I met this lovely lady last year due to our love of rockstar romance! I joined a rockstar romance book group she manages, Rockstars Among Us, and we both participated in a Rocktoberfest event on Facebook. I haven’t read any of her books yet, but I’m just dying to dig into them. Her newest release, House of Goths, has intrigued me and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!!
About Maria Bernard, the author.
Tell us about your books/series, feel free to include links!
So far, I have written and published thirteen books. I have self-published two completed series of four books each, two spinoffs, and two stand-alone books. Very recently, I have released my thirteenth book, House of Goths.
My books are considered by readers as highly romantic and sweet with a healthy dose of steam. My bands feature realistic characters with enough quirks to suck readers into their angsty little worlds and hold them there. The bands and individual artists in my books are not world renowned musicians. The stories mostly focus on up-and-coming musicians. One or two books feature rockers who’ve achieved a certain level of fame to then suffer the consequences of that very same fame. I like writing about the different aspects related to being in a band, and how each member brings with them their own individual personalities and talents.
What genre(s) do you write in?
I write contemporary romance focussing on the rock star sub-genre. I have also written one paranormal rock star romance.
Are any of your books your favorite?
House of Goths, The Balcony, and A Dream For Winter.
Where do you get your inspiration from? How do you come up with your characters and stories?
I get my inspirations by daydreaming about imaginary lives and situations. Musicians and artists have always intrigued me. Creativity attracts me and I love being around creative types. They captivate me. I’m not so much attracted to those in positions of power but show me a songwriter or a painter and I’m all about it.
Are there any characters you love more than others? Why?
I love them all, but I do have favourites. Ashton Wright from Hand In Glove because he was my first born, Sage Winters Lane, the original Gothstar from A Dream for Winter will always have a special place in my heart. Darien River from Joy and Sorrow is my dream come true, and I absolutely adore Becky Sparks from my new release, House of Goths.
Any characters you hate? Why?
I don’t hate any of my main characters. But there are a couple of villains I may not like.
If you could choose one of your characters to travel the world with, who would you choose and why?
Great question! I absolutely adore travelling, so much so, that I’ve written travels into many of my books. In fact, I’ve travelled in most of my books with many of my characters since they are in bands and they tour. I’ve gone to OBX a few times with my characters from the Stick Shift Lips Series. I’ve gone to LA’s infamous Sunset Strip with my characters in Dream Crush! I’ve hinted at England with my These Bones Goth Series.
Now, since my House of Goths release, I’m tagging along on a trip to England with Crispin Clover, who has gotten quite the loyal following. I am so looking forward to this trip! That’s one of the greatest benefits of being a writer. I honestly feel as if I am planning a real trip with this guy. Should be quite interesting. He’s a moody one, though. Not always a good quality in a travelling companion, but it should make for an interesting adventure.
Are there any pieces of you in your books?
Besides being a writer, I am a visual artist. I studied Fine Arts, Drawing and Painting at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD). This trait is found in quite a few of my characters. For example, Falquen Forrester from Falquen’s Nest is a bass player and a painter who owns an art supply shop. His love interest, Janie Drago is a watercolorist. Chloe Martin from Hand In Glove is also an artist, as well as her sidekick, Audrey from Sound Shelter who is a Graphic Designer.
Which of your books would you recommend to someone who hasn’t read your books before?
I would recommend Falquen’s Nest since it is the first book of four in my These Bones Series. Hopefully, by reading it, you would then get hooked and read the rest. Also, I really enjoyed writing it. The characters are unique. They’re goths, they’re rockstars, but they also have other interesting qualities that make them who they are.
Why and when did you start writing?
I started writing during a spell of insomnia about six years ago. I was working midnights, and on my days off, my system was all messed up. I’d wake up at 3 AM. I’d be wide awake. I had to do something or I’d go bonkers. So, I started writing out my daydreams. I loved it. I took to it quite naturally. Eventually, I had the entire Stick Shift Lips Series written before I published book one. Eventually, I got up the nerve to self-publish and I’ve never looked back.
What’s the most difficult part of being a writer?
For me, it has to be when a character of mine is torn apart or misunderstood. These are my kids after all. No one likes their kids being picked on. While I get that certain characters are rather unlikable since I may have written them that way on purpose, I like to think that they have redeeming qualities.
What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
Besides the actual act of writing itself, my favourite part of the process is when a reader reaches out to me to tell me that they loved my book. More than that, because they related to the story on a personal level or that I have somehow given them an escape from reality.
How do you handle criticism…constructive or otherwise?
Well, I get offended at first. Then I think about it. Then I take the good with the bad and see where I can make positive changes in current and future projects. At some point, I will laugh at myself for taking it too seriously. I’ve often said that it is not thick skin I need, it’s a sense of humour that is my best form self-preservation. The ability to laugh or smile at my mistakes has been a lifesaver to my sensitive soul.
It’s always hard to take criticism. The ego does not like it at all, but once I allow the initial feelings to pass, I can focus on the helpful aspect of the critique and use it to better myself. Also, I try not to beat myself up about it. In the end, no one’s perfect.
What’s the best advice you’ve received as an author?
The best advice came from my husband and best friend who encouraged me to get up the courage to self-publish. Also not to be too harsh on myself if I should happen to make mistakes. We learn from our mistakes. Even if we fall on our faces, we will get back up again.
How do you handle writer’s block?
Writer’s block is not my problem but procrastination is. Plus with so many distractions like Social Media, it’s very challenging to simple focus of the writing.
What is one thing you want people to know about you as an author?
I am an idealist. While I try and bring readers some form of realism in my stories, you will always be given a sweet if not bittersweet experience. I’m a protective, & kind creator of characters. My characters may have it rough at times but they will prevail in the end.
Do you have a current WIP, upcoming release, or other exciting book news you’d like to talk about?
I have a number of things currently on the go. I did promise myself to take a couple of months off between my last release and my next project. I need that space to declutter the brain. But in the near future I have a romantic suspense to release. I’m aiming for late Fall if not Christmastime. Besides that one, I’m very excited to be a part of a top secret collaboration with a talented bunch of authors. (But that’s all I am going to say on the matter.)
About Maria Bernard, the person.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Originally a Veterinarian because of my love of animals. But then I realized I was too sensitive to be around pain & suffering. So then I chose to be an Artist, to paint and draw. It was a more natural fit with my personality.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Recently, I’ve been busy promoting, building my website/blog. I’ve also been working on my newsletter. It’s endless, really.
Favorite thing about your hometown?
I grew up in Toronto which is a great multicultural city with a ton of creative types/artists/musicians.
Farthest place you’ve traveled from home?
To Rome on a cruise ship!
Favorite…Food? Color? Place? Movie? TV show? Song? Band? Etc…
Food: I love fresh bread. I cannot live without it. Give me a loaf of Fresh Italian Bread and a glass of red wine and I’m in heaven.
Place: Not so much a place but the journey itself. I’ve learned that from travelling. It’s the anticipation of discovery that compels me!
TV Show: None
Movie(s): Last of The Mohicans, Pirates of The Caribbean 1, Interview With A Vampire, Only Lovers Left Alive.
Song: Too many to mention
Band(s): Duran Duran, U2, The Cure and HIM
Any weird collections?
No, and I am glad I’ve never been a collector of anything. I like open space too much. And I can’t stand clutter. I’m forever minimizing around the house.
Anything else you’d like to add?
As always the best way to discover a new to you author is to read their books. Just so you know, I currently have two FREE firsts-of-series for those readers who haven’t yet met me.
Hand in Glove, Stick Shift Lips Rockstar Romance Series, Book One
Falquen’s Nest, These Bones Rockstar Romance Series, Book One
Both books will give you a good look into my writing. Hopefully you’ll get hooked!
*These freebies are available from all major ebook sellers including iBooks, B&N, Kobo, Smashwords and Amazon. *Please, first verify with your Amazon Book Store.
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Big thanks to Maria Bernard for tolerating my questions!! I’m so happy to have connected with you and made another friend in the book community. Us Indies have to stick together!
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