Sunday, October 3, 2010

Interview With Author Bernita Harris

As soon as I finished Dark and Disorderly by Bernita Harris I searched out her website and emailed her to ask if I could do an interview. I loved her book so much, and the little things I noticed within the story had charmed me completely. The following is our interview.

Bernita: Brenda, you dear girl, thank you so much for having me visit and for taking the time to read and review Dark and Disorderly. These are really lovely questions!

Brenda: I loved Dark and Disorderly, so the first question I have to ask pertains to whether this will be a stand alone novel or will we be seeing more of the characters in a series?

Bernita: I'm delighted that you enjoyed D&D! This is a writer's true reward!
Yes, a sequel to D&D is in progress. Readers can expect more adventures with the paranormal; and Lillie has to figure out her attraction and conflicts with Johnny Thresher!

Brenda: I love how descriptive you are in your writing. I especially enjoyed the scenes in the cemetaries, and the garden. Did you choose to include these things because you enjoy them yourself, or was it something you added for other reasons? (I loved that Lillie took the piece of mint from the cemetary to transplant it.)

Bernita: I am so glad you liked those passages! Yes, I like cemeteries, older ones in particular, because it was a style at one time to inscribe details of people's lives on their tombstones, like relationships, causes of death, personal accomplishments--so one has stone-carved glimpses of a kind of social , personal and historical record--diptheria or other epidemics that have swept a settlement, ships that have gone down, things like that. Such cemeteries individualize the dead beyond the brief inscriptions popular today.

And I have an herb garden, nothing too exotic, just about two dozen of the regular kinds like basil, thyme, parsley, borage, chives, parsley, savory, etc. for cooking and salads, though some I grow, like lavender and sweet marjoram, for scent for potpourries and sachets.And some I grow just because!

I dry my own herbs. Sometimes I make herbal jellies. Rosemary, sage and mint jellies are particularly good. Herbal history is interesting, I find. While borage can add a cucumber flavor to salads, it was once called the Crusader's herb. A blue borage flower was added to a stirrup cup for those who rode off to war because it was thought to give courage.

Brenda: How difficult is it to write a story with a mystery? Do you find yourself having to go over details later to make sure the "clues" are in place where you want them to appear? Do you outline the entire plot ahead of time?

Bernita: Mystery always improves a story in my opinion! I'm half plotter and half panster. While I don't write a detailed outline, I must prepare, at least mentally, a general outline of the plot before I can begin a story. Sometimes, a story may take an unexpected direction, so a careful writer always has to check and double check details to make sure they are consistent. I always have a certain anxiety about whether I've made those clues and detail either too obscure or too obvious! One doesn't want to hit the reader over the head with a 2x4 as if to say "Did you get it, huh, huh?"--which is insulting to the reader and poor technique--and on the other hand, you don't want them to miss an important fact by being too subtle and so confuse readers. I always dither and fuss over that.

Brenda: I must say that you took sexual tension to a new level with Lillie and John. Were you tempted at any time to break character and just let them do something they might regret later?

Bernita: Indeed, I was tempted! Especially since explicit sexual content is very much in favor with some readers. However, I decided that it wouldn't be consistent, logical , or even particularly realistic in terms of Lillie's character and situation at this point in their relationship.

Brenda: I know you have written short stories, but I'm wondering if Dark and Disorderly was the first book you completed, or the first to be published? I love your style of writing and so hope you will have more for readers soon.

Bernita: D&D is my first novel to be published. I have the requisite two or three "trunk" novels. They acquired some interest but no sale.That interest, however, encouraged me to keep writing.

Brenda, thank you so very much! It's been a pleasure!

My review of Dark and Disorderly is in the post before this one here. You can read more about Bernita on her website here: . You can also find her on Facebook here.

Dark and Disorderly is available for the Kindle on Amazon.


Urban Fantasy Review With Bernita Harris

Dark and Disorderly
Author: Bernita Harris
Kindle Edition
File Size: 414 KB
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: 8/28/10
Available at Amazon

SUMMARY: Lillie St. Claire is a Talent, one of the rare few who can permanently dispatch the spirits of the dead that walk the earth. Her skills are in demand in a haunted country, where a plague of ghosts is becoming a civic nuisance. Those skills bring her into conflict with frightened citizens who view Talents as near-demons. Her husband comes to see her as a Freak; so when Nathan dies after a car crash, she is relieved to be free of his increasingly vicious presence. Lillie expects to be haunted by Nathan's ghost, but not to become Suspect #1 for her husband's murder and reanimation.

I asked to review Dark and Disorderly because I thought it sounded like a cross between horror and paranormal romance, which I really enjoy. I was delighted with the book from start to finish. The author has a wonderful way of describing the world she has created for the reader. When the main character is in her garden, or investigating a cemetery, I felt as if I were in that location. Don't get me wrong though, the author's descriptive words do not make this a soft or gentle read. Dark and Disorderly is fast paced mix of mystery, horror, romance and urban fantasy. The twists in the plot are superb and the discovery of what was really happening was paced perfectly.

The main character, Lillie, is stubborn, intelligent, and passionate. Do to her white hair that proclaims her a "born talent" she has been labeled a freak her entire life. She trusts her instincts, but nothing and no one else. I loved her character right from the start. Yes, her self esteem needs an extreme boost, but she does what she believes is right, despite knowing she will be persecuted for it.

John Thresher, is a psi-crime detective that has come to Lillie's town; his presence calms her while at the same time his personality annoys her. He's arrogant, brooding, and yet he's also protective and steady. John throws a wrench into Lillie's life that is unexpected and frustrating for the most part. I loved John for many reasons. First, he's a solid, observant man who always looks out for Lillie, even when he's frustrated with her. He almost always keeps his cool, and he's sexy as hell, especially when he makes small, but caring gestures such as running a bath for Lillie or making sure she eats.

Dark and Disorderly is a great read, and by the end of the book I desperately wanted to know what was next for Lillie. There is another reason the reader will be begging for the next book. The sexual tension between Lillie and John is so hot I thought my Kindle was going to burst in to flame. I kid you not. I understood Lillie not giving into John's advances, or at least not letting it get too far. I have always been annoyed in movies and books when the heroine is at Death's door and suddenly she decides it's time to try out a new man. Never mind that they just met, or that zombies may come upon them just as they take a tumble. It's refreshing to find a heroine who backs up and says "Whoa, wait a minute fella...". Sometimes we forget just how sexy it can be as a couple builds up to that special moment.

Dark and Disorderly is available at Amazon. You can also learn more about the author and her writing at her blog: