"LIGHT BRAIDED TOGETHER WITH DARK": AN INTERVIEW WITH DARK RIDE'S LOU BERNEY
Lou Berney's books often appear effortless. They are never showy, but always entertaining ans engaging us. He hooks us with characters we care about. His latest is Hardy "Hardly" Reed a likable slacker who feels the need to rescue two children for one bad dad. Lou took some time to take sme question about the book and his writing.
SCOTT MONTGOMERY.: Which came first, the character of Hardly or the situation you put him in?
LOU BERNEY: Hardly came first. I was really interested in writing about a character in over his head, out of his depth — the kind of guy who shouldn’t be the hero of a crime novel.
S.M.: I admire how you pulled off an often humorous lead with a very dark situation is he is in. How did you deal with that balance?
L.B.: I think a lot of it just comes naturally. I guess it’s the way I see life in general — light braided together with dark. And I think dark is always darker when paired with light, and vice versa.
S.M.: You often tell stories about people in a situation that forces them to climb out of the state they are in. What do you enjoy about that theme?
L.B.: That’s interesting. I’m not sure I ever would have picked that up myself, but it’s true. I guess the capacity to change, or not, is fascinating to me.
S.M.: No matter what these situations are, I always buy them. How do you ground your stories?
L.B.: Concrete details are really important to me. I have to feel and smell and taste a place before it comes alive to me. So I spend a lot of time finding just the right detail to make a scene pop. I don’t want to pile on a lot of mediocre details.
S.M.: Is there any influence in the back of your head, even when you're writing today?
L.B.: I have to say I’m hugely inspired by the state of crime fiction right now in general. There’s just some much great work being done, and such a crazy exciting variety. I love it.
S.M.: What other art form would you like to be as proficient in as writing?
L.B.: I’d love to be able to play the guitar without staring at my fingers and always fumbling the transition between chords.