Monday, March 14, 2011
FEATURED AUTHOR: Bernice Layton
I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. I work full and I’ve always been a reader of novels, mostly romantic suspense.
As a single parent raising my daughter, I’d always worked full-time while attending the local community college and university. At the end of the day, I would often find relaxation by reading a mystery and romance novel. They were a welcomed break from textbooks.
Lies in Disguise is my third published novel for Genesis Press, Inc. My debut novel, Promises Made was released on 11/4/08. My second novel, Crossing the Line was released on 4/6/10. I plan to write several more books with compelling characters, intriguing storylines and satisfying ending, after all, we’re talking romance.
I’m a member of Romance Writers of America and happily live with my husband of 16 years.
How did you start out your writing career?
After being diagnosed with carpal tunnel in 2005, then having had the surgery, I had to begin strengthening my right hand so I could return to work. I began typing various things on the computer, but that soon became boring. At the time, I was also reading a novel that I just couldn’t get into. When my husband joked and reminded me that I’d had a stack of books to choose from, I told him, noting was sparking my interest. So I sat at the computer shortly after that and began typing. At the time, a song was playing on the radio about promises, and before I knew it, a story was unfolding in my head.
I truly let the characters for my first novel, Promises Made, direct me. I had no idea in what direction the story would take or what I would do with it when it was finished...that is, if I would finish it. Then, those characters voices started talking to me and wouldn’t let up. I found myself eager to get home and start typing away. I found I had to finish their story.
Today, my husband is as surprised as I am that that I’m crafting novels, despite the CTS. My daughter, NaTiki, inspires me to keep writing with this phrase in mind, “all things are possible with love and friendship, and the endless possibilities of past, future, and present encounters.”
What did you learn while writing this book?
I’ve learned that writing a book really is hard work. It takes time. It pulls you away from your family and friends. But at the same time, when you’re creating characters and building their storylines, you have to stay focused. Yes, sitting at a computer for hours on end can be monotonous, but as the author, you have this power to not let your readers feel that. You can send your characters on a journey, and take those readers along with them.
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
I wanted to show the connective bond of family, sisters mainly. The bond of sisterhood stretches across the divides of country, a town or even several city blocks. Sisters are connected like a thread, which at times may seem fragile, but really it isn’t. The bond of sisterhood is strong and when brought together, it’s unbreakable, regardless of family friction or conflict. The link between sisters cannot be broken.
Which character did you have the most fun writing about?
Charlene was fun to create. She’s this Southern young woman who is no stranger to hard work. She has a good heart and a loving personality, so when she’s thrust into her twin sister, Corinne’s pampered life, as a conniving and vindictive woman, Charlene is like a fish out of water. She has to struggle to be what she’s not. What results are awkward situations where Charlene’s real personality and humorous side comes out, along with that Southern twang she’s been forced to keep under wraps.
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I’m very surprised by the number of people who have told me they’ve always wanted to write a book. My response is, ‘do it.’ I can only hope those future author’s have taken heed and done just that. Storytelling is evolving and many wonderful and fresh voices have yet to be discovered.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
I smile every time I get an email or someone says how much they like one of my novels. When I get into a chat fest about what a character did or didn’t do, it’s like rehashing yesterday’s soap opera with a friend…I just don’t want to stop.
Hum…what aspect do I hate the most? That has to be deadlines. I mean, really, a week to revise? That’s insane, but I knuckle down and do it as my husband eats peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner and doesn’t get to see much of me.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
Sorry, but my list is way too long to pick just three. I have about twenty. So how about this, I wished I’d known that potato chips was not a food group, and that sleep really is essential to being able to function the next day. Anyone going on a coffee run…anyone? LOL
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
1. Do write it. I’ll say it again write it…write your story. That one you’ve started in a journal years ago. The one inside of you, dying to come out. Perhaps it’s the one you hear during the quiet hours of the night and keeps coming back to you, causing you to jot in down in a notepad. Whatever it is that makes you pause and you see yourself writing, write it. If you don’t write it, no one will know about it.
2. Don’t give up. Be persistent in your dream of becoming an author if that’s what you want, then be ready for the commitment of pushing your baby into the hands of the right publisher
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
That writing takes time. In saying that, writing will often keep you away from family and friends. Yes, I might miss that birthday party, but my heart is there, and LORD knows I hate to, but I just might miss a crab feast here or there…but come on, save me a dozen of the heavy, males with extra Old Bay!
If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?
Alyssa Locke, FBI agent and sharpshooter from Suzanne Brockman’s Troubleshooter’s series. She was a take no prisoner, butt-kicking FBI specialist. She could interrogate the bad guy, get the information she needed then punch his lights out.
When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Kick back on the couch with my husband and watch a movie, or talk on the telephone with my daughter, watch ice skating or pick up a couple novels to read.
What do you do to interact with your readers?
There’s no way around it, the internet and email. I have a website. I’m on Facebook and myspace and I have a dedicated email to connect with readers. I also attend local book club meetings, as well as the Baltimore Book Festival, the African-American Authors Expo, and new this year, I’ll be participating in the National Book Club Conference in Atlanta this July.
Our theme for this month is Resources On The Net. What are your favorite resources on
There are just so many choose from, but I do like to check out other author’s websites. As an example, while previewing an author release, I noticed she had an awesome trailer. The credits listed the name where she’d gotten her collections of pictures.
Anyone having a service for authors will put it on their Facebook page. I like this because the traffic is high and you’ll get feedback from those who’ve used the service(s) or just anybody with something to say. Yeah, I like that.
Google and Bing are both great search engines for, well, just about everything from a picture of a flower to directions how to make one out of paper.
Last, publisher’s websites. If you’re searching for a publishing house, check out the various publishers websites. Follow their submission guidelines…to the letter.
Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?
I can now say that I know for sure I was meant to write, although I never intended to write or become an author. It was, as they say, something that just happened and took flight. To have family, friends and readers call or email me after they’ve finished one of my novels, and say, “Wow, I loved that story…is there going to be a sequel,” gives me a sense of accomplishment that I’m able to finish things. My history has been starting a project and not finishing it, but this writing bug has stuck and I’ll keep going at it for as long as I can.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
Okay, but only a peek…
The next book center’s around an African American woman. She isn’t what she appears to be; someone who is beautiful, intelligent and someone who has it all together. She is all of that, but she doesn’t have it all together. But she’s a master at making everyone think she does. She has a history of mental illness and she’s on medication for it. On the inside, she’s a sullen and dejected individual. She wants nothing but for her pain to stop as she struggles to function normally. She hides her mental illness from everyone around her, including the man who is reaching out to her.
Peek over :)
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
I’m delighted to hear from readers…come chat for a while. I’ll soon be uploading the book trailer for Lies in Disguise, which will be released, 3/1/11.
Readers can find me at:
Lies in Disguise:
Is it possible to live another person’s life…?
Charlene thought she could and that’s exactly what she does after waking up from a coma and realizing her twin sister, Corinne is dead.
“Promise you’ll take care of my precious babies…” It’s the one thing Corinne asked of Charlene on the faithful night she was killed. But could Charlene do an unimaginable thing and pretend to be Corinne? But how could she have known that living Corinne’s life would bring unforeseen dangers, discovering devastating secrets and revealing things about her sister that she never imagined possible?
Could Charlene step into her sister’s shoes and pretend to be mother to Corinne’s children, and wife to Corinne’s estranged and handsome husband? He certainly had motive. But would the affluent and powerful Tyler Mills do the unthinkable to rid himself of a cheating and vindictive wife? He’s first on Charlene’s list of suspects.
Can Charlene discover the truth before her deception is unraveled…or before the killer strikes again?
Could she live a lie in disguise?
…you bet she can. She has to if she wants to avenge her sister’s killer.
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