Pat Mason authors 2 books with several more in the works
Former Bemidji Chorale director Pat Mason has authored two books and is working on at least five more.
BEMIDJI — After a career in music education and 45 years as director of the Bemidji Chorale, Pat Mason had a question for herself.
“What am I going to do when I grow up?”
Mason, 76, appears to have discovered the answer. She has authored two books and is working on at least five more.
“You close the book on everything you’ve ever done in your whole life,” she shared, “and you ask 'What am I going to do with my life, you know? I was really having a bad time. But I’m feeling good now.”
Mason grew up in Mizpah and graduated from Northome High School. She enrolled at Bemidji State University and later studied at Mankato State, St. Scholastica and in Scotland before returning to this area in 1974.
She taught music at Cass Lake and at Bemidji State. She was a founding member of the Bemidji Chorale in 1979 and directed the group for many years, conducting her final concert in December 2022.
But music wasn’t her only passion.
“I’ve been writing for a lot of years, but I never sent anything to be published until like three or four years ago,” she said.
That’s when she finished her first novel, “Ghost Child.” It’s a gripping story of a young woman searching for an escape from her cruel family.”
“I sent it to five different places because they said you’re going to get refused everywhere,” Mason recalls. “And I got five acceptances.”
She chose Newman Springs Publishing and “Ghost Child” was published in November 2021.
Mason said the book virtually wrote itself.
“That one was something out of the blue,” she said. “About three years ago I had a dream one night. This little girl sat on my bed and said, ‘You’ve got to tell my story.’ I didn’t write the book, she did. I’m serious. It was like I had this dream and it was all formulated in my mind. I just had to flesh it out.”
“Ghost Child” is set in the mountains of western Pennsylvania. It’s about a child who was shunned because her mother had her out of wedlock. Her mother died giving birth to her and was erased from the family Bible. The child was made to pay for the sins of her mother until she escaped.
Mason’s most recent book is titled “Thicker Than Water,” a story about one woman’s search via DNA testing for her birth family and her identity.
She describes the book this way: “If you were an infant of mixed race and someone cared enough to get you to a place of safety like in a box in front of a schoolhouse before it opens in the morning, so somebody finds you, and then you get the luck of the draw and have really good adoptive parents.”
She added, “It’s character driven. By the end of the story you’ve got all of these people, this extended family that she’s met, and she knows who she is.”
Mason said the story is actually set in Bemidji. “But you don’t see the name; it’s never mentioned.”
“Thicker Than Water” was published by Fulton Books. Along with “Ghost Child,” it may be purchased at bookstores, or online at the Apple iTunes store, Amazon, Google Play or Barnes and Noble. Mason said both books also are available at area public libraries.
Mason has been meeting with local book clubs, including one at the library in her high school hometown of Northome. She also has had signing events in the region and hopes to do more of them.
“I really want to do independent bookstores,” she said. “The big box stores and Amazon, if that’s the only way I can get it sold, fine. But if people will carry it locally in independent bookstores, that helps everybody. That’s a win-win.”