author Amy Bernstein with chin in hand smiling at the camera and an image of her book Nighthawkers

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world? Writing books for a public audience is immensely difficult to do well, and so any writer who persists does so because she has a powerful desire to share stories that reflect on aspects of the human condition. For me, writing is a way of interpreting and understanding the existential puzzle of why we are here in the first place, and what we are "for."

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block? I set aside the project that refuses to yield and write other things. When I do this, I can feel ideas percolating behind the scenes related to the work I'm stuck on. I have to hope I can return to it and move forward after a forced break. Also, it's valuable to ask yourself what is blocking you in this moment? Powerful emotional states, including self-doubt, anxiety, and depression, may need to be acknowledged and addressed before the writer can concentrate on new or ongoing work.

What is your favorite time to write? I don't have a set schedule, as it all depends on where I am in the project. I am not, however, a night owl. My best energy is usually in the morning.

What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers? The best editors have shown me where I need to deepen the emotion and authenticity within a story to keep the reader interested and invested in the world of the story. That's not advice, per se, it's more like a form of telling me how to 'show, not tell.' My overarching advice to writers is to be very clear about the conflict and needs among characters and offer them pathways to change and cope.

What excites you most about being a writer in today's age? Despite the painful, time-consuming nature of technology today, the opportunities to leverage technology to connect with real readers and hold meaningful conversations with groups of readers, authors, and book lovers in general, ranging from Facebook and IGTV live events to podcasts and Zoom workshops, brings authors closer to more readers than ever before.

Amy L. Bernstein's The Nighthawkers is out now with Wild Rose Press.