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!


Friday, September 8, 2017

Author Interview - Cassie Scherer-Crull

Greetings and welcome to the first in a series of author interviews!

As most of you know, I recently changed publishers.  After the endless hours of self-doubt and the entire range of emotions, I realized that the deed is done (don't worry about it now), and I have an entire new crop of authors to get to know.  How do you get to know so many people in a short amount of time?  Interview them, of course.

Over the next several weeks, I will be interviewing a few of the authors from Line by Lion Publishing (  These authors cover every genre and age group.

First off, let's meet Cassie. 
M:  Hello Cassie, and welcome. You are the first of my guinea pig, as it were.

C:  Thank you. Its great to be here.

M: Tell us a little about yourself?

C: Well, I’m a 36 year old mom of two girls. I currently live in Michigan but I’ve lived in Colorado and Washington state as well as several places across Michigan. I’ve been married for 10 years this year (which is crazy because I never thought I’d get married OR have kids! I planned on being a wondering soul my whole life), I met my husband after he finished active duty in the Air Force. 
I LOVE animals, we currently have a small zoo with ferrets, cats, dogs and turtles! I also like dirt-biking, singing, and hiking.

M: Singing?  I've been told I have a voice for silent movies, so kudos for that talent!  When did you start writing?

C: I’ve been writing my whole life. I actually wrote the original version of The Stone Doorway while traveling with my dad when I was in 3rd grade! I tinkered with it over the years and when Line by Lion approached me, I rewrote it again and here we are! I’ve also kept all the things I’ve written over the years in this old trunk my brother in law got off a sailboat years ago, it is full of notebooks and even old floppy discs of my writing.

M: I have those same notebooks! The series I'm writing now actually involves the characters I wrote in Jr. High and High School. Sounds like a lot of authors I've talked to.  So, lets talk about your writing. What is your writing routine?

C: I am old school. I hand write my first draft, then type it in and use that as my editing process.

M: I've used that process. Hard on the carpel tunnel, lol. Do you outline, or do you fly by the seat of your pants when you write? Why?

C: I tend to just fly by the seat of my pants but when I began working on the sequel to The Stone Doorway I outlined it and the third installment, just so I knew where I was going. I didn’t want to get to the end and not have things line up or not make since. Doing that has made me realize the benefit of outlining though. I used to get “mid-novel blues” and I realized that outlining helps me get through that rough patch during the thick of story.

M: "Mid-novel blues." Haven't heard it put like that before.  So, we know your writing style and routine, but what is your genre, and what inspires you to write that genre?

C: The Stone Doorway is a young adult fantasy, many of my other unfinished works are either adult or older YA horror or dystopian. But what I like about The Stone Doorway is that when I rewrote it this last time I realized there was a stronger message I could tell apart from the characters being trapped in a parallel universe. I found I could show my main character, who is a teenage girl, getting over bullying and abuse and finding her inner hero. She never gives up and finally realizes she doesn’t need someone to save her, she can save herself. And I thought that was so important right now, especially with the bullying epidemic in our country. So, I like that in the young adult genre you can tell a story, even a fictional one, that can deeply impact kids and teens in a positive way.

M: Sounds fantastic! Is that what you are working on now?  Your current work in progress?

C: Yes. Right now I am working on a sequel to The Stone Doorway which will be called The Stone Doorway: The Children. I have one dystopian book in the works and one horror story that I haven’t decided on an ending to, but I plan on doing the sequel next.

M: Sequels can be tough. All the matching to the first book, and foreshadowing for the next. Best of luck on that!
Let's talk a little more about you.  What makes

C: That’s a hard one. I tend to be very happy and always laughing but have a severe passion for truth and justice. It seriously bothers me when people are deceitful or are getting away with doing something that is just wrong. I make friends wherever I go, if I go to the store I will leave having met at least one new person. I try to smile at everyone, especially people who look like there are having a horrible day. I’ve had those days and sometimes kindness and a smile can turn it all around. I am also very passionate about fairy gardens.

M: Sounds like some good ol' southern Michigan. I bet that attitude helps at conventions.  Do you go to conventions in your area?

C:  I do! I tend to stick to the Midwest (Michigan, Indiana, Ohio etc.) but recently started looking at Colorado and Washington so I can bring my book to my west coast homes.

M: That's right, you said you lived on the west coast a while. But, let's get a little more...personal.  What kind of things...are on your bucket list?

C:  Well, apart from raising happy and healthy kids, I definitely want to travel more. I want to see Stonehenge and the Redwood forests. I would also love to buy an RV and just travel the country someday. And of course, publish more books!

M: Stonehenge is exceptional, and inspirational. The RV idea is awesome, I mean, you can write anywhere! So, who is your favorite author?

C: Marie Lu wrote an amazing trilogy call Legend and it was seriously the best series I had read since Hunger Games. Another great one is Taherah Mafi. I read her Shatter Me series shortly after I finished the final draft of The Stone Doorway and her main character Juliet is so perfect. I was actually jealous because she so perfectly wrote a character that I was trying capture with Tori. Mafi did such a great job I would stop reading and be like “AH! Why didn’t I think of that!”
And of course, I have to shout out to Poe. He’ll never get old.

M: Sounds like some serious influences.  What are you reading now?

C: Right now I’m working on my masters in early childhood education so I’m mostly reading scholarly articles. I typically read dystopian novels, but loved Gone Girl and Girl on a Train.

M: I know your time is valuable with kids, school, writing and thinking about writing, so just a few more questions, if that's alright?

C: Of course.

M: Let's get back to writing. Any advice for up and coming authors?

C: Writing is hard. Coming up with an idea is the easy part, getting it out of your head onto paper is the hard part. But just write. Write gibberish until the real stuff comes out. Make yourself write. And never worry about what the final draft will look like while you’re writing the rough draft.

M: Those are true words, couldn't have said it better! Anything else you want the readers to know?

C: I still get ridiculously happy when I hear people talk about my characters. It’s very strange for me to hear characters I’ve known almost my whole life being talked about by other people, it makes me giddy. I love to hear from fans too. It makes my day.

M: Well, Cassie, thank you for taking the time to meet with me today.  Where can we learn more about you?  Find out more about your books?

C: I am all over the web. You can check out:
I even have a book trailer at:
And, the first two chapters are also on youtube. read by me!

M: Well, if you can sing, I'm sure you can narrate!  Thanks for dropping by, and best of luck to you.

C: Thanks, Kyle.

A big thanks to Cassie for volunteering to be the first victim for this series. It was a lot of fun, and I hope that you--the reader--will check out the links above and find out more about Cassie and her books. 

And stay tuned!  Another Line by Lion author will be interviewed next week!

Until then,

Write On!