Name Mary Ann Bernal
Age Fifty-five plus
Where are you from
Although I was born on the United States Naval Base at Patuxent River, Maryland, I grew up in Yonkers, New York. Currently, I reside in Omaha, Nebraska.
A little about yourself i.e. your education Family life etc
My graduate degree in Business Administration was earned at Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, New York. Additionally, I have enrolled in numerous online courses over the years, but recently have completed Cyber Security, the Business of Film, Filmmaking, Writing Fiction and Super Powers of the Ancient World. Next semester topics include Magna Carta, Maritime Archeology, and Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime.
Three grandchildren keep me busy with their activities, ranging from dance competitions for my talented granddaughter, and sporting events for my grandson. I am also active in my parish community and participate in programs supporting the United States Military.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
The print and digital editions of Scribbler Tales Volumes one – five have been published. The audio book for The Briton and the Dane: Concordia, narrated by traveling bard, Sebastian Lockwood, is in production and will soon be available on iTunes and Audible.
Titles available in print, digital and audio formats are: The Briton and the Dane, narrated by Sebastian Lockwood, The Briton and the Dane: Timeline, narrated by Michele Lukovich, and Scribbler Tales Volume One, Two, Three, Four and Five, narrated by Roberto Scarlato.
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. Sir Walter Scott had me hooked after reading Ivanhoe. My Erik the Viking novel was born once I saw Kirk Douglas on the big screen in the Hollywood blockbuster, The Vikings.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After completing an extra credit assignment in a tenth grade history class. However, my third grade teacher was impressed by an original poem I had written for which I received a “star” and well done. Not bad for a seven-year-old.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Sir Walter Scott and the Hollywood period movies were my inspiration.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
All my novels and short stories are written in third person.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The Briton and the Dane title came to me in the middle of the night, while Scribbler Tales evolved from scribe and scribble.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Two of the general themes in The Briton and the Dane series 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.
Scribbler Tales are fictional stories based upon the criminal and the occult.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My fictional characters have a mind of their own and behave 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?
A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction by Patrick J. Kennedy.
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?
In development is Scribbler Tales Presents, a collection of short stories leading with Escape From Berlin, to be published next spring.
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?
At this stage of my life, writing has become a second career, which I am enjoying immensely.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Wouldn’t change a thing.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Scribbler Tales Volume Five – an excerpt
Sidney had no idea that Lilly was a Goth until he came home early and found his wife entertaining a group of unusually dressed men, thirteen to be exact, the correct number for a witches’ coven if such things existed. Mumbling pleasantries, Sidney acknowledged the group before disappearing into the library. Overwhelmed by the newly acquired information concerning his wife, Sidney poured himself a drink that he swallowed in one gulp before refilling the glass and sitting in front of the fireplace. There were questions that needed answering, and what, specifically, did all this mean? How long had Lilly been involved? What was their purpose? And where did they all come from?
“Who’s there?” Sidney shouted after hearing laughter, but the room was empty.
All of a sudden, the hearth was ablaze, the fiery talons reaching towards him, and the intense heat scorching Sidney’s face.
If they’re trying to frighten me, it’s working, Sidney thought as he ran to the door, which was locked.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding the time to sit down and write has 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 research has been done either online or in the library. I have been fortunate to visit some of the locations mentioned in my novels after the fact, which was exciting.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Steven Novak, Novak Illustration.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
For The Briton and the Dane series, 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?
The Briton and the Dane, first edition had 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.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
A sincere thank you to my readers for their interest in my work and their ongoing support. I cherish each and every one of you.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Mac and Muff, the first grader reader.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
TV sitcoms makes me laugh; tragedy and loss causes tears.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would like to meet and why?
Richard III of England. He was a fascinating historical figure maliciously maligned by the Tudor kings. Yes, I am a Yorkist supporter.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Haven’t given this any 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?
Pilot an aircraft, helicopter, but there’s still time.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Amazon author page