Monday, March 26, 2012

Lisa T. Bergren is here!


I'm super excited to host Lisa T. Bergren today!  Ms. Bergren has authored many books, but it's her River of Time series I want to highlight today. It's a teen time travel series in which two girls go from modern times to medieval Italy. I love how it combines the wonderful I-can-do-anything-I-put-my-mind-to mentality of the modern girl with the chivalry and honor of the men of history. A really captivating series.


And if you've already finished the first three, make sure you check out Bourne, a novella that continues the story. (I just received a copy - super excited to dive in!)


It was Rachelle Rea and Katie McCurdy who introduced me to the River of Time series, so I invited them to ask Ms. Bergren some questions as well:

From Rachelle, "Are you a plotter or pantser? Can you give us some insights into your writing process (what's unique about it, etc.)?"

I have a general idea on both plot and character arcs--"I want them to arrive here having accomplished/learned this"; the rest is a total pantser process, which I love, because it gives the story room to evolve along with the characters and plot. (But it makes writing a synopsis for my publisher really, really hard. I pretty much guess and send it in with the caveat, "Subject to change!")

Also from Rachelle, "If you could meet any writer, alive or dead, who would you meet and what would you ask them?"

Stephanie Meyer. "Can you read WATERFALL and consider telling your legion of fans what you thought?" But that might be more self-serving than what you were really after with this question... :-)

Most of the time, when I've read a book, I wonder about specifics--why they chose a certain setting, what they intended with a certain scene, if I understood a particular metaphor...I'd like to know what made C.S. Lewis turn the corner and become a believer, why Stephen King is so drawn to horror, what Dean R. Koontz really believes about God. But I don't really idolize any author enough to have a burning need to talk to them. Maybe it's because I'm an author myself, and I take another's story as an influence on me for the moment, and potentially longer, but it's not huge for me. Books and author fame have kind of settled into a "this is my work life" thing for me. I'm more intrigued with the people in my real, day-to-day life. :-)

From Stephanie - You are stranded on a deserted island and can bring only one book with you. What do you bring? (Aside from the Bible, let's assume the Gideons have been there and covered that).

See my response above. I've never been enamored enough with a book to read it more than once (there are always so many others in my stacks!), so I have no idea what I'd bring for the long haul. Perhaps some sort of heady theological volume, since I'd have all kinds of time and high need to entertain my brain. Or maybe something as simple as a daily devotional like Jesus Calling or My Utmost for His Highest, to help keep me focused.

I had never heard of My Utmost for His Highest until I started asking this question in interviews. Clearly, I need to get my hands on this book.


Lisa, I loved the River of Time series, but I gotta say ... the idea of choosing to be in the middle ages forever kinda skeeves me out. (I'm a big fan of flush toilets. And toothpaste.And Chinese food.) As Gabi wrestles with the decision (true love but no deoderant versus the safety of being a woman in the 21st century but no hunky knight) what kind of thoughts were going on in your mind?

I agree! Those thoughts that she was having were my own. It'd be really, really difficult to give up on modern conveniences--my comfort foam mattress, hot water, grocery stores, medicine.

Must be why Gabi's struggle felt so real! If you could somehow found a portal and could communicate to your newbie writer self (this isn't such a stretch for you to imagine, is it?) what are 3 nuggets of wisdom you've learned during your writing career that you wish you knew when you started writing?

(1) It takes tenacity. You have to stick with it, day in and day out, to get a manuscript done. Even if you're writing 250-500 words a day, you can get a novel done, in time. But you have to be determined and make yourself return to it.

(2) It's good to keep learning, and studying the craft of writing is always valuable. Writer's Digest, writers' conferences, even taking a class on writing. Good stuff.

(3) Don't take it so seriously. Just enjoy the process. If you get to publish, cool. If not, hopefully it's still grown you and entertained you in some way.

This question comes from Katie, "You know how crazy I am about Lord Rodolfo Greco, so I just have to ask...was he a character you planned to take such a central role in Torrent, or did he just suddenly make himself a main character?"

He totally shocked me by how he arrived, stayed, and grew. That's part of my pantser process that I loved. I got to the section where they're tracking Gabi and Lia and I thought, "Hmm. Wouldn't it be interesting to have him be handsome and irritatingly good at his task?" I wanted to humanize the villain--I already had an evil through-and-through character in Paratore. I wanted Greco to be more complex. And good grief, he pretty much stole the show!

Also from Katie, "Out of the three guys in the series -- Marcello, Luca, and Rodolfo -- which guy do you like the most?"

Marcello. He's so steadfast and loyal and sacrificial in his love. But Luca's charming humor and Rodolfo's intensity are certainly attractive in their own right!

Again from Katie, "You've written a variety of books, of different time periods. Which is your favorite to write? Medieval? Historical? Contemporary?

I like the historical context of any period. It gives me good fodder for the plot--what was happening at that time in history and how might it have affected my characters? It gets the wheels turning...What I adored most about River of Time was the combination of historical and contemporary. It just flowed out of me, it was so easy to write. Definitely a sweet spot that has me thinking about other time travel romances...

Which I'm sure your fans would welcome! Thanks so much for being with us, Lisa!


Question for you guys - if you could live in any time period, when would you pick? Or if your answer is like mine (I'm happy where I am, thank you!) what would be the hardest modern convenience for you to give up? I think Target might be a tough one for me. Though "epidurals" keep popping to mind too...


Lisa said she could pop in from time to time today, so when you leave your answer, feel free to tell her hello!

38 comments:

  1. This was a great interview! I wouldn't mind visiting other places, but I'm happy where I am. Air conditioning. Must. Have. Air! :)

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  2. I have a quick question, is the River of Time series finished? Or are more books coming?

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    1. T, responded to you below...missed handy-dandy reply feature.

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  3. I absolutely adored the River of Time series. It had me staying up way to late to read it, gushing over three different certain knights with my sisters, and laughing one second, nearly crying another with all of it's twists and turns. Rodolfo totally was amazing in that last book, and I can't wait to get my hands on that novella. :) I have a question for Ms. Bergren what was the hardest thing about writing this series?

    In answer to the question, I wouldn't really want to live in another time period(i'm too attached to my computers, my NCIS, and microwave popcorn...) but I'd love to visit the big band and swing era in the 1930s. The outfits they wore, the music they listened to, the kind of dances they did...oh man, I'd be in heaven just for a little bit. :)

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    1. Figuring out the time travel elements. They make my head hurt. That's why we don't spend much time on the mechanics...

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  4. Tessa, I'm writing TRIBUTARY, another e-novella to follow BOURNE. It will be out in June. After that? We'll see. I'm seriously thinking about other "River of Time" novels, in different locales and different characters.

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  5. Well, I always wanted to live in Robin Hood's time. My sisters and I always played Robin Hood. That and Peter Pan, but Peter Pan isn't real. ^_^

    However, a modern convenience that would be hard for me to give up is probably my computer. I do tons of stuff on here, and can find out almost anything at the click of a button.

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    1. Ditto to that, Becki! I love the Robin Hood time period, evil Sheriff and all. :P (And I still *love* Peter Pan.)

      And agreed on the computer. I'd find it nearly impossible to give up because it's how I connect with my friends, near and far.

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    2. Eeek! I am in love with Robin Hood, so I'd love to back then :)

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    3. I love Robin Hood!! When I was little, I used to daydream that I had found my way back to Robin Hood's time and was a part of his band...which turned into the inspiration of my current WIP...Which is why I would totally go back there, but I think the things I would find hardest to give up would be: 1-a shower 2-electric lights 3-smokeless heating and 4- decent food.

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    4. Haha . . . my sisters and I pretended that we were children of the Merry Men. Well, I was always Robin Anne, the daughter of Robin Hood and Maid Marian. Sarah, for some reason, ended up being a boy. She was Danny, Will Scarlet's son. Don't ask me how it ended up that way. :D

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  6. Hmnn, great post everyone! And a time I'd most like to visit would be Tudor England or Ancient Egypt. I would most miss the computer and internet- showers too XDDD

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  7. I would love to live in the medieval time just as Gabi decided to. I truly felt connected to the main character and in my imagination, placed myself as her. Thank you so much Lisa Bergren for allowing me to go on this adventure! Your writing has inspired me to write myself! I was wondering though, how do you form your characters? Do you usually base them from someone you know or just completely imagine them into a person?

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    1. Hmmm, they begin as combinations of people in my mind and often evolve, just like people do in real life. A good starting point is to imagine your characters as people you know. It helps you get down their unique patterns of speech, ways of acting, etc.

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  8. Hmm...if I had to choose, I'd probably choose England in the 1940's. That time period has always utterly fascinated me and is actually the setting for more than one of my novels. The modern convenience that would be the hardest to give up? Obviously in 1940's I'd still have some things, so that'd make it easier. Probably the internet would be the hardest to do without- that and my word processor *winks*

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    1. Have you seen the "1940s House" show BBC/PBS did? If you like the 1940s, you might want to look it up

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  9. I have wanted to read this series since - well, for over a year, since I first heard about it; but our library doesn't have them!! *wails* They sound so up my alley, I want to read them... oh goodness...
    Lisa, do you give them away? Ever? ^.^
    ~ Mirriam

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    1. Current giveaway on my site via goodreads. But I bet you could request from your library? It'd help me if you did...

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  10. I'm glad to be where I am but I think maybe in William Shakespear's time just so I could know that he really lived.

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  11. I prefer to pretend I live in the past so I can pick and choose the best of both worlds, but if I really had to time travel back, I'd go to Regency England or be part of Robin Hood's band. Hard decision.
    And I think running water would be the hardest thing for me to give up. Oh, and probably hair conditioner... :P

    Thanks so much for the interview! I loved Lisa's "Waterfall" and have yet to read "Cascade"!

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  12. This was so much fun to read!! :) Not like I was surprised...So honored to have my questions up there and enamored by each and every answer. Thank you so much, Lisa and Stephanie!

    By the way, a big reason the River grabbed me is because if I had to choose, I'd go Medieval. No question. :) However, like Ellyn, I'd probably have to have a funeral for my curly hair or something, because without conditioner, oh, man.
    "My hair is a Leviathan." ~ Gabi
    Truly.

    More River? YAY! *Squeal* I even like the idea of other times/characters. Great stuff, I'm sure of it! Can't wait to find out who the new heroine is. :)

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  13. Okay, let's try this again. Typed this fantastic (*grin*) comment, then my computer decided to delete it...sigh.

    Anyway, this was a great interview. I enjoyed reading every word. I'm so honored to have *my* questions up there. Wow. Thank you, Lisa and Stephanie.

    No question. I'd go Medieval. Definitely. Probably a big reason the River drew me at first, because I just adore that time period. *Adore.* I would probably have to have a funeral for my curly hair or something because of the dearth of conditioner. It would never look the same again.
    "My hair is a Leviathan." ~ Gabi
    Truly.

    More River? More characters? That sounds so alluring. I can't wait to meet the new heroine! That sounds like a stellar idea! :) Cool!

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  14. Oh, great. My computer didn't delete it after all. :) Whoops.

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    1. You just sound doubly passionate. :-) xoxo

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  15. I love the Civil War era with the hoop skirts, beautiful land, charming styles and music, the southern chivilary, and (of course) the lovely hats they wore.
    But I also love the 1940s. The music, dances, (most of) the clothes styles. The hats, the skirts. I love how the women could now wear pants when they wanted too but still wore skirts a lot. There were still some "modern" conviences and a so much more common courtesy than there is today.

    It would be waay to hard to choose between them.

    Thank you so much!!

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  16. I would probably pick the early on Nancy Drew era :) Something about the fashion, the simplicity, idk :) My other two would be the 50's in general, and 18th century England.
    The hardest thing to give up would be my music. Although, thankfully, I'm a relic most times when it comes to that, so I'm sure I wouldn't die without mp3s :P Coffee makers, not so sure

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  17. I don't know where I'd go, but I'd rather have no electricity or technology than some. I would get frustrated with the little I had.

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  18. Hello Miss Stephanie! I just found your blog and I love it! I'm Michelle (you may remember that I entered the latest competition) and I'm thirteen. I know I'm definitely not an excellent writer yet, but I have a few ideas and lots of passion:) This interview was very interesting and I like all your posts. I'll stick around for a long time!

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  19. The 50s or 18th century England :) Mostly because of the influence of Jane Austen and Nancy Drew lol.
    I think I would hate losing my mp3 - but I'm a relic most times when it comes to taste in music, so I'm sure I'd survive if need be. Can't say the same about coffeemakers and Twizzlers though :P

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  20. I've always wanted to live in the fifties. I am head-over-heels for the styles back then, music was amazing (big fan of Bing Crosby), and you could watch movies without all the "scenes."

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    1. Funny-I just saw Lyd's comment. I guess the 50's obsession runs in the family, but she KNOWS that the Hardy Boys are 1000 times better :)

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    2. Wow......... your naivety cracks me up ;)

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  21. I've seen these books floating around but never picked them up -- they sound awesome! Italy? How.cool.

    Hmm. Sometimes I find myself SAYING things like, "Wouldn't it be cool to live in, like, the eighteen hundreds and wear those cool dresses and go to dances and stuff!"

    But, uh, I would just want my trackies back and my fuzzy warm hoodies. Plus I can't dance.

    Yeha, I think I'll stay here.

    Hey, I have a question. I've been thinking -- back in the day, like in the times of Pride and Prejudice -- would everything have been different, in the ways of marketing and stuff? As in, you'd write the book and sit back because there was no blog to write or Facebook to update... word could just sort of travel on its own? I don't know, I was just wondering.

    You know what land I want to live in? A land where they wrote letters. I love letters.

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    1. Oooo, letters. I love them too. But I hardly ever write them anymore. Email is so much easier! But if we lived in a different time...

      Dancing? The handsome knights in River of Time are good teachers. :-)

      And PRIDE & P: I think the advantage then was that almost everyone read. There was no competition with TV or the Net! And so everyone TALKED about books they loved!! *sigh* Now I wanna go THERE.

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  22. Great interview!! Fun questions and amazing answers :) If I could live in any time period, it would be the Renaissance....preferably Italy, but I'd take London, too. Runner up would be Regency London, or 50s America. <3

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  23. Wait, Stephanie, when you say "epidural" you mean for birthing and such right? lol. Completely random and not the first thing I'd miss if I was in a different time period. (Chocolate, showers, soap, toothbrushes, my iPod)

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  24. I know my comment is like sooo late, but I have to reply.

    I just finished the first three books in the series. Loved them! I personally liked Luca the best. I love the funny guys! ;)

    I would have to say either the 1700s or 1800s in America. Co. is the only place for me. Although I know Co. wasn't a state back then. ;'( I love all the pretty dresses, and fighting for freedom. And all the guys weren't complete weirdos like they are now.
    I would have a hard time with taking a bath and not a shower and only taking one like once a week. Yuck! My hair would be awful!

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Disagreement is welcome. Rudeness is not. Please be considerate of each other!