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Acclaimed Author Steve Berry Talks Turning Faliure into Success

I am thrilled that Tim and I will be interviewing NYT best-selling author, Steve Berry on our Buy Back America radio show on June 7th. I adored his latest book: The Jefferson Key. It was a page-turner that kept me up until the wee hours of the morning. It's a must-read and I recommend it to one and all! 

I found a wonderful article on Steve Berry, where he talks about turning failure into success. I really wanted to share with my fellow bloggers. It is good.

So I'm stepping away from politics for the moment, and delving back into the world of literacy which is my first love.

As published on Evergreen Park Patch:

New York Times Best Selling Author Steve Berry speaks candidly about perseverance and his long awaited road to success at the Evergreen Park Public Library Thursday night.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again; famous words that accurately describe American novelist, Steve Berry and his award-winning writing career. This New York Times Best Selling Author has proven that with each failed attempt in life, one must not give up, but rather hang in there for the long haul.

Berry spoke Thursday night to a crowd of more than 70 guests at the Evergreen Park Public Library about the latest addition to his literary collection entitled The Jefferson Key, and his long, bumpy road to success. The Jefferson Key is Berry's most recent installment to a thrilling seven-part series staring fictional character Cotton Malone, detailing his investigations of the presidential assassinations during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, and their seemingly unrelated histories.

This critically acclaimed and witty author spoke candidly about many things, including his 10 books published in 51 countries and 40 different languages, but perhaps placed the greatest emphasis on the importance of preserving history, the earlier stages of his career and the many failed attempts he endured as a writer.

One might think that with more than 12 million copies sold and in circulation world wide, Berry would not know what failure means let alone experience it, but he has demonstrated with more than 80 failed attempts over the span of 12 years of trying to get his five novels published, that if you want something badly enough you have to work hard in order to have it.

Berry began his writing career with his first manuscript in 1990, while he was a practicing attorney. He said that he had always had a passion for writing, and always considered writing a book, but never took the time to do so. Eventually he sat down and completed his first work, then later on, completed four more. But with each manuscript he still was rejected.

Berry credits his success to a writing group that he joined and attended for six years. According to Berry, the group forced him to think critically and analyze his works and fine tune them as they progressed. Berry also said that the group allowed him to realize his own voice, and “to hang in there, and try it again.”

“In our writing groups we would read one chapter aloud to [one another in] the group and we were only allowed to have open ears and a shut mouth.”

“Seventy-five percent of what was said in those group meetings was garbage,” because according to him it often times would be a critique of an author’s work, but “the other 25 percent [was] golden.”

“You have to know what’s good [and what's not], and how to separate the two,” said Berry. Berry said that in the first two years with the group, he did not know how to differentiate between the two, but in time was able to fine tune his craft with the help of his group members and their constructive feedback.

“There is nobody in the world that can teach you what to write, but there are ways in which to learn how to write,” Berry said. Like all things, writing is a process, he said, something that takes time, effort and energy.

Berry eventually published his first novel, The Templar’s Legacy, and the rest is history. Nine books and three online e-books later, he has proven his career to be a success.

Berry said his words of wisdom to young and upcoming writers are, “you have to write.”

“You have to know your genre, and read what’s in it,” said Berry. He also suggested writers find a writers group to gain critical analysis and insight into each body of work. Writing groups aid in the betterment of the overall published product, he said, because they can “help tighten your story line; make it cleaner, smother, and give you structure.”

Berry said writing groups "can also help [the author] shape [their] point of view.”

Additionally, Berry encouraged young writers not compare their works to other notable authors, but rather find their own distinct voice. “The only fair comparison is to compare yourself to yourself, [meaning] compare your earlier works to your most recent ones.” That, according to Berry, is the only way to measure growth and success.

“As a writer, all you can hope for is that what you’ve [written] today was better than yesterday, and what you’ve wrote yesterday was better than the day before,” he said.

Nicki Seidl, director of the Evergreen Park Public Library is currently reading The Jefferson Key, and said she noticed that Berry’s novels “have several different means to grab the audience. He’s got a lot of different ways to reach out.”

Seidl continued to say that because of his immense popularity, “people come from all over for these types of events” just to get an opportunity to gain a glimpse of him.

Mary Deering, social events coordinator for the library, spoke about the author’s finesse as a narrator. Deering said that Berry is a great storyteller, and has a tremendous imagination. The way that each character and their situation are vividly brought to life makes his works so notable.

Book club member and Evergreen Park native Nancy Duffy said, “his books are entertaining, fast moving and very compelling,” and for her and the 11 other members of her book club, he’s not a regular read but could most definitely become one.

Now in what seems like the pinnacle of his career, Berry is still hard at work. He and his wife Elizabeth have started a non-profit organization called History Matters, dedicated to the restoration and the preservation of history and historical artifacts around the nation. All of the proceeds generated goes toward supporting young authors pursuing their writing endeavors.

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.
Acclaimed Author Steve Berry Talks Turning Faliure into Success Acclaimed Author Steve Berry Talks Turning Faliure into Success Reviewed by Candace Salima on Wednesday, June 01, 2011 Rating: 5