Friday, September 15, 2017

Author Interview - Bernadette Durbin

And we are back!

Last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cassie ( from Line by Lion Publishing.

This week, I am talking with Bernadette Durbin, also from Line by Lion. She is a young reader/fantasy writer.  Bernadette, welcome to Writing and Rambling.

B:  Thank you. Its great to talk to you again.

M:  Tell us a little about yourself?

B:  I grew up in a family that loved camping and the outdoors. Since graduating from college, I’ve lived in four different states and somehow ended up right back near my hometown. Once a year, I take part in a local theatrical production of comedic opera, and my children are entering the stage where Scouting consumes our lives. Somehow I ended up getting trained to be a camping leader along the way…

M: So, you stay busy.

B: Very.

M: When did you start writing? And how do you have time to write??

When I was in second grade, I swore to myself that I would never write anything voluntarily. A 200-word essay was excruciating torture (as is common for that age) and, quite frankly, writing hurt. Obviously that hatred waned as I grew older, and the real flip came when I was in eighth grade and we had a class writing assignment about The Mad Scientist And His Machine. As everybody was brainstorming “old”, “disheveled”, “isolated”, I suddenly thought “young, cute, popular.” And the class *loved* my story.

M:  Outside the box thinking...I like it. After what you just said, I think I already know, but I have to ask. Do you outline, or do you fly by the seat of your pants when you write? 

B: I don’t outline on paper. I happen to be very good at technical writing and instruction manuals, and if I outline it immediately flips my writing into that mode. I do spend many months working out the story in my head prior to starting, and I try to wait until I have the key thematic elements until I start.

M: You said you do some theater?  How has that influenced your writing?

B: I did about five years of improv training, so just writing and seeing what comes out can be really helpful. Once or twice it’s surprised me; in my novel there was a key character that came about because of a random comment another character made.

M: Your novel.  Let's talk about that. What is your genre?  What inspires you to write that genre?

B: Right at the moment I’m primarily working in fantasy and fairy tales. Those were the stories that most drew me as a child (and still draw me), so it’s a natural fit.

M: What are you writing now?  Your current work in progress?

B: I am doing some work on the sequel to Minstrel and a screwball comedic modern fantasy, but I expect to be closer to completion on an operatic adaptation of a Terry Pratchett novel.

M: Adaption of a Terry Pratchett novel?

B: Yes. I'm part of a theatrical company called Light Opera Theatre of Sacramento, and we do comedic operettas in English, which mostly means Gilbert & Sullivan works. (We are currently in a production of Patience, which mocks the aesthetic movement and people who follow fads blindly.) Several years back, when I was reading about the sorts of things that W.S. Gilbert used for his inspiration, I wondered what he would create if he were around today, and I came to the realization that Pratchett's works were a very good fit for the sort of comedic nonsense that Gilbert was known for.

M: That is fantastic!  I know I would pay to see that.  Sounds like a busy schedule.  Do you have a lot of time to write?

B: I have two children with attention issues and a toddler. I do what I can.

M: I went through that, so I understand the complexities.  Let's talk more about you. What makes you…you?  Something that you want your readers to know?

B: I’m a very forthright person and I don’t have much patience for social posturing. I love science and art and cool things, and I am a repository of random information. And right now I have a cat on my shoulders.

M: Repository of random information?  I call it truly, trivial, trivia.  Does the cat help?

B: Not really.

M: What kind of things are on your bucket list?
Oregon Trail

I like to get outdoors a lot, so most of my “things to do” are based on natural wonders. If I had the time and the funding, I would adore doing a multi-part documentary on the Oregon Trail, filming at various locations at the time of year that the migrants would actually be there so that people could see the actual conditions. I would also have a series of interviews with representatives of the local tribes to get their perspectives—I don’t think it would be particularly flattering, but it would bring a lot of depth to it.

M: What are you reading now?

B: I’m one of those scary fast readers—not a speed-reader, since that’s just skimming, but the fast reading that comes with daily practice over decades. I’ve most recently finished Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive books after reading the rest of his Cosmere works (Mistborn, Elantris, etc.) and have just gone back to reading Pamela Dean’s Secret Country trilogy.
M: Any advice for up and coming authors?

B: Read a lot, and read outside your genre of choice. Love what you’re writing—don’t ever have contempt for your readers, because it shows. And persevere.

M: Anything else you want the readers to know?

B: I had a lot of fun building the world for Minstrel, but most of that work barely shows in the novel. I hope to have the time to put together a map so that readers can find out more.

I can also properly pronounce Compsognathus.

M: Thank you for visiting with me today.  Where can we learn more about you?  Find out

more about your books?

Thanks Bernadette for giving me a few minutes of your time today.  I wish you the best of luck with your sequel and your adaptation.  Let me know when your sequel comes out, we can talk again!

I hope everyone enjoyed meeting Bernadette.  And stay tuned for another interview next week.

Write On!