Lou Berney on writing, writers, and books. - More2Read Interview
 

Lou Berney on writing, writers, and books.

 

 

Lou Berney is the author of November Road (coming in October), The Long and Faraway Gone (winner of the Edgar, Anthony, Barry, Macavity, and ALA awards), Whiplash River, and Gutshot Straight, all from William Morrow. He’s also written a collection of stories, The Road to Bobby Joe,and his short fiction has appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, Ploughshares, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. He teaches in the MFA program at Oklahoma City University.

www.louberney.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Lou Pendergrast:

When and how was the seed planted for this new work November road?

Lou Berney:

The real core of the novel for me was always my mother, who passed away about ten years ago and provided the inspiration for the character of Charlotte. My mother grew up poor and never had a chance to go to college, but she was one of the smartest, most resilient, most intellectually curious people I’ve ever known.



Lou Pendergrast:

Will you be venturing into some more historical fiction narrative in future?

Lou Berney:

I don’t know if I’ll dive back into historical fiction or not. It got an even higher degree of difficulty, for me, than fiction set today. But with the right subject, it’s very rewarding too.



 

LP:

The writing life, what routine do you have, the hours you write, and where you write?

LB:

I get up early and write for a few hours every morning in a local coffeehouse. It helps me be disciplined to put on pants, get out of the house. In the afternoon I write for a few hours at home, after a short nap, usually.


LP:

Advice to writers what key advice would you give aspiring writers?

LB:

My best advice to an aspiring writer would be to read a lot and write a lot and always be open to getting better, better, better. Try to use discouragements as motivation, not obstacle.


LP:

Many writers have hobbies like running, stamp collecting, do you have any?

LB:

I love to travel, and I guess you could say my hobby is figuring out how to do that – using airline miles, cheap fares, special deals – as much as possible without going broke.


LP:

Which characters in stories do you return to more than once, in pages and on the screen ?

LB:

I tend to re-read Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie series every year or two. And I like reading classics when there’s a new translation (the new translation of The Odyssey, for example, is awesome). And recently I re-watched every episode of The Office in about three weeks.



LP:

Who are the authors you have cherished most and their books you recommend when it comes to prose, characters, and story?

LB:

A very selective list of some of my favorite contemporary authors would include Kate Atkinson, Megan Abbott, Don Winslow, Cormac McCarthy, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Laura Lippman, Kelly Link, John Edgar Wideman, Louise Erdrich.








 

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Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 03 October 2018