Bernadette Y. Connor is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was born at home in a one-room apartment in North Philadelphia; the fourth of five children. To help her family financially, she sang rhythm and blues in many of the local nightclubs until she graduated from Dobbins Vocational Area High School in 1969 and was hired as a secretary by Sun Oil Company.
Her first love was music, but she found herself writing poetry in Junior High School. Some of her earliest writings were published in SCLC monthly magazine. Both singing and writing had to take a back burner to caring for her family, but midnight often found her doodling. A divorced mother of three, Bernadette saw that all of her children graduated from college.
She found her niche’ at AT&T as a communications technician. With the merger came a lay-off and she saw as an opportunity to begin a new career, but that was put on hold by a series of medical problems and finally the devastation of the brutal murder of her eldest son on Christmas Eve of 1991. Her zest for life, travel and adventure were nearly extinguished. However, Bernadette’s thoughts slowly returned to writing.
The literary fire was stoked by reacquainting herself with her earlier poems, and Bernadette embarked on yet another adventure. She wrote a simple love story called ‘Finally’ that opened the gate to an avalanche of works which include 13 novels and 12 screenplays.
Bernadette’s published debut novel, ‘Damaged’, the first psychological thriller ever written and published by an African American garnered her a spot in “Who’s Who In America 2004”. Publishers Weekly dubbed her the “genre-crossing writer” and she loves the distinction. Agent, Mondella Jones, labeled her “a master storyteller.”
What makes you proud to be a writer from Philadelphia? It is an honor to be a writer from Philadelphia. There is a rich literary history from James A. Michener, Edgar A. Poe and Diane McKinney-Whetstone. These authors have blazed a glorious fictional trail for me. While Edgar A. Poe was not born in Philadelphia, he wrote and published while living here. His home is on our Historical Registry.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? Honestly, I believe I have always had a writer’s spirit; needing to know who, what, when, where and how. It was awakened by hearing Edgar A. Poe’s poems on phonographs in English class in Junior High. It was my baptism into the written word has a distinct rhythm and sound. If I hear “The Bells” or “Annabel Lee” today, I am still mesmerized by them. Langston Hughes inspired and nurtured that belief for me. The way he wrote about his people made me believe he loved and respected every aspect of their existence. If I can scratch the surface of the power of his love, I will believe I have accomplished something.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? In 1997, after lots of long-winded rejection letters swearing I was good and praising my skills, but they could not publish my work. Of course, they never said exactly why they could not publish it.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? Yes. I put all of my experience to work in my work without ever writing about my life. The dreams, passion and devastation of life fascinates me. The ways we love and hurt each other is my springboard.
Do you come up with your title before or after you write the manuscript? I have done both. Sometimes, the title comes weeks before the story begins to unfold.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? Romance and psychological thrillers. I write in these two genre because they are the heart of our existence. They propel or stifle us in life. To love and be loved is our reason for being. Our attempts to achieve our reason damages us irreparably when it is not accomplished, or the ones we want to love desperately have been so wounded that they wound in return.
What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book that you are seeking promotion for? The thought that no matter how “perfect” the people in the relationship or the relationship itself appears to onlookers, there are always challenges to overcome. What happens when you can’t name the challenger? What happens when you name the challenger, but can’t name the reason why they are challenging your relationship? What made your challenger’s insanity choose you as their target?
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? Knowing that people who do not read have thoroughly enjoyed my work. Knowing that scholars have used some of it for class study. Knowing that people who have experienced some of the challenges identify with the stories and situations. My real reward is that I entertain people for a little while. I turn their attention away from their lives with the intrigue of what’s going to happen to someone else.
Have you had a negative experience in your writing career? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? Early on, I was told that ‘Damaged’ was just another abuse story and I was wasting my time trying to get it published. They were right. No one would publish it. However, it has been the most read and appreciated of all of my work. There was no way to avoid their opinions other than the one I took. I published it myself.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? At a book signing; to have a young lady bring me a paperback copy of ‘Damaged’ that was held together with a rubber-band saying, “Ms. Connor, I think I need to have it in hardback. All of my family and friends have read and destroyed this copy.”
Have you had a negative experience in your publishing journey? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? With ‘Pearl and Angela’, a major publisher read it and loved it, held it for over a year, told my agent she compared every book that came across her desk she compared it to ‘Pearl and Angela’. She said the story was compelling and the characters where haunting, but she did not know who my audience was. There was no way for me to avoid this either. I have made changes to a manuscript early on in my writing career and they rejected it anyway.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Be true to yourself. At the end of the day you will always look back and know you did it your way. If you’re writing to make money, follow others.
Who is your favorite author and why? Langston Hughes and J. California Cooper. They both could write dynamic short stories that made me believe they loved their characters.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us? I am not a person who builds a story. I allow the characters to tell their story. Sometimes, I feel more like a stenographer than an author.
Please tell us something that you believe your readers would like to know. Pain and passion in a novel are necessary elements. Too much sunshine burns the story up. Too much rain drowns it.
What’s a girl to do when she moves to a new town and falls in love with the most desired man in town?
What’s a girl to do when that man belongs to all in his family and social circle?
What’s a girl to do when their infatuation with him is unhealthy to the point of being dangerous?
What’s a girl to do when one of them threatens her and she doesn’t know which one it is?
What’s a girl to do when that person declares, “He’s Mine!”?
“Dream come true turns nightmare!”
“A romantic, gritty and disturbing fatal attraction.
” Tall, dark and incredibly handsome, Miles Alexander is admired by his friends and colleagues, loved and adored by every woman in town, including his family. He is an attorney from a wealthy family, and an incurable romantic who has dated every attractive woman in town. Miles’s world is comfortable and carefree until Patrice Mays whisks past him in the lobby of his office building and his appreciation of a beautiful woman eclipsed. With just the two of them on the elevator, Miles inspects her from head-to-toe and cannot believe his eyes, she is perfection.
Patrice Mays is new in town and Miles is the first person to penetrate her determination to be on time for her first day at Tymes, McNeil and Lowell Law Offices. The gorgeous floral arrangement and warm welcome note Miles had delivered impresses her. The recollection of his handsome, well dressed physique made her smile. However, Patrice is focused on her career, Miles is focused on Patrice.
Miles makes his infatuation with Patrice well known immediately, and the information is not well received by all. Patrice is confronted at the end of her second day by an irate Miles romantic reject and receives a mind-boggling note in her inter-office mail that simply says, “He’s Mine!”
‘He’s Mine!’ by Bernadette Y. Connor is a romance that begins as a chance meeting in an elevator, turns into an adventurous pursuit, infatuation, intrigue, romance, jealousy, stalking and attempted murder. All the elements that keep the reader tuning the page and creates caution in the minds of single hearts looking for love.
Two main characters from different backgrounds bring their own history and unique circumstances to the story. Miles Alexander is an attorney from a wealthy family. He is tall, dark, handsome and carefree with a giant Doberman named Roman. His good looks, money and carefree lifestyle makes him a target for women who want the best and are willing to go to any length to accomplish their quest. Patrice Mays is the new woman in town, focused on her career and is about to find herself in the cross-hairs. I quote a passage that stands out in my memory: “Patrice stood in the doorway watching Miles and Roman disappear into the night, and she was surprised by the number of people still sitting on their steps. Patrice would soon learn that this was a ritual of summer in the inner city.”
I especially like to read passages that give insight into how different two people can be when a friendship begins. I quote: “He especially loved the way she ate the barbeque with her fingers and licked them afterwards. Patrice had not gone to any trouble trying to impress the great Miles Alexander. Miles had never eaten a piece of meat with his fingers until he was in college, and to date had never licked his fingers. His mother would have had a massive coronary if she had witnessed him doing any of it.”
Romance that begins as a fine fragile line between two people. I quote: “In silence, Patrice dissected and analyzed her anger. When the particles settled, there was only one answer. Patrice Mays was more physically attracted to Miles Alexander than she had ever been to any man in her life and it had made her horribly uncomfortable. Truthfully, she had no idea whether she was acting rational or not. Her hormones were blitzing her brain cells.”
Secondary characters who may or may not have a reason to come between Miles and Patrice. Attraction is one thing, but when mixed with some mental illness things often change without warning. Chaos can affect a wide circle of people and the criminal justice system can’t always protect the innocent.
Cold Coffee Press endorses ‘He’s Mine!’ by Bernadette Y. Connor as a romance with a fatal attraction mystery entwined. We admire the author’s inner strength and ability to raise three children alone and inspire them to graduate from college. Our heart acknowledges her struggles through her own medical issues and the brutal murder of her eldest son in 1991.
Her early writing began in the wee hours of the morning when her children were sleeping and resurfaced later when she wrote and published her debut novel, ‘Damaged!’ in 1998. This book garnered her a spot in “Who’s Who In America 2004” for the first psychological thriller published by an African American Woman. From here she went on to publish Inherited in 2005, PEARL AND ANGELA in 2009, SASHA’S New Beginning in 2011, THE PARCEL EXPRESS MURDERS in 2012 and He’ s Mine! on September 15, 2014.
We received He’s Mine! for review in a PDF format and the review was completed on May 10th, 2015. For more information please contact Cold Coffee Press. http://www.coldcoffeepress.com