The book shown on the left is by J.B. Bergstad. Click on the cover to order.
Nancy Eaton did this interview with author J.B. Bergstad on October 21, 2009.
Where did you get the ideas for these stories?
The stories for Screwing the Pooch were based on bits and pieces of my life as I grew up and traveled the US with my mother and father. Note: I have not killed anyone; at least not that I'm aware of, but I've put myself in some scary situations throughout my life.
Were any of the characters based on real people?
All the main characters in the book bear one or more of the author's traits, but are fiction based on my imagination and extrapolated to the nth degree.
How did you choose the title “Screwing the Pooch?”
The phrase: feeding the dog had its origins in the military of the early 1900s. In the military of 1935, feeding the dog morphed into a new usage: F-----g the dog; meaning to standby for hours awaiting orders. In 1979, Tom Wolfe released his book The Right Stuff and paraphrased the latter usage creating the new metaphor: screwing the pooch, a catastrophic error in judgment; a serious, life changing mistake. This became the lament of the common man for some time to come.
Were you concerned that the title would turn off some readers?
Just the opposite. A title is not just an indication of what your book is about, it's meant to be an attention grabber. If you need further proof of that statement just look at the history of best sellers. Each title teases your imagination, urges you pick up the book, feel it in your hands, read the flyleaf or back cover. If the author and publisher have done their homework the rest is simple; a trip to the cashier and a bag to carry your treasure home.
Is this book going to be part of a continuing series?
No. Short stories are not my passion. All the stories in Pooch started out as ideas for novels. I soon found there wasn't enough story to sustain a full novel in some. Only two stories in the compilation are still under consideration for further development; they are Milton's Pickle and Hank Straker, SA.
What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a writer?
Read and write. Write and read. You can join critique groups, writers websites, trade stories, but in the final analysis you have to be willing to pay for professional critique services. If you don't have a quality college near you where you can participate in writing classes, your next best step is Long Ridge Writers Group and Gotham Writers Workshop. Last, be prepared to revise, revise, revise and then revise again. Writers, especially new writers, are positive from the get go their manuscript is perfect beyond compare. Whenever a writer gets that happy feeling I recommend he/she put the manuscript aside for a month and after that respite read and edit and cut again.
Is there anyone in particular who influenced you?
Writers who have made lasting impressions on me are Elmore Leonard and Louis L'Amour.
What other authors do you enjoy reading?
Almost anyone who writes mystery, thriller, suspense, western, historical and any combination thereof.
What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
Editing is always the most difficult part of structuring your book. Learning how to cut, slice and dice as Chris Roerden suggests in his book: Don't Murder Your Mystery is the most painful element of a books birthing. How many moms out there are willing to murder their babies? When the writer knows he/she must cut the beautiful prose they created, it's murder my friend...that's the only word for it. . .murder.
Do you have anything specific you would like to say to the readers?
Above all else, follow your dream. Don't close your mind to any one thing or view. Pooch
found its first uncomplimentary review here at BestSellersWorld.com. No author likes to receive
an unflattering review or comment, but each of us is entitled to our opinions. Don't let negative remarks produce a negative mindset. . .move on. All of us are different, thank God. Some of us simply have better taste in genre fiction that's all.