Interview with George Bernstein

When did you first discover you were a writer?
In High School. It was always my papers that were read to the class in English. I’ve always had a vivid imagination, partially sparked by my sister, Iris, who made up interesting stories to tell me when I was younger.

However, it took attending classes at several writers conferences and a seminar by ace fiction agent, Donald Maass, to sharpen my skills and show what made great writing. Talent alone isn’t usually enough… a sad lesion infrequently learned by self-published debut authors
What is your favorite part of writing?
Getting emotionally involved with my characters... making them come alive. When I can cry and laugh with them, and choke up at tense moments in the story, I know I’ve done the job well. Giving good characters little faults, and finding something a little redeeming for villians.
What do you think is the most challenging aspect of writing?
Setting aside ego and learning what makes great writing. An exciting story can fall flat if you don’t understand how to bring it all together, maintain pace and tension, and knowing when to give you readers a chance to catch a breath.

The other thing, which most writers struggle with, is promoting you work. We’re authors, not publicity agents, and it often a struggle to find readers. My first novel, “Trapped,” has a hundred 5* & 4* reviews… best seller-like praises, and it became an Amazon top 100 novel. But until there’s a groundswell from readers, it’s still just plugging along. It’s the author’s job to try to create that buzz, but it’s a daunting task that few of us are skilled at.
Tell us about your latest release.
Two souls struggle to fulfill their destiny together. They discover magical love as a French Countess and an English Earl during a fox hunt in 17th Century England, and again as different souls in 19th Century Philadelphia. In each of these lives, they are snuffed out by brutal murder, just as they are fulfilling their first acts of love. Reborn a third time, in the 21st Century, Ashley and Craig meet at a horse show, becoming fast friends, their love of jumping horses a common bond.
As Ashley begins competing, the show ring seems to morph into an old, oaken forest, filled with real stone walls, streams and hedgerows, and an elegant French voice tumbles through her head. She is simultaneously filled with terror and joy, becoming a far better rider than she should be.
As the two new friends’ unfaithful spouses destroy their marriages, Ashley and Craig discover much more than friendship. Fate has again brought them together… and once again their ancient killer may be stalking them!
What is your writing process?
First, I have to think of a plot: heros, villians, and what the "end game" will be. Then I create an outline: a few sentences for each chapter, as I concieve of how the story will develop.
Then I begin writing, and as the story unfolds, the characters begin taking over the action. Things branch off into unexpected directions, and the outline becomes fluid. I do very little editing until I'm finished with the first draft. First I edit for spelling, sentence structure, and grammar. Then I look at structure, to be sure I didn't sell tension short where needed; that characters and descriptions are fully formed...without over doing it; and that everything flows smoothly.
Lastly, it goes to my publisher's professional editor for his input... a very important step many self published authors sadly ignore, to their work's detrement.
As a writer what is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
When a reviewer praises not only the story, that “I couldn’t put down,” but the frequent comments on how they love my “voice” and the way I develop characters and the plot lines. And the statement they can’t wait to read my next novel. High praise that makes the hard work all worth while.
How did you come up with the title of your book?
I had a different working title, “The Recurrence,” that I felt just didn’t “hit it.” After some brainstorming, “A 3rd Time to Die” seemed a natural way to go. It perfectly describes what the story is all about.
What do you read for pleasure?
Dean Koontz, when he strays from the paranormal, with titles like “The Good Guy” and “The Husband.” He’s a great story teller. And anything by Leon Uris and Michael Chrichton. Also, James Patterson, when he does the writing. I actually dislike most of his “co-authors.” As a kid, I loved the adventure novels by Edison Marshall, like “The Viking.” He wrote exciting, multilayered stories
How did you get published?
By perserverance. I won a small publisher’s “Next Great American Novel” contest with my first novel, “Trapped.” It only took 22 years and about one hundred rejections from agents and editors before I found “instant success.” Once "Trapped” became an Amazon Top 100 novel, other small publishers were interested in my next work, “A 3rd Time to Die.”
Published 2014-03-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

A 3rd Time to Die
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 90,590. Language: English. Published: January 9, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Paranormal, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
2 souls find fated love...and brutal death, first in 17th Century England, & again in 19th C. Philladelphia. Reborn again in the 21st Century, each mired in fractured marriages, they discover each other again, brough together by their love of jumping horses. They struggle to find happiness again in this life time, as others plot to fulfill a 300 year old legacy of death.
Trapped
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 86,460. Language: English. Published: January 8, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » American
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
JACKEE awakens from surgery, finding she's a physical vegetable. Only her eyes work, but her mind is still sharp. Her therapist, FRANKIE, is her one hold on sanity. Then her husband, PHIL, brings his mistress home. Jakee discovers she's telepathic, learning Phil tried to kill her for her trusts. She lusts for revenge, creating a psychic plot to destroy him, but must hurry with only a year to live.