Friday, February 5, 2010

Off the Clock article

Mary Ann Bernal with her novel, "The Briton and the Dane."
Off the Clock -- Mary Ann Bernal publishes her first novel
by Vicky Cerino, UNMC public relations

Mary Ann Bernal -- could it be the next
big name in historical fiction?
Bernal -- an administrative assistant in
the department of pathology and
microbiology -- just published her first
novel -- titled "The Briton and The Dane."

The story is about Anglo-Saxon Britain in
the ninth century under the reign of Alfred
the Great, a benevolent king who kept his
land free from Viking rule by fending off the Danish King Guthrum.
Bernal took a year to write the book and she has plans for several future novels.
Below, she takes a few minutes to talk about the story, the writing process and her

Why did you write about
this subject?
I have been interested in
English history since my
sophomore year in high
school when I read Sir Walter
Scott's "Ivanhoe." His
depiction of 12th century
England gave rise to my
interest in the Middle Ages.

Tell us about Alfred the
This story dispels the
misnomer for the term "Dark
Ages." The lack of
documentation about events in Europe from the fall of the Roman Empire through
the Renaissance gave rise to the term "Dark Ages." Barbarian invaders may have
destroyed the written word but the Heathen could not suppress the pursuit of
knowledge. Alfred the Great encouraged the translation of manuscripts and texts
from Latin into English. He created schools and established seats of learning, which
enticed scholars from abroad. Alfred is the only monarch the British named Great.
How did you get started writing?
I have written short stories and poetry since graduating from college. I have taken
creative writing courses, participated in writing workshops and completed an online
novel writing course to learn the craft. The human element has not changed over the
centuries. I enjoy breathing life into the historical characters I research. These
people did exist and these people did experience the range of emotions we deal with
Where can we get your book?
You can order it at the Bookworm (87th and Pacific streets) and Barnes and Noble
or you can order it online at or Also, you can contact me and I can get you a copy.

Date Published: Friday, February 5, 2010

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