Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Chat with Josh Berk

Last night I had the pleasure of participating in a chat with Josh Berk, the author of The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin, over at Reverie Book Reviews. DDoHH came out earlier this month, here is the synopsis in case you aren't familiar with it.
THE DARK DAYS OF HAMBURGER HALPIN tells the hilarious story of Will Halpin, an overweight deaf teen who spends his first year at a mainstream high school looking for love, failing Algebra, unraveling the school's social scene, trying to get invited to the greatest party ever … and, oh yeah, solving a murder.

Berk, who admitted to being "all goofed up on cold medicine" provided an interesting half hour of conversation for myself and the other four or five individuals in the chat room. While we were waiting for everyone to trickle in, he mentioned his release day musical!, allegedly based on "Kiss me Kate" (you can be the judge of that). I laughed out loud so go check it out. The video wasn't the only thing about Berk that had me laughing; when he was asked what the inspiration for the book was, he responded "the inspiration behind the book was a dream! Just like what's-her-face who wrote those other books" [for those of you living in a cave, Stephenie Meyer's Twilight was inspired by a dream].

Since the book's main character is deaf, Berk said he had to do a lot of research into some of the issues deaf kids face. The research itself isn't the problem, its more knowing when to stop. As Berk said, "[researching] is a way to procrastinate and feel like you're making progress."

Berk's journey to publication wasn't a walk in the park. The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin was his third work of novel length. The time from when he signed with an agent until final publication in February was two and a half years. That is a long time to spend waiting for your novel to hit the shelves. His biggest surprise about the publication process is the role the editor plays. "Those letters from your editor can make a grown man cry. I mean, not a tough man like me, but you know, some men…" The revisions didn't seem to be any easier since he "got so sucked into the book world that [he] couldn't remember where anything was in [his] house."

Josh Berk is hilarious and his book looks awesome. So go buy it
and support this great debut author!

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