‘Meet The Author’ with Pamela Biery | TheUnion.com

‘Meet The Author’ with Pamela Biery

Pamela Biery was raised in Washington but came to California as a young adult. She took what she calls a "short break" to visit the Foothils from her busy job in San Francisco but never left.
Submitted photo to The Union |

Local author Pamela Biery recently released her chapbook of poetry and prose from the Yuba and Sierra called, “Swimming into Sunsets.” We caught up with Biery and asked her a few questions about her book and her life.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I was raised in Washington, living in both Bellingham and Seattle. I came to California as a young adult. Nature, animals and cultural history have always been a part of my life.

I was so amazingly fortunate to live across the street from the then undeveloped portion of Fairhaven Park as a child. There were many great times had on massive rope swings, wading the creek and just running rampant through the woods—a different time and place.

What brought you this area?

I found myself working for a publishing firm in San Francisco before taking a short break in the Foothills … that “short break” was several decades ago. I just never left.

First running a design business in the North Valley, building and selling a horse ranch and lastly, moving to the place I was always driving through on my way to outdoor adventures in Tahoe and beyond — Nevada County.

Here in Nevada County, I have a digital ad agency, Thumbler, focused on providing unified public relations, social media and website communication services

How did you get into writing?

In my early studies at UC Davis, I had several classes in writing and found I enjoyed it and it came fairly easy to me. I then began to explore writing more, and included this as a key part of my studies at Dominican University.

Along the way, I discovered that I write could not only write about my adventures, but I could use my writing to create adventures and also fund them.

I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with numerous sporting equipment manufacturers and resorts, helping them create programs and promoting these, while getting to participate, as well.

What is your favorite book or who is your favorite author?

Ann Patchett is a wonderful writer. Her books seem to float the reader along a current, until suddenly, you arrive at a destination that you didn’t even know you were reading towards.

When I first started writing, I had just read her early book The Magician’s Assistant and wrote to Ms. Patchett. Months later I got a postcard in the mail — the kind someone in your family or a close friend might send — it was from Patchett, encouraging me to keep writing.

Very kind and genuine. My life would be less without reading Pam Houston, Mary Oliver and Adrienne Rich.

What is your book about?

The Yuba River has been an important place for me. Raising my son and visiting the swimming holes, hiking and then for about five years, I lived near the Yuba and hiked several times a week. My chapbook is a collection of poetry and prose, drawn from the Yuba and Sierra.

What inspired you to write this book?

It seemed like a nice idea to pull my Yuba and Sierra writing together and designate some funds go back to the Yuba, supporting watershed conservation. The idea was to give back to the source of my inspiration.

What do you find most challenging about writing a book?

There is a feeling of exposure that’s a bit like looking over the ledge after a long hike. You can see the distance you’ve gone, but don’t want to lose your balance and slip over the edge — you don’t want to go too far.

There is also the recognition in that moment, that having come so far, there is the still the journey back. Writing is a process and I think the best writing is often writing that exposes some inner quality.

Finding a way to share with readers your direct experience in a way that allows them to perceive their own experience is challenging. Honest writing is solid work.

What is your key takeaway or message you hope readers find in your book?

I hope people can relate my writing to their own outdoor experiences and through this, value and protect our wild places.

Where can people find your book?

The Bookseller, Grass Valley, Nevada City Chamber of Commerce and Gold Creek Inn, Nevada City.

How would you describe your own perfect day?

My daypack, dog and one hiking partner. Visiting either a new destination, or one of the many hikes I have already loved and want to experience again.

There would be time to listen to each other, to the forest and see something new. There is the wonderful feeling of using almost all of the strength in your legs, but not quite.

At the end of the day, you know for sure you have done something important and real. Maybe you find a feather or odd rock, see a few wildflowers, or an Osprey. Driving back, you can see the sun setting and know that as the day ends, everything is fresh again, rejuvenated.

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