If you’re a reader who finds joy in the “whodunit” books then Daniella Bernett is the author for you. A member of the Mystery Writers of America NY Chapter, Daniella by day is a research manager for an engineering, architectural and construction management firm, and by night is a murder mystery, crime solving writer. If you are a Sherlock Holmes or a Matlock at heart than get your hands on her books. Daniella has a string of mystery series that will attend to your reading addiction. I had the chance to talk with her and ask a few questions about her and her series. Casey Bell
1. When did you know you wanted to be 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).
2. What inspires you to write?
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. 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 setting to find a dead body?”
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 and the UK had to figure prominently in my books. I also adore Venice. That enchanted city’s history of intrigues was simply begging to be featured in Lead Me Into Danger, Book 1 in Emmeline Kirby-Gregory Longdon mystery series. In terms of Deadly Legacy, Book 2, what set the story in motion in my mind was the 2003 heist at the Antwerp Diamond Centre. A group of Italian thieves stole $100 million in diamonds, gold, and other jewelry. Only one man was caught. The diamonds were never found. This captivated my imagination. From Beyond The Grave, Book 3, focuses on Emmeline and Gregory’s rekindled relationship. His recent resurfacing has thrown her safe world into turmoil. Therefore, I wanted to take them outside of London, where they wouldn’t be distracted by daily routines. I selected Torquay along the English Riviera in Devon because I love the sea. Gently lapping tides, a rugged coastline, romantic sunsets, and murder.
3. What was your first published book?
Lead Me Into Danger, Book 1 in my series, which features journalist Emmeline Kirby and jewel thief Gregory Longdon, was my first mystery published. My first book published was Timeless Allure, a poetry collection.
4. What is a brief synopsis of your mystery novel?
In Lead Me Into Danger, 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.
5. What was your first response to receiving your book and holding it?
My heart stopped for the briefest instant, my breath caught in my throat, and my fingertips tingled. The feeling never changes.
6. What is your latest published book and the synopsis?
A Checkered Past, Book 4, is the latest installment in my series. Here’s the back cover copy to whet your appetite:
A looted Nazi painting…A former IRA commander…The tie that binds is murder
Emmeline Kirby is back in London determined to make a success of her new job as editorial director of investigative features at The Clarion. Three months have passed since her trip to Torquay and the devastating revelations that surfaced about her fiancé Gregory Longdon. The whole interlude has left a bitter taste in her mouth, and she is keeping him at arm’s length. But a suave and dashing jewel thief like Gregory is not easily daunted. After all, faint heart never won fair lady. It doesn’t hurt that Emmeline’s grandmother and her best friend, Maggie, are on his side. Only his shadowy past could ruin his chances.
All of these relationships are threatened as Emmeline stubbornly pursues a story about looted Nazi art and an IRA collaborator. When a stolen Constable painting belonging to Maggie’s family turns up in the collection of Max Sanborn, the chairman of the company that owns the Clarion, her personal crusade brings danger close to home. To find the truth, Emmeline and Gregory must untangle a web of deception, betrayal, and dark deeds. But will they learn too late that justice can be cold comfort if you’re dead?
7. What inspired you to write this book?
I am passionate about the issue of looted Nazi art, as everyone should be about injustice. Sadly, as 2018 comes to a close and we enter 2019, we routinely read these stories in the papers. Each one another ugly stigma of shame that the Holocaust was allowed to take place. That’s why it infuriates me when people continue to deny that it ever happened and that its victims are “greedy” for attempting to have THEIR property returned.
I simply attempted to keep the issue alive and to show how it reverberates today. In addition, the resurgence of such sentiments terrifies me. The war is never over for those who suffered, and continue to suffer, because of the injustices perpetrated against them. If we forget, humanity’s soul will be condemned in perpetuity.
8. What advice would you give people who are thinking about writing a book, but have not taken the steps yet?
I believe all writers are readers at heart. Therefore, I would tell an aspiring writer to READ. Read everything you can get your hands on to get a feel for the pacing, moods evoked, subjects written about and the language. Read different authors to see how each handles the narrative and plot twists. In the end though, let these other books merely be your guides. The most important thing is to write the story that you want to write and not what others tell you or what the current market trends are. To write a great story, you have to breathe it, live with it, and nurture it in your dreams and waking hours.
9. Are you working on any new book(s)?
Book 5 will be released in September 2019. I just finished Book 6. I usually take a couple of months off in between books to allow the next one to percolate in mind. Then, Emmeline and Gregory drag me off on another adventure.
10. How can one contact you? Email, website, social media, etc?
My website is www.daniellabernett.com. I’d love to hear from readers. If they’d like to drop me a little note, there is an e-mail address on my website. Readers also can follow me on Facebook and Goodreads.
11. Anything else you would like to say that was not asked?
Many people ask me why I chose a journalist and a jewel thief as protagonists. A journalist is inherently curious about many subjects. His or her job is to ask questions to uncover the truth and ensure transparency. Naturally, a journalist would be intrigued by crime, especially murder. The determination to find answers and see that justice is served are all important.
Meanwhile, a jewel thief’s modus operandi are lying and evasion of the law. Isn’t this in stark contrast to a journalist’s reverence for the truth and justice? Most definitely. That’s exactly the point. A portrait in contrasts. Who better than someone on the wrong side of the law to discern the twisted workings of a fellow criminal’s mind? A thief immediately recognizes things that the honest person would never even contemplate. In Gregory’s case, he has a certain code of honor. Murder is an offensive transgression. A line that should never be crossed. Thus, I have two diametrically opposed sleuths who are of one mind when it comes to the taking of a human life: the culprit must pay for the crime, otherwise chaos would reign in the world.
Thank you to Daniella Bernett for taking the time to interview with me. If she sounded interesting to you then go ahead and purchase one of her books and see if she is a fit for your reading eyes.