I recently read Drought by Pam Bachorz, and I found it to be a thought provoking and intensely compelling book. It is at times difficult to read. The plot is stark and grim, and very, very hard to forget. I was delighted when Pam dropped in to answer a few questions about her haunting new book.
For me, the most striking aspect of Drought is how twisted the concept of love was allowed to become. Love meant suffering and endurance, giving pain, manipulating through guilt, and stifling freedom. Can you discuss the emotions as portrayed in the novel?
[PB] I think you just described motherhood! I’m kidding… mostly. But, since I’ve become a parent, I think I do understand better how loving someone doesn’t always mean giving them what they want. And I know that sometimes, you love someone knowing full well that they will hurt you—because they have to. It’s part of their journey and it’s part of their growing up (and growing away).
I think a recurring theme in both of my books is what happens when love collides with selfishness. If you love someone but you love yourself—or what you want—more, then you can end up hurting them terribly.
I’m still a hopeless romantic, too. There’s not much that true love can’t cure… even if that true love means making huge sacrifices.
What message do you want readers to come away with after finishing the book?
[PB] First and foremost, I hope they find the story gripping and I hope they are entertained. That’s always my first goal in writing.
Second, I hope they will be inspired to act against bullying and violence. I hope they will feel empowered to stand up against someone who is abusing power, even if in a small way… and a safe way, of course.
Ruby’s blood was capable of doing so much good – it cured wounds and had the ability to extend life. Instead, it caused so much misery – 200 years worth of pain and suffering. What are your feelings on this paradox?
[PB] Ruby’s blood is a gift, but it’s being used by mere mortals. We humans are pretty good at taking a great thing and messing with it. But I would suggest that it’s not her blood causing suffering… it’s a terrible man who’s determined to dominate and repress an entire religious community until he gets the woman he wants. Or at least, that’s where the suffering starts.
The book is very bleak and intense – how did you keep from getting sucked into a vortex of depression as you created this story?
[PB] There were times I had to step away from this story, absolutely—but mostly because I was so angry at Darwin West. For me, though, that meant the story was successful.
I found solace in this world, too—I set it in the woods that are my heart-home, and that I still return to when I need comfort or rest. And I fell in love with every Congregant (and one certain Overseer) who came along for the ride. I liked spending time with them, even if their lives were difficult. I’d sit in Hope’s garden for awhile with her, in the moonlight, or play cards with Jonah in front of his fire.
Drought is in stores now, so head over to your favorite bookseller, or order using the handy widget below.