Linda Bonney Olin interviewed me for her blog the other day, and the interview turned out to be special, at least for me, because it made me realize what my values are and how those values find a place in my books.
Linda asked me: Why did you choose to write A Spark of Heavenly Fire?
I responded: “A Spark of Heavenly Fire came about because of a Washington Irving quote: ‘There is in every true woman’s heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up, and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.’ When I read those words, I could see her, a drab woman, defeated by life, dragging herself through her days in the normal world, but in an abnormal world of strife and danger, she would come alive and inspire others. And so Kate Cummings, the hero of my novel A Spark of Heavenly Fire was born. But born into what world?
“I didn’t want to write a book about war, which is a common setting for such a character-driven story, so I created the red death, an unstoppable, bio-engineered disease that ravages Colorado. Martial law is declared, rationing is put into effect, and the entire state is quarantined. The world of the red death brings out the best in Kate and some of the characters she comes in contact with while bringing out the worst in others. Most of all, the prism of death and survival reflects what each of the major characters values most. Kate values love. Dee values purpose. Greg values truth. Jeremy values freedom. Pippi, who values nothing, learns to value herself.”
Next Linda asked if my fiction reflected my personal values, and I realized that of course my fiction (and non-fiction) reflects my values. Like Kate, I value love. Like Dee, I value purpose. Like Greg, I value truth. Like Jeremy, I value freedom. Like Pippi, I am learning to value myself. (You can read the entire interview here: Love, Truth, Purpose, Freedom: Pat Bertram.)
More than those qualities, though, I value kindness, and an innate kindness permeates all of my books despite the horrors the characters have to contend with. Though my heroes all have a love interest that helps form the story, none of my books can be classified as romances. The romance angle is not the main focus, and the romance is never conflicted. My couples in love treat each other kindly, showing a united front against the horrors of their world. For the most part, that’s the way I lived, so my characters can do no less.
If you would like to interview me, please let me know. I don’t usually open up this way, preferring to interview others, but turnabout is fair play. You can supply the questions, or I can, whichever you wish.
If you would like me to interview you instead, you can find the questions and instructions here: Author Questionnaire.
Pat Bertram is the author of the conspiracy novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+