Monday, June 6, 2011

Interview and Giveaway with Elaine Bergstrom

Would you like to tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in Cleveland, and was one of the last victims of polio. I’ve been writing since I was 9 and had a cast on my leg one summer and decided that I could learn to type by writing a novel. My first piece of fiction written when I was an adult was my first novel, Shattered Glass, and I have 13 published to date. There will be more.
I can be reached at my website www.elainebergstrom.com, and have two blogs. One is political the other www.Austravampireblog.wordpress.com deals with books and news of appearances and other book related comments. 
What inspired you to write?
Reading. Until I had polio when I was 5, I was a very active child, one who never sat down. After, I had time on my hands because I had to take it easy, and I became a voracious reader. I cleared out the biography section of the library, the science fiction section, the mysteries, and the adult stuff I was not supposed to read (but did). I was also socially awkward when young, and books became my favorite form of escaping the school bullies and the really cute girls who made me feel inferior.
Later, I began reading aloud to my mother. This gave me a strong sense of cadence and scene building because I could not skip over what didn’t interest me.
But the biggest inspiration came when my then husband (we are still great friends) began going to AA and I began going to Al-Anon. I love a good story and I spent a lot of time with newcomers to the program hearing theirs.Shattered Glass grew out of that experience.
What authors influenced you as a writer?
There were so many! I loved everything by Andre NortonMary StewartFrank Yerby(for some real sizzle, grab a copy of The Vixens if you can find it), Edgar Allan Poe, Alexander Dumas, Zane Gray, the Brontes, Dostoyevsky. Later, Heinlein, Marquez, Clark, Rosemary Rogers and Ayn Rand. I was pretty eclectic.
Your favorite character?
I love Charles Austra. Every time he shows up in one of my novels, things get far more interesting, not to mention hotter. He writes his own scenes. A good – and very sexy -- antihero can do that.
What is your favorite Quote?
I’m inclined to go with “You have an overdeveloped sense of vengeance. It will get you in trouble someday,” fromThe Princess Bride, but “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken,” by Oscar Wilde is my favorite.
What is one book everyone should read?
Should, please, tastes are so different. I do think, though, that readers should try genres beyond what they usually read. One of the things that fell by the wayside for me when I was writing full time days and trying to write fiction at night was reading. I have been enthralled by books like A Reliable Wife by Goolrich, The Kite Runner by Hosseini and I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb. These are three that I highly recommend.
If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?
I adore urban fantasy, so I would like to live in Newford, the fictional place in the stories of Charles De Lint. If the place had enough magic, maybe I could even arrange to have Leonard Cohen living there, too. So much the better.
What is the one thing that every writer needs to have or do?
There is so much, but the main one is to write the story you have a passion to write rather than determining your book’s subject based on the current trend. You will be a better writer and, chances are, when you have finished your book, the trend will have changed.
Are your books different to your personal favourite books by other authors?
Yes and no. Though I have read a lot of fantasy, I haven’t read much horror. My favorite stories have a character overcoming a great obstacle, either within or from the world outside, ideally both, and that makes the books I love much like my own work.
What lead you to writing in this genre?
It wasn’t what I read that did it; it was what I watched. We had the first television in our neighborhood and as soon as those half hour dramas started appearing, I was hooked. I watched Roy Rogers and The Lone Ranger and, later,Zorro and Yancy Derringer. I watched movies like The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Count of Monte Cristo, the stories of ordinary people who have an extraordinary other lives. I also spent a lot of time at Saturday matinees at our local theater watching horror films. I took both these elements and created my Austra family who hide their incredible powers beneath a human façade. 
What inspires you the most when you write?
Two things. First, that tingle of emotion when I know, just know, that I’ve set down a really good scene. Second, and this will sound trite, but my fans. My first book was for me, and I cried when I finished because I had done this amazing thing. But after, I started hearing from fans asking when there would be another and another. And sometimes, when my ego was at its lowest, I would get a letter or, later, an e-mail that would just make my soul feel brighter. I am so grateful to all of them and I highly recommend you write notes to your favorite authors. This a lonely profession and they will love hearing from you.
How long does it normally take you to write a book?
If I put my mind to it, a year or just a bit less. But that means I am doing it full time, or at least most of the time. I am not a quick writer and I am really exacting about details. That means my work takes more time than it would otherwise.  
What are you most excited about this year?
A lot has changed for me in the last year. I now consider myself primarily a novelist again and I am excited about getting more stories into the hands of my fans. It was exceedingly hard to have a daytime writing job (I worked as a TV critic and entertainment feature writer) and then try to write fiction at night. That has changed and I am slowly getting back into writing. One thing that makes it easier is that, in the future, I know that what I write will be published, because I can do it myself. I took control of my copyrights and am reissuing all my books. That is not to say, I won’t go through a traditional publisher again, but I don’t have to. The world of publishing is changing. I think in a dozen years, bookstores will have as many computer terminals as bookshelves. Change is coming!
As an example, when I commented to my agent that I hoped to see Shattered Glass released uncut (some 10,000 words were trimmed from the manuscript before the book was first published to keep the price point down), he said, “In your dreams.” Well, I must be dreaming because it is out there now. Also, rather than hunt for a publisher for the new book in the Austra series, Beyond Sundown, I published it myself. If I never publish another Austra book, this will be a fitting finale to the series.
What book do you wish to see come out as a movie?
Leanna: Possession of a Woman. This is a ghost story set in New Orleans. With romance, voodoo and a very sexy ghost possessing a dowdy and rather prim novelist, it has plenty of action and sizzle.
Shattered Glass would be a wonderful movie, as well, but I would prefer to see someone grab that for a miniseries, incorporating all the Austra stories into it.
Funniest question you have ever been asked?
Someone wanted to know how I researched the Austra family genealogy.
Answer: Thank you for suspending belief enough to think I did. But vampires do not exist and I made it all up.
What happened while writing one of your books that you did not expect?
My first novels were not written on a computer, so I would head to the library and bring home piles of books for research. For Blood Alone, my novel set in World War II, I found a book on Lebensborn, the Nazi relocation of Aryan-looking children from occupied areas in Eastern Europe. At the time, this was a little-known Nazi atrocity and I was so shaken that I cried. I then devoted an entire chapter of the book to an anguished father explaining his desire for revenge after his tiny daughter was kidnapped. It took the final chapters in an entirely different, and far more poignant, direction.

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Yes it is international



Paperback: 386 pages
Publisher: Elaine Bergstrom (January 24, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0982970609
ISBN-13: 978-0982970607


Book Description:
Helen Wells, 19, is a gifted painter, struggling to create a legacy before the illness that left her crippled claims her life. Stephen Austra is a brilliant glass artist, and an immortal. When they meet, their passion is immediate and intense. But as their love grows, Dick Wells, Helen's uncle and a homicide expert on the local police department, begins investigating a series of savage murders committed, he is forced to believe, by something not human. Soon all three will be drawn into a struggle with a dark presence from Stephen's past, one that lays claim to the life of the woman he loves and one that, for all his power, he is helpless to control. This novel, first published in 1989 to critical acclain is being reissued in a special updated -- and uncut -- version, and includes 12,000 words not found in the original edition. It is the first of 6 books in the Austra series.
To see more books in the Austra series visit: http://www.elainebergstrom.com/Ordering-Books.html
Bio
Elaine Bergstrom was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and is the product of 16 years of Catholic education which, she is sure, has strongly affected her work. Her first novel, Shattered Glass, was among the first vampire romances and created a family of vampiric immortals -- powerful, eternal but with some odd constraints on their natures. It was set in her hometown and the church she attended as a child. It was nominated for a Stoker, received critical acclaim and has been followed by four other related novels, as well as Under the pseudonym Marie Kiraly (her grandmother's name), she has written two Dracula sequels: Mina...the Dracula Story Continues and Blood to Blood. She resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she runs a novel writing workshop, freelances as a TV and film critic and writes grumpy old lady letters to her congressmen and local papers. You can get additional information on her books and upcoming appearances at elainebergstrom.com

The kindle edition of Shattered Glass is the "author's cut" version -- including 10,000 words not included in the original paperback.

3 comments:

Diana said...

Book has very beautiful story! Be yourself. Everyone else is taken,” is my favorite quote too.

Denise Z said...

I am really interested in reading this one, frankly because I want to know how it turns out. Thank you for the opportunity to win this giveaway.

Darlene said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

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