‘Meet the Author’ with Darrell Berkheimer
Local writer Darrell Berkheimer has produced five books since his retirement; and we wondered about his motivation.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in York, Pennsylvania — the first capital of our nation. It became the first capital because Continental Congress was sitting in Yorktown during the fall of 1777 when the Articles of Confederation were adopted, naming the 13 colonies the United States of America for the first time. (That is in my first book.)
I was a journalism major at Temple University before working for my hometown newspaper, The York Dispatch, where I was a reporter and night editor for more than seven years.
I brought my young family west to the Rocky Mountains in 1971; and during the next 20 years I worked as a writer and editor at daily newspapers in Utah, Georgia, Texas and New Mexico. And I helped raise two daughters and a step-daughter.
I also spent 13 years driving 18-wheelers coast-to-coast before retiring in 2005. Then I spent 2 months touring western Canada and Alaska before settling in Butte, Montana, for nine years.
All five of my books were written while I was in Montana, where I also began writing a couple columns each month for the daily newspaper there. I continued to do some traveling, which included a week-long photo safari in Kenya.
What brought you to this area?
I came to Grass Valley in June of 2015 to be with a special lady, Mary Orr. I had decided this area is the best place to live in California — with its trees, mountains, reservoirs and lakes that I so much enjoy. Except for the drier and warmer climate here, this area in many ways is like my home county.
How did you get into writing?
It was a choice made in high school when I decided I wanted to be involved in reporting the news.
What is your favorite book or who is your favorite author?
I have to answer that question with a question. How can a lifetime writer and reader respond by citing just one book or author — when we have an infinite number of great writers and books? I just can’t raise one above the many others.
What are your books about?
My five books basically are collections of stories and essays on a wide range of subjects. The first and fifth are stories that include short memoirs, a variety of my newspaper columns and editorials, reports on my travels, plus some that are just little slices of life.
My first book is titled “Stories from The Golden Throne – a Crusader.” And the fifth is titled “MORE Stories from The Golden Throne,” which includes 190 photographs, most of which I took.
The other three are: One on essays about trucking; another about writing techniques, plus one titled “People Skills – What Employers Want Most!” And I’m now thinking about book number six.
What inspired you to write your books?
It was my desire to leave a legacy of my life on this planet, and to help others gain some insights that took me a lifetime to acquire.
What do you find most challenging about writing a book?
The organization — deciding what to include and what to omit.
What is your key takeaway or message you hope readers find in your books?
I am a humanist, and the covers of each of my books note that I am a crusader. I hope readers detect the underlying importance of respect for all humanity and our environment, plus the need for various governmental and societal reforms.
Where can people find your books?
All of my books are available through Amazon Books.
How would you describe your perfect day?
I would be visiting in Madagascar, taking photos of the lemurs, other animals and the many unusual trees and plants that grow there, and in no other place in the world. That would be a spiritual experience.
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