Ask the Author: Berni Stevens

Good morning Berni and welcome to my blog. You currently have two novels, Dance until Dawn and Revenge is Sweet both published by Choc Lit within romance, vampire and fantasy categories on Amazon UK, with some excellent reviews, may I add too!  

To kick off the interview can I ask you to tell us a little about yourself:

When did your writing journey begin and what was the trigger?

I’ve always loved writing. English and art were my best subjects at school and when I was thirteen I won a national short story competition.  I used to write stories and illustrate them (badly) throughout my school years, but chose art as a career. All my working life has been in publishing, so I’ve never been very far away from books. Although it wasn’t until I was made redundant in 2003 that I started writing a novel. Up until then, I’d always written short stories. I had a short story included in an anthology, which a friend said sounded like the beginning of a novel, and that got me thinking. That short story turned into Fledgling which was published in the US, and Fledgling evolved into Dance Until Dawn which was published here by ChocLit. 

Who are your favourite authors and did any of them inspire you?

My favourite book ever is Dracula by Bram Stoker. I’m on the Committee and the book panel of the Dracula Society, so Gothic literature is always an inspiration. I also love Alan Garner’s children’s books  – particularly The Weirdstone of Brisingamen. Most of Garner’s books are based on legend and folklore, which is probably why I like them. Then of course

J K Rowling’s Harry Potter series and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings are up there with my favourites too. I also have a bit of a soft spot for Agatha Christie and J D Robb (Nora Roberts). Another favourite is Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol – every Christmas I have to watch every film version on TV.

Writing contemporary romance, my research is pretty straight forward. What level of research is involved in writing about vampires and fantasy?

I’ve been reading fantasy for years, and designing fantasy covers for a long time too, but as far as research goes – it’s fantasy – fiction. So I think as long as the ‘rules’ are adhered to, it’s perfectly permissible to make everything up. (Except I really detest the ‘sparkling’ vampires in Twilight.) Interestingly there are tales of ‘vampirism’ dating back centuries, by the Mesopotamians and ancient Greeks. Hundreds of years before Polidori wrote the first Gothic novella – The Vampyre (1819). I expect they made everything up too 🙂

And onto your novels….

Dance Until Dawn

Do you Believe in Love After Life? At twenty-two, West-End dancer, Ellie Wakefield should be having the time of her life. The only problem is, since waking up in a three-hundred-year-old vampire’s leaky cellar, Ellie’s been very much dead. And to make matters worse, she’s found that an aversion to blood and a fear of the dark aren’t very helpful – especially when you’re a fledgling vampire. William James Austen has fallen hard. He’s spent the last year loving Ellie from afar and now he’s finally able to be truthful about who and what he is. As the most powerful vampire in London, he’s used to getting what he wants. But this time, Will might just have bitten off more than he can chew.

 

Revenge is Sweet

Hell hath no fury like a vampire seeking revenge …

Life hasn’t been exactly normal for Ellie since she became a vampire. Although joining the legion of the undead was always going to take some getting used to, even if you are the partner of Will Austen, the Elder of London.

But when Daniel, a fifteen-year-old fledgling vampire, unexpectedly turns up at Ellie’s and Will’s Highgate home, things start getting very strange – and more than a little scary.

Events take a devastating turn as a mystery troublemaker leaves behind a trail of carnage – and it soon becomes clear they will stop at nothing to get the Elder’s attention, even if it involves hurting the person he cherishes the most …

But when it comes to Ellie, Will Austen is the wrong vampire to mess with.

I am sure you have been asked this 100 times, but where did your inspiration for writing about vampires come from?

I first read Dracula when I was about fourteen. I was totally enthralled by it – I still am. Every time I read it, I discover something different.  I loved vampire stories  and films from then on.  I’m a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – maybe even slightly obsessed with all seven series (grins), but it inspired me to write my own contemporary  vampire series and set it in London. London is the home of The Highgate Vampire after all (an urban legend). And it’s the reason my vampire lives in Highgate. Plus I’m a North London girl!

Choc Lit are renowned for their strong heroes and Will Austen does not disappoint. Where did the inspiration for Will come from?

Awww thank you!  Will is probably my own fantasy. The element of bad boy lurking beneath the surface, old world courtesy and charm, combined with devastating good looks and an evil sense of humour. What’s not to love?  There is a bit of my husband in him of course – he told me to say that!

For those who love the story of Ellie and Will, is their story over or are we likely to meet them again in a sequel?

Revenge is Sweet is the actual sequel to their story, but they do pop up again in the third book in a slightly different way. The third book focuses on Stevie, the gorgeous werewolf manager of Will’s club, and his story. But Stevie does need help – and who better to turn to than a very powerful vampire?

Thank you very much, Berni, for your time.

You’re very welcome Lisa – it’s been fun. Thank you!

Berni’s novels are available at the following outlets:

Amazon: goo.gl/VohDsy

Kobo: goo.gl/YDG91t

iBooks: goo.gl/AXmwR6

Choc Lit: goo.gl/ecmyNs

Follow Berni:

Twitter: @Berni_Stevens1 & @austen_will
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