Monday, November 28, 2011

Author Interview: Lisa T. Bergren + Giveaway! (INT)

Please Welcome Lisa T. Bergren!

You're probably familiar with Lisa T. Bergren through my (obsessive) fangirling over her River of Time series, but what you may not know is that this series is by no means Lisa's first foray into writing. Check out her links below to see all of the books she's written and read on below to hear about what inspires her to write.

 There are NO spoilers here!

Inspiration from the Road & Research
By Lisa T. Bergren

I’m often asked by people how much my research reading and trips influence my books. The answer is a lot.

A. Lot.

Siena il Campo from above. Yikes!
Way back yonder when I wrote my first historical, The Captain’s Bride, the hubs and I went out to Maine for a long weekend—and my very first research trip. In a tiny village, reconstructed to be historically accurate for my 1880s era (hello, Answer to Prayer!), on the second floor of a sea captain’s home, I met a docent. This guy was a volunteer, but he was passionate about the village, about history, about sailing. And he told me the true story of a captain’s wife who sailed with her husband, and when he became ill, actually took the helm and led the crew around the Horn. That true story became the basis of my heroine, and I even used those scenes in the book (giving credit where credit was due, of course).

I read about how a fire can turn and overtake experienced firefighters in seconds. How it roars as it comes through, like a dragon. I used that as the basis of Firestorm, in which a fire scientist has to battle her fears after such a traumatic experience, in order to embrace love.

My sister-in-law, a counselor, told me how people were using “Christmas rooms” to treat Alzheimer’s patients, because memories of the holidays are often something even the worst Alz patient clings to. They might not be able to communicate any longer, but they can sing whole carols from memory. Combined with a weekend trip to New Mexico for some setting/sensory details, I had the genesis of Christmas Every Morning (just released as Mercy Come Morning).

Castello that started the wheels turning- Chianti, Tuscany
Italy captured my heart in 2006, when we first went with friends, and has pretty much kept my mind whirling ever since. The sheer depth of its history could spin a thousand stories. But it was in visiting a small castle atop a hill in Tuscany, that I began to dream of medieval lords and their ladies. From where we stood, we could see other fortified castellos, and in the city, the remains of towers. At one point, we climbed to the crumbled remains of a castle, long gone. My mind was rolling, then. What would it be like to live in a time when you had to defend what was yours on an active basis? Withdraw behind walls? Be ready to fight for what you believed was right?

From there I dived headlong into months of research, wanting to absorb all I could about medieval life. I learned about disease and treatments, religion pre-Reformation, guilds and political power. Much of what I learned went into six books—The Gifted Series (The Begotten, The Betrayed, The Blessed) and River of Time (Waterfall, Cascade, Torrent, and soon, Tributary).

Book ideas are everywhere. In songs. In conversations. In interviews. In articles. But in my research I often find the detail, the texture, the fabric of a believable world take form. Add characters with something to learn, a goal to obtain, a crisis to resolve, mix, and you probably have a solid story.

Lisa and her family in Italy

Thank you so much for stopping by, Lisa!

Wow, that story about the captain's wife sounds fantastic! I love when fact is as interesting as fiction. 

Oh, and did you catch that "and soon, Tributary"??? Yay! Bring on more River of Time!

What about you, do you like when authors draw upon real experiences, stories, and locations? If you write, do you use this approach when formulating your own novels?

Lisa is generously providing a copy of your choice from the first three books in the River of Time series for giveaway!

Info for the giveaway:
  • As always, you do NOT have to be a follower
  • This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL--if US winner, the book will be signed
  • You must be 13 years of age or older
  • One entry per person
  • Your address is not required, but including it will help with sending the book out to you sooner
  • I will contact the winner through email and the winner will have 24 hours to reply before a new winner is chosen 
  • This giveaway closes on December 7th


  1. Thank you for the giveaway, and thank you for making it international.

  2. I would kind of expect that most authors would draw on experiences & places & take it from there. Got to love & appreciate that.


  3. Neat to read about what sparked ideas for her books. Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  4. Yay for River of Time! I really enjoyed this series. You can definitely tell that the books are well researched. It seems like they're better researched than many YA historical fiction.

  5. Thanks for letting me relive those fun trips, Small! (And for your continued support of River of Time!)

  6. TRIBUTARY!!!! *dies* SO EXCITED we're getting another book. I adore Lisa and this series just makes me so happy. Italy is stunning, I had the opportunity to visit Siena in college and it was absolutely stunning. I hope to go back in the not too distant future.

    Maybe I'll find Greco there waiting for me? Or maybe you'll all see newspaper headlines that read "strange American woman was found fondling walls in Siena, mumbling 'I'm coming Greco' as she ran her hands over the stone.' Her husband claims he doesn't know her."

    If you see that, send money for bail ;-)

  7. One of my favorite things about the historical fiction/historical fantasy is how well the book is researched by the author. The great books transport me back to that time where I become a member of the society. I've never been to Italy but have always wanted to go there. I've heard its beautiful and magical.

    Thanks for the chance of "meeting" Lisa and a shot at reading her books.

  8. Thanks for the giveaway! I'd love to win so I can give a copy to my friend and get her obsessed with these books as well. ;)

    It's cool to see where little sparks of ideas come from, and how setting can influence a story so much.

  9. Yayy!! For Tributary!! I love The River of Time!!

    Great guest post - it is always fascinating to hear about how life experiences inform the writing process!!!

    ♥ Melissa @ Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

  10. I loved all of the examples of conversations, and perhaps asides, that have influenced Bergren's stories. The Captain's wife taking over the ship was wonderful, before then, I thought women had to be pirates to get to do anything like that!

  11. OOPS! I copied Logan E. Turner. But I really didn't read her post. I just saw that in Lisa's interview and it's all I could think!!


    You know what they say about Great Minds!

  12. I just started reading Waterfall and I'm really impressed with Bergren's details. Her descriptions are so vivid and realistic that a reader can picture living in medieval Italy. I can't wait to read the rest of the series. Thanks for the chance to win!

  13. Oh, I love the story about the captain's wife. Women across the world are incredible.

    Love the pictures. Thanks for sharing. :)

  14. Tributary! *groans* I haven't gotten to Cascade yet! I'm woefully behind. Gah! I'm clearly not worthy.

  15. Thanks for the giveaway!!! I am a new follower.

    Kristin from

  16. I am currently reading the first book in the series, Waterfall, and I am thoroughly enjoying it! Thank you so much for the chance!! :)

  17. Wow, what a great post! I really have to get WATERFALL to the top of my TBR list, I've heard nothing but great things. :)

  18. Very beautiful post! Thank you for the great giveaway.

  19. Thank you for stopping by everyone!

    Alison, I agree, she even touched on dental care!

    Lisa, Thank you so much for guest posting again!

    Jenny, Yay Tributary!!!! *spits out soda* You need two people to open the portal! Hang on, I'll be right there!

    Logan and Heather, That's pretty much where my focus keeps turning :P

    Ruby, HURRY! More hot men await! And battles! And AWESOMENESS!

    Wendy, You really do!

  20. *waves* HI LISA! Oh how I miss the River of Time. I'm so excited for Tributary it's really not funny. Yeah for Rodolfo! Oh, but I am excited to hear Lia's story. I really want to watch her grow up and develop like she couldn't in the other books because she wasn't the main character. Okay, I'm rambling. That is all. :D

  21. I really enjoyed Waterfall, I have not gotten a chance to read the others though.

  22. thanks you for this international giveaway


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