Romily Bernard is an MG and YA author whose writing ranges from the hilarious to the super-dark. She lives in Atlanta.
Romily Bernard graduated in Literature and Spanish from Georgia State University. She now lives with her partner and little girl in Atlanta, rides horses, and writes full time. The FIND ME trilogy was Romily’s debut and the first book was a finalist in the 2012 Golden Heart Awards. Under the pseudonym Commander Bolivar III, Romily’s MG duology about Munchem Academy is published by Little, Brown. Her YA novel, NEVER APART, published with Entangled Teen in 2017. Most recently, the darkly funny MG novels THE BOY WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, and THE GIRL WHO KNEW EVEN MORE, are out with Little, Brown.
When and how did you start writing?
I didn't start writing seriously until about 2009. It took 4 books and 3 years before I figured out where my voice belonged. I signed with Sarah at the end of 2011, and sold the FIND ME trilogy in 2012.
Can you remember the first book that made an impact on you? Who were your childhood storytelling heroes?
I didn't really have any heroes. I read anything I could get my hands on. Weird stuff too. I could discuss the Egyptian mummification process in detail, but had no idea what a boy band was. As you can imagine, this made me loads of friends.
Can you talk us through the writing of your first book? What were the key moments?
The ending. Seriously. It's a huge feeling to realize you actually finished something. Now, whether it's any good is another matter. Spoiler alert? It usually isn't. Welcome to the editing trenches.
Was it hard to get an agent? Can you talk us through the process?
Only took me 246 rejections over 4 books to get an agent, but really who's counting? I sent out in large batches, then once a rejection came in, I sent out another query. I tracked everything on an excel spreadsheet, highlighting rejections in red. By the end, it looked like a hit list.
Describe your writing day. Where do you write? How do you organize your time? Where do you look for inspiration?
I used to be really regimented with writing. From 7am to whenever I finished word count, you could find me at my laptop. Motherhood really changed that. I write whenever and wherever I can. When I worked corporate, I particularly enjoyed writing during staff meetings.
Are there any tips you could give aspiring writers who are looking to get published? Never give up. I had 246 no's before my first yes. Odds are very good, you can do way better than that.
Can you describe three aspects of writing craft that have been most important as you've developed as an author?
The details make it real, pacing is everything, and 'Why should I care?’. To expand on that last one, it means 'Why should I care if this character saves the world?' 'Why should I care if the hero finds love?' you have to make your readers feel for your characters, or they're going to put the book down.
Which favourite authors would you invite to a dinner party? Which fictional character do you wish you'd invented? Ugh, I’m terrible at dinner parties so I’ll stick to characters. I wish I’d invented 'a' from David Levithan’s EVERY DAY. He guts me. My heart also breaks for 'death' in THE BOOK THIEF.