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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 would 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.
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 Isn’t that beautiful?
Where can folks learn more about your books and events?
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 books, and my events 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, and Smashwords. Smashwords is great — the books are available in all ebook formats, including Kindle, and you can download the first 30% free.