Interview: Author Pam Bachorz

Posted 25 January, 2011 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | | 0 Comments

She has a much more serious “official” bio pic but
this one seems to suit her better, esp. since some of her
answers totally made me giggle!

Today, I’m so excited to welcome PAM BACHORZ, author of DROUGHT and CANDOR to The Book Swarm! I reviewed her just-released, head-trippy, totally awesome book, DROUGHT, yesterday (sorry there’s no link–I’m currently chaperoning an 8th grade trip to Disney. Eep! I’ll link it up when/if I survive…) and CANDOR! (Review HERE.)

Pam Bachorz grew up in a small town in the Adirondack foothills, where she participated in every possible performance group and assiduously avoided any threat of athletic activity, unless it involved wearing sequined headpieces and treading water. With a little persuasion she will belt out tunes from “The Music Man” and “The Fantasticks”, but she knows better than to play cello in public anymore. Pam attended college in Boston and finally decided she was finished after earning four degrees: a BS in Journalism, a BA in Environmental Science, a Masters in Library Science and an MBA. Her mother is not happy that Pam’s degrees are stored under her bed. (Bio excerpt from Pam’s blog,

What characteristics do you share with Ruby, the main character of DROUGHT? 
I’ve certainly been in situations when I’ve felt trapped, or overpowered by the people around me. I also share Ruby’s squeamishness about hunting and trapping! My family still tells the tale of the ONE time I caught a fish. I had to be rescued by the neighbor and my cousin… I completely freaked out, in the middle of the lake, in a rowboat. (That’s a great fish story, though!)

How do you name your characters?
I take naming my characters very seriously. There isn’t a single character in my books that doesn’t have a name of significance. Sometimes readers can pick up on why I chose that name–but other times it’s a private meaning, just a touchstone for me. 
[An example:] In my upcoming book, DROUGHT, the main character’s name is Ruby. I chose that name for a number of reasons. First, rubies are a precious stone, and Ruby is precious to the Congregation that is her family. Even though most of them don’t know it, her blood sustains their lives. I also liked naming this character after a gemstone that needs cutting, polishing, to be made beautiful–because Ruby will have to go through transformations before she reaches her potential too. And then there’s the most obvious reason: rubies are red. So is blood.
Excerpt from the post “How I Name My Characters” on Pam’s blog with her permission 

Are you planning to a sequel for DROUGHT?
I would absolutely love to write a sequel for DROUGHT, and I actually have an older draft with a lot of the story already in there. Whether it will happen remains to be seen! (I’m voting for a sequel–I want to know MORE!!)

From what I’ve read on your blog, many of your inspirations seem to be visual. What else inspires you to create the worlds that you do? 
Music also inspires and energizes me; I listen to music fairly constantly while I write. Everything from zen “spa” music to country to alt music to punk. And when I read a wonderful book, or see a fantastic movie, I immediately want to run and write. I think the creator’s stardust lands on my shoulders, a little bit. (*nods* yep, totally understand and agree. So inspirational.)

What’s your writing process—how do you go from the idea to writing that final draft?
I spend a long time developing setting, characters, and outlining plot—this can take several months. Then I plunge into drafting, which can take 4-5 months. Finally I print the bad boy out and I edit it, viciously and without sentiment, with a blue pen. Once I enter in all my edits, I share the book with a critique partner. After I get their feedback and make changes, I send the book to my agent. After I get her changes, off to my editor (assuming the book is sold!).

What’s your biggest distraction when writing? 
My life is a ten-ring circus: a full-time job, a young child, a husband who travels for work a lot, and then there’s my writing. So pretty much everything pulls at my attention. Once I do sit down to write, I have to work hard to silence my fears: that what I’m writing will be terrible, or that I’ll love it and everyone else will hate it, or that I simply won’t get a word out. And actually, that has gotten to be a bigger problem as my career has progressed. You think Nancy Kerrigan’s sports psychologist is still available? (Uhg, yes! It’s so hard to silence that inner worrywart.)

Favorite fuel for writing? 
Chocolate, regrettably. Particularly Lake Champlain chocolate. I want to move to Burlington, VT and visit their outlet every week. Or maybe I should never, ever do that. (Mmm…chocolate. Good chocolate is worth moving for.)

Since you’ve been published, what’s the coolest thing that’s happened to you? 
I think the greatest pleasure in publishing has been the collaboration with my editor, as well as my agent. Also, I have been so enriched by the time I’ve spent with other children’s book authors and illustrators. I cherish my annual escape to Kindling Words, a retreat for published children’s book authors and illustrators. It feeds my soul and reminds me that I DO have a tribe.

What are some goals you have for this year?
I am a goal nerd. I sit down every year and make annual goals, plus 5 year goals, and then I have a friend that I do quarterly goal reviews with (can you tell I have an MBA?). So here are some of them: to finish my next book. To have one soul-feeding excursion per month. To continue participating at as a reader/mentor (I love this group). (Goals and to-do lists rock!)

Anything else you’d like to share or add?
Just a heartfelt thank you for having me and spreading the word about my work!

Visit Pam Bachorz’s blog:
Buy CANDOR (now in paperback!) at AMAZON or INDIEBOUND or EGMONT USA

About Mary @ TheBookSwarm

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