Marilyn Holdsworth

Broken Pieces - Rachel Thompson

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Author Interview – George A Bernstein

What genre are you most comfortable writing? I write Suspense. My first novel, Trapped (,, is a parapsychological suspense, that most readers comment, “I couldn’t put it down.” My current novel, A Third time to Die, might be classified as a Romantic Suspense. I’ve also written two non-procedural Detective novels, featuring a Miami-Dade homicide cop (think Patterson’s Alex Cross), and am working on two more in his series. I’ve also written a non-fiction book about fly-fishing for pike and Musky, Toothy Critters Love Flies. More about that in a later question

Can you tell us about your main character? Ashley Easton is a beautiful, vibrant mother in a troubled marriage. She rescues a badly abused horse and decides to return to show jumping, the passion of her youth. The animal gives her unquestioned love, something she no longer receives from her husband, Keith. But when Ashley begins to compete, she is terrified as the course seemingly morphs into an old forest, the jumps transformed into real walls, fences and streams. Her thoughts spill through her head in elegant French, a language she barely knows, as she attacks the fences with a fearless abandon uncharacteristic for her, winning every event.

Later, through hypnotic psychotherapy, Ashley discovers two Past Lives, the first as a French countess, the reckless but skilled horsewoman who fills her head while jumping her horse, Injun. Those lives were filled with passionate love, and fraught with brutal murder. Now, in the 21st Century, she is rediscovering her lover, but has her killer also returned to this time?

How much of the book is realistic? There are two aspects to A 3rd Time to Die: Jumping horses and Past Lives. My wife, Dolores, owned and jumped a champion Open Class horse when we lived in northern Illinois. I’ve brought that experience to the novel, giving an accurate insight to that beautiful sport, including the personal relationship between rider and horse. Her horse, Redman, loved her, interacting more like a dog than an equine with her.

Past Lives are more debatable. Ashley is eventually hypnotically regressed into those past lives, so I decided reading about how it was done wasn’t going to cut it for me. I read “Many Lives, Many Masters,” by Dr. Brian Weiss, a prominent psychiatrist and most noted proponent of past lives. I found an associate of his, (Weiss was “booked up” for over a year!) who hypnotically regressed me… into NINE lives of my own. I had my doubts of the reality of the condition, but wanted to see what it was like. This, you may think, was going a bit “overboard” for research, but it was a life-changing experience. This gave me a clear understanding of how regression actually works, the actual mechanics the therapist uses to take you back… back… back into past lives.

Here’s an interesting personal antidote. When I was twelve, my dad brought home a target bow and a big straw bull’s-eye target. My only experience with a bow was from watching Western movies, but I set up the target in the back yard, strung the bow (how did I even know how to do that?), walked off about 100 feet… and started shooting bull’s-eyes! I seldom missed that center black circle. A few days later, while practicing, a big crow flew over, probably 60 feet high. I instinctively put an arrow in him. A week later, while “hunting” in a nearby forest preserve, I flushed a ringneck pheasant, and knocked him down with a quick shot. Then a rabbit, dodging through the brush. I don’t know how I did it, I just did it, without thinking.

The point of this little tale is, during one of my regressions, I found myself in Lincolnshire Forest, shooting game for a 16th Century English duke…a regular Robin Hood. An interesting and provoking side-light to doing research for a novel. Personally, I now believe in Past Lives.

Who is your publisher? A 3rd Time to Die is published by GnD Publishing LLC ( They’re a small, independent publisher, operating in the new mode of “fee sharing.” They are NOT a vanity Publisher, as they are selective about what they will publish, but they are motivated to help Debut authors. Basically, the writer pays the actual cost of independent professional content and line editing, cover design, an ISBN number, and any minor out-of-pocket costs. My expenses were about $1500, but then they share, 50/50, all royalties, from the first sale. They also provide guidance for marketing. Their web site offers a lot of good (free) advice, too.

TAG Publishers was the publisher for my first novel, Trapped. TAG is also a small independent publisher, and while they do not charge up front for any of the costs of publishing ($3000), they keep all royalties until it’s paid out, which will take a lot longer to earn out. They also split the net royalty with the author,

Have you written any non-fiction? I’ve written a book about my main love, fly-fishing for pike and musky. Toothy Critters Love Flies, (, is now in its 2nd Edition, available in both print, and for the first time, as a Kindle. I had an agent and several publishers interested in the book. They didn’t feel there was enough potential sales, however, so I self-published, and the book has done quite well. I’m considered a “World-Class” fly-fisherman and have held a dozen IGFA World Records, including two for pike. I actually got started fly-fishing for toothy critters after a chance meeting with famous baseballer, Ted Williams, in northern Manitoba. He was my hero, and it was a lifetime memory to have fished with him.

Can we expect more books from you in the future? As I’ve said, I’ve already written four novels. A Third Time to Die is my 2nd. The other two are my Al Warner detective series, which I hope to publish with GnD Publishers over the next year or so. I’m now busy promoting a 3rd Time to Die, so I haven’t even started with editors on the Warner series.

How important do you think villains are in a story? Pretty hard to have suspense without a villain, isn’t it? I guess villains don’t have to always be people, though. It can be weather, as in “A Perfect Storm,” or a short story I wrote, A Lucky Coincidence, available on Amazon ( . Or it can be location, like the story of the climber who had to cut off his arm to escape a boulder, pinning him down. But you NEED a villain.

I attended a fiction writing seminar by famed fiction agent, Donald Maass, and when discussing plot, he asked, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” After we wrote down our calamity, he asked, “Now, what can be WORSE than that?” and then, “What can be EVEN WORSE than that?” That’s how you create tension for your characters, and it’s not something to be conquered in a few sentences… or even a page. Danger has to be strung out, getting worse and worse… until it gets better.


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Genre – Romantic Suspense

Rating – PG13

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