Interview with suspense novelist George A Bernstein

Today’s
guest is suspense novelist George A
Bernstein
. He’s chatting a bit about his novel, Trapped, and letting us in a bit on some other fun stuff.
Welcome, George. Please tell us a
little bit about yourself.
I’m
what I consider a youthful seventy-six-year-old, with a B.A. from Northwestern
University, now living in south Florida, and the retired president of a
publicly-held Chicago company. My main interest is as a serious novelist. I’ve attended
numerous writers’ conferences and seminars, including that of famous fiction
agent, Donald Maass, and I also worked with independent editor, Dave King, all
with the goal of improving his craft.
I’m
also considered a “World-Class” fly-fisherman, and have held a dozen various
IGFA World records. In my life before writing, I operated Outdoor Safaris, a
worldwide fishing & hunting tour operator, working with airlines and travel
agencies promoting premier sporting trips. I’ve also published the definitive
book on fly-fishing for pike & musky, Toothy
Critters Love Flies.
All my
efforts now, however, are with my suspense novels, of which I’ve written four.
Please tell us about your current
release.
My
first novel, Trapped, is published by TAG Publishers, after being a finalist in their Next Great American Novel contest. Dee
Burks and her staff really love the story, and her revision suggestions help me
make Trapped the best it can be. Trapped was also a finalist at the 2012 Florida Writers Association RPLA fiction contest in 2012.
Trapped has received nearly 30
reviews on Amazon, virtually all 5-Star, with the most common comment, “I
couldn’t put it down.”
Here’s
an abbreviated “pitch” from the back cover copy:
A
tragic surgical accident, resulting from an auto crash, leaves beautiful,
vibrant Jackee Maren in “Locked-in Syndrome,” completely paralyzed, able to
move only her eyes. Jackee’s physical therapist, Kevin, seems more invested in
her well-being than her husband, Phil, and teaches her to communicate by
blinking her eyes.
            Soon she discovers she can sense
others thoughts, but hides this talent from everyone but her young sons, not
knowing whom she can trust. Then she discovers both her car and surgical accidents
were not accidents, and vows to expose the person who wants her dead before
they get a second chance.
Exercising
her new psychic ability, Jackee finally learns who masterminded the accidents
but feels helpless to stop them from trying to kill her again.
She
doggedly embarks on a psychic plan to not only ensure her boys have a safe future,
but to exact retribution on her would-be murderer. Jackee vows not to rest
until this villain understands what it is to be TRAPPED! But she must hurry.
Her psychic manipulations of the players in her “skit” of revenge are sapping
her meager reserves, leaving her with only months to live.
What inspired you to write this book?
In
1990, when I was able to “semi-retire” at a pretty young age, my wife said, “You
need something to keep busy, and you don’t want to play golf every day. You
always loved to write. Why don’t you write a novel?”
So
my wife and I began brainstorming for a subject, and Dolores thought of a
neighbor, when we lived in north suburban Chicago, who became comatose after an
anesthetic accident during plastic surgery. I took her condition, but imagined
that, while trapped in a dead shell
of a body, her mind was still active, and I gave her the ability to use her
eyes. And Trapped became the obvious
title. I only learned many years later that “Locked-in Syndrome” is a real
condition.
What exciting story are you working on
next?
I’m working
on the final edits of my second novel, A
3rd Time to Die
, which could probably be called a Romantic
Suspense. It will be published sometime in 2013. The novel deals with past
lives.
Here’s a
short pitch:
Two souls
struggle to fulfill their destiny together. Twice, just as they discover the
magic of their love, first, during a fox hunt in 17th Century southern England,
and then again in 19th Century Philadelphia, their lives are snuffed out by
brutal murder. Reborn for the third time, in the 21st Century, their love of
jumping horses brings them together again…and their ancient killer may be still
stalking them!
When did you first consider yourself a
writer?
There’s a
difference between when I STARTED writing, and when I considered myself a REAL
writer. I loved writing and imagining stories, even as early as my pre-teens.
My compositions in various English classes were usually the ones read to the
class. And after I wrote Trapped,
some people thought I was pretty talented. But it’s taken a lot of work to
polish my craft and learn what makes really GOOD writing. It’s only now that
I’m getting all these 5-Star reviews, and comments from professional reviewers
on how “strong” my writing is, that I really consider myself a writer. I
finally feel truly validated.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like?  If not, what do you
do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Writing my
novels…and dealing with their promotion…is my main focus right now, but I do
“wear many hats.” I like to write in the morning, after breakfast, and usually
spend several hours at the computer…whether creating new prose, editing, or
revising. Then some time is spent in the afternoons or early evenings on
Promotional work: writing on my blogs, responding to other blogs, seeking
interviews and appearances, etc. Publishers do little of this for you, and it’s
time consuming, if you want to succeed.
When I need
a break, I may go into my woodworking shop and build some cabinets or
furniture. Or I may sit down and tie some flies for an upcoming fishing trip. I
usually go to northern USA or Canada every summer to fly-fish for pike and/or
smallmouth bass.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I find
myself fully immersed in my characters. I actually feel what they “feel,” and I
can get very emotional when traumatic or happy things occur in their lives.
Even though they are created from my imagination, they become very real to me,
and I can find myself laughing or crying with them. I guess that’s how I can
make them so real.
As a child, what did you want to be
when you grew up?
I had
conflicting desires: to become an engineer and work with my father in our
manufacturing business…or become a professional fisherman or guide. The latter
seemed pretty unrealistic, but who knew then that one could eventually win as
much as $150,000 in a single BassMaster tournament!
So I went
into Dad’s business, decided I’d rather hire an engineer than be one, and
concentrated on business management instead. Whatever I do, I do it with total
commitment.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
To become a
really good writer takes more than natural talent. With the advent of
e-books…that anyone can publish…there’s a lot of poorly written stuff out
there. One need to put in the time and effort to learn what makes fine writing.
I did that by attending writers conference classes and writing seminars. Ted
Williams (my hero, whom I had a chance to fish with once), probably the World’s
greatest hitter in baseball, was graced with exceptional natural talent and
suburb eyesight. Yet no one worked harder on his hitting, studying the
mechanics of a great swing, and putting in the time every day. Few others had
that dedication. Becoming the best writer YOU can be takes no less effort.


Thanks, George!

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