Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am an author from Croatia, who writes under the pen name Bernard Jan, and I have published five novels, two novellas, and one book of poems in Croatian. Three of my books I have also self-published in English, with two more on their way.
A World Without Color is a true story of the last three days I spent with my cat, while Look for Me Under the Rainbow is a gentle story and a call to action which in a unique way sheds light on the plight of harp seal pups in Canada. January River is a heartwarming cross-genre novel about five friends, one dog, and one river carrying a secret.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
January River is my latest book, and I wrote it out of love for the American dream, a great American novel and New York City. I wanted to write something nice, a story many people would relate to. A story I would love to see as a movie, with a golden retriever in it, ha ha!
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I cannot say I have unusual writing habits. Except it takes a while for a book to be born in me before I start writing it down. And I cannot write about things I am not passionate about. I need a deep emotional connection with my characters and the story. Although one day I would love to live from writing, writing is still art for me first and then business.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
It is not such an easy question as it may seem. Over time, I have read many, many books and authors (I have a home library of over 1,300 which I am slowly giving away to my friends) but my most favorite authors of all time are Stephen King and Dean Koontz. When I was a kid, I loved Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, and that book inspired me to write Look for Me Under the Rainbow. I was also addicted to Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I know I won’t mention here half of the books and authors I would love to, but I must not forget Anne Rice, Adam Silvera, Hugh Howey, James Dashner, or James J. Cudney whose books I love reading even though they are not the genres I write in (yet!), and some amazing indie authors like Eliot Peper, Jonathan Hill or Michael Evans. I apologize to everyone whom I didn’t mention and deserves to be here.
What are you working on now?
Now I am working on a release of my two new books in 2021. One of them is Cruel Summer, a novel about a teenager Michael Daniels and two of his friends skateboarders, Alien and Victor, who live in New Manhattan at the end of the millennium where child prostitution blooms and human experimentation is hidden yet common practice, and climate change is in full swing. He has only one dream ever since mother died—to enter professional skateboarding contests. It is this dream that guides him through his life and gives him strength to endure the abuse and mind games by his stepfather for almost as long as he remembers. Cruel Summer is YA, family and social issues, sports, dystopia cross-genre novel with the elements of mystery, murder, detective investigation, romance and friendship. The other book is the poetry book Postcards from Beyond Reality, which I will publish as collected poems by Michael Daniels.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Ha ha, I will tell you when I figure it out! I promote my books on my website www.bernardjan.com and through my social platforms, mainly Twitter, Goodreads, and LinkedIn. But I know I should do much more than that, and that is something I will do in months to come.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Sure. It may seem hard, and it is hard. But do not give up on your dreams. You and your books deserve that. Talk to other authors, support them, and they will support you too. I got an incredible support from some of them. And remember, other authors are not your competition, they can be your supporters and friends. We’ve all been down that road.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Believe in yourself. And help others not expecting anything in return.
What are you reading now?
Now I am reading an amazing, fantastic, and absolutely beautiful book, The Sea Ain’t Mine Alone by C.L. Beaumont, I accidentally discovered through an eBook promotion newsletter. I cannot praise it enough. It is a pure revelation!
What’s next for you as a writer?
We will see! First things first: Cruel Summer and Postcards from Beyond Reality. After that, anything is possible.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Hmm, the book that made me feel, cry and go crazy the most? I love books that burst with passion and emotions, books with great stories that jump out of their pages into your own world and transform it into a new reality. It would be too hard to pick one, and probably unfair too.