Versatile Author Comes to Allen to Inspire Young Writers


Photo courtesy of Admission Press

Author Laura Bernhardt, writer of Ghosts of Guthrie

Hope Kamanga, Student Reporter

Being an aspiring author is about taking risks and jumping out of our comfort zone. Writing can often be intimidating and there are times people do not enjoy it, primarily because it was part of English class courses in high school, which many people found to be no fun. Yet, being an author can be looked at in different ways. It can often be portrayed as an artsy aesthetic that seems very laid back, glitzy and cool, yet many authors go through various challenges, just like many other occupations.

Laura Bernhardt is an author and editor who came to visit Allen Community College to share her journey on how she became an author. According to Bernhardt, every author has a different approach to meeting the challenges that present themselves while attempting to write a book.  One author can be very structured and have an outline, while another other author might just go with the flow and write whatever comes to them. As an author, Laura’s writing process is one that involves going with the flow, and whenever an idea pops in her mind, she is set.

Bernhardt shared many ways to begin the author journey, and she has been doing this journey all her life. Bernhardt grew up going to the libraries all the time, and as soon as she started walking, she was attracted to books and stories. Bernhardt said she was always inspired to write, so she continued her journey that was filled with many exciting thrills and challenges that she faced. In this way, Bernhardt perceives herself as an oddball of the family, as all of her six siblings either do engineering or health related jobs. Yet, because of her attraction to books, Bernhardt always read stories to them.

Bernhardt related to the attending crowd that she had faced certain challenges becoming a published author. One of them was that, even though she was good at writing, she had to learn how to specifically write a book, which comes with its own challenges. Some of these challenges that an author can face include: writer’s block, the fear of selling, lack of confidence, lack of productivity, and many other minor challenges.

Through her journey, Bernhardt connected with people that led to more opportunities. For aspiring authors, she recommended starting to make connections with local authors. She also recommended finding workshops, seminars, conferences, reading instructional books, and working with a developmental editor. Bernhardt herself attended an author panel called Writercon this past September, and she had a great experience; she was among two other authors, who Bernhardt learned from as well.

Being in the industry, there can be many people who will not like certain book ideas, and that can be a challenging setback. Laura experienced that with being both a women’s fiction and supernatural writer. Bernhardt explained that this can sometimes be controversial in the writing world because it is suggested that authors stick to one genre to be successful.  Laura’s first published book was called the Wantland, and during the pandemic, she wrote Ghost of Gut Fire. Then she opened her own publishing company called the Admission Press. As of now, she has written seven published books.

Throughout her journey, Bernhardt experienced many ups and downs, yet she executed her challenges and goals well. Bernhardt is inspiring others to reach for their goals, and that no matter what challenges come, it is still possible to get where a person wants to be. Bernhardt explained that if she can be an author, anyone can be. She is living proof that if someone puts their mind to something, they can make it happen.