Berberich pens alternate ending to economic recession
Sept. 8, 2018
Stephen Michael Berberich of Waldorf recently published “Fatal Deadline,” a thriller that offers an alternate ending to the economic recession of the late 2000s. “Fatal Deadline” can be found and purchased as an e-book or paperback on Amazon.com or CreateSpace.com.
How long have you been writing, and how did you get started?
A: All my life, I have enjoyed putting words together in meaningful ways. I am and have been a journalist, starting in middle school, and then high school and college; school newspapers at each stop. I rarely venture into opinion, but also publish essays on current topics.
What inspires you to write?
A: I like serving communities with news and other information. For my fiction, I’m inspired by the fun of it. Initially, I was inspired by a gregarious friend at the VA Hospital in Baltimore, who writes outstanding short stories. When I was writing health and medical stories for the professional graduate schools of the University of Maryland in Baltimore, she said, “Steve, you need to write down your stories.” Finally, during a 13-day break for the holidays I wrote 2,000 words a day to start my first novel, “Night at the Belvedere,” now an e-book. It is a ghost story based on a personal experience.2
Do you consider writing to be a career?
A: Yes, it is a good one. Fiction writing is part of my career now. I am still a science and business writer, but fiction lately has been creeping up on me, smothering me with ideas.
What kind of writing process do you use?
A: I tried outlining for my fiction, which is a popular process I heard about from friends in the Maryland Writers Association. But outlining froze my creativity. Instead, I subscribe to Elmore Leonard’s process of developing characters first and then letting them tell the story. Working on my fourth novel now, I’m convinced that, for me at least, endings are not difficult to write this way because my imaginary ‘friends’ (characters) do it for me. On the other hand, outlining to me is confining and becomes its own demanding regimen, kind of like the constructive experience of clean living in a reform school but no exciting ending in sight.
Who are some of your favorite authors and why? How much do you feel they influence your own writing?
A: For quirky stories, I like Carl Hiaasen, Kurt Vonnegut, Elmore Leonard, and Raymond Chandler and other storytellers like them because they are entertaining and, not overtly at least, throwing social issues at you. For writers of more serious novels, Carl Sandburg, Herman Melville, Charles Dickens, James McBride and Fyodor Dostoevsky come to mind as writers of stories that have recently led me into new worlds. The stories hold you close because you don’t notice a writing style as you turn pages. I honestly can’t measure or think of how these idols influence my writing, except perhaps they somehow add color. It is intuitive, I think.
What do you want readers to know about you?
A: I have had an eclectic journey as a writer. I began as a garden writer for pubs like ‘Organic Gardening’ and ‘Alive and Well. That took me to writing for many years about the science and technology out of the USDA’s Agriculture Research Service headquartered at Beltsville. I have written on contract for the National Institutes of Health, American Farmland Trust, the World Bank in Nigeria in Africa, The Smithsonian Institute, and the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute. Meanwhile, I placed freelance work in many newspapers and magazines and reported for The Gazette, Journal newspapers around D.C., Baltimore Sun and Earth Times.
Please include a brief description of your book:
Fatal Deadline is a story of what could have happened in any county in America and probably did during the Great Recession of the late 2000s when the weakened economy drove investors and buildings to drastic and criminal means to stay afloat and competitive. It appears to be a straight forward murder mystery at the start. Here is the twist: a young neophyte reporter, 19, just out of his accelerated classes in journalism school, falls into the biggest crime story his editors at the small Maryland weekly could ever dream up.
To cover the story, he must defy the editors and travel a risky path into a corrupted real estate recession during the 2005-6 building crash and deal with predatory/racist lenders, hardened gangs, drug dealers, strippers, and murderers.