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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Interview: Multi Award-Winning Buzz Bernard

Hi! I am Carolyn Howard Johnson, your trusty New Book Review blogger and author of the multi award-winning HowTo Do It Frugally Series of books for writers. This blog has heretofore been exclusive for reviews but I thought I’d do a special series of interviews after I chatted with Jeanie Loiacono, President of Loiacono Literary Agency – Where ‘can’t’ is not in our vocabulary!  I thought sharing the interviews would help the many subscribers and visitors to this New Book Review blog, including authors, reviewers, and, of course, readers who just might find a new favorite author among the featured books and authors.

So, today welcome H. W. “BUZZ” BERNARD.

Bernard is writing from vast experience. He has a B. S. in Atmospheric Science, University of Washington, was a Weather Officer in the United States Air Force Reserve 1963-1996 (two tours in Vietnam 1965-1966), Meritorious Service Medal 1993, flew with Hurricane Hunters 1995, received the Legion of Merit 1996, and worked as a meteorologist and defense contractor 1968-1996. Bernard’s other published works include: Weather Watch (1979, Walker and Company), The Greenhouse Effect (1980, Ballinger Publishing Company/Harper Colophon Books), The Travelers Almanac–North America (1987, The Riverdale Company), The Travelers Almanac II–Europe (1991, The Riverdale Company) and Global Warming Unchecked (1993, Indiana University Press). He has written four thrillers for BelleBooks: EYEWALL, PLAGUE, SUPERCELL and BLIZZARD, and has another in the works, CASCADIA.

He has also won numerous awards for both nonfiction and fiction from the Southeastern Writers Association (SWA) and the Atlanta Writers Club (AWC).

In 2005, a short story, “Oregon Grinder,” was granted an honorable mention in the Lorian Hemingway Competition.

What is your genre? Fiction.

What made you want to be a writer? I’ve always enjoyed writing; always knew I had a talent for it, although I did have to spend a lot of time learning the craft of writing fiction.

Of all the authors out there, who inspired you most? James Lee Burke, whom I think is the best fiction writer in the business.  There’s another author by the name of Brian Jay Corrigan (The Poet of Loch Ness) who’s a professor and writing instructor, and who not only personally urged me to keep writing, but also taught me more about the craft of creating fiction than any one person I’ve ever met.

What is your writing style? Do you outline? Linearly, By scene? Why?  I have a rather
cinematic view in mind as I write.  I try to embed my readers in a setting, creating characters in
conflict…with each other or with themselves.  I like drama and tension, and try to end each
chapter with a hook, Wow, what’s going to happen next?

I outline, but only broadly, perhaps a couple of pages-worth of notes.  I create, if you will, a
roadmap or strategic plan, knowing I want to get from Point A to Point B to Point C, etc.  Only I
don’t know how I’m going to do it.  That doesn’t occur until I sit down to write.  The outline, by
the way, is a “living” document; I make changes to it as I proceed through the manuscript.

I tried to write a novel once without an outline.  I got totally lost, gave up on the manuscript after
about 100 pages, and never again tried writing without an outline.

Do you write every day? How much? How long? I write when I can.  I’d like to do about six hours a day (any more than that, and my efficiency nose-dives), but often can’t.

Do you think reading is important to writing for an author? Why? I love to read; always have.  I don’t have as much time to do it now that I’m an author, but I still think it’s important to see how the really top-flight writers go about their business.  As a writer, I’m constantly learning, and reading is one of the mechanisms to do that.

What are some of the things you would like to share with budding authors?  Writing, for most up-and-coming authors, is hard work. Not impossible, just hard.  You’ve got to keep at it.  Day after day.  Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard.  Also, I would suggest you participate in a critique group, or have writing partner.  Attend seminars, classes, and conferences. There is no magic formula or secret to success, you’ve just got to keep learning and pounding out the words.

Do you have any marketing and promotional advice, referrals, tips you would like to share? For non-big-name authors, like myself, promotions on Amazon (the 800-pound gorilla in the retail business) are what seem to jump start my book sales.

Do you think conferences are beneficial? If so, what have you learned? Which ones do you frequent? Conferences are extremely beneficial, not only for the instruction available, but for the networking opportunities. The contacts I’ve made at conferences were key and critical in my success as a novelist.  I attend the Southeastern Writers Association Workshop every year. The people I met there were instrumental in getting me published. I feel so strongly about that that I joined the Board of Directors and am currently the association’s vice president. Here’s my pitch for the conference: it’s a relatively intimate (limited to about seventy-five attendees), boutiquey workshop held in a subtropical paradise called St. Simons Island on the Georgia coast every June. You really ought to check it out.
  1. Where can we find you, your books, and when is your next event? My books are available through all the standard commercial outlets.  My next big event will be Murder in the Magic City (Birmingham, February 6th) Murder on the Menu (Wetumpka, February 7th) in Alabama. The contract for my fifth novel, Cascadia, is pending. Represented by Loiacono Literary Agency, Jeanie Loiacono  Bernard Schedule of Events  Facebook  Vice President, Southeastern Writers Association  member, International Thriller Writers  member, Atlanta Writers Club  member, Willamette Writers


Jeanie Loiacono, President, Loiacono Literary Agency
A facilitator of dreams, Jeanie Loiacono represents over eighty authors. Her forte is mystery, romance, thrillers, historical/military/southern fiction, and all quality fiction/nonfiction. Her passion is to see her authors succeed.

“There is nothing more rewarding than to hold one of my author’s books and know I helped bring it to fruition. I am so blessed and privileged to be able to work with some of the most talented writers in the world.”


The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

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