Josh Berk is the author of THE DARK DAYS OF HAMBURGER HALPIN a teen novel to be released by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers on February 9, 2010.

Being a hefty, deaf newcomer almost makes Will Halpin the least popular guy at Coaler High. But when he befriends the only guy less popular than him, the dork-namic duo has the smarts and guts to figure out who knocked off the star quarterback. Will can’t hear what’s going on, but he’s a great observer. So, who did it? And why does that guy talk to his fingers? And will the beautiful girl ever notice him? (Okay, so Will’s interested in more than just murder . . .)

Those who prefer their heroes to be not-so-usual and with a side of wiseguy will gobble up this witty, geeks-rule debut.

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Where authors answer eight of life’s most important (and magical) questions.
Uh huh.

1.      Mindi Scott:  At age eight, what did you want to be when you grew up?  And at age eighteen?  And while you’re at it, what about at age twenty-eight?


Josh Berk:  At age eight I wanted to be a professional baseball player. At age eighteen I'm pretty sure I wanted to be a hobo. By twenty-eight I'm fairly sure I wanted to be a writer, but I can't really recall. It's weird that I can best remember eight and least remember twenty-eight. It wasn't that long ago.


2.      MS:  Which Breakfast-Club-style label would have best fit your teenage self? 

(Clever Examples:  The Bad Ass, The Athlete, The Hottie, The Dork, The Genius, The Psycho, The Social Butterfly, The Band Geek, The Drama Queen/King, The I Wish I Were a Vampire, The Entirely Something Else.)


JB:  Since you mentioned "the hottie" I can't think of anything else that could possibly better describe me.


3.      MS:  What are some of your superstitions and/or phobias?


JB:  I'm afraid of human feet and also flying mammals (flammals). As far as writing-superstitions, I have a big superstition about jinxing things. Like even if you're 99.99999% sure something is going to work out OK you don't tell anyone about it for fear of jinxing it. Also known as the "kenahora" factor. (It's Yiddish and I'm pretty sure I spelled it wrong.) I'm the kind of person who is always saying "DON'T JINX IT!" Seriously, why would you want to jinx it?


4.      MS:  Without giving away too much from your book, which character or scene are you the most pleased about having created, and why?


JB:  There is a scene where the main character, a deaf fifteen year-old named Will Halpin, sneaks out of his bedroom in the middle of the night and rips down the "Deaf Child Area" sign in his neighborhood. I felt like it was a pretty cool scene as soon as I got it down, but I revised it and revised it and revised it with my editor until finally it felt just as intense and epic and heart-poundingly bad-ass as it could be. There's a little bit of humor in it too. I'm pretty pleased. 


5.      MS:  Was there any certain music that inspired you while you were writing this book, or is there a song that could serve as your protagonist’s theme song?


            JB:  4′33′′ by John Cage.


6.      MS:  What’s up next for you as a writer?


  JB:  I have a second YA book with Knopf that comes out next year. I'm revising that one and working on my third book. They're all a mix of comedy with mystery and all feature teen boy narrators who crack wise. I like cracking wise. I'm also hoping to try something totally different one of these days, maybe a book from a girl's point of view? I've always been told I am amazingly good at understanding how the female mind works. (Note: I have never been told this.)

7.      MS:  And, now, the most important question of all:  Beatles or Elvis?  Please support your answer.  ;-)


   JB:  I like early Elvis and late Elvis, but not middle Elvis. His music was so awesome when he was just a young guy with an acoustic guitar. And towards the end he was just fat and hilarious in sequined jump suits. Ironically, I like neither early nor late Beatles, but certainly middle Beatles. Revolver and Rubber Soul are great. But this question isn't a music nerd question is it? It's more about your soul, the content of your inner Self, right? In that regard: Elvis.

 8.      MS:  Okay, your turn.  Do you have a question you’d like me to ask my Magic 8-Ball on your behalf?  (I’m telling you, this thing is scarily accurate!  Well, except for when it’s lying.)


  JB:  Did anyone believe me when I claimed to be "the hottie" in high school?


(Interesting.  This is not the first time this answer has come up in this interview series.  Hmmm.)

MS:  Thank you so much, Josh!

JB:  Thanks for having me! Visit for more information and for too much information.

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