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.
Stephen: 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:
Don’t forget to check out
Now available on Audio