Today, I’m interviewing another The Wild Rose Press author who has a book coming on September 1. That book is Consent of the Governed and I’m going to tell you more about it after we find out a little more about Bernard.
Are you working on another book?
Consent of the Governed is a stand alone, but I also have a mystery series that revolves around a young minister. Right now, I am nearly done with the second book in the series, No Such Thing as Enough. In it, I explore what happens to someone who achieves everything he wants and realizes he doesn’t want it.
Does your book have a lesson? Moral?
Theme is always my starting point. The main theme of Consent of the Governed is that we—Americans—have to decide what kind of nation we want to live in, what kind of world we want to create for ourselves and our children, and what kind of people we are. If we let fear push us into seeking security at the expense of our civil liberties, we become a nation that we don’t like. And we can’t blame the government because it only happens when we, the people, consent to it happening.
What advice would you give a writer just starting out? Share three pearls of wisdom.
These are the things I tell my students:
1. Your first job is to get something down on paper. Or on the screen. Don’t let the editor in your head stop you. Shut him up. If the muse doesn’t give you anything, grab her by the throat and squeeze it out of her. And if you can’t think of anything, write about not being able to think of anything. How’s that for a prompt?
2. You are allowed to write a really lousy first draft. You’ll fix it later.
3. Never pass up a chance to improve your craft. Even if you suck at writing, if your heart is there, you’ll get better if you keep learning.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
It’s not that the characters hijack the story; it’s more like I drop them in the ocean and watch how and where they swim. If I were better at planning, I’d be able to keep a tighter reign; but I only have so much patience, and outlining makes me antsy.
What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
When I was in college, I shared some of my writing with a teacher I respected. She read it and asked me, “Do you have anything to say?” That was the toughest thing because I couldn’t answer her. It was a long time before I figured out what I had to say.
In Consent of the Governed, Annie Winthrop, one of my main characters, was sexually abused by her parents. To work out her character, I wrote a six-thousand-word backstory for her, detailing what had happened. A member of my writing group told me that even weeks after reading it, she still found it disturbing. At the risk of sounding perverse, I felt good that I could write something that could have that kind of impact. If anyone feels put off about reading something so disturbing, I cut out the entire section, redistributed it, and softened it a bit.
Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer?
I’ve retired twice, but staying home doesn’t suit me. My day job is teaching writing and literature for Lackawanna College in Hawley, PA. I love it; I get to spend my days talking about reading and writing, my two great passions. I find that sharing my own writing experiences and struggles with the craft helps my students gain confidence that they can do it, too.
Bernard LoPinto draws inspiration for his stories from his years in ministry and prisons and creates a reality where the lines between good and bad, right and wrong, are easily blurred. He and his wife, Jeanne, live in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
It’s 2026 and the United States has fallen under the sway of an oppressive government where all citizens’ rights have been stripped, Red shirt platoons patrol the streets, and people die for voicing opinions. Into this chaos step Sid and Annie Winthrop. The elderly couple set out on a journey of revenge against the Red Shirts who murdered their son.
Red Shirt members Victor and Brooklyn have devoted their young lives to the cause of the president in protecting the nation. When attacks on their home town leave dozens of Red Shirts dead, Victor must help his superiors find the vigilante.
At their darkest moment, each couple finds a common bond in their suffering and must decide where their loyalties lie.