Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Awesomesauce Authors: An Interview with Mary Bernsen

When today's author contacted me to say her debut novel was coming out and told me the title, I instantly recognized it from my PitchWars slush last winter. Now I am SO excited to welcome her to the blog and find out all about her brand new book baby! Here's a little about Mary and her New Adult Paranormal Romance that is now available for purchase!

Eliza discovers her roots in Voodoo royalty, but claiming her throne means giving up her soul mate.

After learning that she is adopted, Eliza begins her search for her biological family and is propelled into an underground world of witchcraft, seances, and sacrifices where she is worshiped as the descendant of the last great voodoo queen of the bayou, Marie Laveau. From her great, great, grandmother, she has inherited the ability to heal the souls of others by a simple touch of her hands.

Using this gift, Eliza is expected to return the voodoo community and religion to glory. A task not so terrible if it could be lived beside the devastatingly endearing Samuel Mueller. But Samuel is her Keeper; his charge is keeping her safe and according to tradition he is not permitted to mingle romantically with his ward. The two struggle to smother the flame that grows between them while Samuel meets his demands as Eliza's guardian, keeping her from those who would sooner have her killed than let an outsider rule the Bayou. 

Tell us a little about your writer's journey so far:
It's actually gone a lot quicker than I had anticipated, thanks to pitch contests.  I entered this manuscript in Pitchwars and was selected as an alternate, but ended up withdrawing because I received an offer via Pitchmas.  About a month and a half later I signed a contract for another book, which is part of a series.  Needless to say, there has been lots of squealing as of late in my house :o)

Okay, let's hear your Twitter Pitch! (140 characters or less.)
Eliza discovers her roots in Voodoo royalty, but claiming her throne means giving up her soul mate.

What inspired you to write this book? How is it a book only you could write?
Originally, this was supposed to be a historical fiction.  That was the genre I had always written as a hobby.  I started researching Marie Laveau, a famous Voodoo Priestess, and wondered why, if she was so powerful, none of her children carried on the tradition.  Somehow, my imagination concocted this elaborate conspiracy and I had to write it down.

What's your favorite thing about writing?
It's so cathartic!  If someone ticks me off, I change their name, write them into a story, and wallah: I've gotten my revenge.  Don't worry, though. Those stories are for my eyes only.

What's your least favorite thing?
Because of how releasing it can be, it's so difficult to keep from letting your emotions bleed into your work.  If I have to write a love scene after having a fight with my husband?  Good luck.

Now it's time to brag a little--What do you love most about your book?
I'm really proud of how I snuck some education into this one.  I tried to clear up a lot of misconceptions about the Voodoo religion in general (I had the same ideas when I started out), but I did it in a way that is exciting so you won't even notice you're learning.

Who was your favorite character to write? Why?
Sorry, Eliza.  Camille has my heart.  She has every reason to be bitter about the Voodoo community, but chooses to come from a place of understanding instead of resentment.

Okay, now a little about you. (And yes, I stole these questions from In the Actor's Studio with James Lipton.)

What is your favorite word?

What is your least favorite word?
Screwed—it's just so crass!

What turns you on?
If you can make me laugh, you can skip the foreplay *wink wink*

What turns you off?

What sound or noise do you love?
Thunder—it's so dramatic and eliciting.

What sound or noise do you hate?
Chewing.  And my son is the loudest chewer!

What profession, other than your own, would you most like to attempt?
As a kid, I always said I was going to be a paleontologist.  I'd love to give it a go.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
“See?  You weren't so bad!”

Finally, what's the one question you've always wanted to answer in an interview? (And of course, you have to answer it!)

“If you could go back to your pre-published self and leave a message, what would it be?”

You don't know as much about grammar as you think you up, sweetheart!


Mary Bernsen is a southwest Florida native currently living in Punta Gorda with her two beautiful children and a third, much larger child that she affectionately calls husband.  She is a stay-at-home mother and spends her days creating characters on the good side of twenty-five because she is in serious denial about the fact that she is now on the bad side of it.  She has a passion for fantasy of any kind along with historical fiction.  If she isn't having conversations with her made-up friends, you can usually find her clipping coupons or out on the boat enjoying the muddy waters of Peace River (as long as it isn't below 80 degrees).

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