Steve Berry: Bringing The Mysteries of History To Life

Steve BerrySteve Berry is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of nine Cotton Malone adventures, four stand-alone thrillers, and four short-story originals.  

His books have been translated into 40 languages with more than 18 million printed copies in 51 countries. A 2010 NPR survey named The Templar Legacy one of the top 100 thrillers ever written.

Steve was born and raised in Georgia and graduated from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University. He was a trial lawyer for 30 years and held elective office for 14 of those years.

He is a member of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries Advisory Board and a founding member of International Thriller Writers—a group of more than 2,500 thriller writers from around the world—and where he served three years as its co-president.

Steve Berry Interview

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Books by Steve Berry

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Steve Berry Transcript

Tim Knox: Steve, welcome to the program.

Steve Berry: Great to be here.

Tim Knox: It’s a great pleasure having you here. I’m reading The Lincoln Myth now, enjoying it very much. For the audience that isn’t familiar with your work, give us a little background.

Steve Berry: I’ve been writing – this is my 24th year. I’ve only been published 11 of those. It took me 12 years from the day I wrote my first word until the day I sold my first word. It was a very long process for me and I went through 85 rejections over 5 different manuscripts and I finally made it on the 86th time.

Tim Knox: Wow, so the 86th time was the charm. What was the name of that book?

Steve Berry: That was with The Amber Room and was published in 2003. Since then there’ve been 12 more novels. There are now 13 out there, 9 in the Cotton Malone series and 4 standalones. It’s been quite remarkable. We’ve been building on each one and we’re now in 50 countries, 41 languages around the word and the books seem to be going…

Tim Knox: They are very good books indeed. I’m reading The Lincoln Myth now and enjoying it immensely, as I have your previous books. Let’s talk a little about your journey. You said it was kind of a long road. You’ve been writing for many, many years and it took you 12 years to get published.

I want to talk about that journey and how you hung in there and you kept writing. One of the things I’ve read that you’ve said in interviews is that you felt like you had a little voice in the back of your head that was always pushing you to write.

Steve Berry: Every writer has that. Every writer I’ve ever met has a little voice in their head and it just tells you to write. It doesn’t tell you to write a bestseller and sell a bunch of books or anything like that. It just says sit down and write, and if you sit down and write I will hush. If you don’t I’m going to nag you to death.

I had that little voice for about 10 years during the 1980s and I really didn’t understand it. Finally in 1990 I listened to the voice. I started writing and I learned that’s how you quiet it down. I learned very quickly that the craft of writing is hard. Writing books is very difficult. It’s not simple. It’s not something you do. There’s actually a method to the madness. There are right ways and wrong ways to do things.

So I had to teach myself the craft of writing and it took about 12 years to teach myself the craft – actively, really working at it very hard, and then 6 more actually practicing what I had learned. I wrote every day. I wrote my 1,000 words every day and I set up a schedule and I got my discipline down. Writing is a discipline. You have to establish that discipline and I did that. I just began to teach myself the craft and during that time I wrote eight manuscripts.

I was lucky enough to get an agent. I actually did get an agent in the mid-90s, which was a miracle. It’s actually harder to get an agent than it is to get published. I got the agent and she sent out five of those and they were rejected 85 times. Back then there were about 18 houses that you could submit. Today there are only about 8 or 9 houses. That shows you what’s happened, what’s changed so much.

So of course all the houses rejected those and I went through this long process until finally in 2002 I caught a break on the 86th time. I was in the right place, right time, right thing and Ballantine Books bought The Amber Room.

Tim Knox: Do you think that really did have a lot to do with it, the right place at the right time?

Steve Berry: Oh it definitely was.

Tim Knox: Along with the persistence to keep writing of course.

Steve Berry: Yeah well I was in the right place at the right time because I made my own luck. I didn’t quit. I hung in there until the world changed. Nothing changed with what I was doing. What happened is the world changed and Da Vinci Code was coming and Random House was looking for stuff to go with the Da Vinci Code. They thought they had something big there. They didn’t realize how big but they thought they had something big. This was about a year before Da Vinci was published.

Of course when Da Vinci was published it just went through the roof and reignited the international suspense thriller. It used to be a spy thriller but they died when the Cold War ended. So the book came back as action/history/secrets/conspiracies/international setting. That’s exactly what I’d been writing all those years. So I was just in the right place at the right time on the 86th attempt.

Tim Knox: And all the time you were writing and working on getting published you were making your living as an attorney, correct?

Steve Berry: I was a lawyer then and I wrote the next seven books as a lawyer. I didn’t quit until book eight. I only quit practicing law in 2008 so I did seven more books still working my day job.

Tim Knox: It’s kind of interesting. I’ve interviewed probably 100 authors at this point and out of those probably a dozen or so were former attorneys who left the law to write full-time. You think there’s any kind of correlation there between the profession of law and the profession of authorship?

Steve Berry: I don’t think there’s any correct correlation or magic to it. I think lawyers see a lot and they experience a lot and so they have a lot of stories in their heads. If they’re trial lawyers, a trial is just a story. That’s what it is. It’ just a story based on total fact. It has to be total fact but it’s still a story. So you learn very much how to put a story together.

In my case though I didn’t want to write legal thrillers. I like action/history/secrets/conspiracies/international settings. I wrote international suspense thrillers but most lawyers gravitate to things that they’ve experienced in their practice.

Tim Knox: I think one of the very important lessons to be learned from your story is how you continue to plow through despite all those rejections. You had 85 rejections. You were picked up on the 86th. That would have driven many an author back to their day job or at least away from the dream of authorship. How did you handle the rejection?

Steve Berry: Well I wasn’t Superman. About three times during that 12 years I’d say, “This is stupid; I’m wasting my time here,” but the little voice in my head after a couple of days would tell me the pity party was over and to get back in there and get to work, and drive me forward.

I handled rejection by learning from it. You can learn a lot from rejection. You really can. It just keeps you focused. You stick with it. I knew that I had some stories here to tell. I realized it was going to be a tough sell because that genre was in trouble in the ‘90s. That genre basically died when the Cold War ended in the ‘90s so I knew it was going to be a tough sell.

I just hung in there. You just hang with it. If you want it bad enough you stay with it and then one day, as I said, the world just changed. I happened to be right there at that particular moment.

Tim Knox: You’ve used the phrase a couple of times that the world changed. That was when you really got noticed and got published and began your career. I find that really interesting and I have heard this from other authors who were lessons of perseverance. They kept doing what they were doing and then the world changed and it was like everything opened up to them and they started to get noticed and the world took note of what they were doing.

Steve Berry: In the early ‘90s legal thrillers were big. The legal thriller genre was huge. Today John Grisham, Scott Turrow, all these guys. It was huge. Today the legal thriller genre is in decline. In the ‘90s the spy thriller and international suspense thriller was in decline and now it’s up. The genre’s go up and down. They go up and down in the cycles.

If you’re an established writer, you can weather those storms because you have an audience. But if you’re a new guy trying to break in it’s very difficult. I’ve established enough of an audience now that I could probably handle a downshift in the genre. I’m fortunate though that my genre is not in a downshift. It’s still in an upswing, still doing very well. Writers have to cognizant of shifts in genre. They happen all the time.

Tim Knox: That’s very interesting. I think another thing, and I’ve read interviews with you where you talked about this is when you started out you were not a great writer per se. You had to learn the craft. You had to take the time to learn the fundamentals and the character development and that sort of thing. It’s putting the time in to learn that craft so when the world does change you are ready to take advantage of that change.

Steve Berry: You have to teach yourself the craft of writing, yes. There’s no such thing as a writing teacher. I mean I teach writing all over the country but I’m not a writing teacher; there’s no such thing. It’s impossible to teach someone how to write. But there is a way to teach people how to teach themselves how to write and that’s what I do.

I was very fortunate that I found some folks that helped teach me how to teach me how to write and I learned the craft of writing. It took me many years. It’s a long process. A lot of writers today are very impatient and want it all right now but unfortunately writing is extremely difficult. It’s one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do in your life.

The cool part about writing is it’s an acquired skill and anybody can acquire it, anybody. I don’t care what you are, who you are, what your education level is. I don’t care. You can acquire the craft of writing if you want to. That’s the magic of it.

Tim Knox: So in that way of thinking, you should become a better writer over the years as you master the craft and practice and practice and practice and you keep on. You should become a better writer as time goes by.

Steve Berry: You should, yes. All you can hope for is what you wrote today was better than yesterday and what you write tomorrow is better than today. Each day you try to get a little bit better, no question.

I get a kick all the time. Someone asks a writer, “What’s your best work?” Well the answer to that question is real simple. It’s what I just did. Your best work is what you just did. If you don’t answer that question that way then something’s seriously wrong.

I’ve heard writers say before, “Well my best work is something I wrote three years ago.” What the hell have you been doing for the past three years? Did you just quit learning? Did you quit writing over these three years? Did your craft just level off and you didn’t get any better?

Writing is a progressive skill and you get progressively better at it the longer you do it. You never get good at it. You never get perfect at it. You just get better at it.

Tim Knox: Does it get easier over time? The more you do it, does it become easier to be a writer?

Steve Berry: No, it actually gets harder. It actually gets harder the longer you do it. It does not get any easier. Some aspects of it do because they become second nature. There are certain things, mistakes you made in the beginning that you don’t make anymore. As far as able to formulate story and put it all together, the longer you write the harder it gets simply because your imagination bank is being taxed to its max and you’re making so many withdrawals out of it and you don’t have time to make any deposits and it begins to wear on you.

Tim Knox: That makes perfect sense. You’ve said that you can get ideas from anywhere. You can just be sitting around and notice something interesting and there’s a great mystery about it. In fact you said that a lot of your ideas come from things that you call great secrets. When you hear a great secret it formulates a great book in your mind. Talk to us about that.

Steve Berry: Like with The Lincoln Myth that’s out now. I was in Salt Lake City and we were doing a tour of Temple Square. The lady told me about a secret deal made between Brigham Young and Abraham Lincoln that helped alter the course of the Civil War, and I had never heard of that before. When she told me about that I knew instantly there was a novel in there. I said I can make a novel with this and I did.

My books are modern day thrillers, modern day suspense thrillers that have a historical hook. So I have to tie that historical object into today and make it still relevant today. I have a two prong problem. I have to not only get the historical hook but I have to tie it into today.

Those ideas come at the strangest times in the strangest places but I’ve gotten enough of them that I’ve been able to put together 13 books and I have enough ideas for the next 3-4 novels.

Tim Knox: One of the things that I really love about your writing, when I’m reading one of your books, when I’m reading The Lincoln Myth I know that it’s fiction but there is fact base there. I’m reading it thinking, wow, did this really happen? Did it happen like this? Tell the audience a little about The Lincoln Myth and the story behind it.

Steve Berry: Well it deals with Abraham Lincoln and what we don’t know about him. Lincoln is basically a man of myth. The truth about Lincoln is very shocking. To me it’s actually more interesting and makes him even greater but it will surprise a lot of people, some of the truth about Lincoln.

The greatest myth about Lincoln is that he’s the first national figure to say that the Union is indivisible. No state can lead the Union. You never can leave the Union. You are here forever. If you asked the first 15 presidents of the United States that question they would have answered it very differently. Lincoln’s the first person to really begin to push this idea that the union is forever and indivisible. He may not be right. The founding fathers certainly didn’t think that.

So Cotton Malone, my recurring character who’s a retired Justice Department agent who lives in Copenhagen and runs an old bookshop there and gets himself in trouble; he’s going to get caught up in this Constitutional battle over whether a state can leave the Union. It goes back to that secret deal I told you about between Brigham Young and Abraham Lincoln that actually happened in January of 1863.

So the novel deals with these very interesting Constitutional questions but also it’s a great walk around the globe. I mean it takes place in Denmark and then goes to Austria and then he comes over to America, Washington D.C. Des Moines, Iowa, Salt Lake City. Some very interesting historical places play into the book.

Tim Knox: When you first come up with the idea for a book like The Lincoln Myth… I know you say you start out with a great secret and then it becomes a novel in your mind but there has to be some fact based portions to the story I would think.

Tell us, how do you talk that fine line? How do you take something that is that great secret, a great truth and then build on top of it to make a great novel, a historical novel especially like The Lincoln Myth?

Steve Berry: It’s about 90% accurate. I keep the book as close as I can to history because readers like that. I have to trip it up a little bit because it’s a novel and I’m there to entertain you but I put a writer’s note in the back of my books. That writer’s note tells you very clearly what’s true and what’s false so that you don’t leave the book thinking it.

What’s going to happen is you’re going to think something is clearly false and you’re going to be surprised to find out that it’s true. That’s what mostly happens. I keep the book as close as I can to what really happened.

Tim Knox: I would think that a book like The Lincoln Myth required a lot of research. How much research do you typically put into one of your books?

Steve Berry: I do about 400 hard sources – books, manuscripts, those kinds of things. We took trips. Of course we went to Salzburg, where the book takes place. We were in Salt Lake City, we went to Moines, three trips to DC. There were several trips with this book but mainly I did a lot of research. It deals with the Mormon Church, which I’ve never dealt with before and I had to learn a lot about the Mormon Church.

This is not a book about the Mormon faith but it is a book about the Mormon’s role in American history. They have a very unique role in American history and they found themselves in a very unique position in January of 1863.

Tim Knox: The Mormon Church does play a very big part in this book, not the church itself but some of the individuals that are associated with the church and some of these individuals are not nice guys. How do you approach a novel when you’re writing something like this and the bad guys are part of an actual religious institution?

I know Dan Brown used to catch a lot of flak because of all the evildoers he had in the Catholic Church. How aware are you of the line that you’re walking where you don’t want to outwardly offend the religion but you do want to represent the evil that your characters do in the name of God or in the name of whatever? How do you go about writing that?

Steve Berry: I’m careful about that. This isn’t a book about Mormons taking over the world because that’s insulting to everybody but it is a book about Mormon’s role in American history. There’s a good Mormon in the book. The Prophet himself is in the book and he helps save the day and the church in the end helps save the day but there’s also a fanatical Mormon in the church. All religions have their fanatics and so do the Mormons and this guy is a little bit weird and he’s got some very strange ideas on his own that the church does not necessarily agree with.

I try to portray it very carefully. I wanted the reader to get a taste of the Mormon religion. It’s the quintessential American religion. It was created here. It was nursed here. It’s the only religion I know of that the Constitution of the United States actually forms a part of their doctrine. That’s how strongly American they are.

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I wanted the readers to appreciate what the Mormons went through in the mid to latter part of the 19th century when they were pretty much… I mean they had a rough time. It was actually legal to kill a Mormon in Missouri. That’s how bad it was.

The Mormons themselves brought a lot of that on themselves. They had some problems. It was a two way street in a lot of ways but they caught the blunt end of a lot of violence. They ended up in Utah and wanted to be left alone but unfortunately the world found them too and they get caught up in something very interesting in which they helped affect the outcome of the Civil War. So I wanted readers to get an appreciation for all of that.

Tim Knox: I think that’s one of the things that I really like about your work is the way you weave all that together. You always throw in these interesting historical facts. For example in this book you talk about President Lincoln was the very first president to actually read the Book of Mormon.

Steve Berry: That we know of, yes. He actually checked it out of the Library of Congress in 1862. I actually went to the Library of Congress and held the same book that Lincoln held. It’s there and anybody can do that. It’s there available to be seen. He kept the book for about nine months so he had it for a while.

So he had a great appreciation for the Mormons. He knew them from Illinois when they were there. He realized that Brigham Young was in a very interesting position and he had to make a deal with him so he learned as much as he could about him.

Tim Knox: I think that one of the things that a lot of people would find interesting is that politics back then during Lincoln’s day really was not a lot different than politics today. There are a lot of deals that go on behind the scenes that the American people never know about.

Steve Berry: All the same. I hear all the time about how Congress is deadlocked. Well they all go back and read about the early part of this country from really 1788 up until probably just after the Civil War, up until the 1880s, 1890s. I mean my gosh, Congress was completely locked down all the time, completely locked up. I mean our fights today are nothing compared to what went on there. None of this is new. It’s been around a long time.

Tim Knox: Right. Probably the only difference is today we don’t have Senators actually going out on the back lawn shooting at one another to settle arguments.

Steve Berry: In those days they did their duals and they would have open fights. It was quite a different arena but the politics was just as volatile, just as nasty, just as difficult.

Tim Knox: Now you’ve really built a reputation for yourself as being a great author of historical fiction. How did you get interested in novelizing history?

Steve Berry: It’s always been there as far back as I can remember. I always loved history. When I was a kid I read history book. I always loved them. I liked the unusual stuff. I liked the stuff that you may not know a lot about but in order to appreciate that you have to read about the interesting stuff.

If you asked me a few years ago my favorite area I would have said Medieval. I would not answer it today that way. I would say really all of it. I’ve done some books that deal with the ancient past – The Alexandria Link, Venetian Betrayal. I’ve done Medieval things, I’ve done Asia, I’ve done the Orient, I’ve done China which I knew nothing about and learned about. I try to have it well-rounded and I want to explore some new areas in the years to come.

Tim Knox: You mentioned Cotton Malone a few minutes ago, who’s the wonderful hero of so many of your books. I really enjoy the character of Cotton Malone. I found it interesting – you said you came up with that character I think when you were sitting in a café in Copenhagen.

Steve Berry: Yeah I was at a café there called The Café Norden, which is in Hojbro Plads, which is a square there. It was a lovely evening and I was just sitting on the second floor eating my tomato bisque, which that restaurant is famous far, and he just kind of came into my brain. I said he’s going to live right here. He’s going to have a bookshop right across over there. I wrote all of that out on a napkin. I wish I’d kept that napkin. I don’t know what I did with it. I wrote it all out on the napkin and there he was. I came back home and I wrote The Templar Legacy.

This was right when I got published. I found out while I was in Copenhagen that The Emperor’s Room had been bought by Random House. Back in those days you got faxes. We didn’t have cell phones and stuff then. In 2002 I got a fax saying they had bought The Emperor’s Room and The Romanov Prophecy. It made that trip extra special because I was just over there on vacation really.

The whole idea for The Templar Legacy came and I eventually went back home and wrote The Templar Legacy, which became where Cotton Malone was born.

Tim Knox: So you came up with this wonderful character and then you wrote a book for him to be a part of or what was that process?

Steve Berry: Well not really. I actually had written about 30,000 words of the book already of a Cotton Malone book but he was a totally different guy. He was a totally different character and when I was in Copenhagen he came to me as a new way. I went back home and threw away those 30,000 words. I just threw them away and started over. That’s how he became Cotton. It’s a different character with a different everything. For some reason it all just came to me there. I didn’t know anybody would even like him or would want to hear about him again. You don’t know that anyone’s going to like the character when you create him but they did and then The Alexandria Link came after and it just sort of began snowballing after that.

Now Cotton has had nine adventures and now there will be at least three more coming. There’s a new one coming next year. He’s going to be around a little while.

Tim Knox: I think one of the things that makes Cotton such an enjoyable character is he is this tough guy but he’s also very human. He is not just this stereotypical cartoon of a tough guy. He actually has a very human side to him.

Steve Berry: Yeah, I did that on purpose. I didn’t want him to be superhuman. I wanted him to have unusual and extraordinary abilities when he had to but he’s not a James Bond character. He kind of screws up.

He makes mistakes. He overestimates, underestimates, gets himself into trouble. He has to work for a living. He has to run his old bookshop and pay his bills. He’s got employees. He’s got a son and has some problems he’s got to deal with, an ex-wife he has to deal with. Cotton has problems that we all deal with but on those occasions when necessary he can rise up and do extraordinary things.

Tim Knox: Right, he has specific skills that he can bring into play but when he’s not doing that he’s as human as the rest of us.

Steve Berry: Right, and that’s what I wanted him to be and I’ve kept him that way. I’ve kept him grounded. He has trouble with women. He has a difficult time and most of his personality is my personality. About 95% of his personality is mine. We don’t look alike but we do act alike.

Tim Knox: How did you come up with the name Cotton Malone?

Steve Berry: Well in the real world it came from a lady in my writers group. I had named Cotton another name and she said it was a stupid name. I said, “Well, what do you want to call him?” “Let’s call him Cotton.” “That’s a good idea.” Her name was Dava. I thanked Dava in The Templar Legacy. She actually gave me his name one night.

In Cotton’s world there’s a story there. In 2017 I’m going to tell that story. I’ve already got the name in the book now. Every time they ask him he always says, “Long story”. So in 2017 we’re going to tell that story.

Tim Knox: You mentioned a few minutes ago that you were in vacation when you actually received a fax that your agent had sold The Amber Room and another book. Talk a little bit about that moment because you had really put in time and effort on this and now you’re standing there holding that fax. Tell us how that felt.

Steve Berry: It was an amazing moment because we had gone out. We came back to the room and the fax was sitting on the dresser. I picked it up and read and it and said, “Whoa”, and then I read it again. Then I read it a third time, a very short fax. It’s only about four, five sentences and I read it and read it again. I sat down on the edge of the bed and I remember looking at my wife and just saying, “Damn, we did it. We actually did it.”

That was 12 years now. 12 years, 85 rejections, 8 manuscripts. There’s that moment and you just say, “I did it. Wow.” You don’t really jump around. You don’t get all cocky. You don’t get anything. You just sort of sit there and go wow. It’s like the pro golfer that hits the 50 foot putt and it goes in the hole – he really shouldn’t jump up because he was trying to do that. That’s what he was actually trying to do and the surprise is that it actually happened. That’s what happens when you read that fax. You go wow.

So we went out. I had a North Sea lobster. I did have a North Sea lobster that night. That was my one little splurge. Then the next day Cotton was born. He was born the next evening. Just clearly out of nowhere he got born. I realized at this point I was going to be a published writer and they had bought two books. I had some more to sell them, particularly The Third Secret, which they did ultimately buy, which was three of the eight that I told you about. Then I had to write The Templar Legacy.

It was lucky that Cotton kind of came to me and we talked about that with Random House when I got back and they said why don’t we try a series? If we’re going to do three standalones why don’t you start a series and see what you can do? That was the experiment with The Templar Legacy. It still remains to this day my biggest selling book. The Templar Legacy is.

Tim Knox: It’s a great story. Do you enjoy writing the series or do you prefer standalone books?

Steve Berry: I do like the series. It’s fun because Cotton’s world has changed. It’s evolved. I did not keep him static in that world. Things have happened for him good and bad. It’s fun to kind of visit him and send him off on these adventures each time. It’s getting more of a challenge to keep him original and different.

The trick with writing a series is every book has to be exactly the same but different. That’s a very hard order. That’s a tall order. Everything has to be the same but different. That challenge is there but I do enjoy visiting Cotton and I’ll be dealing with him for the next few years.

Tim Knox: Now that you’ve written about him so much, has Cotton become like a real person to you?

Steve Berry: Yeah, he’s a person to me and he’s someone I understand very well so yes he’s someone that I visit with all day every day. Him and I spend a lot of time together.

Tim Knox: In the few minutes we have left let’s talk a little about your philanthropic work because you are working very hard to preserve pieces of history. Tell us about that.

Steve Berry: We have History Matters. Elizabeth and I started that and we go around the country and we help communities raise money for historic preservation. We do it in a variety of ways. We do meet and greets, dinner, lunches, all kinds of things but we also do it through our writer’s workshop where we teach a workshop, it’s a four hour course, very intense. You basically learn in four hours what I learned in 12 years. You pay a price to get in and all of the money that is raised from the workshop goes to the project that we’re there to support. We don’t charge expenses. We don’t charge to do the workshop. We actually pay our own way to come.

So we’ve taught about 2,600 students. We’ve raised around three quarters of a million dollars for historic preservation around the country. We’re going to be doing one, the next workshop won’t be until… sorry, I’ve got that wrong. We’re doing one next week in Prince Edward Island in Canada. My very first international History Matters event will be in Prince Edward Island and I’ll be doing a workshop up there and some other events. Then the next workshops will come next year when we go on tour for the new book next April.

Tim Knox: Very good. You’re also one of the founding members of the International Thriller Writers Association. Tell us about that.

Steve Berry: There’s 2,600 thriller writers from around the world and I was one of the founding members. I served three years as co-president of ITW. It’s our trade group. It’s our group where we all get together. Thriller writers can all get together with each other. We meet every year in ThrillerFest, which is in New York City in the first week of July. We just came back from that about a month ago. It was a great week in New York where about 1,000 thriller writers are in one place. It’s really cool.

People who want to know more about that can go to ThrillerFest.org or ThrillerFest.com and ITW. International Thrillers has a website. You can check that out.

Tim Knox: Steve, I’ll end this interview as I always do – by getting your best advice to the authors. The audience for this show by and large are authors who are looking to either get published or publish more or write better. What is your advice to these folks?

Steve Berry: It’s the simplest thing in the world and you know what it is. You have to write. You have to write every day. There’s only one way to teach yourself the craft of writing and that’s do it. You have to sit down every day, establish your discipline. When’s your best time? Don’t tell me you got work and you’re busy.

I had a law office. I had to run it all by myself. I had four employees. I was a County Commissioner. I had 15,000 constituents that I looked after and yet I worked every day and I wrote every day for an hour to an hour and a half, 6:30 in the morning until about 9:00 every morning. I set my time aside to write.

Everyone can do it. You have to find that discipline. You have to write every day. You have to read your genre. That’s the only way you’re going to learn how to do it.

Tim Knox: Steve Berry, it’s been a pleasure having you on the show. The latest book is The Lincoln Myth and there are so many other great books. I do encourage you to check out Steve if you have not. Steve, where can the audience find out more information about you and your work?

Steve Berry: SteveBerry.org and everything is there about the books, History Matters, everything. You can learn it all there.

 

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