INTERVIEW: PAT BERTRAM, AUTHOR OF DAUGHTER AM I

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INTERVIEW: PAT BERTRAM, Author of DAUGHTER AM I

Q: What is your novel Daughter Am I about?

 
Daughter Am I is the story of Mary Stuart, a young woman who inherits a farm from her 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.
 
  

Q: How did Daughter Am I come to be?

 
Daughter Am I was the combination of two different books 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 wanted to write a book telling little-known truths about the mob, so I settled on the story of a young woman going in search of her past. As Mary listens to the tales told by old-time gangsters and bootleggers—her mentors and allies—she gradually discovers the truth of her heritage.
 
 

Q: Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?

 
That is a hard question! All the octogenarian gangsters in Daughter Am I are unusual and likeable in their own way. There’s Teach, a conman who sells bullets he claims his grandpappy scavenged from the shoot-out at the O.K. Corral. There’s Kid Rags, who still works as a forger. There’s Happy, a trigger-happy ex-wheelman for the mob, whose hands shake so much he can barely aim let alone shoot. That’s only three of the octogenarians — there are seven feisty old gangsters all together. Well, six gangsters and one ex-showgirl.
 
 

Q: Where did you get the names for your characters?

 
Most of the characters in Daughter Am I are aged gangsters, and they kept the monikers they used when they were young. I patterned my gangsters after those in the 1930s movies, though in my book they didn’t actually reach their prime until the 1950s or even 60s.
 
I enjoyed coming up with the names. Some names I stole, like Kid Rags, which was the name of a 1900s gangster in Hell’s Kitchen, and others were inevitable, like the morbid wheelman named Happy, or Crunchy the ex mob enforcer who threatens to crunch anyone who bothers Mary.
 
 

Q: How much of your personal psyche, your struggle and your insecurities are hidden within the characters of your stories?

 
All my stories reflect my two particular struggles: my journey as a writer and my quest for identity, which perhaps come down to the same thing. As we grow up and then grow older, we need to discover who we are in relation to our new growth or new limitations. I think the quest for identity is one of the strongest themes in any book because it reflects two stages of life we all go through—adolescence and obsolescence.
 
 

Q: What was your journey as a writer?

 
When I was in my mid twenties, I set out to be a writer. I quit my job, gathered up paper and pens, and sat down at the kitchen table to write. I thought writing was a type of automatic writing, that I just needed to put pen to paper and words would come. Didn’t happen. When I tried to force words on the page, I discovered I had no talent for writing, so when real life got in the way, I let go of my desire to write and turned my mind to other things. About a decade ago, I had some predicaments I wanted to work through, so I decided, talent or no, I would write a book, which I did. And it was terrible! During the subsequent years, I have learned how to write, to pace a story, to write sparse but picturesque prose, but most of all, I have learned how to rewrite and edit.
 
 

Q: Do you think this book changed your life?

 
I wish I could say Daughter Am I changed my life — it would make a good story — but the fact is, it made little difference. It was the third novel I wrote. I’d already experienced the joy and sense of accomplishment completing a novel gives one, I’d already experienced the disappointment that comes from having a novel rejected, and I’d already experienced the satisfaction of being accepted by a publisher. Now, if Daughter Am I would go viral, that would change my life.
 
 

Q: Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader?

 
I’m the reader I am writing for. There were stories I wanted to read and couldn’t find, so I wrote them. The irony of this is that I always wanted to reach a large readership, so it would have been more practical to write books that vast numbers of people would like.
 
 

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: What are you working on now?

 
Rubicon Ranch http://rubiconranch.wordpress.com/ is a collaborative and innovative crime series set in the desert community of Rubicon Ranch and is being written online by me and a few other authors of Second Wind Publishing.
 
Residents of Rubicon Ranch are finding body parts scattered all over the desert. Who was the victim and why did someone want him so very dead? Everyone in this upscale housing development is hiding something. Everyone has an agenda. Everyone’s life will be different after they have encountered the Rubicon. Rubicon Ranch, that is.
 
Who dunnit? No one knows, and we won’t know until the last chapter has been written. You can download the first book in the series free in any ebook format at Smashwords. 
 
 

Q: Where can people learn more about your books?

 
I have a website — http://patbertram.com — where I post important information, including the first chapters of each of my books, but the best way to keep up with me, my writing, and my life on a daily basis is by way of Bertram’s Blog. http://ptbertram.wordpress.com All my books are available both in print and in ebook format. You can get them online at Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, B&N and Smashwords. Smashwords is great! The books are available in all ebook formats, including palm reading devices, and you can download the first 20-30% free!
 

by: Pat Bertram

Publisher: Second Wind Publishing LLC

Format: Paperback (304 pages)

ISBN: 9781935171195

My Take:

My deepest thanks to Pat Bertram for visiting my blog, graciously answering my questions, and introducing us to herself, DAUGHTER AM I, and her character, Mary Stuart.   Like many readers, I am always on the quest for another great read, and I found one here!  

Don’t forget to come back and check this blog for my book review of DAUGHTER AM I by Pat Bertram, coming soon.

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10 responses to “INTERVIEW: PAT BERTRAM, AUTHOR OF DAUGHTER AM I

  1. It was great talking to you today, Eleanor. I’m always glad of a chance to talk about books and writing. I’m looking forward to your review of Daughter Am I — well, only if you like the book, of course.

  2. Lovely interview! I really enjoy Pat’s books!

  3. Daughter Am I sounds like an intriguing read–especially with the octogenarian gangsters!

  4. Thank you Pat and Pat from Pat. (Couldn’t resist.)

    Pat S., so glad you enjoy my books. One of these days I might actually write another.

    Pat H., I had a lot of fun with my gangsters. Daughter Am I was not intended to be humorous, but the old gangsters (and one gangster’s moll) lent a lot of humor to the piece.

  5. Pat I didn’t know you wrote using octogenarians!

  6. Pat, Thanks for sharing your writing journey, great you have completed three novels. I’m struggling to complete my first and ready to move on.

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