Interview: Buzz Bernard

Buzz Bernard has a varied history, working for The Weather Channel for 13 years after being in the Air Force for 33 years.

He also published five nonfiction books about weather and climate before writing the novel Eyewall.

Enjoy this interview.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how long have you been writing?

I was born in Eugene, Oregon and raised in Portland, Oregon. I began writing short stories in high school and took some creative writing courses at the University of Washington, in Seattle. Initially, however, I was attracted to nonfiction and between 1979 and 1993 wrote five trade books about weather and climate.
I didn’t begin writing fiction seriously until about 2000. Eyewall is the culmination of ten years of work–learning the craft–and four manuscripts.

Tell us about Eyewall. What do you hope readers take away from it?

Eyewall is the story of a catastrophic hurricane that suddenly veers off its predicted course, strengthens and strikes unsuspecting St. Simons Island, Georgia, on a busy holiday weekend. The novel is threaded with action, suspense, danger and romance. It has characters not only in conflict with a devastating storm–a category 5 hurricane–but in many cases with each other.

As one reviewer said, Eyewall is “the perfect summer read.” That’s exactly what I wanted it to be. And if readers come away not only entertained, but a bit more educated about hurricanes and hurricane reconnaissance, all the better.

Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?

I write because I enjoy it. I don’t have any particular goals other than to tell good stories.

My next book is The Koltsovo Legacy, a thriller about bioterrorism. The antagonist is a brilliant but sociopathic terrorist who weaponizes the Ebola virus, putting millions of lives at risk. And only one man has enough inside information to stop the impending attack.

What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?

Since you used the word “interesting,” I would say it’s When Bad Things Happen to Good PeopleHealth, Mind & Body Books), by Harold Kushner. The book was instrumental in shaping my religious philosophy (Christian) even though the work was written by a Jewish rabbi.

Favorite authors?

James Lee Burke, Alan Furst, Martin Cruz Smith, Charles McCarry. Cormac McCarthy, Daniel Silva, Nelson DeMille. And there are many I haven’t discovered yet.

Book you’re currently reading?

The Nearest ExitMystery Books) by Olen Steinhauer.

Any type of writing ritual you have?

Not really. But I try to make certain when I sit down to write that there’s a high probability I’ll have several uninterrupted hours. Sometimes that blows up in the first fifteen minutes, but usually it works pretty well.

In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?

Someone once told me that a professional writer–or successful writer, if you will–is an amateur who didn’t give up.

Where can we learn more about you?

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