy Kong said...

A great interview, Pat. I love your book's premise and will add it to my "to buy" list. And Bobby's questions were really thoughtful. Great job to both of you.

JaxPop said...

A few Qs Pat - if you don't mind:

Do you outline 1st?

Do you start at the beginning & write through to the end?

Book signings - Love 'em or hate 'em?

Favorite - 1st draft? Rewrites? Editing? or ... uhm... Marketing?

Least favorite???

Character or plot? What do you consider your strength?

Coffee Tea or Vodka? (Kidding)

Thanks Bobby for having Pat as your awesome guest. Good interview. I'll hafta spend some time checkin' out your site.


Bobby Ozuna said...


I would like to know how you went about booking all the stops for your "2009 Blog Tour?"

(ALL: Please, be sure to check out Pat's VBT tour page, its GREAT!:

I think you just proved a worthy example and idea for many authors trying to determine the best way to spotlight their efforts as an author and especially indie publisher.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
L.C. Evans said...

Thanks for a great interview. Pat, I've published one book with a small publisher and three are indie. Like you, I cut back on the reading when I'm writing. I have a hard time choosing how much promotion to do versus making time to write. But I also share your goal of becoming a self supporting writer. Best wishes to you. Your books are on my list.

Linda Austin said...

I like your thinking about why you wrote this novel - finding oneself, discovering one's history. After publishing my mother's memoir of growing up in Japan during WWII I am a big fan of discovering the past and its implication for the future.

Kathlyn said...

It is nice to see more and more people on a journey so similar, yet so unique. Thank you, Bobby for bringing Pat’s journey into the open and thank you, Pat for a terrific glimpse into your thoughts and your book.

Anonymous said...

Debra, thank you for the compliments, and thank you for stopping by. Odd that we're blog mates, yet so seldom meet.

JaxPop: How long have you been saving these questions to ask me? As for your answers -- I don't outline first. I know the beginning, the end, the general idea of the story. I start at the beginning, thinking out each step of the way as I go. The only time I deviate is that somewhere in the middle I write the end. Don't know why. Perhaps it gives me the push I need to get through the murky middle.

Book signings -- so far I haven't done one. There are no bookstores around here (not much culture of any kind) and I don't seem to be able to get together with the librarians to plan an event there.

There are only two parts of the whole process that are difficult for me -- getting motivated to write and the incessant copyediting. Other than that, I enjoy the whole process. Or maybe not. If I did, I'd be writing! I like promotion, but whatever I'm doing doesn't seem to be effective. At least not yet.

Character/plot are pretty much the same thing in my books. Character determines plot, plot determines character. As for what's my strength, that's up to my readers to decide. Dialogue is the easiest thing for me to write, though.

No coffee, no tea, no vodka. I'm strictly water with an occasional hot chocolate.


Bobby, how I went about booking the stops -- I checked out blogrolls on bookbloggers' blogs and sent out queries, but didn't get many responses. A few people (thank you David and Bobby!!) volunteered. Others were friends I made through blogging or my discussion groups. It took about a month to set it all up.

If anyone would like to add me to a blog tour, I have two book blogs where I welcome all authors: and Also, I will post any article about book promotion

You can contact me at pat(at)

L.C., That goal to become a self-supporting author is a heart-breaker. I wish you all the best.

Linda, wow. That must have been a monumental undertaking! All my books are fiction, but they all have that theme -- how the past affects us and will affect us.

Hi, Kathlyn. It is odd that the same journey is different for everyone, though we use the same tools -- words.

Thank you all for stopping by. This has been a tremendous discussion. You all asked such interesting question and made thoughtful comments.

Bobby Ozuna said...

I love it! I am happy my fans and supporters came out to express their gratitude and appreciation for your efforts.

I would also love to quote and reference to your efforts on my show, The Indie Author Show, and throughout my article series on marketing to help inspire and teach others how to book their own events to gather teh required exposure they are looking for!!!

Pat Bertram said...

Bobby, use any reference you want! I'm pleased for the plug.

I'm going to leave my blog tour schedule up on my blog for anyone who wants to see how it's done. Well, I went overboard. Usually a week to two weeks for a tour is sufficient. I just wanted to see if I was up to the challenge of such a long tour. Sort of a PriBloToMo (Personal Blog Tour Month.

Thank you again for being a part of my tour. Because of all the participation, this was a fun stop.

Sheila Deeth said...

How lovely to learn that we both like Taylor Caldwell (and have the same criticism). I read her books as a teenager - borrowed them from my Granddad then bought my own copies.

I loved this interview - how do you manage to make every single one different and so well worth reading?

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