dinsdag 24 juli 2012

Interview with author Benjamin Wallace


Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Benjamin Wallace about his writing and books :)

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Benjamin Wallace: My name is Benjamin Wallace and I like to tell stories. But, stories that will make you laugh. Few things are so serious that we shouldn’t poke a little fun at them. I also like the idea of being active but not so much the effort it takes. 

Books & Writing: 
Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Benjamin Wallace: The first story I remember writing was a blatant rip off of the movie My Science Project. But I placed myself and my friends in the story and moved the setting from the high school to the creek by my house. I was about 8 and didn’t know anything about copyright laws.

Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?

Benjamin Wallace: In regards to writing, I remember reading The Cruel Shoes by Steve Martin when I was about 11. I loved it. It proved to me what I had always thought - books are allowed to be funny. This inspired me. Because I knew that no matter how many boring stories we read in class, there was something out there worth reading.

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?

Benjamin Wallace: I love writing my characters into corners that I did not expect and forcing myself to find a way out for them. I also like how the pieces come together. The answer to a question in chapter 20 may have been in place since chapter 3 and I never realized it.

Books & Writing: I understand you have written several books. Which one is your favorite?

Benjamin Wallace: I don’t know that I particularly have a favorite book. Though I do have a favorite character. Paul from Tortugas Rising is the most fun to write for. He’s selfish to the point that he doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him and I think there’s something admirable about that. Plus, he gets to say what he’s thinking. Don’t we all wish we could do that?

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about “Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors: A Duck & Cover Adventure”, and the main character(s)

Benjamin Wallace: Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors is an action and adventure comedy set after the world has suffered an apocalyptic war. It follows two characters, Jerry and Logan, who have decided to be the wandering hero. But they both go about it different ways. It’s full of action: car chases, bear fights, and more but the real fun comes from how the rest humanity is coping with the loss of civilization as we know it. I don’t think our current generation would handle it very well.

Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the book?

Benjamin Wallace: Post-apocalyptic movies have always been a guilty pleasure of mine. I was always surprised that no one had made a comedy out of the genre. I thought about it for a long time (had the idea in high school) and wasn’t sure how to approach it. I didn’t want it to seem silly or the jokes too forced. I wanted the humor to come from the characters and not the situation. I hope I struck that balance.

Books & Writing: You have also written some short stories. What attracts you in those?

Benjamin Wallace: From a creative perspective they allow me try something different and get a quick reaction from readers. And sometimes I just find something funny that wouldn’t constitute an entire books. From a marketing perspective, they are a great way for readers to get a sense of my style without investing a lot of time or money on me.

Books & Writing: The last book you’ve written is a book about Twitter called “Giving The Bird: The Indie Author’s Guide to Twitter”. What made you decide to write a book about Twitter?

Benjamin Wallace: Twitter has been instrumental in finding an audience and a ton of great friends. I’ve really enjoyed the interaction I’ve found on there. There is no shortage of advice out there for indie authors and it all says get on Twitter. But the rest of the advice has been, for the most part, wrong. I’ve seen a lot of authors with great stories get frustrated and quit because they haven’t been able to make it work for them. I wanted to share what I’ve learned. If more people would focus on making friends rather than trying to sell books Twitter would be even more fun. And they would sell more books.

Books & Writing: Which genre is your favorite?

Benjamin Wallace: I like action and adventure. I love a good treasure hunt or man on the run story. I’ve read everything by Ludlum, Du Brul and Cussler. I aspire to write adventures as exciting as theirs, but I’ve got an irreverent streak I can’t shake, so mine will always try to be funny as well.

Books & Writing: Are you working on something new?

Benjamin Wallace: I’m currently working on Dumb White Husband vs Fatherhood. It’s a parenting guide that includes all the things I learned raising three kids. After that, it’s back to the wasteland for the sequel to Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors. I also hope to work in a couple of new short stories in between. 

Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Benjamin Wallace: There are no more rules. Tell a good story and it will find it’s audience.

Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?

Benjamin Wallace: All of my books and short stories are available at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Benjamin-Wallace/

Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?

Benjamin Wallace: I’m all over the place. www.benjaminwallacebooks.comwww.dumbwhitehusband.com. And you can always find me on Twitter @BenMWallace

Below is an excerpt from Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors! 


Even a mushroom cloud has a silver lining.

No one ever sees the good in an apocalypse. And that’s understandable. A lot of bad things happen when the world blows up. But then it’s all crying about the loss of family and the failure of our society, “Waaah, waaah, waah, what have we done?”

Sure, there’s that. But what about the good things brought about by the end of the world? Global warming? It’s no longer a problem. And with no more global warming, there are no more whiny hippies. 

True, it’s not all green trees and dead hippies. There are real dangers out there: toxins, disease, big scary bears that have mutated to become bigger and scarier.

But here—here in the walls of your city—lies hope. Look around. You’ve already overcome so much. You’ve beaten the elements. You’ve provided food for an entire community. You’ve managed to live together without killing one another or being annoyed by the stink that most of you are putting off.

And, there in that willingness to turn your nose, not up in the air, but towards your funky smelling brethren, lays hope. Hope that we can rebuild this world. Into a braver world, a saner world—a braver world that’s much more sane.

A world where no child need cry for dinner. A world where no child need cry because he is afraid. A world where no child need cry because you didn’t buy him that ring pop at checkout, even though you know that he’ll never finish it and it will just end up a sticky mass of carpet lint and hair somewhere under the seat of the car. A world where no child need cry for want of shelter or love. A world where that child will finally just shut his cake hole.

This is your chance to make the world the way you want it to be. A loving world. A free world.

Are you going to surrender this chance? God, or Russia, or somebody, has seen fit to wipe the slate clean. Now we can apply what we know not to do to make a better world for our children—their children, and their children, and maybe a few generations beyond that.

You’ve already assumed the right to govern yourself, the responsibility to function under a social contract that apparently didn’t mandate bathing.

You are now free men and women. Are you going to let these men that gather at your gates take that from you? Just because they’re stronger? Just because they have an army of merciless killers? Just because they armed that army with chains and blades? And harnessed the power of the mighty and noble buffalo and turned them against you as the menacing war bison? Are you? Or do you accept this responsibility, this glorious burden, to wrestle from these ashes of mankind a better kind of man?

Stand. Stand against this threat. Stand with your heads held high—for you are the true possessors of this world’s future. Stand proud. And I will stand with you.

This is our world to rebuild. Not theirs. Ours. So, let’s not fuck it up.

- The post-apocalyptic nomadic warrior from a speech given at the gates of Eternal Hope, Colorado, moments before the Massacre of Eternal Hope, Colorado.

maandag 23 juli 2012

Interview with author K-Trina Meador

Hi again :)

Today's interview is with author K-Trina Meador who was born in Jacksonville, Florida and raised in Texas since she was four years old, K-Trina Meador is the youngest of five children. Growing up in Cross Plains, Texas, and raised on a seventy acre farm gave her an appreciation for country life and the small town community. She currently lives in Honolulu, Hawaii where she works full time as an aircraft mechanic/avionics technician. She spends her spare time hiking, snorkeling and taking pictures.

Being a successful author has been a dream that she held close to her heart for many years. She is humbled by the many responses from those who have already read her debut novel, Journey to Freedom, which includes 13 five star ratings and 2 four star ratings on Amazon as of today.

If there was only one thing that she could say to you, the very important person who is reading this right now, it is this – whatever is the dream in your heart, giving up is not an option.

Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

K-Trina Meador: My first story was an English assignment when I was in High School with the theme being Say No to Drugs. It won first place and I was awarded fifteen dollars.

Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?

K-Trina Meador: The majority of my family is avid book readers; I remember reading from a very young age and all genres were available. Reading gave birth to writing and the rest, as they say, is history.

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?

K-Trina Meador: Everything. It is an adrenaline rush as the story comes together and a challenge as I sense the direction, conflict and resolution of the characters involved.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your book “JOURNEY TO FREEDOM”, and the main character(s).

K-Trina Meador: An unlikely meeting...
Marrissa is running away, as fast as her feet can carry her. After enduring abuse at the hands of her employer for years, she has finally found the strength to strike out on her own, and now she has been unceremoniously thrust into the life an adventure of a man she doesn’t know. But things become more serious when she and her companion are taken in by the Cherokee. After enduring attempts on her life at the hands of a jealous wife, Marrissa must once again leave people behind and make her own way. But this time she might be leaving true love behind.

An undying devotion…
Greggory longs to be a free man. Facing the violent prejudices against him as a half breed, and running from the high price set on his head by the owner of the plantation he used to belong to, he never expected to find peace and happiness with the young woman at his side. But the more time he spends with Marrissa, the more he realizes she is the one for him, and when evidence points to her untimely demise, he vows to gain his freedom and love no one else. But fate might not be done with him yet, and Greggory may have a second chance at the life he first glimpsed in Marrissa’s eyes.

A timeless love.
Set amid the tumultuous backdrop of the American Civil War, Journey to Freedom chronicles the harrowing misadventures of two star-crossed lovers through nineteenth century America, battling violence, prejudice, and the inherent struggles of their time. Join author K-Trina Meador for a touching saga of love, faith, and survival.

Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the book?

K-Trina Meador: I have been interested in the Civil War and wanted to write a book reflecting the Era and the trials that persons had to go through back then.

Books & Writing: How was it to do the research for the book, because I understand it’s set in the Civil War Era?

K-Trina Meador: Research for that era included medicine and the lack therein, the underground railroad, travel on ship, the prison system, how slaves were treated (the good and the bad), and Indian heritages, traditions and values.

Books & Writing: Which publisher published the book?

K-Trina Meador: Tate Publishing and Associates. http://www.tatepublishing.com/index.php

Books & Writing: Are you working on something new at the moment?

K-Trina Meador: Yes, I have two books in progress. Both are set in the current era and one is a suspense/thriller and the other is a family drama.

Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

K-Trina Meador: Keep writing…..stay true to you…don’t ever give up.

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

K-Trina Meador: I have two. Ted Dekker who is a known Christian Suspense/Thriller and A.M. Hunter who is an up and coming author who is also a great friend of mine.

Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?

K-Trina Meador: My website http://www.kmeador.com/ has a trailer for Journey to Freedom and when you visit my library you can read the first four chapters of the book. Soon, I will have excerpts from The Chamber and Impact which are my two books in progress.

Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?

K-Trina Meador: Through my website, http://www.kmeador.com/, you can visit me on facebook, twitter and my blog.

In the following paragraph Marrissa (the first paragraph) is addressing Emily:

“Why are you helping all of us? What is in it for you? Aren’t you concerned about retaliation?” She had a hard time accepting the idea that white people would willingly help slaves when the risk of helping was so high.

“There is nothing in it for me except to be able to help a few of the thousands of people leave slavery. Slavery is hideous, and I will continue helping others for as long as I live.”

dinsdag 17 juli 2012

Interview with author Andrea Gerber

Hello all!

Today I had the privilege to interview author Andrea Gerber, about her work as a writer.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself.

Andrea Gerber: I am a mommy and wife by day, and a novelist by night. I am the keeper of cheerios, and a welder of words. I strongly believe in telling a story that will not only uplift and encourage my readers, but also help them to realize the difference between what is easy and what is right; between what is good and what is evil.

At an early age, my father introduced me to the world that David Eddings created. Ever since I went on the journey with Garion and Ce'Nedra, I have been hooked on fantasy books and finished a good majority of my dad's massive library. I greatly enjoy reading and literally devour any and every book I can get my hands on.

Even if nothing were to come of the books I have already written, I still believe it has produced an even greater result. I know that I want to write, and plan on returning to college at some point to strengthen those skills.

Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Andrea Gerber: I have greatly enjoyed writing for quite some time, but cannot pinpoint the first one, much to my disappointment. Growing up, I loved to make up stories and characters. I saw school writing projects as opportunities to tell stories, and make my point in my own way.

Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?

Andrea Gerber: My grandmother. She was an author and self-published several books before she died. I always admired her and thought it was the coolest thing that she had written a book.

In the beginning, I wrote because it was an escape from things I was going through when I was younger. If you would have told me that I would have been an aspiring author in four years time, I would have told you you were insane. I hated English class at one point, allowing poor teachers to dampen my enthusiasm, but I have always been good at making things up.

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?

Andrea Gerber: I love getting unequivocally lost in a character's life, emotions, and trials. For me, writing has always had a calming affect after a long day; it was just something I have always done without putting much thought into it. Taking on another person's life and really putting my entire heart and soul into their details is like a mental vacation each and every night. Every one of my characters is as real to me as you are, which probably sounds odd to some but makes perfect sense to me.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your book “A Perception of Dreams”, and the main character(s).

Andrea Gerber: Dark, disturbing dreams could be considered normal for a fifteen year old girl who has lost both of her parents, but Tabitha Hale is anything but normal. She believes she is all alone in the world, except for her cat, Ivy, and her best friend, Emma, and is shocked to discover the existence of a grandmother she never knew about. Determined to meet her grandmother and uncover the truth of her parents' deaths, she leaves the only home she's ever known behind. Along the way, she discovers great friends and a greater enemy on a dangerous journey of self-discovery which will end where it started … in her dreams.

Tabitha is ultimately the main character of the book and the series. As the lead character, she is strong, but is also struggling to find the meaning in her life now that her parents are no longer around to guide her. Emma is somewhat shy as we first meet her. Her mother has insisted she grow up with frilly, 'girly' things. She is modest, and wouldn't dare speak her mind … at least, not around those she does not know. She has always wanted to be more daring and outgoing though … like Tabitha. Nysa is a little blonde firecracker. She's just a small child, trusting and innocent … or is she? Aidan is the male lead of the series and at the center of a love triangle between best friends Tabitha and Emma. He has a warrior's heart, and is a natural leader. Lilliana is Tabitha's grandmother, who she did not know even existed. She is a leader, and used to giving orders. Her granddaughter tests that hard exterior shell. Josiah is the father figure that Tabitha and Emma no longer have. He is a long time friend of Emma and Tabitha's late parents. He is the moral compass that completes the group.

Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the book?

Andrea Gerber: I began working on the Tabitha Hale Saga in December of 2008 after I awoke from a dream. I wrote every night and then took a break when I had my son. Once I returned to writing again in 2010, I knew that I wanted everyone else to take part in Tabitha's journey. As I grew more in love with the characters and their stories, my writing turned into much more than just a hobby and the series really began to take on a life of its own.

Books & Writing: Who designed the cover art for the book?

Andrea Gerber: Funny you ask this. I happened to run across the wallpaper at highwallpapers.com. I made it my personal mission to find the designer, and didn't have too look far ... the owner of the site created it (he goes by Hiko). I asked for and received permission to use the image. He felt it wasn't even that great of a picture - one of his earliest Photoshop experiments. I fell in love with it though and was so grateful to be able to use it for the book.

Books & Writing: I believe this is the first book of a Saga. When will you publish a new part of the saga?

Andrea Gerber: Yes, A Perception of Dreams is the first installment in the series. I'm currently working on the fourth book of the series. The second book is in the editing process. There are many authors who only publish one book a year. As an avid reader myself, I have high hopes that I will be able to release each book about six months apart. It's way too hard, as a reader, to wait for the next book and when I do get the next one, I usually forget what the first was about. Then again, patience has never been my strong suit ... especially when it comes to books.

Books & Writing: Which publisher published the book and how did you get in contact with this publisher?

Andrea Gerber: After I finished the second book in the series, I began searching for representation at my husband's insistence. After completing the third book, I found Pauline Vilain. I am looking forward to what will hopefully be a long and fruitful relationship. She is currently in the process of finding a publisher for A Perception of Dreams and we both hope to hear from one soon.

Books & Writing: Are you working on something new at the moment?

Andrea Gerber: I have another series that has been nagging at the back of my mind for a while now which takes place in modern society. I have several chapters completed of that idea and know where I am going with it for the most part, but am too focused on Tabitha's story to focus my full attention on it. I'm excited for the Tabitha Hale Saga to be complete, in my mind at least, so that I can begin giving more attention to the other story. So many ideas, so little time!

Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Andrea Gerber: Writing really is all about time management. Set a reminder on your phone that sends you an encouraging quote. Pencil in a specific time (without the internet) to sit down and write. Let a friend know your schedule so that they can help keep you accountable in your time management, and don't let anyone bring you down. The moment you allow negative thoughts to invade your mind, you've lost the ability to write. Instead, approach negativity with the outlook of, 'I will prove all of them wrong.' Also, don't just say you'll do it. Do it.

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

Andrea Gerber: David Eddings. Out of the multitude of books I have read, his are by far my favorite. His writing style isn't what I would call an easy read, but it isn't complex enough that it requires hours to wade through either. At some point during all of the books he wrote, he began writing with his wife, Leah. I really admire that both of them were intertwined in the characters lives enough to be able to sit down and share all of it collectively. It's beautiful when an author can find someone to help him or her through their writing process, but finding someone to just share all of it with is even more lovely.

Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?

Andrea Gerber: I have the first chapter of A Perception of Dreams listed on my website, andreagerber.com. I also post a daily fan question in my blog, andreagerberbooks.blogspot.com, and encourage my readers to keep the questions coming.

Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?

Andrea Gerber: The above two options will lead you to the others, which include Goodreads and Pinterest. The other two I update daily are my Facebook page, found under TheTabithaHaleSaga, and my Twitter account, TabithaHaleSaga. I welcome any and all comments, questions, or random book discussions, and typically respond the day of receiving a message on any of the above.

Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with the readers?

Andrea Gerber: I am so thankful for all of the people who have taken a peek at A Perception of Dreams and encouraged me to take it to the next level with publishing. Without them and Pauline to cheer me on, I never would have had the courage to do any of this.

Here is an excerpt from the book A Perception of Dreams!

“You and Josiah aren't like the people back in Aspen Lake,” stated Tabitha.

“Oh?” Aidan was smiling again, but not providing any other useful information.

“Yes. Oh!” she continued. “So where do you come from? I don't know a lot about the surrounding villages.”

“I believe that falls under a category for your grandmother to answer,” he finally said.

“You have to consult my grandmother before you can tell someone where you're from? Okay, that seems a bit controlling,” came Tabitha's sarcastic response. “'Hi, my name's Aidan,'” she began in a mocking conversation. “'Nice to meet you, Aidan. Where you from?' 'Oh, I can't tell you unless Tabitha Hale's grandmother says its alright.' Am I the only one having a problem with the logic in this?” she concluded.

He was smiling in amusement, which Tabitha found really annoying. She had hoped to goad him into spilling a bean or two. “This isn't about permission, Tabitha. It's about timing. The things that I say won't make much sense outside of their proper context. But, since patience doesn't seem to be one of your strengths, I will say that I was born in a land far different from the one you were raised in.”

zondag 1 juli 2012

Interview with Maggie Tideswell


Today's interview is with author Maggie Tideswell about her writing and her books :)

Maggie was born in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, South Africa. Her life has taken her to various parts of this beautiful country and now she lives in Johannesburg, Gauteng. She have three grown-up children and two grandchildren. Maggie has been writing for many years and has several novels completed, though Dark Moon was the first to be published. She have a strange method of working, or so she is told. She gets bogged down easily and when that happens, she moves on and start a new story. That means that at any given time, she has about three stories going. It works for her and it keeps the inspiration alive. She always knew that she would be an author some day. She was very young when she told her mother that she was going to be a writer. She didn't believe her, of course. She has done all kinds of work in her life, nursing, catering, but always there were my stories.

Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Maggie Tideswell: Not really. I remember as a child in bording school scribbling stories in study hall - instead of studying. Those days my stories were set in the performing arts - I was in a school for the performing arts - but I don't remember the actual stories anymore. My story writing then was a good training ground for later, when I started writing seriously.

Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?

Maggie Tideswell: Life inspires me. You hear a snippet on the news and it triggers a story. Or you see somebody in the checkout at a supermarket and you wonder what that person's life story is. I don't need to know the actual facts - my imagination fills in more than the gaps. Of course I might be completely wrong, but I'm not a journalist. I don't have to be factual and that is the beauty of being a novellist.

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?

Maggie Tideswell: As I said above, I love the freedom of making up a story. You add feelings and emotions that you cannot do in any other form of story-telling (news reporting for instance) I also love getting into people's heads, even if they are fictitious. I write about life, but I create the situations my characters have to deal with. It is very exciting.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your book “Dark Moon”, and the main character(s).

Maggie Tideswell: Dark Moon is set in modern day Cape Town, South Africa. It is a paranormal romance, which means that it is a romance first of all, and the situation the characters find themselves in is slightly whacky - not impossible, just a bit improbably - maybe.

    Dark Moon is Storm's story. She is a psychologist and she is in love with Trevor, but Trevor is not all he seems. Then Storm meets Jarred in an unusual situation. It is love at first sight, though Storm fights her attraction for Jarred. Trevor asks Storm to marry him, but his idea of marriage was not what you and I understand a marriage to be. There had been ritual murders in the area, and the witches believe that Trevor was the murderer preparing for what he planned for Storm. The police can't hold Trevor long enough to question him as he had developed the ability to control people's minds. Jarred is the ultimate romantic hero, the man every woman wants to fall in love with.

Books & Writing: When was it released and can you tell us a bit about the publisher.

Maggie Tideswell: Dark Moon was released in September 2011 by All Things That Matter Press, a small publishing house in Maine. They published books that are slightly different, that would be passed over by the traditional publishers because these books don't fit neatly into the normal genre categories.

Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the book.

Maggie Tideswell: I love the influence people have on each other. One of my favorite expressions is 'chance meetings have far-reaching effects', meaning a seemingly insignificant event could change lives. Another favorite of mine is 'nothing is as it seems'. This last is a threat that runs through all my writing.

Books & Writing: Which genre is your favorite?

Maggie Tideswell: I love the paranormal, as one can include witches and any idiosyncrasies of the characters, though the story has to be set in the here and now. A reader has classified my work as neo-gothic, which I like very much. It is a very accurate description of my work as there is always the bad male character and a damsel-in-distress heroine. Atmospherics, like the weather, play a large part in my work.

Books & Writing: Are you working on something new?

Maggie Tideswell: Yes, my second novel, Moragh, is nearly complete and will aslo be published by All Things That Matter Press later this year. Yest again a paranormal romance, it is a ghost story.

Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Maggie Tideswell: Oh yes. Perseverance should become your middle name. Do not give up or change your writing style because of a couple of rejections. There is a publisher out there who will be just right for you and your work. And never stop writing.

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

Maggie Tideswell: I have several favorite authors and I read widely. The only genres I do not touch is fantasy and sci-fi. I love the works of Barbara Erskine, Dan Brown and Ken Follett, to name but a few.

Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?

Maggie Tideswell: My book is available on the online book stores in paperback or ebook.

    amazon http://tinyurl.com/3tl3bqu

    Barnes & Noble  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-moon-maggie-tideswell/1033872538?ean=9780984651764

    kalahari.net http://www.kalahari.com/books/Dark-Moon/632/42728694.aspx

Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?

Maggie Tideswell: I am on facebook here https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maggie-Tideswell/161954970541011

    Follow me on twitter @lunamags

    My blog is here http//:maggiestorm.blogspot.com/

    I am also on LinkedIn, Pinterest, Goodreads and many other social sites

Interview with author Mary Ann Bernal

Hey again :)

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Mary Ann Bernal who is an avid history buff whose area of interest focuses on Ninth Century Anglo-Saxon Britain during the Viking Age.  While pursuing a degree in business administration, she managed to fit creative writing classes and workshops into her busy schedule to learn the craft, but it would take decades before her “Erik the Viking” novel was ultimately published.

Mary Ann is also a passionate supporter of the United States military, having been involved with letter writing campaigns and other support programs since Operation Desert Storm.  She has appeared on The Morning Blend television show hosted by KMTV, the CBS television affiliate in Omaha, and was interviewed by the Omaha World-Herald for her volunteer work.  She has also been a featured author on various reader blogs and promotional sites.

Mary Ann is a New York “expat,” and currently resides in Omaha, Nebraska.

Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Mary Ann Bernal: My first creative piece was written when I was in the third grade, which impressed my teacher.  I still remember my masterpiece:  “I saw a sleepy girl ahead, she went right down and went to bed; when she awoke she thought she’d be a fairy with golden wings.”  Not too shabby for a seven-year-old.

Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?

Mary Ann Bernal: As an impressionable teenager growing up in the era of Hollywood blockbusters, I fell in love with such epics as “Ivanhoe,” “The Vikings,” “Knights of the Round Table,” and “King Arthur,” to name but a few.  It was during this time that the seeds were sown, and my Erik the Viking theme became embedded in my mind, but it would take half a lifetime to fulfill the dream.

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?

Mary Ann Bernal: History is my passion, but text books are written for the scholar, stating dates and facts etc.  If I were to teach history, I would breathe life into the people whose names appear on the page.  Start the class with a scandalous incident and you have the student’s attention.  I incorporate this thought when I write - my characters come alive in the ninth century and they experience the same emotions we experience today so the modern reader can relate to the characters’ plight amidst the mayhem of the times they live in.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your book series “The Briton and the Dane”, and the main character(s).

Mary Ann Bernal: The story is set in Anglo-Saxon Britain during the reign of Alfred the Great when the formidable Vikings terrorized all of Christendom.  The epic adventure runs the gamut of deception, treachery, intrigue, and betrayal during a time of war and conquest when powerful chieftains and petty kings coveted the lush fertile lands of Britannia.

Initially Gwyneth and Erik were the main characters for the first book, but an emerging supporting cast demanded a greater presence in the story, which is how the trilogy was born.  I could not tell the adventure in one book, which delves on father/son relationships, religious turmoil and family life during a time of war and conquest.

Gwyneth’s story is simple, she finds a wounded Danish Viking and hides him while he mends.  Meanwhile, the countryside is frantic, fearing another Viking attack.  Enter Gwyneth’s brothers Stephen and David, who are sent to check the defenses along England’s southern coastline.  Of course Stephen and David have secrets, which are revealed, but then new characters are introduced.  Each novel has a detailed character list and maps, which is also available for download on the Resources tab of my webpage. 

Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the series.

Mary Ann Bernal: Erik was “born” when I was still an impressionable teenager.  I would think of different scenarios with Erik leaving his homeland to “Go A Viking” and what would happen if he were wounded, or if he met a “local” girl or if he stayed in a land he had wanted to conquer.  Over the years, many “what ifs” were embedded in my mind, which were considered when I finally set pen to paper. 

Books & Writing: How many books do you plan to write for the series?

Mary Ann Bernal: The final installment of the trilogy, “The Briton and the Dane: Legacy,” was launched earlier this year.  I am in the process of writing “The Briton and the Dane: Concordia,” who was introduced in “The Briton and the Dane: Birthright.”  Future projects include:  “The Briton and the Dane:  Timeline” and “The Briton and the Dane: The Beginning.”  Also more characters are demanding their own story - they are not happy that Concordia was favored and want their own novels.

Books & Writing: I understand that the series takes place in the ninth century. Did you have to do lots of research for the series?

Mary Ann Bernal: Research is the fun part - no stress - no deadlines, and with the internet, one no longer has to spend long nights in the library.  Since Dark Ages documentation is rare, I used creative license to fill in the blanks.  The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is an excellent resource for events occurring during the timeline of my story, which gives credence to the plot and subplots in this epic adventure.

Books & Writing: What genre would you say fits best for the series?

Mary Ann Bernal: The genre is historical fiction with action/adventure and romance tags. 

Books & Writing: You have also written some short stories. What attracts you in those?

Mary Ann Bernal: I enjoy inserting present day problems into different centuries, being subtle with the themes, telling a story rather than giving a lecture on social mores.  It is easier to get a point across if the event took place in the past or in the future - Gene Roddenberry excelled at this concept with the original “Star Trek” series.

Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Mary Ann Bernal: Keep writing and never give up. If going the conventional route is not working for you, then consider self-publishing - it is not as hard as it sounds. Every successful author has had his/her share of rejections and negative reviews, so you are in good company. If you have a story to share, tell it. Persevere and never, ever quit.

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

Mary Ann Bernal: Swedish author Frans G. Bengtsson.  “The Long Ships” brings to life Viking exploits during the tenth century and tops my list of favorites.

Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?

Mary Ann Bernal: Webpage: http://www.maryannbernal.com, Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Omaha/The-Briton-and-the-Dane/279770885805, Twitter: @BritonandDane, Blog: http://maryannbernal.blogspot.com/, Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/maryannbernal

Books & Writing: Where can people purchase your work?

Mary Ann Bernal: Amazon US


Amazon UK


Book Trailer

Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with the readers?

Mary Ann Bernal: I wish to take this opportunity to thank my readers for their interest in my work.  The successful reception of this series cannot be achieved without the support of my wonderful fans.

Below is an excerpt from:  “The Briton and the Dane: Legacy”

Erik and Rollo returned to the flagship, jumping skillfully between the heavily manned boats as the fleet awaited Prince Sven’s navy while King Alfred conferred with Lord Bayen and Stephen.  The Frisian Captain and his seafarers stood at the ready while peering through the fog that enveloped the rough waters.  Ribbon lightning crackled within the massive storm clouds that covered the midday sky and a forceful wind whipped the large waves that crashed against the hull.

“My lord, I would have you return to land,” Erik told King Alfred.  “A storm threatens and fighting in these waters will be grueling even for the most seasoned warriors.”

“Nay, I will not be defeated before the battle begins,” King Alfred replied while grasping the rail as he lost his footing when a large wave broke over the deck. “If I perish in these waters, it is God’s will.”

“I see a sail,” a seafarer suddenly shouted from atop the mast.

The Frisians yelled war cries when Prince Sven’s fleet appeared upon the horizon.  The anxious seafarers shouted frantically and praised the gods when they discovered they were evenly matched.

“Sven is aboard the lead ship,” Rollo screamed to be heard above the howling wind.  “His sail is red and not striped like the rest of the warships.”

“Stand ready,” King Alfred said as his cloak flapped wildly in the wind and breaking waves washed over the deck.

“My lord, I would wait on lighting the fire ships,” Erik told King Alfred.  “The wind is against us.”

“Cut the ropes but do not set the ships ablaze,” King Alfred commanded.  “Hopefully we can ram a few vessels with these strong currents.”

“Aye my lord,” Erik replied as he beckoned Rollo to carry out the King’s orders.

King Alfred took his position at the bow as his hand firmly gripped his belted sword, but he took the offensive and gave the order to grapple the ships once they were close enough to board.

“Guard the King at all costs,” Erik told Stephen as he watched the seafarers preparing for battle.  “I will challenge Sven aboard his vessel, but whatever the outcome you must give me your word that you will retreat with the King if the battle wages against us.”

“Nay, I would challenge Sven,” Stephen replied.  “Neither I nor the King would have you fight your brother.”

“Only I can defeat Sven...and there is much that must be settled,” Erik reminded him, “but you must remain steadfast.  Once I leave this ship free the rope and wait.  Sink many vessels and give quarter if the King wishes to be merciful.  However, if I were in command, I would spare no one lest they return to fight again.”

“I have fought in many battles and have lost many good men.  What I tell you now must be said,” Stephen began.

“There is no need,” Erik interrupted.  “I would protect Elizabeth just as you would protect Gwyneth...we shall speak of this no more.”

“I am pleased to call you brother,” Stephen replied truthfully as they watched the invaders advancing upon the stormy seas.