First tell us a little bit about yourself, and who you are: My name is Lara Bernhardt and I live with my family in Oklahoma. I have 5 biological children, 3 step-children, and two doggies. I’m a life-long, avid reader and writer.
What are your ambitions for your writing career? Some day I would love for writing to be my full-time job.
Which writers inspire you? When I was younger, I read all the Stephen King and Dean Koontz books I could get my hands on. Their writing surely influenced me.
So, what have you written? During my college years, I wrote a number of papers published in science journals. My first award was for a short fiction piece, which took first place. Some of my poems have also won awards in writing contests. I contributed a novella to the Shine series (Cassandra). And now my full-length novel The Wantland Files has been published by Kindle Press.
(*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)
Where can we buy or see them? Cassandra and The Wantland Files are available on amazon and in independent bookstores in the Oklahoma City area.
Who is your favorite character, and why? My favorite character to write was Kimberly Wantland – I had a rough year and found respite in writing about a celebrity with none of the issues I was dealing with. Plus, I enjoyed creating her abilities and imagining how she would interact with spirits.
What is your current project about, and when do you think it will be ready for the public? I am currently writing the second book in The Wantland Files series and I hope it will be ready in the next 6-9 months.
What genre do you write in? The Wantland Files is paranormal suspense. I also write women’s fiction but have not yet published those manuscripts.
How much research do you do? Writing paranormal suspense, I have the luxury of using my imagination a lot. But since Kimberly is a paranormal investigator, I research to insure that aspect of the books is believable.
Have you ever co-written any of your work? Though Cassandra belongs to a shared universe (Shine) I wrote the book entirely myself. I have not co-written anything.
When did you decide to become a writer? I have written stories as long as I can remember – even back in elementary school. And before that I made up bedtime stories for my little sister.
Why do you write? I love to read and immerse myself in a good story. Writing is similar, but I invent the story I immerse myself in. I write because I love it. I get grumpy if I go too long without writing.
Do you write full-time or part-time? Part-time, like most writers. I have lots of children and consequently lots of bills. Three of my children suffer from a chronic medical condition and that contributes to our stack of bills.
Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when? How much I’m able to write depends on other demands on my time. I try to write something every day.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? I don’t set a goal. When I have time to write, I make the most progress I can.
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? I write longhand and then type it on my computer. Some days I simply write on the computer.
Where do you draw inspiration from? The Wantland Files is inspired some by The X-Files and Ghost Hunters. These stories also incorporate some interesting and unexplainable things I’ve experienced myself.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? I start with jotting down ideas, overall plot points, and character points. Then I outline. Then I start writing the story.
What do you think is the biggest challenge about writing, or that writers face? For me, the greatest challenge is finding time to write. And now that I’ve published, marketing the book.
How long on average does it take you to write a book? Including the initial preliminary work of researching and outlining, plus final work revising and editing, The Wantland Files took me a year and a half. I hope to cut that time some on subsequent manuscripts but it depends on time.
How do you handle Writer’s Block? I don’t much encounter writer’s block. I think outlining before writing helps combat this.
Do you have any techniques, or tips you would like to share on tackling Writer’s Block? The times I find myself needing help, I run a very hot bath and make a hot cup of tea. I think the lack of interruptions allows my imagination to take over. This technique has never failed me.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books? I will read books in any format. I just love a good story.
What book/s are you reading at present? Haunted by James Herbert and a book on marketing
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you? When I think I’m finished, I send my manuscripts to trusted readers for feedback. When I’ve revised as thoroughly as I possibly can, then I send it to an editor.
Tell us a little bit about your book covers: Did you design them, or have them designed? I used a cover designer but was very involved in the process.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process? “You can’t judge a book by its cover” is a nice saying but I think covers very much draw in readers (or don’t) and a good cover is vital to a book.
How are you publishing this book and why? Kindle Press accepted and published my eBook and I published the print edition myself.
(*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)
How do you market your books? I’m exploring a number of marketing options available. Primarily letting my publicist handle it for now, but taking notes for later as well.
Would you or do you use a PR agency? I am using a publicist’s services currently.
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? Authors love to hear readers enjoyed their books, but not every book is for every person. Unfortunately, if people read your book, eventually someone will not care for it and leave a critical review.
Which social network works best for you? So far, Facebook has worked best for me.
Any tips on what to do and what not to do?
Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work? I have a book release party coming up. I hope it will work.
Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch?
What do you think of “trailers” for books?
Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s? One of my daughters offered to make a trailer for me, but she is a full time student and also works full time. So we will see if she’s able to do that.
Do you ever do giveaways, or free download days? Since I didn’t publish the book myself, promotional deals are out of my hands. But I do expect at some point to see a $.99 promo.
What is your favourite motivational phrase.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Plan ahead and be prepared to work hard for your book.
How can readers discover more about you and your work? My Facebook author page and my Amazon Author page will keep you updated on new releases.