Author Pat Bertram Talks About Consistency

I am very happy to welcome the talented Pat Bertram to the Den today for a stop on her whirlwind blog tour for her latest book, Daughter Am I.
  Hopefully you won’t have any trouble viewing the cover here. 🙂 

A little bit about the book:

When twenty-five-year-old Mary 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 with Tim Olson, whose grand-father shared a deadly secret with her great-grandfather. Now Mary and Tim must stay one step ahead of the killer who is desperate to dig up that secret.

“A delightful treasure-hunting tale of finding one’s self in a most unlikely way.” –– Publisher’s Weekly

I’m currently in the middle of Pat’s second novel A Spark of Heavenly Fire and am enjoying the read thoroughly.  I mean, it has a deadly disease (I’m a sucker for plagues), romance and suspense.  What else do I need?  The fact that it’s a well-written page turner is also a plus, of course!  Pat doesn’t waste any time getting to the action and her narrative skills are superb.  

 A little about A Spark of Heavenly Fire just ’cause I like it so much:

In quarantined Colorado, where hundreds of thousands of people are dying from an unstoppable disease called the red death, insomniac Kate Cummings struggles to find the courage to live and to love. Her new love, investigative reporter Greg Pullman, is determined to discover the truth behind the red death until the cost — Kate’s life — becomes more than he can pay.

“Bertram’s characters are heartbreaking and real. I love Kate. Absolutely love her.” –Rachael Wollet, freelance editor

Some good stuff here, yes? Yes!   

And now, please welcome Pat Bertram to Zhadi’s Den as she talks a little about the importance of consistency in writing!  If you need me, I’ll be curled up in the corner reading more of A Spark of Heavenly Fire…

 

“Consistency makes a good pumpkin pie — you don’t want globules of pumpkin ruining the texture of the smooth filling. And consistency makes a good story — you certainly don’t want globules of untruth ruining the texture of your readers’ belief. I admit I’m stretching for a seasonal analogy, but still, the point is that readers will forgive a writer anything except inconsistencies that make them stop and think, “I don’t believe that.”

 

I started reading a fictionalized version of Princess Di’s accident — according to the author, she didn’t die, but was given a new identity and is living in Texas. Let’s forget that this book is inconsistent with my reading habits. I do not read books about celebrities — this one just fell into my lap and I was desperate for something to read. Let’s forget that this story is inconsistent with what we’ve been told about the accident, because perhaps the author can somehow reconcile his reality with ours, though I will never know. The internal inconsistencies — the inconsistencies that the author himself created — made it impossible for me to finish.

 

Supposedly, the man who created the post-accident life for Diana also spirited away the Shah of Iran. According to the author, the Shah lived fifteen years beyond his supposed death in 1980. The operation was so secret and so successful that no one knew about it. But . . . It took only this one very high profile achievement to assure a solid client base. Word travels quickly in the very elite circles of power. Now the demand for his services is always in excess of his ability to produce.

 

What?????? If no one knew that the Shah survived his death, how could word travel? And if word did travel, how could such high profile clients remain “dead,” especially since most of them were hiding from those in the elite circles of power?

 

It’s almost impossible to keep inconsistencies from slipping into a story, which is why self-editing, though vital, cannot be the final editing process. We see consistency, because we see what we meant to say. Others only see the inconsistency. I am grateful to one of my editors for finding this particular inconsistency in Daughter Am I. The editor wrote, It’s not clear here whether or not Mary completely removed her shirt. If she did, when she stood up and ran to the bathroom, then turned around and had the conversation with Tim, she’d have been completely topless. Given their feelings for each other, and their state of undress, it seems unlikely they would have been able to have such a lengthy conversation without biology taking over sooner.

 

Oops. I completely missed that. Mary took off her shirt so Tim could massage her sore back, and when the massage turned heated, Mary (engaged to someone else) runs from her feelings and hides in the bathroom. Inadvertently, I had her brazenly opening the bathroom door, standing half-naked, and starting a casual conversation — not at all what my poor innocent Mary would have done. After traveling halfway across the country in the company of seven old gangsters (well, six gangsters and one aged ex-night hall dancer) she’s lost most of her naiveté, but still, she would not have flaunted her naked breasts.

 

Naked breasts may pale in comparison with undead princesses, but the inconsistency could have dammed the flow of the story for discerning readers. So, the moral of this tale is, if you remove your heroine’s shirt or other apparel, make sure you remember her state of undress.”

 

Pat Bertram is a native of Colorado and a lifelong resident. When the traditional publishers stopped publishing her favorite type of book — character and story driven novels that can’t easily be slotted into a genre — she decided to write her own. Daughter Am I is Bertram’s third novel to be published by Second Wind Publishing, LLC. Also available are More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire.  To follow the rest of Pat’s blog tour as well as read the previous tour posts, go here.