Erin Marie Bernardo is an American writer of fiction. She has a degree in Communication Studies from the University of Minnesota, and is the author of the time-travel novel, Scent of the Past.
Erin is currently at work on her third novel set in 1920s Ireland,
and searching for a home for her second book,
a haunted tale in pre-Civil War Louisiana.
She lives in Tennessee, but has roots in both Minnesota and Washington State. She is married with three young children.
Have you always been a writer?
Yes, I suppose so. However, I didn't intentionally set out to become an author. It never crossed my mind as an option. It just happened. Looking back I can see the pattern, because I remember writing from an early age. I always kept a journal, wrote poetry, and more often than not found myself writing short stories when I was bored, or on long road trips. But one sunny day while I was driving down a winding road, time gifted me a story, and for the first time I felt an invitation. I started writing Scent of the Past that night and have yet to put down my pen.
Even as a child places spoke to me. Old places. Whether it be a garden, or a house, attic or doorway. Locations and spaces whisper my name, which is why I can spend hours roaming around an old European castle or cliffside ruin and feel transported. I feel their secrets, ingrained in rock or behind ivy-covered walls. It’s these images, these callings, that stir my soul and beg for release on paper. This attachment, or perhaps longing toward things of the past—forgotten or lost—has always been there.
When do you get time to write?
Ha! After midnight when my household is asleep.
What is your writing process?
I have had many authors tell me to write every day, even if it is for thirty minutes. Unfortunately my brain is not wired that way. I need to immerse myself in the story every time I sit down—think about my characters, reread a few chapters, research a few things—to open the creative pathway. Once I get going I like to write continuously without interruption for two to three hours.
What books have influenced you the most?
Most of the books that I would consider influential I read as a child. These all made an impact on me in some shape or form, and I would consider them my foundation.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Watership Down by Richard Adams
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
Peter Rabbit and Other Stories by Beatrix Potter
What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
When I am not writing, traveling or dreaming about Ireland, I am chasing chickens and three young boys around my farm in Tennessee, attempting to garden, and binge-watching reruns of Downton Abbey and Outlander ... (or really any popular period-drama). You may also find me brainstorming ways to incorporate my love for Europe throughout the facets of my ordinary life in America, with a pint of Guinness in hand.