Not going to lie, LouisvilleKY.com readers! I’m not a TV person. Well, I didn’t used to be a TV person. My husband has converted me, and now I’m pleasantly addicted to a half-dozen shows. Okay, maybe a dozen. Okay, maybe more. 😉
Regardless, one of the things my husband introduced me to when he moved into Casa de la Harmon-Tash was WDRB’s morning show. If, like me, you just haven’t been able to watch without Barry Bernson manning the desk, I’ve got a treat for you today!
Welcome, Barry! Tell us about your book.
So many people (viewers and fellow journalists) suggested I write a book that I tried to develop a concept. My first try: transcriptions of some of my favorite TV features, narrations and soundbites. I took the scripts and a short introduction to my friend Alanna Nash, a well-known Louisville author, for her assessment.
“I don’t think your stories translate well from the TV screen to the printed page,” Alanna told me. “But I like the introduction–why don’t you make that longer?”
In a few months, I had a 50,000-word manuscript.
I took that to Carol Butler of Butler Books and she agreed to publish it. “You could include a DVD of your stories in the book,” she suggested. All it took was asking permission from the four TV stations at which I’d worked, and each OK’d the release of the video to me, in exchange for a simple credit line. The DVD has been a great selling point for the book.
Where do Louisville/Southern Indiana readers know you from, outside of your books?
My gig now is narrating audio books for the Library of Congress–“Talking Books” for the blind– through Louisville’s American Printing House. I have narrated over 600 titles over the years. I’m also on the boards of directors at The Temple and the Louisville Choral Arts Society (a chorus in which I sing in the bass section). We do two or three concerts a year. You might find me meeting friends at Bourbons Bistro or Blue Dog Bakery/Cafe on Frankfort Avenue, or the New Albany Exchange, a few blocks from where I live.
You’ve spent so many years on TV as a well-loved journalist. How does that compare to the experience of being an author? Do you miss being in front of the camera?
I really don’t miss being on TV at all. These days I can go without shaving every day, and I can wear sweats instead of a suit. I do miss the people I worked with, especially my co-anchors Rachel Platt and Candyce Clifft, but what I miss most is telling stories. I have a few projects in the works, though, so I may not be finished with TV yet. And I’m doing some free-lance writing as well. Story-telling on TV is unique because a reporter can (and should) let video and audio help tell the story. When you write a book, it’s all on you.
What I REALLY don’t miss is getting up at 2:46 a.m. It took me about 24 hours to get used to sleeping in until 6:15.
In four decades in TV, I’m sure you’ve met your share of authors. Any make a particular impression on you? Who are your favorite writers from the local area? What’s next on the writing slate, for you?
I haven’t met all that many authors, although I did do a profile of Sena Jeter Naslund for a TV series I did on “Local Genius.” I liked her. I think Bob Hill is a fine writer. I recently became acquainted with a terrific young journalist/author from Lexington, Amanda Hervey. She has a new book called “Kentucky from A to Z.” I wish I’d written it!
Tell us about your favorite bookstores/coffee shops/writing haunts. What makes them special?
Forty-seven years in daily reporting has taught me to be able to write anywhere, from the back of a TV satellite truck to my desk at home. My favorite bookstore has to be Carmichael’s; I root hard for local bookstores anywhere. Although I do download books to my iPad now and then, I still prefer the feel of pages and a cover in my hands.
Amen to that! What’s next on the writing slate for you?
No writing projects on the agenda, but I’m always open!
You hear that, readers? Barry’s open for projects. 😉 Barry, thanks so much for stopping by our Local author spotlight today, and best wishes for your semi-retirement!
Readers, if you know an author who deserves to shine in the Local Author Spotlight, please get in touch. Either side of the river is fine–we speak Southern Indianaese, too! Books about relevant local subject matter are encouraged from authors outside the area, as well. Email RedTashBooks@gmail.com and please put “LouisvilleKY.com Author Spotlight” in your email subject. Thanks!
Stay tuned for more local author news. I hope you’re discovering some fantastic new reads, from names new and old on the literary scene.
Leslea Tash is a Southern Indiana journalist-turned-novelist. Formerly known for a weekly national column on parenting and family life, she now writes dark fantasy like the 5 Star Amazon hit Troll Or Derby and The Wizard Tales under the pen name Red Tash. She always welcomes your feedback on this column on the LouisvilleKY.com site, on Facebook, on her websites or twitter.