I’m pleased to be joined by Berni Stevens today. Her latest book, It’s Only Rock and Roll, will be published by Choc Lit tomorrow. You can read more about the book later in this post. First of all though, let’s hear what #TenThings Berni would like her readers to know about her.
‘Write #TenThings about yourself’ I was told … hmmmm …
I love our house. Most people like where they live – I hope – but I really really love our house. I’ve always loved old buildings with a sense of history, and often wished the walls could talk.
I was brought up in a small village between Eastbourne and Hastings, and the area is steeped in history … the Battle of Hastings and the Norman Conquest for example. The local church was built in 1100 by the Normans, and a little further down the road is a Roman wall which circles a Norman castle. The village boasts several Tudor houses, which I’ve always loved – and once photographed for a college project.
Imagine the excitement when my husband called me one day at work and said I had to come and see this old cottage he’d been to see – because it was for sale. We’d moved up to London by then for work and were living in a small flat in Hertfordshire. We had no idea how old the cottage was, but from the outside it looked to be late Georgian. Opening the front door, we stepped into the living room and hurtled back in time. Oak beams, an inglenook fireplace, an oak staircase … It hadn’t had much TLC for decades and had been empty for two years, but we loved it and asked what we needed to sign then and there.
Over a period of years, we stripped the bitumen from all the beams, stairs, floorboards and doors, discovering a Georgian penny, lots of clay pipes and a witch’s mark along the way. We believe the house was built somewhere around 1620, which makes it Jacobean. We have deeds going back to 1785 or thereabouts, and a previous owner at that time was named in the deeds as Robert W. Palmer – my husband’s name!
Most people who know me, know that my favourite book ever, is Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I read it for the first time when I was about fourteen, having ‘graduated’ from Agatha Christie. One of the main characters is a woman too, and not the usual simpering, eyelash fluttering type from the Victorian era, but a strong, intelligent and resourceful woman. Very brave of Mr Stoker, I always felt. And of course, I do like vampires!
It will, therefore, not come as a surprise to anyone, that I’ve been a member of the Dracula Society since 1996, I’m on the Committee, and I design their quarterly magazine. The Society is for lovers of Gothic fiction, theatre and film, and there’s no prizes for guessing everyone’s favourite book.
I once met Rod Stewart, and gave him the portrait I’d drawn of him. It was pre art college, so there was obvious room for improvement … but he was lovely, and very complimentary about it. There’s a saying that you should never meet your heroes, but in this case, I’m pleased I did.
I learned to ride when I was eleven, and spent a lot of time falling off in the first couple of years. My only regret is I’ve never been able to afford to keep a horse. (I still want one though!)
I’m also a trained dancer (too many hobbies has always been my problem I think.) I was a member of Pineapple Dance Studios for nearly thirty years.
I’m a licensed Zumba instructor, and teach class every week. It’s a fun thing to do, even if the regular members of the class sometimes remember the routines better than I do!
My husband and I are addicted to America’s South West deserts, and until Covid struck, we’d gone out every year for the last twenty odd years. We hike canyons in the beautiful Utah desert, sometimes sneaking into Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico too.
Another addiction is music … especially live rock concerts, we missed those a lot during the various lockdown restrictions. The first live concert we saw last year when everything opened up, was at a small venue down in Worthing with Robert Plant and Saving Grace. He was enjoying himself so much, the encore went on for a lot longer than it should have!
Art college was quite simply … a blast. I loved every second. For someone who’d always felt a bit of an oddball at school, was totally useless at sport (they have yet to invent a game with a big enough bat for me to hit a ball) and none too good at maths either … art college was definitely the answer. There were so many like-minded people there, I no longer felt like an oddball – because we all were! (And I married one of them).
About the book
Is the rock and roll lifestyle all it’s cracked up to be?
Being the girlfriend of a rock star isn’t all glitz and glamour – at least that’s what Izzy Grant has found since she started dating Seth Roberts of Scarlet Gryphon fame; it’s actually a lot of waiting and wondering and worrying as Seth travels the world whilst she’s stuck in London. Can she ever rely on Mr Cool to settle down?
But rock gods get insecure too, and whilst Seth is jetting off to far-flung locations to perform sold-out shows, he worries that Izzy will find a “Joe Normal” and opt for a more ordinary life. Plus, he could do with some support when a certain entitled rock star girlfriend gets too big for her Jimmy Choos and threatens to break up the band.
There is a solution, but are either of them willing to take the plunge?
You’ll find buying options on the ChocLit website here: It’s Only Rock and Roll