Friday, February 18, 2011

Welcome Pam Bachorz, author of Drought and Candor

Today we welcome author Pam Bachorz. Pam is the author of the YA novels Candor and her latest is Drought. Publishers Weekly called it: “[A] complex, provocative exploration of loyalty, community, family and belief.” We are reading Drought now and the world Pam creates is thought provoking. The cover is great too, one of the best we've seen this year.

Here'a the summary for Drought (from Goodreads): Ruby dreams of escaping the Congregation. Escape from slaver Darwin West and his cruel Overseers. Escape from struggling to gather the life-prolonging Water that keeps the Congregants alive--and Darwin rich. Escape from her certain, dreary existence, living as if it's still the early 1800s, when the Congregation was first enslaved. But if Ruby leaves, the Congregation will die without the secret ingredient to the Water: her blood. So she stays, and prays to their savior Otto, who first gave Water to the Congregants... and fathered Ruby before he vanished.

When the Congregants discover Ruby's forbidden romance with an Overseer, they beat Ford to stop her from running away with him. Ruby steals their store of Water to save Ford's life and is banished. Ruby has everything she's dreamed of: a modern life with Ford. But the modern world isn't what she thought it would be, and Ruby can't forsake the Congregation. Love and loyalty push Ruby to return and fight for her family's a terrible price. Drought (hardcover, 400 pages) is published by Egmont ($17.99) and is available now. Official site.

For our guest post we asked Ms. Bachorz about her writing process, how she comes up with ideas for her books, and how she executes them. Readers are always interested, if not fascinated, in each author's individual process.

Welcome Pam Bachorz!

Pam: I’m going to talk a bit about plungers versus plotters today. Should authors leap into a story without knowing where it’s going to take them? Or should they map it all out first?

Short answer: either way works. But writers are going to waste a lot of energy if they try to force themselves into a plotting method that doesn’t feel right to them.

This is something that comes up at most writing retreats I’ve been to: authors who “plunge” into their stories without a map wonder whether the “plotters” are better off. And the plotters envy the plungers’ ability to believe their story will mold into something decent as they go.

Me, I’m a plotter. I don’t start a story without writing character profiles, mapping out my settings and working out the plot in index cards. Right now I’m about 100 pages into a story that took me two months to plan out, before I wrote a single word.

A totally unscientific survey of my writer friends tells me I’m in the minority. So many enjoy the process of discovery while they write, of being surprised while they sculpt their story. I think some of them secretly think I’m just a little north of crazytown with my color-coded index cards. And I’m definitely jealous of their journey.

But I just can’t pull my writing car out of the driveway unless I’ve mapped out my whole journey. Otherwise I’ll end up driving my story to four cities, two coasts and the North Pole without getting anywhere. Believe me, I tried it once, with a NaNoWriMo book. It wasn’t pretty.

Here’s the secret, though: after I’ve drafted my carefully plotted-out book, I rip the thing to shreds. I move chapters around. I kill entire subplots. With CANDOR, I rewrote the whole thing from another character’s perspective (and that’s what ended up selling and being published!). With DROUGHT, I bumped the timeline back so that the original chapter 8 became the climax of the novel. That essentially meant writing a new novel.

So I’m not sure whether the plotting thing is the most efficient thing for me to do. But I can’t do it any other way. I just try to trust that, in the end, my process works. Even if I take a few detours that weren’t on my map!

About the author: 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. 

Pam, who lived in Florida when she wrote CANDOR, currently lives just outside Washington, DC with her husband and their son. When she's not writing, working or parenting, Pam likes to read books not aimed at her age group, go to museums and theater performances, and watch far too much television. She even goes jogging. Reluctantly.

As far as she knows, Pam has never been brainwashed. Or maybe that's just what she's supposed to say.

Thank you Pam Bachorz. Drought (hardcover, 400 pages) is published by Egmont ($17.99) and Candor (hardcover, 256 pages, EgmontUSA) are both available now.

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