Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Author and Character Interview: Lisa T. Bergren

Today we have two amazing ladies visiting on the blog today: Lisa T. Bergren, author of one of my new favorites, the River of Time series, and her main protagonist, Gabriella "Gabi" Betarrini. I had the honor of interviewing both of them recently, so enjoy!
I'm walking up and down the streets of present-day Tuscany, enjoying the view and searching for a certain little trattoria that is to be my meeting place with Lisa and Gabi. I catch sight of a small wooden sign, hanging high above my head, and I notice that the curly script on it displays the name of the location Lisa had emailed me. Entering, I'm consumed by the delicious food smells of Italian cuisine, and my mouth can't help but to water a little. The waitress leads me to a small table in the corner, and I settle down and wait for my guests. 
Not two minutes later, a short-haired, twinkling-eyed lady walks in, with a tall, chestnut-haired girl following, a slight frown on her face. Lisa smiles as she sees me, and I stand to receive them. Gabi seems a little impatient, looking over her shoulder, as though wanting to escape.

Lucia: (Smiles and tries to remain calm) Welcome, Lisa and Gabi. I can’t believe I finally get to meet you. You have no idea how much I admire you guys.

Gabi: Me too? Lisa’s the writer…

River of Time SeriesLucia: Yes, Gabi, you actually have at least one fan in me. You’ve done so many amazing things. Where do you find the strength to be doing what you’ve done? Traveling back in time, sword fighting, getting through half a million life-or-death situations... (She shakes her head in disbelief.)

Gabi: You know, you kinda just do the next thing. If I’d known what was ahead of me…yeah, I might’ve been overwhelmed. Given up. But the beautiful part about not knowing what’s ahead is you can only tackle what’s right in front of you. I don’t think of myself as super “strong.”

Lisa: Oh, c’mon. You are strong. Look at all you’ve done!

Gabi: *shrugs* I guess.

Lucia: I think I know which place you would consider your home if it was just you, but with your mom and sister involved, it’s a much harder decision.

Gabi: Uh, yeah. You’ve pretty much summarized my whole life right now. It stresses me out.

Lucia: Lisa, if you were Gabi’s mother, would you have made that first step into the tomb?

Lisa: I think so. I have an adventurous streak. And I’m always curious about everything.

Lucia: And would you have decided to let your daughters stay, no matter how dangerous it was?

Lisa: Boy, I don’t know. A mother’s instinct is to protect her children. But if I was there, seeing them together, seeing the love between them and these guys—it might’ve won me over. But it’s a big thing to ask of a mother.

Lucia: Without looking at any of the emotions involved (such as the ones a certain hot Italian knight cause, cough...), list the pros and cons of modern America and fourteenth century Italy.

Gabi: Pro-modern: McDonald’s and Starbucks, Pro-medieval: Fresh food; Pro-modern: Cell phones and Internet, Pro-medieval: More real communication; Pro-modern: Hair products, Pro-medieval: Pull your hair up and go.

Lucia: The fashion must be totally different, huh?

Gabi: Totally. The long dresses get irritating. But it’s also fun—I feel like I’m playing princess all day long. The only time it stinks is when I’m horseback riding, or climbing, or running—

Lisa: Which is pretty much all the time, with you.

Gabi: Pretty much.

Lucia: Okay, now I will be questioning each of you individually. Hm... that sounded a little… intimidating. Kind of like I’m going to interrogate you. (She grins and Lisa does, also.
(Reading off of the notepad she has on her lap) Lisa, who or what inspired you to write? Do you have any role models, whether in writing or life in general?

Lisa: I’ve always written. After college, I had a friend who had a friend who wrote a romance, and I thought, “Well, if she did it, maybe I could too.” And I did! It was published and did well enough for me to sell others.

Lucia: Could you, I don't know, write a haiku about one of your books or series?

Lisa: Uh, no thanks. I don’t do poetry. Aren’t novels enough????
Lucia: Hahaha, authors always seem to have trouble with that question. What are your plans after the River of Time series?

Lisa: I’m writing an adult series called the Grand Tour. It’s about a group of young adults traveling through France, Switzerland, and—shocker—Italy! I’d love to write more YA, but we have to see how River does first.

Lucia: If you were to ask me, I would say that River becomes very successful. I loved the books. Tell me, can you…
Only with my husband in the living room.
Play a musical instrument?
No. My hubs plays by ear, though.
Sword fight?
No. I want to.
Speak more than one language?
I wish! Emma (my younger daughter) and I are doing a computer language program 
Italian), since we’re heading to Rome come October for a couple of weeks.

Lucia: That sounds amazing! I would love to see Italy. Gabi, if you were still in present-day America, what would you have wanted to grow up to be?

Gabi: Hmm. Maybe a doctor. Except I stink at math. I like to help people.

Lucia: What was your first impression of Lady Rossi? Of Luca?

Gabi: Lady Rossi—jerk. Luca—class clown.

Lucia: What is the most important thing you’ve learned along your journey?

Gabi: You never know how long we have on Earth—it’s important to make each day count. To really live, not just survive. Too many people are just trying to make it through the day.

Lucia: That is so true. With modern technology, I don't think we really get to appreciate life anymore. But on to the lighter stuff. What’s your favorite food, any time period?

Gabi: Pie. Strawberry rhubarb pie. Mmmm…Oh, and mango smoothies. I miss those in medieval Tuscany. Not a big chance for me to snag one there.

Lucia: I've never had strawberry rhubarb pie. Definitely something I will have to try out! Is there anything else either of you would like to add?

Gabi: *pointing at Lisa* Read her books! We need lots of girls out there, talking up the River of Time!
Thank you so much, Lisa and Gabi!  To find out more about Ms. Bergren and the River of Time series, visit:


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