Maria, thank you for answering questions for me today. I first met you through the Rockstars Among Us Facebook Group I was invited to a while back. Can you tell readers what the difference is between the two groups (Rockstars Among Us and Rock Star VIPs: Main Stage) and your level of involvement in each (because you seem—to me, at least—to be instrumental in both).
You are welcome, Jade, and thank you for giving me this opportunity to share.
Now to answer your question…
Early January 2015, I started Rockstars Among Us Facebook Group. I could not find a Facebook Book Group dedicated to the rockstar genre, so I created my own. I wanted a group where our genre would not be lost amongst the multitudes of other genres.
I wanted to form a group where I could invite my readers to discuss and promote my books. However, I did not want to make it only about me, Maria Bernard.
Shortly after creating RAU, I started inviting other authors of rockstar romance. My goal was to create an easygoing, casual atmosphere where authors and readers could get to know each other and discuss favourite books, bands, and musicians.
Through my involvement with the group, I’ve met many readers and writers I now consider good friends. Author Lashell Collins shared a similar vision and is now co-admin for RAU. Together with author Bella Jeanisse, we have made the group into what it is today.
Rockstars Among Us Facebook Group is open to all authors of rockstar romance. Promotion by authors is welcome and encouraged (as long as promos are rockstar related). Participation of all members (readers and writers) is also encouraged.
Early 2016, I was invited to join Rock Star VIPs: Main Stage (Group), an author/reader group dedicated to the Rock Star Romance genre. The Rock Star VIP Group features a core 15 authors of rock star romance with minimal promo.
I am excited to be in both groups. I believe the two groups have similar goals. The only major difference is VIPs is dedicated to the promotion of its 15 core authors, while RAU is open to all authors of the rock star genre.
You and I both write rock star romance. Can you tell me how many rock star books you’ve written? What has inspired you to write in this particular romance subgenre?
So far, I have written twelve books. I have self-published two completed series of four books each, two spinoffs, and two stand-alone books. I am currently preparing my thirteenth book, House of Goths, for release.
What inspired me to write rock star romance was my frustration at not finding the genre when searching through bookstores. I didn’t want to read about billionaires, cowboys, and dukes. I wanted to read about rockstars. I was tired of the same old tried and true romance genres. I wanted something different. I was unable to find it. Therefore, I wrote my own. Then after discovering the world of ebooks and self-publishing, I realized I was definitely not alone.
There are actually further niches in rock star romance. I haven’t yet had a chance to read yours. Do you write sweet rock star romance? Gritty? Realistic? Tell me what makes yours stand out from the crowd.
My books are considered by readers as highly romantic and sweet with a healthy dose of steam. My bands feature realistic characters with enough quirks to suck readers into their angsty little worlds and hold them there. The bands and individual artists in my books are not world renowned musicians. The stories mostly focus on up-and-coming musicians. One or two books feature rockers who’ve achieved a certain level of fame to then suffer the consequences of that very same fame. I like writing about the different aspects related to being in a band and how each member brings with them their own individual personalities and talents.
Do you have a bestselling or “breakout” book you’d like to tell me about?
How to choose… Wow, tough question. Okay, I’ll have to go with… Falquen’s Nest.
Falquen’s Nest is the first of four books in my These Bones series. Wow, who would have thought Goths were so compelling? Well, I did. That’s why I wrote the series. Talk about sub-genres. I wanted to write about Goths because the subculture fascinates me. The response has been wonderful!
Often Goths are misunderstood. They’re looked upon with fear, mistrust. I’ve had readers confess they were wary of reading the series to then fall in love with the characters. I’ve had a reader thank me for writing about Goths in such a positive manner because they are tired of the negative way in which Goths are often portrayed. As a writer, that makes me so happy because that was my goal.
I often use the tagline, “These Bones – Fear Us Not” when promoting the series. These Goths are in no way scary or intimidating individuals. It is my hope that readers will step out of their comfort zones and take a chance on these captivating characters who have been lovingly nicknamed “Modern Day White Knights” dressed in black leather.
Have you written in other genres or do you plan to? Please tell me about them.
Indeed, I have written a paranormal romance.
The Balcony is a stand alone rockstar romance with a paranormal twist. While technically it is a rockstar romance, this book is completely different to the rest of my books. In fact, it’s a tough one to categorize. That’s why I call it “Rockstar Romance with a Paranormal Twist.”
So, to answer your question more accurately, no, I haven’t written outside of the rockstar genre. I don’t know if I will. I won’t say never, but I haven’t had the desire to explore that route as of yet.
It seems a good many authors struggle with writer’s block. How do you cope with that particular problem?
Writer’s block is not my problem. Procrastination is. I’m a big daydreamer. Distraction is another challenge. Between writing, maintaining a presence on social media, and promoting, time is not always on my side.
Any rituals you perform before, during, or after you write? Anything you do to get “in the zone”?
I don’t have an actual ritual, but music helps to put me in the right mind frame beforehand. Although, when I’m actively writing, I don’t like listening to music because it will greatly influence my writing and that’s not always a good thing.
Any of your characters you love more than any others? Hate? Any of them “speak” to you more loudly?
- Speaks the loudest:
There are more than one and they all happen to be the singers of the individual bands, Ashton Wright – Hand In Glove, Jet – Dream Crush, Sage – A Dream for Winter, Gabriel (Phantom) – The Balcony, Gray Forrester – Bleed Out Your Heart, Crispin – House of Goths.
- I love them all, but I do have favourites.
Sage Winters Lane, the original Gothstar from A Dream for Winter will always have a special place in my heart. Darien River from Joy and Sorrow is my dream come true, and I absolutely adore Becky Sparks from my upcoming release, House of Goths.
- I don’t hate any of my main characters. But there are a couple of villains I may not like.
Besides being a writer, I am a visual artist. I studied Fine Arts, Drawing and Painting at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD). This trait is found in quite a few of my characters. For example, Falquen Forrester from Falquen’s Nest is a bass player and a painter who owns an art supply shop. His love interest, Janie Drago is a watercolorist. Chloe Martin from Hand In Glove is also an artist, as well as her sidekick Audrey from Sound Shelter who is a Graphic Designer.
If we had to read one book of yours, which one would you recommend and why?
I would recommend Falquen’s Nest since it is the first book of four in my These Bones Series. Hopefully, by reading it, you would then get hooked and read the rest. Also, I really enjoyed writing it. The characters are unique. They’re goths, they’re rockstars, but they also have other interesting qualities that make them who they are.
Tell me about something exciting or weird that’s happened to you since becoming an author.
The most exciting thing was getting an email from a reader very early on, when I first released Hand In Glove. The fact that she took the time to reach out to let me know how much she enjoyed reading my book basically inspired me to continue. To this day, my favourite part of this process has been getting feedback from happy readers.
Maria Bernard is an author of rock star romance (heavy on the romance with a healthy dose of steam.) You can find her in the following places:
Amazon Author Page US: amazon.com/author/mariabernard
Amazon Author Page UK: http://amzn.to/1JfJboa