As part of the Blog Tour promotion by WOW (Women on Writing) for the novel NIGHT RADIO: A Love Story, my guest today is its author DAVID W. BERNER. In a style that is fiercely honest and stirring, he discusses a subject that is at the very core of his story:

Why I’ll Never Forget My College Girlfriend – the influences of those we love in our formative, inspiring college years.

This is embarrassing. But I’ll admit it—it took me awhile to get over my college girlfriend.

Now, one must understand that was a long time ago. I’m now in my late 50s. And although those are fond memories, they are just that, memories. Still, there is no doubt that she and those times shaped me, and I am certain you, too, have a similar story of someone in your past, during the days of coming of age, that has stamped a tattoo on you.

And if you are a writer, you should be using those memories as fuel.

I’m not saying you should be writing a tell-all memoir about that long-ago relationship, or telling tales out of school. But if that memory once meant so much, isn’t it packed with power? Doesn’t it have the emotional weight to turn itself into a great story? Use those feelings to spark a compelling scene or a page of captivating dialogue in fiction. And if you are writing in a personal journal, don’t be afraid to tell the story of that once cherished relationship. There’s much that is deep and rich about it, and oh so very human.

You’ve heard the saying, dance like no one is watching. I suggest you write, like no one is reading. Be honest; truly honest. You can adjust if you have to when it’s time to edit. Mine from your emotions. Remind yourself of what that relationship felt like; sense the butterflies in your stomach. Emotions breed great writing, even long lost ones.  

The poet Robert Browning once wrote, “Love is the energy of life.” This is very true, but love can also be the energy of your writing. It can be the gas in the tank; the lightning in the storm. This was the case when I was writing the manuscript of Night Radio, my just-released novel that partly takes place on a small college campus in Pennsylvania, the same sort of campus where I attended school. The protagonist, although not fully based on me, certainly has elements of me in his character. And this character’s college girlfriend admittedly has elements of my real college love. No, the character is not my girlfriend, but my college relationship did fuel the character’s traits and motivations. There is no denying that.

Because of this, and so many other reasons, I am absolutely certain I will never forget my college girlfriend.  Why would I ever want to?


For all his reasons, I thank David for his remarkable gift of story telling! And please do read my review of Night Radio. It will be posted Friday, 8/12 on this website’s Book Reviewer page. A direct link will be provided Friday on Facebook and Linkedin.

About the Author:

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David W. Berner is the award-winning author of three memoirs: Accidental Lessons, Any Road Will Take You There, and There’s A Hamster In The DashboardNight Radio: A Love Story is his first novel. Windy City Reviews calls Night Radio a “unique and valuable dimension to today’s literary fiction by combining a gripping plot with a deep character study and a haunting, thought-provoking narrative.”

David works as a radio reporter and news anchor for CBS Radio and teaches writing and radio documentary at Columbia College Chicago. His book Accidental Lessons won the Golden Dragonfly Grand Prize for Literature and has been called a “beautiful, elegantly written book” by award-winning author Thomas E. Kennedy. Any Road Will Take You There—a 2013 Book of the Year from the Chicago Writers Association—is the author’s story of a cross-country road trip with his sons and the revelations of fatherhood. The memoir has been called “heartwarming and heartbreaking” and “a five-star wonderful read.”  There’s A Hamster In The Dashboard, a collection of essays, was named one of the “Best Books of 2015” by Chicago Book Review.

Synopsis– Night Radio: A Love Story
From the award-winning author of Any Road Will Take You There and Accidental Lessons comes a truly American story.

Jake Mulholland dreams of becoming the next great rock ‘n’ roll radio personality. But like his father, his appetite for love conflicts with his thirst for success, leading to an unforgivable mistake. Jake finds fame but also the excess of celebrity, and just as he begins to rediscover his authentic self, he’s shaken by the news of a life-altering secret. In an effort for redemption, Jake plans a special New Year’s Eve broadcast that will be the biggest challenge of his life.

Night Radio is a love letter to music and rock ‘n’ roll radio of the 1970s, the story of an American boy, an American family, and of dreams just out of our reach.

“Night Radio adds a unique and valuable dimension to today’s literary fiction by combining a gripping plot with a deep character study and a haunting, thought-provoking narrative.”—Renee James, Windy City Reviews

Paperback: 351 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Cawing Crow Press (May 25, 2016)
Amazon Link

1 Comment

  • Crystal Otto says:

    Fabulous post David! Thank you.

    Thank you Lin for hosting! Can’t wait to read your review!