Interview with J B Bergstad

Tell us about your current release.
My new release is the second of the series The Hyde's Corner Trilogy - Book II - In the Name of Vengeance. Hyde's is something I've been working on for ten years. It's an Historical/Family Saga work of fiction written in a genre tradition similar to Edna Ferber's Cimarron. Book I - No Man's Land preceded it and has received some excellent five star reviews here on Smashwords and Amazon as well.
How did writing this book affect you and your life?
Writing this trilogy has taught me the discipline necessary to evolve from amateur writer to professional author. The process of building this elaborate world of imagination habited by a host of colorful characters has had a profound effect on me in many ways. Hyde's Corner has taught me to have patience and let ideas flow naturally. It has ingrained in me the most important rule of every writer who would become an author trusted by his or her reader and that is the three most important rules of writing: edit, edit, edit. If we as indie authors can deliver clean, well written manuscripts free of misspellings and elementary grammar error we will finally become respected by the readership community as a whole.
Can you tell us about the journey that led you to writing?
For the first five years of my life, I grew up traveling the US with my parents in a small silver trailer. At age six my mom and dad settled in a small river town in Iowa, my mom having inherited her mother's home. One of my favorite pastimes was to lay on the floor in front of our big RCA radio and listen to the various radio plays on the air. This was in the forties when radio was all we had for entertainment. Listening and picturing the action was instrumental in developing my imagination. This encouraged a healthy curiosity in me at the same time. When my fourth grade teacher introduced me to “Share Time,” I was off and running. My teacher told my parents at an open house about the stories I told the class. These were stories I made up involving knickknacks I brought from home. My mother was mortified and promised to curtail my storytelling, but that wise teacher told her to encourage me, I could become a writer some day.
What is the most difficult aspect of the writing process for you?
That’s a difficult question to answer. I’ve grown to love every aspect of creating a story that will entertain. My novels and short stories are all character driven. This makes it fun and exciting because I can invent any type of individual I want and in so doing that character becomes unique. Off hand, I would say the narration of the story as it pertains to the characters and their situation is most often frustrating to me. Coming up with the right word or phase to paint a vivid picture in the reader's mind can be maddening. There have been many times when it takes me half a day to write one sentence. That's not an exaggeration in the least.
Do you have a musical playlist you listen to while writing? If so what kind of music?
In my present home and our home in South Carolina, my office opens onto the rest of the house. My wife, and the TV decorating shows she watches and listens to while she maintains our home make enough background noise for me. I have often thought of having something classical playing in the background, but I don’t want to make myself unavailable to my wife should she need me or want to share something with me during the day. She's on her own most of the day while I write so I guess I’m stuck with television racket.
Do you plan any subsequent books?
Oh, yes. I’m presently working on the third and final novel completing the Hyde’s Corner Trilogy. Following Hyde's I have nine other projects in various stages of development. All will be full length novels, I think. I don't have any further short story collections in mind, but that could change. We’ll see how much more time The Old Man Upstairs has in mind for me, God willing I'll complete them all.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
It would have to be my ability to jump back and forth between one project and another. There are times I just get bored with the story I'm working on. If I get bored, you can bet my reader will be bored for sure. I stop, sometimes in the middle of a sentence, and go to something else. This, I think, gives my mind a break and let's my imagination climb out of the hole of stagnation it's in and start fresh.
What are you currently reading if anything and do you read very much?
I’ve just started a book by an author I haven't tried before. The book is titled Blood Trail and it's a novel by C.J. Box. This author was recommended by a close friend. I have just finished reading the full series of Quarry novels by Max Allen Collins, a truly talented writer. Before that I finished John Sandford’s new release, Silken Prey, and it was terrific as are all of his Prey series novels. Sandford also writes a series starring one of his one time “Minor Characters,” Virgil Flowers. I highly recommend anything written by either of the two authors I've just mentioned. I've slowed down my reading in the last few years, but I still manage at least two novels a week.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I never like answering this question because there are so many fine authors out there I love and admire. I just named two of them in the answer to an above question. If, however, I have to chose, my choice would have to be Lee Child, with close runners-up, Robert B. Parker and James Lee Burke. One of the latter is dead and the other has just released a new novel called "Light of the World" which I devoured. I lean toward Lee Child because of two factors: one, his meticulous research, and two, the absolute realism he brings to his character, Jack Reacher, a character that would be otherwise difficult to believe in the hands of anyone other than Mr. Child.
Please tell us a fun fact about yourself.
As a young man I was a smart aleck and shunned formal education. I married young and learned quickly how important education was to an employer. It seemed the only thing I was really good at was impregnating my wife. We agreed early on she would be a stay-at-home Mom. That decision we made together for the sake of our children and it paid off in diamonds. All five of our children, three boys and two girls, have grown up to become contributing members of our society such as it is today. For many years we were very poor, but our fortunes gradually developed and my wife and I learned so much, I don't believe either of us would change the experience for anything. I know that doesn’t sound like so much fun, but you had to be there. With practically zero money, we found ways to have tons of fun and we did it all growing up with our kids. There is a caveat, I haven't yet really grown up.
Do you have anything specific you would like to say to your readers?
Yes, and thanks to Smashwords.com for the opportunity. First and most important, I urge all who read this interview to read a book, electronically or printed. I would prefer you read my books first, of course, but if you don’t please don’t cheat yourself out of the most rewarding, stimulating, and educational activity you can possibly participate in for pennies a day. I also urge everyone to nurture and use your God given ability to create. Creating is just about the greatest high you can possibly experience and it doesn’t cost you a cent. My writing is always, and will remain, a vehicle to entertain you the audience; you the reader; you the thinker. I will never preach or espouse a political philosophy or religious ideology in any of my books. When you pick up an electronic or printed version of a book by J B Bergstad, I hope you expect and receive only this: A rich and satisfying reading experience that you’ll remember with chills or fondness or both. Thanks again to Smashwords.com and Mark Coker its founder for all he and his wife have done to advance the title of Indie Author.
Published 2013-09-05.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.