Joining us today is H. W. “Buzz” Bernard, author of the suspense thriller, Eyewall. He is the author of five nonfiction books on weather and climate. Eyewall is his first novel. He’s won numerous awards over the past decade as both a fiction and nonfiction writer.
Thank you for joining us today, Buzz. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in Eugene, Oregon, and grew up in Portland, Oregon. So I'll always be an Oregonian at heart. But I call Atlanta home now. After spending two decades shivering in New England winters, my wife and I moved to Roswell, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb, where we've been enjoying the warmth for almost a quarter of a century.
Professionally, I'm a writer and a veteran--now retired--meteorologist. I spent over 30 years in the Air Force and worked for more than a dozen years at the Atlanta-based Weather Channel. I flew a mission with the Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters, a group of intrepid men and women featured in my novel Eyewall, and have held jobs that have taken me from the Arctic Ocean to Saudi Arabia to Vietnam.
When did you begin writing?
To minor acclaim, I began writing short stories in high school. And although I was a science major in college, I took several creative writing courses at the University of Washington as electives. After that, however, I never really pursued writing as my primary career--my first love was meteorology. But I did earn a little money writing short articles and nonfiction books (five trade books) about weather and climate.
Then, as geezerhood crept up on me, I got a "calling" to write fiction--or maybe write fiction again. I can't explain how that happened. The initial result was Eyewall, but there will be more to follow.
What is this book about?
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--like Andrew and Camille, a category 5 hurricane--but in many cases with each other.
What inspired you to write it?
The initial inspiration for Eyewall sprang from an actual event. In 1989, a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft, after suffering damage during a penetration of Hurricane Hugo, became briefly trapped in the storm's eye. In my novel, I changed the plane to an Air Force Hurricane Hunter, mainly because of my Air Force background, and forced it to suffer much more extensive damage than the NOAA craft had--to the extent there was no way for it to escape its imprisonment within the eye.
Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?
My agent is Jeanie Pantelakis of the Sullivan Maxx Literary Agency.
If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?
Yes, I would have taken more golf lessons. If I had known with absolute certainty when I began my novel-writing efforts that it was going to take 10 years and 4 manuscripts before I got professionally published, I probably would have been happier on the links. Fortunately, I didn't know that that; I was informed only that it was going to be a tough journey--one that not many writers would complete. I took that as a personal challenge and refused to surrender. I'm glad I didn't. I can only hope my readers will feel the same way.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
Belle Bridge Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Peerless Book Store (Alpharetta, Georgia)
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?