PART 5 OF AN EPIC INTERVIEW WITH . . . BERNARD SCHAFFER
Q: This is the last and final part of our epic, week-long interview. I want to shift the focus from Bernard Schaffer the writer to Bernard Schaffer the man. How is the balance between your responsibilities and duties as a father, your career in law enforcement and your writing? What’s happiness?
Bernard: This year the kids and I became soccer hooligans, in support of the Philadelphia Union and the U.S. National Team. Happiness is sitting at PPL Park surrounded by hundreds of singing, chanting, drum beating, smoke bomb igniting, fellow fans. Our supporters club is called the Sons of Ben for the Union and the American Outlaws for the US Team. The kids are healthy. The books are selling. The writing goes where I tell it. The bills are paid. I have nothing obstructing my path. I can’t ask for more than that right now.
Q: You’ve just turned REDACTED (ha!) years old. How does that feel? What’s your perspective on REDACTED years on this planet?
Bernard: it’s all right you can say it. I turned 40 in October. It’s odd because 40 is old as far as anyone under 40 is concerned. But I feel good. Better, in fact, than I did a few years ago. Of course, physically it’s not the same. I get pretty banged up doing normal stuff. This summer I blew out my right calf playing soccer with the kids and it was just awful.
Q: Do you fear growing older?
Bernard: I don’t. I am hoping to do it with a grace and dignity that I don’t quite have yet. Hopefully by the time I enter my white haired, bearded phase.
Q: We made predictions beforehand – how about a few for Bernard. What’s in-store for the next 10 years?
Bernard: I often tell people that I don’t have dreams. I have goals, and I have plans to reach those goals. I don’t want to say what they are though. If I reach them, believe me, you’ll know.
Q: One of the greatest joys of my life so far has been fatherhood. That said, it’s a stressful never-ending job to be a parent. There surely isn’t anything so hard, yet rewarding, both at the same time. As those of us who follow you on twitter and facebook know, you’re a dedicated father. How has parenthood impacted you as a person?
Bernard: when people I know have children, I tell them that they will now learn the meaning of fear. Your whole life has been worrying about yourself and your well being. Having a child changes all that. I can honestly say being a dad is the best thing I’ve ever done, and the thing I want to do best. I’m not always as good as I want to be at it, but I always try harder next time.
Q: It’s a rainy day. You’ve got nothing else to do. What are you listening to?
Bernard: for a rainy day? Either the new albums by Prince, Morrissey, or Sia.
Q: You have some lunch, feel like doing some reading. What book are you taking down off the shelf?
Bernard: I’m muddling through the first Game of Thrones at the moment. It’s just long, and since I watch the show I’m not dying to know what happens next.
Q: It’s still raining as darkness falls outside. You figure that you’ll watch a movie and head for bed. What movie?
Bernard: right now? The Full Monty. I have an idea for a book and that’s the tone I’m looking for. I want to rewatch the movie to see how it plays now.
Q: What scares you? On the reverse of that, what doesn’t scare you?
Bernard: losing my family. Or failing them. Leaving behind unfinished work. What doesn’t scare me? Spiders. Or bugs. I’m good with them. Not snakes, though.
Q: A good morning is . . .
Bernard: waking up next to a beautiful woman. Letting her sleep while I go downstairs and make coffee and have time to write. Come back up to bed after awhile…stay for awhile longer… Go get the kids and begin our day.
Q: Anyone who has read your brilliant novel, The Girl From Tenerife, will know that you’re a romantic. How does that come through not only your writing, but your life in general?
Bernard: I’m a very romantic person. I love to write poetry and woo a woman. To think of her and know she is thinking of me. But that can also be a detriment. To be a true romantic, you have to commit. To go all in, even when it’s foolish to do so. The trick is finding someone worthy of going all in for, because they are doing the same.
Q: You said on your Facebook page a few weeks ago that you’re taking a year to focus on yourself. Talk about that for a moment.
Bernard: I was engaged to a woman for a long time. We lived together for over five years. That ended in the beginning of the summer and it seems like I have a perfect opportunity to focus on myself and my work. To not worry about the balance of being in a relationship and pursuing my goals. Of course, who knows what will happen. I love women. I feel more alive with one in my life. It inspires me to new heights when I feel that passion. And of course…I said I’d be single for a year. I never said I’d be a monk.
Q: If you had enough money to quit your job, focus solely on writing, how would you envision that playing out?
Bernard: Honestly I don’t think my writing output would change. I write a lot already. The difference would be the time I had to pursue other things in life. For years I’ve worked full-time and written full time. I’d get more sleep. Maybe take a vacation.
Q: Given the funds and time to do so, where would you like to visit?
Bernard: I’d like to visit my good friend Tony Healey in the U.K. That would be my first choice, to be perfectly honest.
Q: What does the “Bernard Schaffer Bucket List” look like?
Bernard: I couldn’t say, to be honest. Let’s see. One thing I want to do is take the kids to a dude ranch and let us live the cowboy life for a week. I’d like to see the World Cup. That will have to wait because I’m not going to Russia and I’m not going to Qatar in the summertime. I’d rather burn my money than give it to Putin. Ultimately, I’d like to settle down with someone special.
Q: Last question. You can hold a conversation with anyone you like. It could be Elvis, your ancestor, Barack Obama. Whoever. Who do you hold that conversation with, and what would you ask them?
Bernard: I’d like to talk to myself at 13 years old. I have a lot of things to say that he should know. Things that would save him an awful lot of time.
Thanks so much with taking part in this truly epic interview. We’ve taken a whole week to come to this point. I really hope that your readers, and friends, have enjoyed getting to know you a little more intimately.
Bernard: Tony, your skills as an interviewer are superb. Thank you for your excellent questions and giving me so much to think about.
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