Apr 102018

What would you do if asked to fulfill someone’s last wishes when those wishes would change your life forever?”

What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?

I have had the idea for the novel A WELL-RESPECTED MAN for several years, the theme of end-of-life wishes and modern parenthood. What would you do if asked to fulfill someone’s last wishes when those wishes would change your life forever?

What are you working on now?

I have a memoir that two publishers are vying for. And I’m working on final edits. It’s based on the theme of home—what home means, why we seek it, why it resonates so strongly with who we are.  The memoir is a series of connected essays with the working title THE CONSEQUENCE OF STARS.

What was the last great thing you read by another author?

Oh my. Several things. Karl Ove Knausgaard’s WINTER. David Szalay’s ALL THAT MAN IS. A memoir by Nancy Chadwick entitled UNDER THE BIRCH TREE. And I finished another rmemoir recently that I loved by the great writer John Banville. TIME PIECES: A DUBLIN MEMOIR is about his life in Ireland. The writing is no less than poetic.

You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which writer, dead or alive, do you invite?

Just one? That’s tough. Modern day—maybe Karl Ove Knausgaard, but I hear he can be rather reserved. Dead—maybe Jack Kerouac, but he may not be able to hold his liquor. The same with Hemingway. Albert Camus would be interesting—all those philosophical questions. Still, he might be a bit intimidating. As I write this now, I think of Gretel Ehrlich, the author of one of my favorite books: THE SOLACE OF OPEN SPACES. But here’s the thing, if you ask me this same question a week from now, I’ll have a completely different list.

May 152017

I have always been a storyteller, I would say. Writing came later … . I wanted to tell stories like the ones I read, from faraway places and about interesting things.”

How did you discover that you were a writer?

I have always been a storyteller, I would say. Writing came later. I was a newspaper boy in my youth and would stop and read the paper during my deliveries. I wanted to tell stories like the ones I read, from faraway places and about interesting things. In my teens, I was into music and played in a band. Soon, I was writing music and that in many ways for me was storytelling. When I became a radio broadcaster, I then told other kinds of stories. Journalism was my next stop and it was then that I started to concentrate on writing. Stories in print and on the radio soon became bigger stories in journals and then books. Becoming a writer was a long process.

Describe your writing process.

I have recently built a shed, a writing studio on my property. It’s a simple place but it’s all mine. I go inside and I’m alone with books, art, and photography and I write. Mornings are the best. I usually work two hours or so and record my word count, a sort of ritual, really. But I also like writing in coffee shops. Sometimes I like the noise—the whir of the espresso machine, the conversations around me. I do not outline but I do take lots of free-form notes and do some research before I jump into the writing. But I am much more organic than a lot of writers. Then, of course, comes the drafting and revising. I love this part. The shaping of a piece or a book is a wonderful experience. That’s when the story comes to life for me. It is solidified and all the pieces—the ingredients, if you will—make for one single entity.

What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?

It’s from my memoir October Song. I never expected to write this book. But the experience was so interesting and so personal, it was impossible not to. The story is about when your dreams are no longer realities. When do you give up a dream? And as we age, do we just acquiesce to what age eventually does to all of us—wear us down? The story is about a road trip, music, love, and the power of our dreams.

What are you working on now?

I’m writing another memoir. It’s about the notion of home…what it is, what it means, how we discover it. The subtitle of the work isn’t fully flushed out, but it is about growing up, moving on from our childhood home, and the eternal search for our own place under the stars. Home means so much to all of us. Good and bad. And for me, there is so such rich material there. I had parents who grew up, met, dated, fell in love, married, bought a home, raised a family, and died all in one neighborhood. That fact is hardwired into me and I have forever been influenced by it. I think readers can find their own stories in mine.

Feb 152016


How and when did you decide, or discover, that you were to be a writer?

I have always been a writer since the first love letter i sent the cute blonde girl who sat in front of me in  2nd grade. I don’t remember what I wrote, but if you ask her she’d probably say it was horrendous. In my teen years I started writing lyrics and writing songs. But even before that I wrote a small book for a 3rd grade project. It was entitled “The Cyclops.” I was really into Jacques Cousteau, the adventurer / oceanographer. Then I started writing professionally as a journalist and radio reporter. Essays and books came later in life.

Describe your writing process.

I like mornings best. I do well in noisy places—coffee shops are great. But I also write at home. If it gets too quiet, I put on music—usually jazz or maybe something that fits the story. Miles Davis works great. I try to keep to the Hemingway approach: “Write drunk, edit sober.” Of course, he didn’t really mean that literally. He meant to write freely and work on the details later. I like that.

What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?

“Bare Naked Radio” was originally a creative nonfiction piece, a personal essay. After some adjustments and fictional embellishments, it became the essence of the first chapter of my novel “Night Radio” — due out in the summer from Cawing Crow Press. It’s about a young man in the 1970s—at the height of radio’s most influential time with incredible music on the air—who wants to be the best rock-n-roll disc jockey he can be. But due to past mistakes and tragedies as a boy and in college, his career derails. He finally finds redemption in small town radio and new music, and confronts all of his demons in an unusual midnight broadcast on New Years Eve.

What are you working on now?

I have a creative nonfiction work—a memoir—I am shopping. It’s about a songwriting contest, the issue of aging, and how one holds onto their dreams.  I’ve also just finished the first draft of a new novel, but it needs plenty of work. I’ve written it “drunk” and now the “sobering” part is before me. No more manhattans.

Find out more about David at www.davidwberner.com.