WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – Stephen Berberich

 

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Welcome to WOLF NOTES, where interview questions stray from the rest of the pack. It’s nice to know the usual stuff like where an author gets their inspiration and why they write, but sometimes we need a little fun in our lives.

Wolf: Let’s meet today’s guest, Stephen Berberich. Tell us about yourself, Stephen.

portraitStephen: I am a science and environment journalist, a novelist, an organic master gardener, a public-affairs and education outreach specialist, baseball fan, and devoted to the ecology of Chesapeake Bay country.

In addition to several years of newspaper reporting, I’ve contributed to many different publications on topics ranging from business and politics to ecology and pets. I’ve covered stories at the U.S. Supreme Court and remote villages in Kano, Nigeria.

I have also held senior editorial positions at the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, which is a World Bank agency, and the five professional graduate healthcare schools of U. Md. in Baltimore–medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing, and social work..

I’ve also performed significant contract work for the American Farmland Trust, the National Institutes of Health, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

I now freelance news and features on business, environmental and agricultural technology.

My first novel is Night at the Belvedere. My second is Fatal Deadline. My third novel is Trout Heaven. I also published a non-fiction book, The Naked Intruder. Find them on Amazon or Goodreads.

Wolf: Wow. You’ve been busy. If you could be any animal in the universe, what would it be and why?

Stephen: A box turtle and hang out with Tommy Turtle in my vegetable garden. He and I are the best of friends but I’m intimidated by his red-eye staring when I pick a lope or tomato. We could be chums chomping it all up together.

Wolf: Sounds like a demon turtle. What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?

Stephen: A brain taco in Tijuana and told its true identity by my companion at the time—so pretty, I’d eaten shoe leather if she’d said so.

Wolf: I guess you didn’t like it much. If you had to pick a weapon, what would it be and why?

Stephen: No doubt: A pen in any of its forms.

Wolf: Great choice. What is the nicest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?

Stephen: I saved someone from nearly certain insanity in Night at the Belvedere, but I think the most intense nice thing was in Trout Heaven. I had the protagonist admit to his editor that he was in love with his principle source and turn his back on a great investigative report as a consequence, only to mentor young Erich to take over the story and byline.

Wolf: Interesting. What is the meanest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?

Stephen: Definitely stab a man in the eye with a letter opener in self-defense, avoiding her murder at his hands.

Wolf: Ouch. You’ve just been turned into a plant. Describe yourself.

Stephen: I am a submersible sea grass off Smith Island protecting 2-inch baby crabs just released by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Laboratory.

Wolf: And soon they will be big enough to eat. Thank you. Do you consider yourself a cat person, or a dog person?

Stephen: Dog, yet my cat behaves like a dog.

Wolf: I’ve never heard a cat bark, but my daughter is living with one that demands belly rubs. (Real ones, not the usual cat bait and scratch.) While walking in the woods you come across…

Stephen: A wild orchid and can’t find it in my wild plant guide. Get it named after me.

Wolf: I’ll have to look for the Steven orchid in my local garden store. If you could have a super power, what would it be?

Stephen: To fly. What else?

Wolf: I like flying. It’s falling I don’t like. There is a door at the end of a dark, damp corridor. You hear rumbling. What do you do?

Stephen: Rumble back.

Wolf: I wonder if it will answer. What five items would you want to have in a post-cataclysmic world?

Stephen: Wait, I have to look that up. Okay, I get it. So, I want all of my hero, naturalist E.O. Wilson’s writings, to tell me what just happened. I want ice cream. I want a bible. I want Diane Lynn Berberich with me. And I want to have a place and inspiration to write a novel about it, edited by Diane.

Wolf: Sweet. Which of your characters is your favorite?

Stephen: Stephen “Pop” Esposito, the alter ego of my grandfather in East Baltimore (Night at the Belvedere).

Wolf: Describe a meal you would be served while visiting another world.

Stephen: Not a brain taco. Maybe chicken.

Wolf: You really didn’t like that brain taco. What is your favorite body of water and why? (river, ocean, waterfall, puddle, bottle…)

Stephen: U.S. Atlantic Ocean on the coast.

Wolf: That’s where I grew up. What story are you working on now?

Stephen: Maximum Green, a gardening novel.

Wolf: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Stephen: Obvious answer is reading, but no, I like to work on my home and my gardens by myself.

Wolf: I love working in my garden as well. If this question were any question in the world, what question would you want it to be and how would you answer it?

Stephen: It is for you, Stephen. The man said you got the Pulitzer. Want to take it?  YES!

Wolf: Wouldn’t that be nice. Thanks for visiting. To learn more about Stephen, check out these links.

Social Media Links:

https://smberberich.wordpress.com/
https://aboutsmberberichsbeat.wordpress.com/

Don’t forget to check out

Star Touched

Now available on Audio

And

Wolf Dawn 

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Remembering My Visit To Notre Dame Cathedral

In 2017 I had the pleasure of visiting Notre Dame Cathedral. These are a few of the photos I took from the outside.

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These were taken from a little cafe across from the Cathedral. While we ate, some gray clouds swung by, but passed withing a few moments. 20170328_18511520170328_19185020170328_164907

The interior was stunning, but I felt uncomfortable taking pictures inside a place of worship. Luckily others did. I’d like to go back once the cathedral is rebuilt.

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Come to the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading This Saturday at RavenCon 2019

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News from the Wolf

It’s been a busy few weeks for me. Wolf Dawn came out on Kindle.

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Two weeks ago I attended the 7th Annual Book Festival in College Park, Maryland with a few special edition hand-bound copies of Wolf Dawn.20190323_133252

Last weekend I helped run the Maryland Writers’ Association From Brain To Bookshelf Writing Conference. I got to meet lots of people and hang out with Crystal Wilkinson. 20190329_180131 20190330_085239

Here is a before and after picture of my display in the bookstore.20190329_12074220190330_190214

On Tuesday, Star Touched came out on audio. Steve Campbell did a great job with the reading. If you act quickly, you may still be able to get a free version through Audio Book Boom.

Saturday, I’ll be participating in the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading at RavenCon from 2-4 PM. If you’re at the Con, make sure you say hi to me and Fifi.

Keep your eye out for my Balticon schedule.

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MEET ME THIS SATURDAY

If you’re looking for something fun to do this Saturday in the DC area, stop by the 7th Annual Book Festival in College Park. I’ll be there signing books. I’ll even have a few special hand-bound copies of WOLF DAWN. Come by and say hi.

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WOLF DAWN

A Hidden Past – A Deadly Secret

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Gifted with the ability to wolf-talk, Kara has lived with the wolves since she lost her memories eight years ago. Now at sixteen, snippets of her past send her searching for answers.

But the warm welcome she receives in the human village hides more danger than life with the pack.

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WOLF DAWN Is Coming!

Great News!

My short story, WOLF DAWN will soon be available on Amazon. Here’s a sneak peak of the cover.

Wolf Dawn 13

Gifted with the ability to wolf-talk, Kara has lived with the wolves since she lost her memories eight years ago. Now at sixteen, snippets of her past send her searching for answers. But the warm welcome she receives in the human village hides more danger than life with the pack.

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WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – Michelle Ray

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Welcome to WOLF NOTES, where interview questions stray from the rest of the pack. It’s nice to know the usual stuff like where an author gets their inspiration and why they write, but sometimes we need a little fun in our lives.

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Michelle Ray is a middle school teacher who lives in Silver Spring, MD with her husband and teen girls. Falling for Hamlet, her first novel, became the E! TV series, The Royals, starring Elizabeth Hurley, which she finds highly entertaining. Her other Shakespeare novels are Mac/Beth and Much Ado About Something, technically YA though many adults have enjoyed them. Her newest book, A World on Fire, is based on her professor husband’s research about what happened to the Jews after they were expelled from Medieval Spain.

 

Wolf: If you could be any animal in the universe, what would it be and why?

Michelle: A cat. They don’t care!

Wolf: Interesting. What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?

Michelle: Gefilte fish. Jarred fish cakes in goop. I like it but every Passover I wonder why.

Wolf: You and me both. I like mine with lots of horseradish. If you had to pick a weapon, what would it be and why?

Michelle: My glare. My students say it’s scary and it definitely stops people in their tracks.

Wolf: Good one. What is the nicest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?

Michelle: Giving them a happy ending. I’m not good at that. I always want everything to be ambiguous, but my draft-readers are always like, “No! Let us have something positive.”

Wolf: I get that a lot too. What is the meanest thing you’ve ever done to your characters?

Michelle: In my latest book, A World on Fire, the main character decides to cross the Mediterranean to find her fiancé. Let’s just say it’s historically accurate but it doesn’t go well for her. Actually, writing it didn’t feel mean. Just true and sad. Okay so really “mean”? In Mac/Beth giving the main character a mother more interested in her daughter’s fame and income than her well being.World digital cover

Wolf: That is mean. And sad. BTW, I love the cover for A World on Fire. You’ve just been turned into a plant. Describe yourself.

Michelle: Something prickly that turns out to be helpful.

Wolf: I’m picturing sewing and hypodermic needles. Do you consider yourself a cat person, or a dog person?

Michelle: Neither. Both. It depends. The animal’s personality affects how/if I connect with them. Some cats and dogs are irresistible. I’m kind of neutral about dogs, which apparently makes me more attractive to them. I’m like a bad boyfriend ­– the more aloof I am, the more the dog is like, “I will make you love me!” It’s a running joke with my friends because their dogs seek me out and lean on me all the time! A rude cat turns me off, but sometimes it cracks me up. I had a roommate whose cat used to prance across the coffee table, pause, and hang up the phone (some of you will remember the land line phone with the part that was separate). When a sweet cat drapes across me and purrs? Love it!

Wolf: I’m a sap for a cute pup. While walking in the woods you come across…

Michelle: Nature and think, “How come I don’t spend more time out here?”

Wolf: Good question. After you finish reading, go take a walk. If you could have a super power, what would it be?

Michelle: Flight. Airports make me tense.

Wolf: Interesting. I’m fine with airports but hate flying. There is a door at the end of a dark, damp corridor. You hear rumbling. What do you do?

Michelle: Run the other way!

Wolf: Smart. Unless it’s your washing machine. What five items would you want to have in a post-cataclysmic world?

Michelle: Nothing. And here’s why: after reading many, many post-cataclysmic books & watching The Walking Dead for so many years, I have come to the conclusion that, should there be a disease outbreak or a zombie apocalypse, I want to be taken out in the first moments, thank you very much. 

Wolf: Makes sense. Which of your characters is your favorite?

Michelle: Oh that’s hard! Okay, I think I like Hamlet the best. I’m still in love with him. My best friend reads all my drafts and she says my boys always start out too perfect. I guess it’s true. I’ve always had great guys around. Hamlet is funny and smart and handsome and, well, a prince. He gets a little nutty midway through the book, but Ophelia still has a thing for him to the bitter end, as do I.

Wolf: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Michelle: I like stories of all kinds, so I love movies and well-written TV shows, but my favorite place is the theater. I also love grabbing coffee with friends. Great stories come when you sit down with people to chat. (Author friends are dangerous. Many personal details from real life become part of the characters’ stories.)

Wolf: I hear you. What are your two favorite books about writing? 

Michelle: On Writing by Stephen King & Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott. Both gave me the confidence to say I’m a writer and the permission to not be perfect while doing it.

Wolf: Super. Thanks for stopping by. You can connect with Michelle through these links:

Website: www.michelleraybooks.com
Facebook: Michelle Ray writer
Twitter: @mraywriter

Star Touched

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