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Author Interview – George A Bernstein

Who is your publisher? A 3rd Time to Die is published by GnD Publishing LLC (http://www.gndpublishingllc.com). They’re a small, independent publisher, operating in the new mode of “fee sharing.” They are NOT a vanity Publisher, as they are selective about what they will publish, but they are motivated to help Debut authors. Basically, the writer pays the actual cost of independent professional content and line editing, cover design, an ISBN number, and any minor out-of-pocket costs. My expenses were about $1500, but then they share, 50/50, all royalties, from the first sale. They also provide guidance for marketing. Their web site offers a lot of good (free) advice, too.

TAG Publishers was the publisher for my first novel, Trapped. TAG is also a small independent publisher, and while they do not charge up front for any of the costs of publishing ($3000), they keep all royalties until it’s paid out, which will take a lot longer to earn out. They also split the net royalty with the author,

Have you written any non-fiction? I’ve written a book about my main love, fly-fishing for pike and musky. Toothy Critters Love Flies, (http://amzn.to/TjkxJi), is now in its 2nd Edition, available in both print, and for the first time, as a Kindle. I had an agent and several publishers interested in the book. They didn’t feel there was enough potential sales, however, so I self-published, and the book has done quite well. I’m considered a “World-Class” fly-fisherman and have held a dozen IGFA World Records, including two for pike. I actually got started fly-fishing for toothy critters after a chance meeting with famous baseballer, Ted Williams, in northern Manitoba. He was my hero, and it was a lifetime memory to have fished with him.

Can we expect more books from you in the future? As I’ve said, I’ve already written four novels. A Third Time to Die is my 2nd. The other two are my Al Warner detective series, which I hope to publish with GnD Publishers over the next year or so. I’m now busy promoting a 3rd Time to Die, so I haven’t even started with editors on the Warner series.

How important do you think villains are in a story? Pretty hard to have suspense without a villain, isn’t it? I guess villains don’t have to always be people, though. It can be weather, as in “A Perfect Storm,” or a short story I wrote, A Lucky Coincidence, available on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CEFXT1Q) . Or it can be location, like the story of the climber who had to cut off his arm to escape a boulder, pinning him down. But you NEED a villain.

I attended a fiction writing seminar by famed fiction agent, Donald Maass, and when discussing plot, he asked, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” After we wrote down our calamity, he asked, “Now, what can be WORSE than that?” and then, “What can be EVEN WORSE than that?” That’s how you create tension for your characters, and it’s not something to be conquered in a few sentences… or even a page. Danger has to be strung out, getting worse and worse… until it gets better.

What writing are you most proud of? I think the response I’ve had, with over forty 5-Star & 4-Star reviews (many from professional reviewers and book clubs) for my first novel, Trapped. Not just that they loved the story… that they couldn’t put it down (one reader wrote me she couldn’t get her housework done, another that she read the ending THREE TIMES, she loved it so much)… but the frequent complements on how well I write. There are many reviews citing how they loved the way I describe and build the characters, how I drew them into her love and her terror. One reader I know said, “I want to marry Kevin,” and she’s a married woman. It’s wonderful to feel so validated about the real quality of your writing… not just your ability to tell a story.

What’s the hardest – getting published, writing or marketing? How about all of the above? Well, not so much writing. That generally comes pretty easily for me, once started. But it took 22 years to get my first novel, Trapped, published, and that only happened after I won TAG Publishers “Next Great American Novel” Contest. Prior to that, I had probably 80 rejections from agents and editors. Small potatoes, compared to someone like Louis L’Amour (Americas greatest Western Writer, with 89 novels published), who was reputedly rejected 350 times! But it’s still not easy to get conventionally published. Agents really aren’t interested in you unless you’ve got a track record, and that becomes the classic Chicken or the Egg quandary.

Marketing is tough, because most of us are writers, not publicists. It’s hard work to develop the experience and skill to market your work, and publishers do next to nothing to help. My first novel, Trapped, has had Best Seller review response, and in fact, did jump into the Amazon Top 100 in November, 2012. Still, sales aren’t reflecting the praises it’s received, and it’s a struggle to get public recognition. Readers may leave reviews at Amazon and Goodreads, where it also has loads of 4 and 5-Star reviews, but until they start pushing it on Facebook, Twitter, etc., sales aren’t keeping up with those praises.

3rdTime3D-2

Ashley Easton rescues a badly abused horse, deciding to return to show jumping, the passion of her youth. The animal gives unquestioned love, something lacking from her husband, Keith. But when Ashley begins to compete, she is terrified as the show course seemingly changes into an old forest and the jumps appear as real walls, fences and trees. Her thoughts spill through her head in elegant French. As she attacks the fences with an unfamiliar, fearless abandon, she begins winning every competition.

Craig Thornton, an avid horseman, happens upon Ashley’s first competition, entranced as he watches her jump her horse, Injun. Mystically drawn toward each other, it’s as if they knew the other…but from where? After several missed opportunities, they finally meet, becoming fast friends, their love of jumping horses a mutual bond.

Ashley seeks therapy to address a strange terror swamping her whenever she’s intimate. During hypnotic regression, she’s stunned to find herself in two apparent past lives, first in the 17th Century, on a fox hunt as the fearless French horsewoman who fills her head while jumping, and again, 150 years later in Philadelphia, a shipping tycoons daughter. Both times she is fulfilled by glorious romance, followed by the terror of their brutal murder while making fervid love in a forested glade!

The doctor says these are figments of her subconscious, but he’s shaken, knowing the truth. He realizes those were real past lives, and their killer may be lurking again, nearby.

Ashley and Craig soon discover more than friendship. As these two newly rediscovered lovers struggle to free themselves from broken marriages, others plan to fulfill a 300 year-old legacy of death.

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Genre – Romantic Suspense

Rating – PG13

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