George A. Bernstein is the retired President of a Chicago appliance manufacturing company, now living in south Florida. He spent years attending writing seminars and conferences, learning to polish his work and developing a strong “voice.” Bernstein is acclaimed by his peers as a superb wordsmith. He works with professional editors to ensure his novels meet his own rigorous standards, and all of his books are currently published by small indie press, GnD Publishing LLC, in which he has an interest.
Bernstein’s first novel, Trapped, was a winner in a small Indie publisher’s “Next Great American Novel” contest, and received high praise, gaining many mostly 5-star reviews at Amazon (reaching their “Top 100”) and Goodreads. His 2nd novel, A 3rd Time to Die (A paranormal Romantic Suspense) has also garnered mostly 5-Star & 4-Star reviews, with one reader likening him to the best, less “spooky” works of Dean Koontz & Stephen King.
The Prom Dress Killer is the third of his Detective Al Warner Suspense series, with the first, Death’s Angel, and the second, Born to Die, already garnering rave reviews. Bernstein has the fourth Warner novel already in the works, to be published in late 2017. Readers have likened Bernstein’s Detective Al Warner to Patterson’s Alex Cross.
Bernstein is also a “World-class” fly-fisherman, setting a baker’s dozen IGFA World Records, mostly on fly-rods, and has published Toothy Critters Love Flies, the complete book on fly-fishing for pike & musky.
All of Bernstein’s books can be found at: http://suspenseguy.com and http://amazon.com/author/georgeabernstein
Mayra Calvani: Please tell us about The Prom Dress Killer and what compelled you to write it.
Author: The Prom Dress Killer is the third of my Detective Al Warner suspense novels. It was just a natural progression for the series, and I had this concept of a woman trying to stay alive by telling stories, much like Shahrazad, in The Thousand and One Nights. I wanted to continue the Warner series, and this was the next story.
M.C.: What is your book about?
Author: A psychopathic killer lurks in Miami’s shadows, snatching and murdering young auburn-haired women. Strangely, they are killed without trauma and left clad in frilly prom-style dresses.
Miami’s crack homicide detective, Al Warner, is on the case, but the killer has left few clues. Why were these girls taken and then executed? Was he intent on killing redheads, or was there some other connection? And why were their bodies so carefully arranged in peaceful repose, wearing prom dresses?
Warner’s hunt for this clever psycho is stymied by a lack of clues as he desperately searches for the latest victim. The suspense ramps up when the murderer finally makes one tiny error.
As Warner and the FBI doggedly zero in on their fleeing prey and his newest captive, the action escalates. Unlikely players are drawn into a tense, deadly game. As the stunning climax plays out, Warner is trapped in a classic Catch-22. In order to snare this lethal psycho, he must make a decision that may haunt him forever.
M.C.: What themes do you explore in The Prom Dress Killer?
Author: The protagonist, Detective Al Warner, hunts a clever psychopath that leaves no clues as to who he is or why his is abducting and then killing young auburn-haired women. Warner’s personal and interpersonal relationships are woven into the story as he tries to balance his hunt for this elusive madman with his developing and very surprising love affair.
M.C.: Why do you write?
Author: It was originally suggested by my wife, Dolores, when I was able to retire relatively early. I’d written several articles for fishing magazines, and a few short stories, so novels seemed a logical step. I love telling a good story, using elegant words, and finding an ending that shocks my readers. I have to admit that every time I reread the end of Trapped, I still manage to get choked up. I seem to have an endless imagination ... something that often got me into hot water as a kid.
M.C.: When do you feel the most creative?
Author: At two different times. I do most of my writing in the morning, often finding I missed lunch by an hour or two. And I get many ideas on how to deepen the plot and intensify the tension at night, while awaiting sleep ... and sometime in the middle on the night, after I’ve awakened for a “call of nature.”
M.C.: How picky are you with language?
Author: Very. I try to use more colourful and descriptive words, rather than just tear through a scene. I’m careful not to repeat words, and can spend many minutes on finding the best way to describe a scene. It’s a trait I find many authors don’t do enough of. My unknowing guru for this is Dean Koontz, whom I rate as one of fictions’ top wordsmiths.
M.C.: When you write, do you sometimes feel as though you were being manipulated from afar?
Author: Not from afar, but by the characters. I outline where I envision my story going, writing a few sentences for each chapter, but find, once I begin, the characters seem to take over. They often talk to me at night while I’m awaiting sleep, telling me surprising things about themselves, and taking me in unexpected directions, doing things I never imagined and changing in ways I never planned. The villain in The Prom Dress Killer became far more sinister than I originally conceived that way.
M.C.: What is your worst time as a writer?
Author: Trying to turn from an author to a publicist. Authors write, but few of us are skilled at getting the attention our work may deserve.
M.C.: Your best?
Author: Getting a call from the editor of TAG Publishers, telling me that my novel, Trapped, was selected as the winner of their “Next Great American Novel” contest. Also, when I get rave reviews from professional reviewers
M.C.: Is there anything that would stop you from writing?
Author: Only if I became too ill. I don’t think I’ll ever run out of unique story ideas.
M.C.: What’s the happiest moment you’ve lived as an author?
Author: Winning TAG’s award, and meeting people who tell me they read my novel because they know me and they were “shocked” at how great it was. They often go on and on about how engrossed they were in the story and how surprised ... and please... they were by the ending.
M.C.: Is writing an obsession to you?
Author: Pretty much. Dolores sometimes gets upset at how many hours I spend at the computer, writing. I’ve got to make time to balance family life.
M.C.: Are the stories you create connected with you in some way?
Author: Only in a sense that I often create characters from people I’ve known, and I use locals where I’ve lived and am familiar with the surroundings. Knowledge for the equestrian and Grand Prix jumping scenes from A 3rd Time to Die came from Dolores’ experience as a champion rider in Open Jumper classes in suburban Chicago.
M.C.: Ray Bradbury once said, “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Thoughts?
Author: I guess. Suspense writers tend to live in another world while writing. Nothing else impinges on that
M.C.: Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about you and your work?
Author: My personal web site is: http://suspenseguy.com
and all my work can also be found at: http://amazon.com/author/georgeabernstein