February 3, 2014

A Life Less Ordinary by Victoria Bernadine #AuthorInterview #Giveaway

For the last fifteen years, Rose “Manny” Mankowski has been a very good girl. She turned her back on her youthful fancies and focused on her career. But now, at the age of 45, she’s questioning her choices and feeling more and more disconnected from her own life. When she’s passed over for promotion and her much younger new boss implies Manny’s life will never change, something snaps. In the blink of an eye, she’s quit her job, sold her house and cashed in her pension, and she’s leaving town on a six month road trip.

After placing a personal ad for a travelling companion, she’s joined in her mid-life crisis by Zeke Powell, the cynical, satirical, most-read – and most controversial – blogger for the e-magazine, What Women Want. Zeke’s true goal is to expose Manny’s journey as a pitiful and desperate attempt to reclaim her lost youth – and increase his readership at the same time. Leaving it all behind for six months is just an added bonus.

Now, armed with a bagful of destinations, a fistful of maps, and an out-spoken imaginary friend named Harvey, Manny’s on a quest to rediscover herself – and taking Zeke along for the ride.

Genre: Chick Lit / Contemporary Fiction
Length: 371 pages
Release Date: December 10, 2012

Monday, February 3, 2014
Authors’ Cafe {Author Interview} 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Thursday, February 6, 2014
For Whom The Books Toll {Guest Post} 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014
Eden Ashe {Guest Post} 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
What Readers Want {Spotlight} 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Fundinmental {Spotlight} 

Friday, February 14, 2014
A Chick Who Reads {Guest Post & Review} 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Zee Monodee – Author’s Corner {Guest Post & Review}

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Christine’s Words {Guest Post} 

Monday, March 3, 2014
Inksugar {Author Interview & Review} 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Christa Reads and Writes {Guest Post & Review} 

Friday, March 7, 2014
Readers’ Muse {Author Interview & Review} 

Monday, March 10, 2014
Jersey Girl Book Reviews {Guest Post & Review} 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Booklover Sue {Author Interview} 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Friday, March 14, 2014
Romance Me {Spotlight}

Thanks so much for stopping by the Authors' Cafe today, Victoria. I'm very excited to host you and your book, A Life Less Ordinary!

Okay, I see you've got your coffee and doughnut, so let's get right to the interview.

At what point in your life did you realized that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a career you were going to turn into reality?

First, thank you for hosting me today! I’m very happy to be here!

I was in my mid-forties (*cough* purely coincidental that I was around the same age as Manny when she decided to change her life… *cough*). I was working on the novel, and thinking it was actually good enough to ask people to pay for the book. But I also knew that the chances of getting it published were slim to none. Then, as I was working at my day job, I realized that I knew/understood the publishing process, from layout/design, to editing, to contracts/copyright, to printing, and that was when I realized I could publish the book myself. The rest, as they say, is history.

Okay, I didn’t have any experience with marketing and distribution (outside of drafting agreements to do it)…but I’ve been learning!

Which of your characters is most like you?

Manny. She’s the embodiment of what I was feeling at that particular moment in my life. She’s way more fun and adventurous, but she’s my wish fulfillment character.

If you were stranded on a desert island, which character from A Life Less Ordinary would you want with you?

Oooh, this one’s tough. I’m going to have to say Zeke. Any of the women would be fun and practical and we’d probably end up with food, shelter and sanitation before the end of the first week, but I do tend to enjoy the company of men more. TJ’s married, and while Harvey is, well, perfect, he’s not actually real so that leaves Zeke…who just happens to be tall, dark and handsome, too. What? He’s a practical choice. I swear.

Where do you write?

Well, A Life Less Ordinary was written (and edited) mostly on the bus during my daily commute. I also write in bed, or on the couch, both while the TV is blaring some documentary or other. I keep meaning to set up an actual desk, but that makes it seem too much like work rather than something that’s fun to do, so…no desk yet – LOL.

Ha! Do you have any “rituals” you go through before you write?

I don’t really have any rituals I go through before I write, however I do have a strange little thing I do while I’m writing. When I’m in Creation Heaven (i.e., writing the first draft of a story), I still write with pen and paper (easier to take on the bus). I have a pen fetish, and (literally) hundreds of pens, so I switch pens whenever I finish a page. The practical reason is so I use up all those pens – LOL – but the more important reason is that I just love how each pen feels as I use it.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) of A Life Less Ordinary to write and why?

Another tough one…my favorite part of A Life Less Ordinary was the relationships that permeate through the novel. So, the relationships between Manny, Daisy and Rebecca, and between Zeke, TJ and Leah, and then all the permutations in between. My favorite chapter is probably the chapter when Manny and Zeke are stranded on the side of the road and end up in a little town in the middle of nowhere. Besides the fact that I’ve been stranded on the side of the road and had to walk for help, I just really enjoy Manny and Zeke’s interactions in that chapter.

How did you come up with the title?

It’s a phrase I’ve used in my own life, and it just seemed to fit the book.

What would YOU like your readers to know about this book or you in general?

While I based Manny and her journey on my own feelings at that particular moment in my life, I just want everyone to know that I don’t actually have an imaginary friend named Harvey. Really. I swear.

What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

Only one? LOL Okay: write the book you’d love to read.

Do you have a favorite author?

Many of them. Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, Agatha Christie, Betty Neels, Isaac Asimov, Louis L’Amour…the list goes on and on and on. I read all genres and I have favourite authors in each one, so the list is pretty extensive.

Those are all authors I'm familiar with and love myself! What is your favorite quote?

I’m going to cheat, because I have three (and one’s very long) that I love so much they take my breath away. They’re all from Terry Pratchett, from his Discworld series – he’s that perfect blend of hysterically funny and profound. I adore him.

"All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need...fantasies to make life bearable."


"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little --"


"So we can believe the big ones?"


-- Susan and Death in Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

"And no practical definition of freedom would be complete without the freedom to take the consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom upon which all the others are based."
-- Lord Vetinari in Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

They thought the Library was a dangerous place because of all the magical books, which was true enough, but what made it really one of the most dangerous places there could ever be was the simple fact that it was a library.

-- Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

(Don’t get me started on Aaron Sorkin and West Wing quotes… O.O )

All very cool! What genre of books do you read for pleasure?

All of them. Well, except erotica, but that’s because I haven’t found any that I actually find, well, erotic.

What’s the most amusing thing that’s ever happened to you?

Okay, I’ve been struggling with this one. Not because nothing amusing has ever happened to me (Lord knows that’s not true!!) and not just because most of them are contextual (“you had to be there”), embarrassing (“stuff like this always seems to happen to me”), or just plain stupid (“well, it seemed like a good idea at the time…” aka “hold my beer and watch this!”), but because I strongly suspect the most amusing thing to ever happen to me…hasn’t actually happened yet. LOL – life is fun.

What an awesome answer!!! What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I like to watch TV, play computer games and read. I also work full time, so I do that when I’m not writing – LOL. I also spend far too much time in the casinos (New Year’s Resolution time, I think) and when I’m not doing any of that (or while I’m doing some of that), I try to bond with the cats…when they decide they want to bond with me… *pout*

If all TV shows were real, what show (all time) would you most like to live in?

Oh, soooo not fair!! ALL OF THEM. ALL THE SHOWS. Except I have no survival instincts whatsoever, so in most of the shows I love, I’d be the Body of the Week within the first thirty seconds. I think I would survive in The West Wing, but I’d be exhausted (albeit in shape) with all the walk and talks, and I’d probably try to murder each person at least once because they all have their moments of being jerks – LOL – but I also adore each every character and I love the underlying optimism and desire to Do The Right Thing. So, yeah: The West Wing it is.

Well, this has been a fabulous interview so far, and now it's time for some . . . 

Party dress or blue jeans? Party dress.

Plotter or Panster? Panster.

Print or e-Book? Print.

Coastal walks or extreme sports? Coastal walks.

Cookies or cupcakes? Cookies.

Super hero or super villain? Super hero (unless it’s Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, then it’s the super villain).

I've got all the Superman movies on DVD (Christopher Reeves is the absolutely best Superman ever IMHO). Anyway, finish this sentence - If I had a free afternoon I’d . . . Nap.

Peanut Butter: Crunchy, Creamy, or I hate peanut butter and am addicted to Nutella. I’ve never tried Nutella, so I’ll pick Creamy Peanut Butter.

You suddenly realize you live in a haunted house. Do you:

  1. Run screaming for the door.
  2. Bravely go to a church, load up on holy water and try to get rid of the ghost.
  3. Set up ghost hunting equipment to capture phenomenon.
  4. Call in the Ghost Adventures crew so that you can ogle the lead guy Zac’s amazingly stiff hair when you’re not ogling his uh, physical attributes.
  5. Deny you have a ghost and just let it scare the bejesus out of your visitors.
Run screaming for the door, ‘cause my mama didn’t raise no dummies (…except maybe for a brother or two - ;D ). Although now I’ll have to check out Ghost Adventures in order to check out Zac…’s investigative techniques.

Could you tell us five random facts about yourself?

  1. I am the youngest of eight children.
  2. My pseudonym is my mother’s first and middle names flipped.
  3. My life imitated art when I quit my job at the end of 2012. No six month road trip and no Zeke, but I did have a year-long sabbatical, and it was wonderful!
  4. I have over 2,000 books in my house. Most of the time, it’s great…but I moved in October and I was beginning to see the value of e-books – LOL.
  5. I’m currently writing/finishing five books, including a sequel to A Life Less Ordinary. I either need to focus more, finish something, or give something up, or maybe all three together. ;D
Thanks so much for stopping by to visit today, Victoria. It's truly been a pleasure!

Victoria Bernadine (a pseudonym) is, as the saying goes, a “woman of a certain age”. After twenty-something years of writer’s block, she began writing again in 2008. Victoria enjoys reading all genres and particularly loves writing romantic comedy and post-apocalyptic science fiction. What those two have in common is anybody’s guess. She lives in Edmonton with her two cats (The Grunt and The Runt). A Life Less Ordinary is the first novel she felt was good enough to be released into the wild.


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