H.W. ‘Buzz’ Bernard tells us more…Interview (part 2)

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

HWB. Little elves are not going to come in the dark of night and write your book for you. So: BUTT IN CHAIR, FINGERS ON KEYBOARD.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

HWB. I don’t have a magic formula for that. Since I write historical fiction, some of the characters I run with are real. Many others that I create and plop into historical situations are an amalgam of traits and backgrounds drawn from friends, family, and coworkers I’ve known over the years . . . many years. And a few are just flat out made up.

Q. What first inspired you to write?

HWB. I’m not sure. I always enjoyed reading. Then in high school I discovered I could write pretty well, too, and received some recognition for that. I was also sports editor for the high school newspaper. At the University of Washington, even though I was a physical science major, I took some courses in creative writing and managed to hold my own.

Q. What comes first to you? The Characters or the Situation?

HWB. Usually the situation, although I often develop the characters in tandem with the plot. In the end, it’s the characters that carry a story. If you don’t have 3D, believable people in your tale, nobody’s going to care about it.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

HWB. Not really. But I hate to leave a scene unfinished, so I’ll keep plowing through one until it’s complete, or until I find a logical break in it. It’s then I may discover it’s 4:30 in the afternoon, not 3 p.m. like I thought.

Q. What compelled you to choose and settle on the genre you now write in?

HWB. The history of WWII is packed with stunning tales that totally fascinate me. They are stories filled with facts and statistics, and strategies and timelines. But I want to bring these things alive. I want readers to realize that real people, just like them or their friends, lived these dramas. I want folks to pick up my novels and not just read about history, but experience it, live it. I want them to sit beside a pilot on a bombing raid, to experience the mind-numbing shock of discovering a Nazi death camp, to become lost in a Burmese jungle crawling with enemy troops, native headhunters, and blood-sucking leeches. I want my readers to keep turning the pages in my books long after they should have turned off the lights and fallen asleep. Or I want them to tear up because a character they were rooting for didn’t make it . . . or had something surprisingly good happen when all seemed lost.

Q. Are you working on something now or have a new release coming up? If so tell us about it.

Book signing

HWB. DOWN A DARK ROAD will be released May 9th. It’s a “gut punch of a novel” based on the WWII exploits of a prominent Oregonian, Jim Thayer. You’re side-by-side with Jim when, as a young infantry lieutenant, he and his platoon stumble into the very heart of darkness near the end of the war. The scenes are chilling and unforgettable, and Jim refused to discuss what he had witnessed for decades after. When he finally did, my wife—who had worked for Jim when she was a young girl—was one of the people he talked to. After that, she kept a scrapbook of write-ups about Jim. She showed it to me after our recent marriage (and after Jim’s passing) and insisted there was a great story there. I was reluctant to agree initially, but after further research and getting support from Jim’s family, I saw the light, and DOWN A DARK ROAD was born.

Q. Note to Self: (a life lesson you’ve learned.)

HWB. Always have a Plan B, and maybe a C and a D. You’ll need them.


To receive my weekly posts, sign up for my  On the home page, enter your email address. Watch for more interviews with authors.  March-Apr:   Joshua Hood, author of ROBERT LUDLUM’S THE TREADSTONE RENDITION  April: Author, H.W. ‘Buzz’ Bernard May: Victoria Costello.



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