Name: Mary Ann Bernal
Where are you from:
Hailing originally from New York, my current residence is Omaha, Nebraska. My graduate degree in Business Administration was earned at Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY. With the advent of online continuing education courses, I am able to select subjects that interest me. I recently completed a course on Richard III and the Middle Ages given by the University of Leister and will be taking Hadrian’s Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier given by Newcastle University in a few months. I have recently completed editing and grammar refresher courses and an introduction to screen writing given by Omaha’s Metro Community College.
Three grandchildren keep me busy with their activities, ranging from dance competitions for my talented granddaughter, and sporting events for my grandson. I also am very active in my parish community and participate in programs supporting the United States Military.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Scribbler Tales Volume Five will be published in a few weeks. The audio book for Scribbler Tales Volume Four will be available at the end of May and early July for Scribbler Tales Volume Five. Also in production is The Briton and the Dane: Birthright.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
My love for writing began in high school and continued throughout college where I attended numerous writing workshops. After watching the period Hollywood blockbusters such as The Vikings and Ivanhoe, the idea for a Viking novel was born.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Officially, after finishing my first novel, The Briton and the Dane.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My love for history, period movies and Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe inspired me to fulfill my dream of writing a novel.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
All my novels and short stories are written in third person. However, I did leave my comfort zone and wrote a short story in first person.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
As usually happens with God as my muse, I awakened in the middle of the night with The Briton and the Dane title, which I did write down immediately, lest it was forgotten with the rising sun.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Two of the general themes involve religion and military family life. Pertaining to religion, we delve into the pagan mindset and the ongoing conflict of denying the ancestral deities to worship the Roman Christ God. Pertaining to military families, we share the stress and anxiety when the warrior deploys for a mission. These emotions are still evident in today’s age.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
The Briton and the Dane storyline is complete fiction set in an historical timeline with documented events.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My characters had a mind of their own and behaved according to the time they lived in. Human emotions remain the same throughout the centuries, and history tends to repeat itself.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Alfred the Great by Justin Pollard and Matilda by Tracy Borman.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Steven Saylor’s novels on ancient Rome come to mind.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
As stated above, am currently producing audio books of my work.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
The Indie community – I have been fortunate to meet many talented self-published authors, many who have become friends over the years. Their ongoing support has been invaluable.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Of course. I have too many characters vying for a story to stop now.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Wouldn’t change a thing.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Doing an extra credit project for my tenth grade history class started my writing journey.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
The Briton and the Dane: Timeline finds Dr. Gwyneth Franger supervising an archaeological dig in England, the ruins of an Anglo-Saxon fortress that housed the last descendant of Gwyneth of Wareham and Erik of Esbjerg. Gwyneth is obsessed with finding the remains of Lord Erik and is transported back in time, a few years before Erik dies fighting for his king, leaving no issue. Will she find Erik and change the course of history for the man she loves?
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding time to write has always been a challenge.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Dan Brown, author of The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons is at the top of my list. I just love conspiracy theories and Dan brings these concepts to the next level.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
My travels have taken me to the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy and Greece.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Steven Novak, Novak Illustration
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Keeping track of the the multiple characters’ movements across southern England, Rome, and the Frankish empire.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
My first edition used antiquated language, which readers found difficult and many lost interest. The second edition was rewritten in modern syntax so the story is easier to read. I do love “What be amiss?” but then, who really talks like that today?
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Never give up on your dream.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for your interest in my work. Your support is truly appreciated.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
TV sitcoms such as The Big Bang Theory makes me laugh. Tragedy and loss sheds tears.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Richard III of England. He was a fascinating historical figure maliciously maligned by the Tudor kings.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Have never given this a thought.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Volunteering, traveling and attending my grandchildren’s activities.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
The list is too long – however, I love science fiction, crime, political thrillers and period shows.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
OMG, another long list – Chinese, Seafood and Italian are the top three food choices. Teal, green and purple. Classical, Rock, Period.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Amazon author page