21 Nov 2013

Author Bonnie Bernard

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Bonnie Bernard 1

 

Today I have the pleasure of introducing a very talented author. I have read so many of her books in fact that I found it hard to chose which one to feature here today, so I am going to lead with the interview and once you get to see what a lovely and funny woman Bonnie is, you can browse through a selection of my reviews.

Hi Bonnie, please tell us a little about yourself as a person and as author.

I’m a high desert rat who loves organic gardening, dark chocolate and cheese (eaten together), and hiking barefoot. I’m a two-time demolition derby champion, a foster dog mom, and a community social justice activist. I love my long-suffering husband, our fur-kids, and the little Rocky Mountain community that we call home. Bonnie Bernard is a pen name and my real life name writes (often unexciting) non-fiction stuff.

I like reading fiction (of course), planning adventures, and going crazy with pumpkin recipes every fall. I’m frequently featured on the local news, but not for anything bad (yet). Ha.

You have written quite a few books already. Tell us about your series.

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The first series is the Midnight Hunter trilogy. Book one is about good vs. evil vampires, book two explores the demon realm, and the third book is all about pesky Underworld gods. Then, readers wanted more of a particularly cantankerous demon named Howie Evil, so I’m writing the novella – Breaking Rule One.

I also have a short story anthology (Nature Calls), four stand-alone shorts, and another full-length novel, Rest Inn Peace.

Which is easier to write? Full-length novels or short stories.  Bonnie Bernard 2

Short stories are easier for me write, probably because of my short attention span. 😉 Still, I love the challenge of pulling messy threads together in a fun-filled series featuring wacky characters.

How long have you been writing, and how did you start?

I discovered the joys of writing by accident at the age of six while visiting the new home of my (then) best friend, Julie. The rooms were empty, the walls bright white, and a rainbow-shaded package of permanent markers was in a nearby box…I was never allowed in Julie’s house again and I was called some rather unflattering names, but I realized that one way to make a mark on the world is to write stuff down.

How do you come up with the ideas for your books?

Something strikes me as hilarious or warped, a character comes to mind that would be affected by it, and then I sit back and let him/her tell me the story.

Why have you chosen to write in the paranormal genre? Would you ever consider writing something else?

Paranormal is fun because the rules are twisted. There ARE rules (the vampires I’ve written can’t go out in sunlight, for instance). I enjoy watching those rules frustrate my human and supernatural characters.

I’ve written non-fiction under my given name, and I might eventually publish a non-fiction piece or two under Bonnie’s name, just to make my Amazon page look fatter.

How did you create the plot and the titles for your books?

The characters make the plot and they usually tell me what title they want. Not always though. For instance, my husband came up with the title, “Rest Inn Peace” and I wrote the story around it.

Rest Inn Peace

Did you have it all planned out before you write your stories or do the characters and story surprise you?

I have perhaps one or two scenes planned. The characters take it from there.

Which character did you most enjoy writing?

Absolutely has to be Howie Evil. Who wouldn’t love telling the story of a 5000 year old belligerent, chain-smoking, human-hating, gun-toting demon from Hell who likes to tickle babies and eat cheese from an aerosol can?

What would your character(s) say about you?

Depends on which character you ask. Donna would say I remind her of Mo. Mo would say my husband reminds her of Trent. Zoe would say I’m a hippie hickster. Howie would just blow smoke in my face and call me a stupid human.

Would you say your books have a message and could you hint at it – for the confused?

A common theme for me is the twisted ways of social justice.

What do you like best about writing? What’s your least favourite thing?

I love everything about writing except promoting.

How do you balance writing with family life?

Balance? What’s that? We’re happily dysfunctional at our house.

Did you have any say in your cover art? Tell us about the process.

I have all the say I want, but I hand it over to my cover artist, Jerry Skinner. He’s got graphic instincts I can’t even fathom, so I just give him a summary/manuscript and let him have at it. He does well. I could not ask for better.

What is your writing environment like? Do you need silence or music to write?

I work wherever I am. During the cold months, I’m usually curled up on the living room couch, surrounded by spoiled rotten fur-kids. In the summer, I write in the garden. I also write on airplanes, cruise ships, in the mountains, and while camping. Right now, I’m in the passenger seat of our truck and we’re cruising down world-famous Route 66, heading toward our place in wild west Arizona. Queen’s “We Will Rock You” is blaring on the radio and my husband is singing along.

How many rewrites does it normally take you for each book?

Gazillions. J More specifically…short stories, about three. Longer works – five or six. I have a very scattered brain-style and it takes a LOT of re-writing to herd my thoughts into sensible structure.

How do you edit and quality control?

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I just dig in and do it. Then I send my work to the beta readers.

How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows?

 I like self-publishing and have not even looked for a traditional publisher. Best part – I’m a wholly-owned and operated sole proprietor. Worst part – Promotion. I would share half my earnings with anybody who would promote me so I don’t have to.

What is your advice to new writers?

 Sit your butt down and do it.

Who are your favourite authors?

I like the classics, so anything by authors like Henry James, DH Lawrence, a Bronte sister, or Jane Austen.

I know you are very supportive of other writers, but who are your favourite independent writers?

I like your work. I’m also a fan of Robert Warr, Willow Cross, and Oleg Medvedkov.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?

I am currently reading Barker’s Dozen by Robert Warr. I’m reading it on my cellular phone because I just accidentally smashed my Kindle to death. It has been well over a year since I picked up a paperback or hardcover.

What three books have you read recently and would recommend?

Oleg Medvdkov’s Invisible Bricks is a hilarious and brilliant short story anthology. For a great Native American/magical treat, try Bridalveil Falls by Sheryl Seal. And of course…Sebastian. I’m not just saying that to be nice. I recommend your books to everybody I know.

Who would you say are the biggest influences?

All authors. Life. Weird people. Vince Gilligan (of Breaking Bad fame).

What books have you read more than once or want to read again?

Pretty much any of the classics.

What song would you pick to go with your book?

For the book I’m writing now, the best song is, “Highway Star” by Deep Purple. Old school.

How do you handle criticism of your work?

I either stick my fingers in my ears and go, “La la la la – I can’t heeeeeeear you”, or I shrug and simply accept that not everybody is going to like my books. Having a pen name keeps me from taking anything too personally. It’s my happy detachment place.

Tell us one weird thing, one nice thing, and one fact about where you live.

Weird – Our city is built on a volcano.

Nice – We have geysers. J

Fact – Yellowstone National Park is home to 618 grizzly bears. (That doesn’t count black bears – which are much tougher to tally because they’re sneaky.)

What are you working on now?

A novella, “Breaking Rule One” – just for Howie Evil fans. Stay tuned, Christoph. You might be surprised by something in it.

Is there anything you would like us to know about yourself and your books?

My characters like to tromp through readers’ heads and drive them half-mad. If you let them do that to yours, they will love you forever and Howie might let me live. Thank you!

This was fun. Thanks, Christoph. J

 

Find Bonnie on AMAZON 

and on Goodreads

and on Smashwords

and on Facebook 

and on Twitter https://twitter.com/BonnieBernard

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Here are some reviews of her magnificent work:

 “Rest Inn Peace” by Bonnie Bernard is a hilarious cross between humour and horror, you just could not make it up unless you were Bonnie herself.
The book is full of magic creatures who come to stay at the Rest Inn Peace, which is an Inn , not a motel. Since the death of the former Innkeeper Selma the place is in danger of being shut down. Selma’s grandson, Corbin (or Cobra like he would prefer to be called and not snakeman as he is nicknamed at the Inn!) takes over together with his 12 year old daughter. Corbin has just been released from prison, has many issues and refuses to acknowledge anything remotely magic, although that proves difficult in Rest Inn Peace.
Bernard has created an amazing cast of creatures that populate the place: Billy the Fairyman, a family of Yeti’s, Vampires, werewolves, Zombies, trolls and a “flamboyant disco ghost” to name a few. As the book states: The creatures who reside in it are ‘badass bitches’.
The book is full of great on-liners, hilarious dialogue and witty observations. I hate to use the phrase in a review but I laughed out loud many times and hope I will remember the crazy metaphors and word creations.
With much love to detail and imagination the book is spiked with delights. The rooms and the creatures have some very odd and most original and entertaining names. There is some chemistry with the Inn Manager Regina or Reggie, but Cobra still wonders whether he should stay at all.
Then there are murders and Cobra learns that the magical realm is nothing to play with.
This is great fun to read although I must warn you – if you haven’t guessed it yet – there is some fair amount of swearing and strong language.
This is a solid and original idea that works really well. There are some serious moments, too. Cobra has had substance issues and so has his ex-wife and so it is just as well that he is so far from human civilization.
A big fan of Bonnie Bernard’s other books I found this even better and look forward to the next mad but genial creations she comes up with.
Hugely enjoyable!

 

“Midnight Hunter” by Bonnie Bernard is the first in a series of books that promises to be a welcome addition to the vampire and paranormal genre collection. The book has a string of great characters and is as much a fun-filled romance novel as it is about vampires and suspense.
The story starts with a short prologue and a mysterious warning for little Donna by her grandmother about two men Donna is going to meet later in life, one good and one bad.
The narrative then jumps to the time just weeks before Donna’s 21st birthday. Donna and her best friend Mo are two typical young women with share a laugh and go out to meet men. 
Donna starts to have odd dreams, there is a series of kidnapped girls and in that chaos she meets Hunter, a vampire who calls himself her eternal love.
Bernard does a great job at showing the difficulties Donna has with trust, given the warning her grandmother gave her and the obscure nature of what Hunter tells her to be true.
Successfully blending the girlie parts with the paranormal this is a fun book, reminiscent to me as a casual visitor to the genre of True Blood, but pleasantly not as overdone as the TV series was for me. The writing is perfect and flows very easily and shows a writer with much talent.If you love Vampire stories this is for you, if you’re not a fan yet, this might be a good place to start exploring

 

“Nature Calls” by Bonnie Bernard was recommended to me by a good friend and it did not disappoint me. The book is hugely enjoyable for its suspense, the mystery and the dark horror or fantasy tales, some of which are cleverly blended with wit, fun and humour. Some pieces are very short that pointedly explore one idea and then there are longer ones and even one series of stories in which Yeti meets a space alien, a demon, the bigfoot hunters and even the holy man. The Yeti tales are probably my favourite, I laughed out loud when Yeti discusses the inconvenient parking space of the flying saucer. The stories are rarely predictable and with most of them I was surprised and fascinated by the outcome.
The selection covers a broad spectrum of themes and emotions, goblins, fairies, demons, witches, kings and gods. The stories are all well written and skilfully told and as a collection they work very well together. While many such collections are put on the market as soon as the author has gathered a book’s worth of material these seem to have been hand picked to form a great flow and a continuity that I did not expect from such a varied bunch of stories. The quality of both the ideas and the execution of them makes this a great achievement and the author one to watch.

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written by
Christoph Fischer was born in Germany in 1970 as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ is his first published work. He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.
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