Q&A with Lisa Berne

Describe yourself in five words or less.

Curious, creative; reader, writer, dreamer.
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
“Gonna Fly Now” from Rocky. Because perseverance is an important quality for a writer.
Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

Besides the necessary cellphone, wallet, and lip gloss? A little notebook and pen. (I know you said one thing, but this is plainly a writer’s indivisible unit of oneness.) Inspiration can strike at any time, and for me paper’s better than apps for jotting down notes about my writing.
Name three things on your desk right now.

A thesaurus. A couple of houseplants, which I’m sneakily categorizing as “greenery,” because I also want to mention my stack of Post-it Notes, without which I am considerably less productive.
What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?

I love writing scenes in which characters are talking and there are all kinds of things they can’t — or won’t — say embedded within their words, whether it’s because they’re wrestling with their emotions, unaware of their deep true feelings, constricted by the etiquette of the time, other people are around, and so on. Which means that in what seems like a simple conversation, the subtext can be deliciously complicated.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

I’m not the first to suggest that reading — widely and voraciously across multiple genres, both for pleasure and with an analytic eye — is a necessary component for someone wanting to become a writer. There are also a lot of great, insightful books and blogs on the subject; I particularly like Stephen King’s On Writing, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, Gwen Hayes’ Romancing the Beat, and Chuck Wendig’s bracing, blisteringly unsentimental approach to the writing life.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

With pleasure! Coming this summer is the second book in the Penhallow Dynasty series: The Laird Takes a Bride, featuring Scotsman Alasdair Penhallow, who’s forced by an arcane decree to marry and ends up with spirited Fiona Douglass. They’re both very resentful of the situation, and don’t find each other particularly attractive or appealing . . . which is, of course, a highly inauspicious way to begin a marriage. But it’s a very fun way to set a love story in motion.