"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!" (Mary Quallo, St Louis)

"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!"  (Mary Quallo, St Louis)
Coming next week - Carla Eatherington

Sunday, 28 September 2014

With a new collection of short stories, the popular Mary Ann Bernal talks to Ngaire Elder...around the Cauldron!

Mary Ann Bernal
The Wizard has been off on a quest this week - he and Igor have been road testing new Cauldrons in deepest Transylvania - so massive friend of the blog, children's author Ngaire Elder, takes over the Wizphone, interviewing popular historical fiction writer and Green Wizard editor Mary Ann Bernal.  

Nebraska resident - and exiled New Yorker - Mary Ann released her anthology of short stories "Scribbler Tales" this week and these excellent pieces are well worth reading. 

Mary Ann is also a huge friend of the Cauldron and you can find her previous chats - and those of Ngaire here, on the Index.


Mary Ann it is wonderful to see you back at the Wizard’s Cauldron, your last interview was with the Wonderful Wizard of Notts himself in January 

Hi Ngaire...it's wonderful to be back. I was here discussing "Timeline"

The Most Read Interview Ever on the Wizard's Cauldron - Mary Ann Bernal and Timeline

I know you have been busy and have successfully published The Briton and the Dane as an audiobook and more recently The Briton and the Dane: Timeline, what motivated you to publish to audio?

Authors have to keep up with the latest technology, Ngaire.   It is important to have one’s work accessible on all available venues - print, electronic and audio - to accommodate preferences.

Thomas Edison Taped Nicholas Nickelby. The first audiobook?

Like Milk Tray, ladies luvvvv audio books - a Parisian lady of leisure
listens avidly...

Did you enjoy the publish-to-audio process?

The audio process was a thoroughly enjoyable learning curve.  I knew nothing about this industry until I started working with my very talented producer, narrator Sebastian Lockwood.  He made my initiation seamless.  

The talented Sebastian Lockwood, was your chosen narrator for The Briton and the Dane novel. 

What was it about Sebastian that made you choose him to narrate your audiobook?

Sebastian was the perfect choice, being an experienced storyteller.  One can picture him wearing the priest cowl as he married David and Helga. 

“Ego conjungo vos in matrimonium in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.”
“I unite you in wedlock in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Follow Sebastian Lockwood on Facebook

And do you have plans to publish the remaining 3 books in The Briton and Dane franchise to audio?

Yes, Ngaire, that is the plan.  I am looking forward to working with Sebastian again -  a travelling bard whose recent works include the audio release of Homer’s Odyssey  and The Epic of Gilgamesh.

Volume 1 of your short story series, Scribbler Tales, was published earlier this month, where do you get your information or ideas for your short stories, I particularly enjoyed Sail With Me and Desperate Measures?

My story ideas  always start with “what if” - how far would you go to save, betray or kill someone?  And if you’re going to betray someone, why would you do it?  Money, power, revenge?  There’s a lot you can do with human emotions, and I love coming up with “I never saw that coming” endings.

“Scribbler Tales is a unique mix of genres in one anthology rich with tension,
humanity and genuine emotion.
Unconventional settings and unexpected twists are
bound to leave you pondering long after you close this book.”

In “Desperate Measures,” you will learn of human cloning experiments gone awry. “Forbidden Lore” beckons Arianna and Ethan into a haunted cemetery where you will discover how they survive the night. Star-crossed lovers who refuse to accept the inevitable rise to a surprise ending in “Forever Lost.” In “The Hourglass,” the weakness of human character is exposed when Flair makes a covenant with the Devil. “Sail with Me” is a slice of life read about the confessions of a military brat who changes his life against all the odds.

Mary Ann, your endings always leave me astounded. Can you relate to your characters’ predicaments, and to what extent do they remind you of yourself or someone you know?

My favorite movies are action films, crime shows, spy thrillers, period movies - the list is endless, but I am not a chick flick fan.  

Therefore, my “cast” embodies all the necessary elements to provide for a good story.  I tend to combine elements from characters such as James Bond and Jack Bauer when creating my fictional counterpart.    

What are your plans for future Volumes in the Scribbler Tales series?
Since I have more fun writing short stories than novels, oops, did I just confess to a secret?  

President Obama, keen Briton and Dane enthusiast, cannot believe
what he's just read here at the Cauldron!
Seriously, I enjoy writing in different genres and telling a story quickly and to the point - think of Scribbler Tales as a weekly TV show - a lot of action in a short period of time.

As a child, what was the worst thing you did? 

Ran away from kindergarten because the kids made fun of my shoes.  Of course, I just stayed behind my house while the entire neighborhood was looking for me.  Needless to say, the kids never did that again since they got into more trouble than I did.

Oh, I love it, Mary Ann. I ran away from home once because my mum and dad were laughing at me and I got in a huff! Grabbing my basket of chocolate Easter eggs and wool coat I trudged down our driveway onto the main road. Needless to say my mum was not very happy about that and dragged me home! 

(Ha ha ha you two - stay on topic! Ed)

Is there a particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Am just an incurable romantic anglophile since having read “Ivanhoe” by Sir Walter Scott and seeing all the Hollywood blockbuster period movies.  

Let’s go “a Viking” - love my action films!

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your publishing experience that you would change? 

It’s a good thing I didn’t quit my day job.  Writing and publishing are two different career paths.  My experience has been on-the-job training, which is more difficult than taking collegiate courses.  It is a challenge to wear both caps, but I wouldn’t change anything, unless of course, I can use hindsight and start over - no, don’t think so - never look back, just move forward.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author and what has been the best compliment?

Toughest criticism is “wrote a movie” - yes, guilty as charged.  That’s my style and I am happy with it.   

Best compliment  - being told I have transported the reader into “the scene” - whether it “hearing” the sound of metal as swords clashed, to “seeing” the dust rise as the horses circled around the arena, to “bracing oneself” as a wall of water approached the shore.

Mary Ann, thank you for visiting the Wizard's Cauldron and everyone here wishes you terrific success with "Scribbler Tales 

Thank you so much, Ngaire. It's a pleasure to be here.

Contact Mary Ann

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BritonandDane

Lovely Blog - worth following for history buffs and Indies: 


The tireless Mary Ann is also the editor at Green Wizard (see right hand column), for Brenda Perlin's west coast "Faction" tales and Ngaire Elder's brilliant kids prose primer,  Dragon's Star"

You can buy Mary Ann's many works on Amazon and through her blog. You might also want to try "Concordia" - for my money, the best book I read in 2012. An amazing journey from rainswept England to sunbaked Moorish Spain with some of the most absorbing characters you'll ever read.

Link for review of Scribbler Tales http://brooklynandbochronicles.blogspot.com.es/2014/09/scribblers-tales-collection-of-short.html

Book trailers:

Scribbler Tales –  Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Scribbler-Tales-One-Mary-Bernal-ebook/dp/B00N6A462E

Scribbler Tales – Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/Scribbler-Tales-One-Mary-Bernal-ebook/dp/B00N6A462E


  1. Thanks for having me on the Cauldron, great Wizard. Thanks, Ngaire for hosting. It was fun and I love the graphics and videos. Great choices.

  2. Great to find out more about you Mary Ann - we share the same taste in movies :-) I love short stories and find them a great way to try out an author's work before leaping in with a novel so on the strength of that have just bought Scribbler Tales (love the atmospheric cover!) and am looking forward to getting to read it. Lovely interview Mary Ann, Ngaire and of course Wiz :-)

  3. Thanks so much, Georgia - hope you like the stories - volume two will be out in time for Christmas. My illustrator is Steven Novak - will pass along your comments. Have a blessed day. Mary Ann

  4. Love the interview! You have a pretty darn good subject. Nice job. Scribbler Tales is a great read.

  5. Wrote a movie...guilty as charged. Good for you!

  6. Thanks Brenda and Paula - love my stories.


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