Blog Tour: TWO AND TWENTY DARK TALES - Nina Berry Interview + Giveaway

Welcome to our stop on the TWO AND TWENTY DARK TALES blog tour. The tour is hosted by Month9Books and the schedule is HERE. Month9books is celebrating the release of their amazing and haunting anthology with a blog tour. Each day is packed full with author interviews, guest posts, and giveaways. 

As part of our stop, we have an interview with one of the many authors - Nina Berry that is a part of Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes, to share with you all. 

Nina Berry Links: WebGoodreadsFacebookTwitter

Month9Books Links: WebBlog • FacebookTwitter

About Month9Books: Month 9 Books is a publisher of speculative fiction for teens and tweens… where nothing is as it seems. Month9Books will donate proceeds from each of its annual charity anthologies to a deserving charity. Individually, authors may donate his or her advances and royalties to a charitable organization. Month9Books will also release 10-12 non-charitable titles annually. TWO AND TWENTY DARK TALES: DARK RETELLINGS OF MOTHER GOOSE RHYMES is Month9Books’s first release. Month9Books is distributed by Small Press United, a division of IPG. You may visit for more information.

Author Nina Berry Interview

OUaT: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a redhead who grew up in Honolulu, went to college in Chicago, and now lives in Hollywood, where I’ve worked everywhere from Playboy to Twentieth Century Fox. I love travel, storytelling, and history. If I could, I’d be a screenwriting novelist/Egyptologist. But it’s not easy to get those worlds to work together, so I work in TV, write books and scripts in my so-called spare time, and travel as much as I can afford. I’m an optimist who believes that everything and everyone is connected, so be nice.

OUaT: When did you first start writing and when did you finish your book?

I completed my first magnum opus at age four. It was titled: “The Cat and Dad” and included beguiling stick figure illustrations. It also used every word I knew how to spell. Sadly, publishers didn’t recognize its subtle brilliance. I kept scribbling after that for years, but I didn’t get really serious until my best girlfriend died and I realized just how little time we have to fulfill our dreams. That made me focus and helped me overcome the fear of failure, and my other big fear – the fear of being seen.

I wrote a book that got me a lot of nice rejections from agents in 2009. This is what is known as “encouraging” in the publishing business. So I persevered and wrote a second book, Otherkin, which I finished late in 2010 and that’s what got me my lovely agent early in 2011. She then sold it fairly quickly.

OUaT: Where do you get your ideas?

From my brain? This is always a tough question to answer. I’m writing a short story right now based on a real nightmare I had, but of course it’s changed a lot in the writing. My story in Two and Twenty Dark Tales came from research I did on my favorite nursery rhyme, “Taffy Was a Thief.” Apparently it originated from an obscure Welsh myth involving a demi-god who stole a bird, a dog, and a stag from the King of the Otherworld. I turned the bird into a girl, moved things into the modern day world, and it just got weirder from there. My book series, Otherkin, came from asking myself – “What if I’d learned I could turn into a tiger back when I was wearing my back brace?”

I think the key is to keep your mind open and to keep asking “what if?” Then, when an idea won’t let go of you, keep asking questions, poke around. Usually the ideas that hook you as a writer have some resonance in your own life struggle. I know that sounds pretentious, but it’s true. The things that make you angry, or make you hurt, or make you laugh are the things worth writing about.

OUaT: Do you work with an outline, or just write?

I also write screenplays and TV scripts, and those require rigorous attention to structure. So I outline. I’ve tried to just write, and I find that when I don’t know where I’m going, I get bogged down. That said, the outline is not law, and things change a lot between outline and book. Most of the time I come up with something way better in the writing and that has a ripple effect, changing everything that comes after.

OUaT: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Oh, so many. My favorite writer is good old genius Shakespeare, but the most influential books were the ones I read when I was young. Books like Charlotte’s Web, the Chronicles of Narnia, and To Kill a Mockingbird. As an adult, I was re-inspired to write YA by Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, and to write fantasy by George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones.

Many of my favorite writers write for TV. I absolutely love David Simon’s show The Wire and Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Those shows continue to have a big influence on me.

OUaT: Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published? How do you deal with this?

I did write a book before Otherkin. I can see the flaws in the setting, plot, and point of view now, but I still love the main character. Initially I dealt with the rejection by focusing on the next project. But still, it hurt a lot knowing that book wouldn’t see the light of day. So much work! I think I have a great idea of how to take that character and put her in a new setting and rework the plot. We’ll see.

OUaT: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

I can handle bad reviews. It’s not easy, but you can’t please everyone, nor should you try. The toughest thing for me, actually, is when a reader interprets something in my book exactly opposite of the way I intended. Since my editor and other readers read it the way I intended, I figure I’m not totally delusional. But those readers who see it differently are not wrong. They get to interpret things any way they want. And I have to just let it go. That’s part of the job. But it’s hard.

The best compliment is when someone writes me to say that they couldn’t put my book down, that they read it twice in a row, and they recommended it to their friends. That makes everything worthwhile. That’s why I write. That, and I can’t not write. Which is kind of annoying.

OUaT: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

I still have a lot to learn myself, but my advice would be:
  1. Read and write a lot. 
  2. Finish what you write. 
  3. Persist. There’s a lot of rejection ahead if you want to be a writer, so you have to believe in yourself enough to just keep going, no matter what. 
  4. Keep trying to get better as a writer. How do you do that? See #1. Or take classes, get a critique partner or group, whatever it takes to improve. 
  5. Act professionally. If you don’t take your writing career seriously, no one else will. 

OUaT: What do you do to unwind and relax?

I’m pretty good at relaxing. Maybe too good. I read. I hang out with friends and laugh till I cry. I watch old movies, play with my pets, or try to learn phrases in the language of the country I’m visiting next. When I’m back in Hawaii visiting my parents, I go bodysurfing at Bellows Beach, where I first learned to bodysurf as a kid. It’s my favorite place in the world, and the instant I set foot on that soft white sand, I feel peaceful and happy.

OUaT: Tell us your latest news?

I’m very excited about promoting Two and Twenty Dark Tales, which is jam-packed with scintillating stories. My deal for book 3 in the Otherkin series was just announced, so I’m busy working on that, as well as rewriting a TV script and brainstorming the next book series. Thinking about all the juicy writing ahead of me makes my mouth water.

Meanwhile, I’m getting a bunch of vaccinations so I can go to Thailand in December. It’s going to be awesome! (Thailand, that is, not the vaccinations.) I just got an adorable new kitten, and I’m writing an essay on Judy Blume’s book Deenie for the LA Review of Books.

Phew! How lucky am I?

Two and Twenty Dark Tales
Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes
Authors: Nina Berry, Sarwat Chadda, Shannon Delany, Max Scialdone, Karen Mahoney, Lisa Mantchev, Georgia McBride, C. Lee McKenzie, Gretchen McNeil, Francisco X. Stork, K.M. Walton, Suzanne Young, Michelle Zink,  Leigh Fallon, Angie Frazier, Jessie Harrell, Nancy Holder, Heidi R. Kling, Suzanne Lazear, Pam van Hylckama Vlieg and Leah Cypress.
Reading Level: YA
Genre: Short Stories/Anthology/Fantasy/Retellings
Released: October 16th 2012
Publisher: Month9Books
Available: Amazon • BN.comIndieBound



Fairy tales sung sweetly can take us back to childhood, but just beneath those same sweet tales, is a hint of something dark…

Month9Books, a new publisher of speculative fiction for teens and tweens launches in October 2012, with the release of TWO AND TWENTY DARK TALES: DARK RETELLINGS OF MOTHER GOOSE RHYMES. This unique collaboration’s proceeds (from the first 5,000 copies sold) will be donated to YALITCHAT.ORG, an organization that fosters the advancement, reading, writing and acceptance of young adult literature worldwide. TWO AND TWENTY DARK TALES: DARK RETELLINGS OF MOTHER GOOSE RHYMES features some of today’s most admired young adult authors, including: Michelle Zink, Lisa Mantchev, Sarwat Chadda, Nina Berry, Leigh Fallon, Suzanne Young, C. Lee McKenzie, Angie Frazier, Jessie Harrell, Gretchen McNeil, KM Walton, Heidi R. Kling, Nancy Holder, Karen Mahoney, Suzanne Lazear, Pamela van Hylckama Vlieg, Shannon Delany with Max Scialdone, Leah Cypess, Sayantani DasGupta, and Georgia McBride, founder of Month9Books. Francisco X. Stork, author of the critically acclaimed MARCELLO IN THE REAL WORLD, provides a foreword that is nearly as riveting as the stories themselves.

When asked why they wanted to be a part of TWO AND TWENTY DARK TALES: DARK RETELLINGS of MOTHER GOOSE RHYMES, the authors had a lot to say!

“I'm so excited to be working on Month9Books's epic anthology. I've been a Tudor© nerd since before the Tudors© were cool, and this nursery rhyme is about the accession of the Scottish king, James VI, to the English throne (as James I.)” -- New York Times Bestselling author, Nancy Holder

"As soon as I heard the anthology's theme, I knew there was no stopping me! I love anything to do with folklore, so immediately latched onto 'One for Sorrow' as my story's basis. I've wanted to write a crow story for a long time, and this was the perfect excuse!" -- Karen Mahoney, author of The Iron Witch and The Wood Queen, Flux Books

To celebrate Nina Berry's stop, we are offering an ebook copy of OTHERKIN. OTHERKIN is the first book in the OTHERKIN series by Nina Berry. Enter below in the rafflecopter and read the terms and conditions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Little Bo-Peep

    Rafflecopter Name: Stephanie LaPlante

  2. Thanks for the fun post and giveaway! I'd also have to say Little Bo Peep :)

  3. Little Red Riding Hood.....thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  4. My favorite Mother Goose story is Little Bo Peep :D
    Thanks for the giveaway and the great post!!

  5. I have always enjoyed OLD MOTHER HUBBARD - got to feel sorry for the dog.

  6. I have always love Little Red Riding Hood.

  7. Jack be nibble I guess haha!! Thanks for great giveaway!!


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