Welcome, Berni Stevens
Can you tell me a little about yourself? [including pen name if you have one]
I write under my maiden name (Berni Stevens), which is the name I use for work.
My ‘day’ job is as a book cover designer, and has been for more than 25 years. I have worked for most of the big UK houses at some time or another, but have worked as a freelancer for a while now.
I’m happily married with one son. I met my husband at Art College.
I’m hopelessly addicted to live rock concerts, the American South-West desert, cats and horses, and I have a love of all things spooky. My favourite book is Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and I’m an incurable fan of Buffy and True Blood.
What was the first story you wrote?
It was almost certainly a ‘pony story’, written when I was at school. (I wrote a lot of those.) And it was almost certainly illustrated (badly) by me too. In fact, I think I still have a couple of those stories somewhere …
Were you inspired by someone or something?
I have always loved to write, and always had a passion for horse-riding too, so the inspiration – at that time – would have come from the horses!
What do you like about writing a story?
The whole fantasy world of fiction is a wonderful place to be. I like immersing myself in the story, becoming the character, and really getting inside his – or her – head. I can become the feisty heroine I would always like to be. I can be that person with the witty repartee … and I can get the hunky hero J
Can you tell us about your newest book?
My debut novel was published by Choc Lit in April this year. (Unfortunately I was in hospital having an operation on the actual day!) It’s called Dance Until Dawn, and is a paranormal romance.
There are a lot of paranormal romances around of course, but most are between a human and a vampire. The question is always, will the vampire turn the human so they can be together for eternity? I wanted to start my story with the human already turned, so the question then became, can their relationship survive? Will the young vampire come to terms with what she has become, and will she ever love the hero as much as he loves her? Or will she blame him for her death?
How did you come up with the story?
I’ve read a lot of paranormal romances, and most are American set in America. I wanted to write something set in London. The urban legend of The Highgate Vampire gave me the idea to set my story in Highgate, North London. As a North Londoner myself, the areas of Hampstead and Highgate are very close to my heart. Not that I could ever afford to live there!
What genre best fits for the book?
Paranormal Romance or Gothic Romance
Are you working on something new at the moment?
I’m working on the third book in the series. The main characters differ from the first two books, but the original characters still feature quite prominently in this book.
The heroine is a rock singer in an up and coming rock band, who get a regular spot at the Hoxton night club belonging to Will, who’s the hero of the first two books.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
The best advice I can think of, is never give up – and always believe in your work.
Also read – and read – and then read some more!
What is your writing routine?
I’m not sure I have a routine as such. Ideas come into my head at different times – and not always convenient times either – so I always carry a small notebook around with me (just in case.)
Otherwise, I will, if possible, stop designing around 5.30 or 6pm, and then start writing. I have to be a lot stricter if I’m working on edits of course, because there’s always a timescale.
Do you have an editing process?
My own editing process is to re-read each previous chapter before I continue writing, and I always read the whole manuscript through a couple more times after it’s completed. Of course, a good editor will always spot all sorts of things I’ve missed, but I do try to edit and clean up as much as possible first.
What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?
Writing is very solitary, and actually, pretty unsociable, and I’m a very chatty person. So the solitude is one of the least enjoyable things about writing. Yet on the other hand, it’s difficult to be alone with a computer-full of people shouting all at once! Writing is a fun thing to do, and there is no better feeling when you are on a roll, and can barely type fast enough as the ideas fill your head.
How important is it for you to share your writing?
Very. I recently had a Facebook message from someone who said she had fallen hopelessly in love with my hero. It’s absolutely made my year!
Where can people go to read your work?
Dance Until Dawn is on Amazon and is available for Kindle and in print.
I also have a short story in the Choc Lit Love Match Anthology, and another in the Dracula Society’s Anthology called, His Red Eyes Again, both available on Amazon.
Where can people find you on the internet?
and if you want to speak to my hero on Twitter:
Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?
I would love to promote the genre of paranormal romance. Don’t write the books off as ‘just another Twilight.’
Dance Until Dawn is the book for fans of paranormal romance who have grown out of Twilight. A passionate romance with all the usual problems, plus a lot of unusual ones besides.