Today, I have the pleasure of hosting another Black Opal Books author, Daniella Bernett, a mystery and suspense author who’s written an international crime series.
Tell us a little bit about your books.
My mystery series features journalist Emmeline Kirby and jewel thief Gregory Longdon. They are former lovers. Both are British and my series takes place in the United Kingdom and Europe. The first three books are LEAD ME INTO DANGER, DEADLY LEGACY and FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE. LEAD ME INTO DANGER is set in Venice and London, my two most favorite cities in the world. In this book, Emmeline and Gregory haven’t seen each other in two years, but she literally runs into him in Venice after witnessing two men try to murder her colleague. Then, Emmeline and Gregory become ensnared in a hunt for a Russian spy in the British Foreign Office. DEADLY LEGACY, Book 2, is about $100 million in stolen diamonds, revenge and murder. It takes place in London. FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE is set in the seaside resort of Torquay along the English Riviera in Devon. It’s about the deep, dark secrets of Gregory’s past, love, betrayal and, of course, murder.
What made you become a writer?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was nine years old. The spark that launched me into the writing world was my fourth grade teacher. Once a week, she had Creative Writing hour and gave us different assignments. I absolutely loved it.
However, I think it all started with a love of reading and an appreciation of language and the written word. I am, and always have been, a voracious reader. Mysteries, spy thrillers, the classics, history, biographies, anything except science fiction and horror. (I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I read those types of books).
Where do you get your inspiration?
Inspiration is derived from all sorts of places. It could be a newspaper article, a snippet of overheard conversation, a real-life crime or a dream. Of course, location plays an important role in my books. I’ve been an Anglophile since I was a little kid, so naturally my characters had to be British and London had to figure prominently. I also adore Venice. That enchanted city’s history of intrigues was simply begging to be featured in Lead Me into Danger, book one in my series.
Meanwhile, I get a lot of ideas from the sights and sounds of a city or an area that has made a strong impression on me. You’re either going to laugh or you’re going to run very quickly in the opposite direction, but oftentimes I come across a place and think, “Wouldn’t this be the perfect spot to find a dead body?”
How do you develop your characters?
I think a part of every author is in his or her characters. Perhaps it’s a trait you wish you had. Or a witty riposte you should flung back at some quite insufferable person. Now, as an author, you have a second chance. Anything is possible. The author and his or her characters set out on a journey together. It’s a conspiracy, if you will. Each brings something distinctive to the story as it unfurls. Once the reader has made the emotional connection with your characters, you have them hooked because they have to know more.
What made you set your books in the United Kingdom?
Since I was little, I’ve been an Anglophile. I devoured any book that was set in England and I’m a devoted Masterpiece Theater and Mystery fan. I’ve visited London and other parts of the United Kingdom several times. Therefore when I started writing my own books, my characters had to be British.
How extensive was your research for each one of your books?
I didn’t have to do too much research for LEAD ME INTO DANGER, just some general background on the Foreign Office. I’ve been to Venice and London several times so I knew the cities well.
For DEADLY LEGACY, I read a number of newspaper articles about the Antwerp Diamond Centre heist and researched how Belgian diamantairs, or diamond cutters, fled to England with as many diamonds as they could to escape the Nazis. I learned about the Correspondence Office for the Diamond Industry, which two diamantairs with the help of Antwerp’s mayor and the British government established. This office registered and stored the smuggled diamonds until the end of the war. It was fascinating information and perfect for a mystery novel.
Again with FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE I didn’t really have to do any research.
What do you love most about being a writer? Least?
I love plotting out a story and adding twists and turns to keep readers turning pages. It’s tremendous fun to lead readers on a merry chase for clues. To me, clues are like pearls that are strategically dropped here and there until they form a necklace. Granted, I throw in a few red herrings to keep things interesting.
What I like least is the marketing aspect. I’m a writer, not a marketing guru. Social media was (and is) the most difficult thing for me. I’m getting better at it, but I would still rather be writing.
What are you working on now?
I’m actually working on Book 6. However, I would be happy to give you a tiny hint about what awaits Emmeline and Gregory in A CHECKERED PAST, Book 4, which will be released in fall 2018. Three months have passed since Emmeline’s trip to Torquay and the devastating revelations that surfaced about Gregory. The whole interlude has left a bitter taste in her mouth. She has thrown herself into her work and is keeping him at arm’s length. But suave and charming Gregory is not giving up—neither are Emmeline’s grandmother and her best friend, Maggie. After all, faint heart never won fair lady. Hold your breath to see if he succeeds in his suit. Other threads in the story revolve around looted Nazi art, a former IRA commander and oh, yes, murder.
Daniella Bernett is a member of the Mystery Writers of America NY Chapter. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Journalism from St. John’s University. Lead Me Into Danger, Deadly Legacy and From Beyond The Grave are the first three books in the Emmeline Kirby-Gregory Longdon mystery series. She also is the author of two poetry collections, Timeless Allure and Silken Reflections. In her professional life, she is the research manager for a nationally prominent engineering, architectural and construction management firm. Daniella is currently working on Emmeline and Gregory’s next adventure. Visit www.daniellabernett.com or follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008802318282 or on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/40690254-daniella-bernett.
DEADLY LEGACY: https://www.criminalelement.com/stories/2016/09/deadly-legacy-new-excerpt-daniella-bernett?image&utm_source=criminalelementnewsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_term=criminalelementaudience&utm_content=-na_read_blogpost&utm_campaign=092016
Thanks so much for your insights into your books, Daniella. Please feel free to leave comments and questions for Daniella.
The Sign Behind The Crime,