Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Author Interview: Berni Stevens

In the interview seat today we have the lovely Berni Stevens, she lives in a 400-year-old cottage in Hertfordshire, UK, with her husband, black cat, two goldfish who think they’re piranha, and occasionally her son when he comes back for some TLC. She trained in graphic design, and has worked as a book cover designer for more than twenty years.
Her love of paranormal fiction began at school when she first read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and she’s been a fan of the fanged ever since. She is on the committee and the book panel of The Dracula Society – a literary society for fans of gothic literature and film.
Berni has had several short stories published in various anthologies; romantic, gothic and sometimes just plain fantasy. She writes for both adult and teen markets.
In her spare time she dances, rides horses, and enjoys hiking canyons in America’s Utah desert with her husband.
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Hello and welcome to Booky Ramblings of a Neurotic Mom
Was there anything particular that inspired you to start your journey of being an author?
Not really, other than a love of reading from a very early age. My first ‘book’ was a truly terrible adventure story with lots of horse riding in it! (I must have been about nine). I found it just the other day, and cringed at the proud words, ‘written and illustrated by …’ on the front cover. I’ve always liked writing and drawing – and horses!

What would you say is the hardest part of writing/publishing a book for you?
I think the hardest part is giving the first draft to a publisher and then waiting for their response. It’s like giving up a part of myself. The first editorial comments can be difficult too, although they are so important. I enjoy editing mostly, once I get over the first set of comments.

If you could only read four books for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Hmmm … difficult … only four? My first would have to be Bram Stoker’s Dracula which I adore with a passion, and try to read every year. I love everything about the book, the underlying passions, the feisty intelligence of the unusual heroine, Mina Harker, the Count himself, the gothic beauty of the writing –I could go on (and on). J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – although any of the Harry Potters would be welcome. Again, beautiful writing, incredible imagination, and a book to lose yourself in. Another children’s book for my third choice is Alan Garner’s The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, which is almost a child’s version of The Lord of the Rings. The story is based on actual folklore and The Wizard inn near Alderley Edge in Cheshire, really exists. I’ve been there! My final book would be A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. My great aunt left me a 1930s edition – along with her set of Shakespeares – all are very treasured possessions. Every Christmas I have to watch every version of A Christmas Carol I can find – sad but true! It’s a fabulous ghost story with a moral.

Do you and your main character share any personality traits?
Well, we both have red hair, like going to rock concerts and we both love to dance. Although that’s where any similarity ends. Ellie is braver than me, and her come backs are much swifter. I think she is how I would like to be.

If you could live in any book what book would it be?
I’d be Arwen in The Lord of the Rings – she’s beautiful, she gets Aragorn, and she has a really cool Elvish horse!

Where do your ideas for your books come from? Dreams? Music? 
Everywhere and anywhere. I always carry a notebook around with me – even on holiday.
I love people-watching. Inspiration is everywhere.

Any advice for aspiring authors?
The best advice I can give any aspiring author is to read, and read, and then read some more. You can never read enough. And always believe in yourself; if you really want to be published, it will happen. You have to follow your heart.

Dance Until Dawn

Do you Believe in Love After Life?

At twenty-five, West-End dancer Ellie Wakefield should be having the time of her life. The only problem is, ever since waking up in a leaky cellar belonging to three-hundred-year-old vampire Will Austen, she's been very much dead. And to make matters worse, she's since found that an aversion to blood and a fear of the dark aren't very helpful—especially when you're a fledgling vamp.

William James Austen has fallen hard. He's spent the last year loving Ellie from afar, and now he's finally able to be truthful about who and what he is. As the most powerful and revered vampire in London, he's used to getting what he wants.

But this time, Will might just have bitten off more than he can chew.

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