Interview and contest with Pat Bertram

Jen: We welcome Pat Bertram to Romancing the Book today. Pat, will you please share a short bio with us?

Pat: I’m the author of four books, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, More Deaths Than One, Daughter Am I, and Light Bringer, all of which have been published by Second Wind Publishing. I’m also the moderator of two online writing discussion groups: No Whine, Just Champagne, a live chat that takes place every Thursday evening at 9:00pm ET at http://nowhine.gather.com/, and a discussion group on Facebook, which has just been moved to my page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pat-Bertram/47117252623%20

Jen: Tell us about Light Bringer and where it can be purchased.

Pat: Light Bringer is the story of Becka Johnson, who had been abandoned on the doorstep of a remote cabin in Chalcedony, Colorado when she was a baby. Now, thirty-seven years later, she has returned to Chalcedony to discover her identity, but she only finds more questions. Who has been looking for her all those years? Why are those same people interested in fellow newcomer Philip Hansen? Who is Philip, and why does her body sing in harmony with his? And what do either of them have to do with a shadow corporation that once operated a secret underground installation in the area? Light Bringer is available online from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, and Smashwords

Jen: At what age did you discover writing? When where you first published? Tell us your call story.

Pat: I don’t remember when I discovered writing, probably late teens. In my early twenties, I quit work to become a writer and discovered I had no talent, at least not for long works. I always felt sad about that, and so about ten years ago I decided to start writing again. I still had no innate talent, but all the books I’d read during the intervening years gave me a feel for how a story should flow, and through study and practice, I learned how to write. I’d suffered over two hundred rejections, then three years ago I heard of Second Wind Publishing, a new player in the business, and so I sent a query. They loved A Spark of Heavenly Fire and immediately accepted it.

Jen: Describe your writing in three words.

Pat: Concise, colorful, character-driven

Jen: Would you still write novels even if you didn’t get paid?

Pat: Yes. My writing is in a state of flux right now—I’m writing more non-fiction than fiction, but someday I will get back to writing novels. I still have stories I’d like to tell, even if only to myself.

Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest? Most rewarding?

Pat: The most challenging aspect of writing is to actually sit down and do it. The second most challenging is to find the words. I am a very slow writer. The easiest aspect of writing is editing. The words are all there, it’s just a matter of making sure they are the right ones and that they say what I want them to say. The most rewarding is knowing I wrote a book worth reading.

Jen: How much of your actual life gets written into your fictional stories? Have you ever written yourself into a story?

Pat: Freud thought every role in a dream was played by the dreamer, and in a way, that’s the way my books are. The emotions the characters feel are mine since I can only write what I feel, and their personal problems are ones I’ve grappled with. In the writing, though, the characters become more than I ever was as they develop in response to the needs of the story. Kate from A Spark of Heavenly Fire is the most like me, maybe because she was the first character I created.

Jen: Who has inspired you as an author?

Pat: Taylor Caldwell probably had the most effect on me of any writer. Her books told an unpalatable historical truth, which is what I’ve tried to do, and she was terribly verbose, which I’ve tried not to be.

Jen: Do you do anything to celebrate a sale, new contract or release?

Pat: No. I should, though. It really is an incredible thing, to be a published writer.

Jen: Most people only dream of becoming a published writer. Now that you’ve accomplished this, is there something else you dream of doing?

Pat: Becoming a well-known author, or at least having my books find a widespread readership. I’d also like to give speeches about writing. I recently gave my first speech, and it was a wonderful experience.

Jen: What’s next for you?

Pat: I’m working on a book about grief, a how-done rather than a how-to, and then after that I’m going to write a book about creating incredible but credible characters. And then . . . back to fiction, I hope.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?

Pat: My website is http://patbertram.com/ and my blog is http://ptbertram.wordpress.com/. I’m also on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Goodreads—just about everywhere!

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

Pat: Yes: How do you find new titles to read? How do you choose the books you read?

Jen: Do we have a contest for our readers?

Pat: I’m giving away two coupons for a free ebook download from Smashwords.com. The two winners can choose any of my four books.

Jen:  Readers, to enter the contest, you first need to leave a question or comment for Pat.  Then to finish your entry, be sure to leave your email address in your comment, or send a message to admin.bookblog AT gmail.com.  The winners will be chosen on Sunday, June 12.

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