Today in the Library we have Mary Ann Bernal who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.
You are very welcome, Mary Ann, please introduce yourself:
Thanks for inviting me, Pam. In addition to being an incurable romantic Anglophile history buff, I am also a Science Fiction nerd, dreaming of exploring strange new worlds the minute Captain Kirk commanded the Enterprise. Yes, I am an original Trekkie.
My grandchildren also keep me on my toes, but I am one of their staunchest supporters in all of their extracurricular activities, from sitting in the bleachers for sporting events to orchestra seating for dance competitions.
I am a passionate supporter of the U.S. military, having been involved with letter-writing campaigns and other military support programs since Operation Desert Storm. All of my novels and short story collections are dedicated to fallen military heroes who gave their lives defending our freedom.
Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?
Since I had always wanted to write a story about a Viking prince, my genre of choice was historical fiction. After having written five novels in The Briton and the Dane series, I broadened my fan base to include contemporary short stories in the Scribbler Tales collection, and more recently, I have added a Space Opera, Planetary Wars: Rise of an Empire, to the mix.
My writing style varies because my interests are wide-ranging. I love history but I also love science fiction, so why not pen what I enjoy? It is always good to leave one’s comfort zone to conquer new challenges. Diversity is a good thing and one should not be limited in scope. My pendulum swings from the Ninth Century to futuristic worlds.
Are you an avid reader? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?
Yes. I love to read, but I do not limit myself to one specific category. It is better to broaden one’s perspective then remain stagnant in one area. To grow, one must experience new things. What better way to discover different mindsets then to read different genres? Of course, there will always be favorites, and in many instances, it will be hard to choose the top five.
What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?
Ah, writer’s block comes to mind. Is it such a thing? Perhaps, perhaps not. But I am sure most of us have stared at a blank computer screen while our minds wander. Yes, there is the outline. Yes, you know the story, yet you’re stuck.
My solution was to not call it a day after having finished a chapter or a section within a chapter. I will write a few lines for the next section or chapter before leaving the office. The next day when I pull up the file, there are sentences to either change or expand upon. Problem solved.
What was the best piece of writing advice you received when starting out?
Write about what you love because you enjoy it, not because you have to. Some authors will write for the current trend, such as vampire stories. If you don’t love your work, neither will your readers. It does not matter if you’re out of sync. Your work will be discovered. Never settle.
If a movie was made of one of your books, who would you like to play the lead roles?
The Briton and the Dane trilogy selected cast:
Lord Richard – Jeremy Irons; David – James Franco; Stephen – Clive Owen; Erik – Chris Egan; Rollo – Ioan Gruffudd
If truth be told, I have cast the entire lead roles on a spreadsheet since I always picture my characters in my mind’s eye whilst I write.
If you could live the life of a historical figure for one day, who would you choose and what would you get up to?
Eleanor of Aquitaine – she was one feisty wealthy and powerful woman in the Twelfth Century. She was married to Louis VII of France and King Henry II of England. While married to Louis, Eleanor participated in the Second Crusade, leading her Aquitainian soldiers, not of noble birth. It was said she was dressed as an Amazon (warrior women in Greek Mythology) and that point, I would love to prove. What was Eleanor wearing as she and her ladies-in-waiting headed towards the Holy Land? How many men were shamed by her courage?
You have been chosen as a member of the crew on the first one-way flight to Mars – you are allowed to bring 5 books with you. What would they be?
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, The Time Machine by H. G. Wells, To Have and To Hold by Mary Johnston, The Andromeda Strain by Michael Creighton, and Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier. Can I throw in my Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis DVD collections? Tough choices.
Please tell us about your latest published work.
My next project, in development, is a historical fiction novel set during the First Crusade.
The Briton and the Dane collection is an action and adventure drama set in dark ages England when the Vikings terrorized the world. The Briton and the Dane: Timeline is a historical fiction fantasy time travel love story.
Scribbler Tales is a compilation of short stories whose genres include the paranormal, action and adventure, mystery and thrillers, fantasy, romance, drama, and suspense. A single author contemporary fiction anthology.
If you would like to know more about Mary Ann and her work, please check our her links below: