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Incremental Incidences: An Interview with Joel Bernard, author of The Ring

Joel Bernard

I live in Oregon. I draw inspiration from the temperate rain forest and people who interact with its varied range and depth. We are on the threshold of changing the environment in ways we have not imagined. The negativity of not only the politics of the world but the implications of climate change have caused us to abandon our commitment to people in our lives in favor of defending our perception of a world that has been created to question facts and truth. When we consider our own lives and relationships, we realize that, as Dylan’s lyrics state, “I am meek, hard like an oak, seen pretty people disappear like smoke.” We are the result of small incremental incidents that for the most part we don’t recognize until we do.

I grew up in the Midwest, where six months of the year you are mired in winter and the other six months preparing for that inevitability.

The climate influences our lives in a similar way relationships do. We either gain from our interactions with others or choose to dismiss them as irrelevant. That is one of the biggest mistakes we make personally and socially. We have been trained by thousands of years of evolution to retreat to survival mode. That reaction illuminates the need to listen, as our perception of self-preservation disallows it.

I’ve been married for decades and have three children.

You can buy The Ring here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

The impetus for the story was my mother’s brother’s involvement in the Korean War. He sent a porcelain cup to my grandmother that when held to the light showed a Gisha woman on the bottom.

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

The book cover was designed by my son, so I was familiar with what it would look like. The book was not my first but you can’t help but revisit the reason you invested time into its production.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

Had a writing instructor in night school at the University of Minnesota who exposed us to constructive criticism with a dash of reality.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I was a contractor for over forty years. I’ve worked with emergency management for the past 18 years. I was on the town board in my town for ten years. I was involved with organic farming and alternative energy for the past fifty years.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

Taking experiences from the past and incorporating them into the present.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

Fred Neil’s “Everybody’s Talking at Me.” Dylan’s “Blood on the Track” album. Simon and Garfunkel’s “Hello Darkness My Old Friend.” Jack Elliot’s album, “912 Green.”

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

Pay attention to what you have. Tomorrow will come regardless.

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

Just finished Deja Vu, a story of a young adolescent who fixates on the reality of events that surround him causing him to question his every action and the consequences that will result.

How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?

The people are knowledgeable and understanding and hold a professional attitude that is essential for encouragement.

You can buy The Ring here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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