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Monday, June 3, 2013

An Interview with Victoria Bernadine #BookTour #Excerpt




Today I'm interviewing author Victoria Bernadine.  
Comment or post a question. Victoria will be awarding a $25 (grand prize) gift card with two gift cards for $15 each; the cards would for either Amazon or Smashwords (winner’s choice).

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

Hi Victoria! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I grew up on a farm in southern Saskatchewan in Canada, and moved to Alberta when I was eighteen.  I now live in Edmonton and I’ve been here since 1989.  I’m now officially in my late-forties (how did that happen?), and I’m still wondering what I want to be when I grow up.
Victoria Bernadine is a pseudonym.  I chose to use a pseudonym because when you google my real name, a lot of hits come up due to my previous “day job”, and I didn’t want my writing to get lost in the clutter.  I’m in the process of building an online presence (particularly a blog) under the pseudonym.
 

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I started writing as a kid in junior high (grades 7-9) – although it might have been even earlier.  We didn’t get into town very often, although we always had a lot of books in the house (8 kids and most of us were and are avid readers).  One summer day I was wandering around the house, craving something to read and not finding anything to satisfy the craving – so I decided to write something that I wanted to read.  My two youngest brothers are also prolific writers although not published; it was just something we did, usually when we ran out of things to read.
When did I finish my first book?  In 2011 – LOL.  That was the first time I finished something I could/would consider a “novel”.  It was for a writing challenge (JourneyStory) on LiveJournal.  The story is called Historian’s Daughter - and if you’re interested, you can find it on LiveJournal, beginning here: 
http://historiandghtr.livejournal.com/429.html.  It’s a post-apocalyptic dystopian romance...sorta...and it’s a novel I both love and hate.  If anyone does read it, I hope you’ll (gently) let me know what you think of it!

How did you choose the genre you write in?

The genre chooses me – LOL – and I don’t limit myself to one particular genre.  I’ve written two post-apocalyptic dystopian stories (one more romance-oriented, one not), a science fiction script (which I suppose could also be considered post-apocalyptic) and this book, A Life Less Ordinary, which is a romantic comedy-drama.  Basically, I write whatever story is floating around in my head at that particular moment and let the genre take care of itself.
 

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Holy crap – yes!  I wrote pretty steadily during junior and high school and into the first year of university even though I never finished anything.  Then, starting about the second year of university, the creativity (in terms of writing fiction) simply...stopped.  I assumed I’d never write again but then in 2008, I was inspired by a TV show called Jericho and I began writing that “f-word”:  *whispers*fanfiction.  I craved stories about my favourite characters, especially after the show was cancelled, and while I found some, I didn’t find enough – so out of desperation, I started scribbling scenes in notebooks in order to have something to read.
And holy cow – those scribbles were SO BAD!
But I kept writing because it felt incredibly good to be doing something creative, and I never intended to share my scribbles with anyone, so it didn’t really matter.  Then one day I finished typing up a bunch of scenes that were related and realized it was a complete story.  A couple days later I re-read it and thought...“you know, this is actually...not bad.”  It took a while to gather the courage to share it – but I eventually did, and I’ve been writing and sharing my work ever since.  I expanded into original fiction when I started participating in National Novel Writing Month (every November) in 2009.

Do you work with an outline, or just write?

I just write.  I also don’t write sequentially.  I write whatever comes into my head and as I’m writing, I tend to be thinking “hmmm...I wonder what happened before/after this scene?  Oh, I know!” - LOL.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
The book that influenced me the most was George Orwell’s 1984, which I read in 1984 (the year I graduated high school).  That book scared the living crap out of me and it’s why I decided to study history in university.  I didn’t end up doing anything with my degree, but I loved every minute of studying it.


Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

I’ve taken bits and pieces of real-life experiences and exaggerated them or skewed them for the purposes of the story.  For example, the premise of the book was intended to be fictional wish fulfilment, because when I started it, that’s exactly what I wanted to do – LOL.  I did finally end up quitting my job and cashing out my pension, but unfortunately, I haven’t gone on a road trip, and there’s no Zeke or even a Harvey.  My life seems lacking somehow! 
 

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

Oh, dear.  This is a tough one.  I can honestly say I love everything about the book – which doesn’t mean I don’t read it and still find flaws!  I can always find a better way of writing something – but my day job taught me that sooner or later you have to say it’s done and take your chances.
Anyway, one of my favourite parts to write was Harvey, Manny’s outspoken imaginary friend.  When I started the story, he was originally intended to be this silent Perfect Fantasy Man who Manny conjured up whenever she was lonely or needed a lift, and their “relationship” was intended to be very (unrealistically) sexual.  As the story progressed, he morphed into this personification of that snarky inside voice that constantly observes things, makes sarcastic comments and tells it like it is no matter how desperately you’re trying to deceive yourself...or am I the only one who has that??


What project are you working on now?

I’m working on a sequel to A Life Less Ordinary which is currently titled A Year in the Life.  It picks up the day after this novel ends.  I’m reassessing Historian’s Daughter and trying to decide if I could make it good enough for publication.  I’m also beginning to work on a novelization of a script I wrote for a science fiction movie (which, if you want to read it, is available in all its unformatted glory here -
http://archiveofourown.org/works/404077).  I have a few fanfictions in progress as well.




A LIFE LESS ORDINARY By Victoria Bernadine

BLURB: 
 
For the last fifteen years, Rose “Manny” Mankowski has been a very good girl.  Now, at the age of 45, she’s questioning her choices and feeling more and more disconnected from her own life.  When she’s passed over for promotion and her much younger new boss implies Manny’s life will never change, something snaps.  In the blink of an eye, she’s quit her job, sold her house, cashed in her pension, and she’s leaving town on a six month road trip.

After placing an ad for a travelling companion, she’s joined in her mid-life crisis by Zeke Powell, the cynical, satirical, most read – and most controversial – blogger for the e-zine, What Women Want.  Zeke’s true goal is to expose Manny’s journey as a pitiful and desperate attempt to reclaim her lost youth – and increase his readership at the same time.

Now, armed with a bagful of destinations, a fistful of maps, and an out-spoken imaginary friend named Harvey, Manny’s on a quest to rediscover herself – and taking Zeke along for the ride.

EXCERPT

“All I ever wanted was a life less ordinary.”

Manny lay flat on her back, eyes wide, staring at the ceiling while she waited for her clock to hit 6:00. Another day of work, she thought. Another day older and deeper in debt.

She had the alarm timed to the millisecond. The jarring noise had barely begun when she clicked it off. She sighed then threw back the covers and got out of bed.

She padded into the bathroom, glanced without interest in the full-length mirror that doubled as her shower doors and took her morning inventory.

Plain face? Check.

Looking tired? Check.

Thirty pounds overweight? Check.

Dark circles under deer-caught-in-headlights eyes? Check and check.

She shook her head at her limp, mousy hair and wondered when she’d gotten so old.

She sighed in resignation then conjured up her Perfect Fantasy Man–or Harvey, as she liked to call him–to give her a morning lift. She cocked her head to one side as she stared into the mirror and imagined him standing behind her. She smiled at the handsome man, and he smiled back, putting his hands on her shoulders. Everything about him was warm, in stark contrast to the cold shades of grey in which she lived her life. He had warm brown eyes, warm brown skin, and a warm smooth voice that always reminded her of golden honey. Today his hair was black with greying temples, and yes, even that seemed warm to her.
He was perfect, everything she considered ideal in a man–and extra-perfect, of course, because he was a fantasy. Just the thought of trying to establish a relationship with an actual man felt too much like work.

She sighed and Harvey disappeared.

“Instead I ended up in a rut–everything planned and executed to the minute.”
 

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Victoria Bernadine (a pseudonym) is, as the saying goes, a “woman of a certain age”. After twenty-something years of writer’s block, she began writing again in 2008. She began with fanfiction about a (now-cancelled) TV show called Jericho and particularly about the characters of Heather Lisinski and Edward Beck. From there, she expanded into writing original fic and she hasn’t stopped since.

Victoria enjoys reading all genres and particularly loves writing romantic comedy and post-apocalyptic science fiction. What those two have in common is anybody’s guess.

She lives in Edmonton with her two cats (The Grunt and The Runt). A Life Less Ordinary is the first novel she felt was good enough to be released into the wild.

Victoria can be contacted through Love of Words Publishing Inc.

(loveofwords@shaw.ca) or through her brand new blog at http://victoriabernadine.wordpress.com/.

A Life Less Ordinary is available for sale on Amazon in both Kindle and hard copy formats at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AMJBOSQ



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12 comments:

Mary Preston said...

I always wonder how the years have crept up. I can see why authors write under a pen name.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting today.

victoriabernadine said...

Hi Gale - thanks for hosting me today! I really appreciate it! :)

victoriabernadine said...

Hi Mary - thanks for dropping by! :)

The years are always a startling thing, because I still feel like I'm twenty-something - LOL.

In my case, it just made sense to write under a pen name.

Ingeborg said...

Great interview, I love learning more about the author.

Kit3247(at)aol(dot)com

victoriabernadine said...

Hi Ingeborg - thanks for dropping by! I'm glad you enjoyed the interview! :D

MomJane said...

Loved your comments and I really love the sound of your book. I would love a handsome dream man.

victoriabernadine said...

Hi MomJane - thanks for commenting! I'm glad you love the sound of the book.

And I, too, would love a handsome dream man...*sighs wistfully* ;D

Andra Lyn said...

Oh I totally understand about the college thing. Too much studying *cough* and partying to get much wiritng done!

andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

victoriabernadine said...

Hi Andra Lyn - thanks for stopping by!

Studying...yeah...that's it...(that's my story and I'm sticking to it! ;P).

Seriously, though, I was a history major (and I was 5 courses short of a BSc in Geography when I graduated). I usually carried 5 classes each semester so on average I was writing 10-15 papers each semester.

Thank God I partied or I would have gone crazy(ier)! LOL

Karen H in NC said...

Sorry I missed you on party day, but better late than never! I see you answered a question I often ask about the genre you write. So let me ask a different question: What characters are the hardest/easiest for you to write: The hero, the heroine, the villain (or villainess), the secondary male & female characters? What are the most fun to write?

kareninnc at gmail dot com

victoriabernadine said...

Hi Karen - definitely better late than never! :D

Hmmm...very good question! I find them all equally hard/easy to write once I understand what motivates them. That's not meant to be a cop out - LOL! I often find myself starting with a scene, which leads to other scenes, etc. - which are really easy to write. But sooner or later, I have to sit down and say "why is this character doing this? Why does that character react in that way? Who are these people and why should I care?" - and that's when it gets tough.

If I had to pick one, though...probably the hero is the most fun to write. That's simply because I'm very, very biased towards men (I like 'em a lot) and I like writing them. :)