Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Conversation with Mystery Author Daniella Bernett

Omnimystery News: Author Interview with Daniella Bernett

We are delighted to welcome author Daniella Bernett to Omnimystery News today.

Daniella begins a new series featuring journalist Emmeline Kirby and jewel thief Gregory Longdon with Lead Me Into Danger (Black Opal Books; October 2015 trade paperback and ebook formats) and we recently had the opportunity to spend some time with her talking about it.

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Omnimystery News: Introduce us to the lead characters of your new series.

Daniella Bernett
Photo provided courtesy of
Daniella Bernett

Daniella Bernett: Lead Me Into Danger is the first book in my series. It is set in London and Venice. (Two of my most favorite cities in the world.) Lead Me Into Danger is a mystery, but it is laced with romantic suspense and intrigue. The main characters are journalist Emmeline Kirby and jewel thief Gregory Longdon.

Emmeline is a petite, attractive 30-year-old brunette with dark eyes. She's fiercely loyal to her friends and those she loves. She would do anything to help them. Emmeline is extremely intelligent and well-respected in the journalism field. Finding the truth and seeing that justice is served are part of her core beliefs. However, she also has a short temper and is impatient. Her drive to find the truth can sometimes make her a little reckless and place her in all sorts of precarious predicaments. I like Emmeline tremendously. She has her faults but these make her human. She's strong and stands up for what she believes in. I admire her self-confidence and sense of self-worth.

While Emmeline is open and transparent, Gregory is an enigma and his past is shrouded in mystery. He's suave, oh, so handsome, and devastatingly charming with a razor-sharp wit. He's forty-two, has dark wavy hair with a dashing touch of gray at the temples. He sports a mustache and always seems to have a mischievous gleam in his cinnamon eyes. Generally, a jewel thief is considered a "bad guy," but I have a soft spot for Gregory. Beneath the flippant manner lies a caring man, a gentleman for whom it goes against the grain to allow a murderer to roam free.

As you might have surmised, Emmeline and Gregory share a past. They're former lovers. But something happened to pull them apart and now, after two years of not seeing one another, they're thrown together as they try to solve the murder of her friend and to find a Russian spy. Those old feelings haven't disappeared and only serve to add spice to the story.

I would be remiss if I didn't introduce Detective Chief Inspector Oliver Burnell and Detective Sergeant Jack Finch of Scotland Yard, who are an integral part of the story. Burnell is adept at catching criminals, except for Gregory who is a thorn in his side. The two are always playing cat and mouse. Burnell is in his mid-fifties, overweight, with thinning white hair and a neatly trimmed beard. Behind his deep blue eyes, lurks an agile mind whose wheels are always turning. He cannot suffer fools or those who are pompous and arrogant like his boss. For these individuals, he reserves a caustic barb, sotto voce of course. Burnell may come off as gruff sometimes, but he can be very understanding and empathetic. (However, he would be extremely embarrassed if you recognized this fact.)

Finch is thirty-five, with reddish brown hair and warm brown eyes. He's a good detective in his own right. He's very perceptive and observant. Oftentimes, he fades into the background, which can be unnerving for those with something to hide.

And last, but certainly not least, there's Helen Davis, Emmeline's grandmother. Helen helped Emmeline become the woman she is today. She instilled in her granddaughter a love of reading, history and art. Helen raised Emmeline since she was five years old. Emmeline's parents were also journalists, but they were killed while on assignment abroad.

OMN: How do you expect these characters to develop over the course of a series?

DB: Whether in a story or in real life, no one stays the same. Of course, one's basic nature remains unchanged because that's who one is as a person and what makes each of us unique. However, each of us develops and grows over time. It's inevitable. We encounter so many different people and situations that we can't help but be influenced by them. And so it is with the cast of characters in my mystery series.

OMN: How much of your own personal or professional experience have you included in your book?

DB: I've often been asked this question. I think for an author each character is a little piece of you or how you would like to be or to respond if you were in a certain situation. Then, of course, I may base one or two characters on people I know. But shh, I have to keep some secrets.

OMN: Describe your writing process for us.

DB: I don't outline. However, I like to plan out the whole story in my head before I sit down to write. I often get new ideas along the way and make changes, but I like to have that basic skeleton of the plot to follow.

After I get started, I need absolute quiet when I work. If it's noisy, I can't think.

OMN: How true are you to the settings of London and Venice?

DB: Setting is extremely important to the plot. I've been to London and Venice several times, therefore in Lead Me Into Danger I'm able to provide a glimpse of the sights and sounds to give the reader the general flavor of these cities. I have a very visual memory so I describe the places where I've wandered or that made an impression on me. The only place in the book that is fictitious is Swaley, the town in Kent where Emmeline's grandmother lives.

OMN: Have any specific authors influenced how and what you write today?

DB: Without a doubt, Agatha Christie influenced me the most. For me, she is the grand dame of mystery. She was a genius at weaving complex plots. In addition, she understood human nature and all its foibles. That's why her characters are so fascinating.

OMN: What's next for you?

DB: Deadly Legacy, the second book in my Emmeline Kirby-Gregory Longdon series, will be coming out later this year. I don't have a release date yet because it's in the editing process but I think it will likely be around September or October. Meanwhile, I recently finished work on Book 4 and am preparing to start on Book 5. The ideas just keep swirling around in my head. I simply have to get them down on paper.

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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. In her professional life, she is the research manager for a nationally prominent engineering, architectural and construction management firm.

For more information about the author, please visit her website at DaniellaBernett.com and her author page on Goodreads, or find her on Facebook.

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Lead Me Into Danger by Daniella Bernett

Lead Me Into Danger by Daniella Bernett

A Murder Mystery

Publisher: Black Opal Books

Amazon.com Print/Kindle Format(s)BN.com Print/Nook Format(s)iTunes iBook FormatKobo eBook Format

A journalist, a jewel thief, and a Russian spy … when their paths cross, it's murder.

Journalist Emmeline Kirby hasn't laid eyes on her former lover Gregory Longdon, a jewel thief, in two years. But she literally tumbles into his arms, after she witnesses two men attempt to murder her friend and fellow journalist, Charles Latimer, in Venice.

When Charles is ultimately killed, Emmeline is determined to bring his murderer to justice. But as she and Gregory delve deeper, they become ensnared in a hunt for a Russian spy in the British Foreign Office, who has his sights set on keeping his identity a secret at all costs — as Charles found out too late.

Lead Me Into Danger by Daniella Bernett. Click here to take a Look Inside the book.

1 comment:

  1. I've read her fiction and it is great! Looking forward t much more, which I know she'll deliver.

    ReplyDelete

 

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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