- Proof The Novel
- Bourne Identity
- The Lost Symbol
- The Door To December
C. G. Cooper: Welcome to Books in 30 with me, C. G. Cooper. Here at Books in 30, we discuss great books with some of today’s top authors. Don’t forget that you can snag the full list of books we discuss in this episode at cg-cooper.com/podcast along with the full transcript. Welcome to our listeners and a big Books in 30 welcome to today’s guest, Ted D. Berner.
C. G. Cooper: Ted grew up in the mountains of Montana where he still lives; he lives with his wife on a ranch along with several animal friends. Besides raising horses and Bernese mountain dogs, Ted is also an airline pilot and spends a few hours each week traveling around the country at 35,000 feet.
C. G. Cooper: Ted started his writing career in 2010 when he became fascinated with the mysterious civilization that is only briefly mentioned in the bible. The topic of Nephilim, the giants from the bible is such an intriguing subject that Berner has been a guest speaker on several shows, including Caravan to Midnight with John B. Wells, Late Night in the Midlands with Michael Vara, and now, Books in 30 with me, C. G. Cooper.
C. G. Cooper: Although his first love is spending time at home with his family, Berner’s passion for the lost knowledge of the ancients will undoubtedly be driving force for another novel. You can see him online at ProofTheNovel.com. Welcome, Ted. How you doing this morning, my friend?
Ted D. Berner: Great, great. Thanks for having me on, Carlos. I sure appreciate it.
C. G. Cooper: Absolutely. You said, before we got on, that it is winter in Montana. What’s that like?
Ted D. Berner: I like it. It just started snowing here the day before yesterday, it started coming, and now it’s starting to pile up. We’ve probably got about, I don’t know, eight inches on the ground out there. 20 degrees last night which is typical of me. I’ve seen 50 below here in the middle of winter, but we don’t have that for a couple of months yet. Yeah. We need the snow. A lot of people complain about it, but that’s where the water comes from throughout the summer, so bring it on.
C. G. Cooper: I have never been up to Montana, and it’s one of those places on my list that I want to go both summertime and wintertime. Maybe I’m weird that way, but I am fascinated by the North. I grew up on the coast being a Navy brat, and then I was in the Marine Corps. You grew up in Montana, but you also do a lot of traveling. Is it good to get back home?
Ted D. Berner: Yeah, it is. I come home. I’m usually gone like three nights a week. That’s a pretty good gig, so I’m gone three nights a week, and then I’m home for four. My schedule is pretty flexible. You bid every month. You bid your schedule based on seniority, so if you have seniority, you pretty much can do whatever you want. I have pretty good seniority, so that really helped. Yeah, and then we can travel anywhere for free, so that’s another perk of working for an airline. The world is big, but that makes it a lot smaller. Yeah. I really enjoy it. It’s better than working because I know what that’s like. I’ve done that before.
C. G. Cooper: That’s good. I always love running into people who enjoy what they do. It’s pretty refreshing. Can you give us a little snapshot, give the listeners a peek behind why you decided to start writing, why you wanted to be an author?
Ted D. Berner: It all comes down to … We’re in an airplane one day, and the guy who I was flying with, we were in the lineup waiting to go, and he always carried around a bible with him. I’m not overly religious. I have read the bible years ago, and then he pulled it for some … We had time to talk, so he pulled it out, and he brought up Genesis 6:4 in there. He read that, and he said … I’ll read that real quick because a lot of your listeners may not know exactly what that says because this is what got me going. Genesis 6:4, “There were giants in the earth in those days and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bear children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”
Ted D. Berner: So he points that out to me. He says, “Well, that sounds a lot like Greek mythology, doesn’t it?” I’m like, “Yeah.” Yeah, like I said, I've read it before, but you blow through so much stuff because a lot it is complicated, hard to understand. The King’s English they were using then isn’t the same as we’re using now, so some of it is just not that easy to understand, but that got me going. I thought, “You know, I have a great idea for a movie here.” I don’t know anything about writing a screenplay, so I thought, “Well, why don’t I put it in a book first?”
Ted D. Berner: I started with that, and it took me … It did take a while because I did a lot of research. I put a lot of research into this book. Everything, I want to base it off things that are true or thought to be true. There’s lots of legends and folklore around the world I had to dig up, and that’s really what got me going. Of course, there’s a sequel in the works.
Ted D. Berner: The screenplay, actually, I’ve got some interests. I’ve been down to Hollywood Pitch Festival, and I’ve got some interests on that, so I’ve been writing that. If you’ve never done that, it’s a little different than a book. I think it’s probably easier. It is different though. A book is a lot of work, but this is too. It’s just they’re not quite as long. Yeah, that’s what got me started, so I’ve got the sequel. When that’s done, the screenplay hopefully will be done before the sequel, and then of course, we always got other ideas, but that’s where I’m at now.
C. G. Cooper: Very cool. I didn’t want to dig into your stuff before we got on air because I like to be surprised. You read that, and of course, you read the passage from the bible, so now I’m curious. What’s the premise of that book, the book that you’ve already written?
Ted D. Berner: The main character, he’s a college student, and he’s got one class to take. Archeological classes, that's the last class he’s in. They’ve got an assignment to try to find some link between anything in the bible to all these ancient mysterious stone ruins that are scattered across the globe like in Egypt and Peru. Some of these boulders they were stacking up were like over three million pounds, and all the older technology or all the older workmanship was way better, way bigger boulders. So, he’s trying to find that connection, and so that’s when he reads this in the bible.
Ted D. Berner: The character comes across this one, and so that just takes him down this rabbit hole, and one clue leads to another, and he’s trying to find proof. He’s on a quest to find proof that these spiritual beings, the sons of God, these fallen angels did actually mate with human women to produce these actual giants. The Dead Sea Scrolls mention them. The bible mentions them, but now, legends and folklore across the world mention them. Typically, that’s really where it goes. Of course, at the end, does he find proof or not? I can’t really spill the beans on that.
C. G. Cooper: It’s okay. Giants have always fascinated me. You may laugh, but Harry Potter is an example. In the books, they talk a lot more about giant kin than they do in the movies. Hagrid at one point is gone trying to recruit his giant kin, but in every other story, they’ve always fascinated me. When I read that in your bio, I’m like, “No way, like that is so cool,” so I’m definitely going to have to check that out, and I hope the snippet that you’re going to be reading is a little bit about that, but let’s dive into some books because that’s what the listeners want.
Ted D. Berner: Sure.
C. G. Cooper: What’s something, a book, that you are currently reading or that you just finished that you think the listeners might be interested in?
Ted D. Berner: What I’ve been reading lately is screenplays, and some of them are based on books too. The one I’m currently reading. I don’t know if it came from a book or not, but it’s Manchester By The Sea. The movie just came out, but the screenplay before that that I read was The Bourne Identity. I know that was based off a book, and they’re all pretty much the same story, but it’s just told a little different way, but I love … I’m a big, huge Dan Brown fan. I know a lot of people … There’s a lot of controversy with some of his stuff, but I like the way he writes. I like what he writes. The last one that I think I read was The Lost Symbol.
C. G. Cooper: Yup.
Ted D. Berner: Have you read that one?
C. G. Cooper: I have. Actually, one of my favorite books of all time is his Angels and Demons.
Ted D. Berner: Oh, yeah.
C. G. Cooper: I have read that. I think I’ve read that or read/listened to that 10 times. I don’t know. I think that one, to me, it’s better than Da Vinci Code and all the others. I don’t know. That one, to me … growing up Catholic. Maybe that has part of it. That’s part of the reasons I love it, but that book just got me, and every time I go back and obviously, to me, the movie didn’t quite do a justice. That happens sometimes, but man, wow.
Ted D. Berner: Yeah.
C. G. Cooper: You’re right. When he’s on, he can spin a tale and just throw you right back into history. It’s fantastic.
Ted D. Berner: Yeah, and that’s what I like about it because he intertwines a lot of facts. I know The Da Vinci Code, there was a lot of stuff that … That story has been around, that possibility, and I know a lot and you being a catholic, you’re probably well-aware of a lot of controversy around that. In fact, he got sued before that movie there. I think it was Opie, which is Ron Howard. They were going to make that movie, and that got put on hold because somebody (I can’t remember the author’s name) who wrote, “Holy Blood, Holy Grail.” I don’t think it was a novel, but it was all on that same stuff about what The Da Vinci Code is about with the Holy Grail, what he thought the Holy Grail was, but they, Dan Brown and company, won the law suits, and then they were able to go ahead with the movie. Yeah. I like intertwining that kind of stuff in with my stuff.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah. That flavor of history. I feel like I’m learning something at the same time. Also, the ambiguity of, “Okay. Is this real? Is this not? Should I believe it? Should I not?” Again, it just pulls you into that story and you’re going, “Wow. Are there really giant kin out there? Like where are they hiding? Like I want to know now.”
Ted D. Berner: I know. Exactly, and that is one thing I like to … When I got done reading the book, I like to … Just like a movie. If I go to a movie and after the movie is over, when the majority of the crowd are still sitting there just thinking, thinking about what they just saw for like a few minutes before they finally decide to get up and leave. That’s what I’m after. I like that. I like to feel that, and that’s what I hope that my readers will feel as well.
C. G. Cooper: Cool. How about we talk about one of the hardest questions that we throw out here in Books in 30: What is your favorite book of all time?
Ted D. Berner: Yeah, that is a hard one, to try to pinpoint it down to one. I think I’d have to go with … and it’s there again. There’s a lot of close neck-to-neck here, but I really like Lightning. Dean Koontz. He wrote it back in the late ‘80s or sometime around there, but that’s probably my favorite one. Have you read that?
C. G. Cooper: No, I have not, but you know what? I think one of our other authors that came on talked about that.
Ted D. Berner: Yeah. It’s based on time travel, and time travel is such a fun concept to think about and to write about, I assume, but I know I love to read it. Whether it’s possible or not, who knows? It depends on the way we view time. If time is not how we view it, like this linear thing, if it’s something else, then maybe it is entirely possible. Yeah, Lightning was a really fun read. His writing style, I’m sure, has changed over the years. I think I read one of his that was written before that too because he used to write under a pen name, something [Richard] Paige and others …
C. G. Cooper: Did he really? I didn’t know that.
Ted D. Berner: Yeah. Yeah. The Door to December was written under his pen name, and then he changed it to Dean Koontz or vice versa. That was his real name now one way or the other, but yeah, he wrote … The Door to December was written under another name [Richard Paige], and that’s really good too. I really like that as well.
C. G. Cooper: The Door to December?
Ted D. Berner: Yeah.
C. G. Cooper: I have never heard of that. Okay. What’s that one about?
Ted D. Berner: Oh, that’s about … It’s mind over matter type stuff. This guy had this daughter that they were training against her will, but they were training her because he was into this experiment to try to see if you could turn somebody into developing their other senses like their sixth sense or whatever to where they could maybe manipulate matter with their mind. The training for that, he had her in this sensory deprivation pod, which I’ve actually been in one of those. They’re cool, but I went in voluntarily.
Ted D. Berner: That’s how it starts. He starts out, but then all these people started dying, these odd deaths, and this girl, she’s all scared, trying to be saved. You find out that she’s doing all this with her mind. She’s killing and torturing all these people that had tortured her, including her father because her father was the main one behind it, and she goes after everyone that was involved in this whole program throughout the movie … throughout the book, I mean, and you don’t really know. I suspected it was her from the start, but you don’t know that until the very end that she’s the one that’s actually doing that. Yeah, it’s a really fun read. I would recommend it.
C. G. Cooper: Holy cow. That sounds a little bit like Stranger Things that’s on Netflix. Have you watched any of that?
Ted D. Berner: No, I haven’t.
C. G. Cooper: Yeah. It’s similar-ish presence or premise. Anyway, I won’t give it away, and I’m sure some of our listeners have. If you like that, I think you should check it out. Obviously, if you got Netflix, it’s free on there, but The Door to December. I just wrote that one down because I want to check that out. All right. Let’s move on to your work, and I would love, and I know the listeners would love to hear a snippet from something you’ve written.
Ted D. Berner: Okay. I got a couple paragraphs here [from Proof, The Novel] Leading up to this, the character, he’s on the trail to try to find proof about the Nephilim, the giants, and he just got turned on to … It’s in the middle of the night. He’s quite a ways from home, and some stranger told him, “There’s this guy that lives out on Chesapeake Bay that you probably want to talk to. He’s got some … You might want to talk to him.”
Ted D. Berner: Here, he’s just a college student. He drives out there, and it may not be the best. Say, middle of the night, weather is bad, and who is this guy? Anyway, he gets to the house, and it turns out, initially, it’s all good, but the guy’s name … My character’s name is Ty, and the guy at the house that he went to see, his name is Victor, so we all start here:
Ted D. Berner: [Start book excerpt] "Victor fumbled around with the keys a little before finding the right one. After a few seconds, he unlocked the door, opened it, and turned on the light. Ty was amazed at what he saw. Even though he didn’t really know what he was looking at, it was obvious that someone had been very meticulous in setting up all the displays. The room was almost the same size as the one upstairs, but instead of being full of furniture, it looked like a museum. It was full of glass cases with artifacts and bones of some kind, and the walls were covered with newspaper clippings. Ty looked around and noticed that the displays all had something in common. Everything was exceptionally large. Then he noticed the display in the far corner. By now, he’d become somewhat mesmerized and had slowly walked over to get a closer look without realizing what he was doing. Under a glass case about five feet wide and five feet high, there were three skulls that looked very, very old. All were extremely large. Two of them had elongated shapes, and yet they all appeared to be human.
Ty just stood there and stared. “They look so real, but could that be possible? If so, where’d they come from?”
“Your reaction is quite common for those who see this place for the first time, and yes, they’re real if that’s what you’re wondering. Utterly amazing, aren’t they?”
Ty was so caught up in the moment that he didn’t even try to hide his excitement. “How could they be real? They’re so big, the shape. Who or what? What are they? Where’d they come from?”
Victor smiled through crinkled eyes and gave him a single laugh. “Tell me again, son. Why are you here?”
Ty thought for a second, trying to grasp what he was looking at, and then it hit him. “The Nephilim,” he blurted out, and so feeling ridiculous and yet excited for suggested it.
Victor could see Ty’s acceleration. “Correct. Just as described in Genesis 6:4, the mighty men which were of old, men of renown. Giants.”
Ty's imagination began to run wild, “So, they actually did exist?”
“Oh, yes, they did indeed exist.” Victor seem to share the enthusiasm. “Just as they’d been written about by a countless civilizations, legends, the folklore, all those stories that have been told about giants are based on truth.” [end book excerpt] That’s where I’ll stop for that.
C. G. Cooper: Nice. Thank you. I’m putting myself in Ty’s shoes. Walking into something like that might be a little surreal.
Ted D. Berner: Yeah. Yeah, and I mentioned the newspaper clippings on the wall. When he gets to those, those were … Actually, back in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, in the US, they were finding these giant skeletons all over in these mountains when they were digging to put railroads and roads in. Some of them, 8, 9, 10, 12 feet tall. They document them in the paper. There’d been a story about them in like the New York Times. Smithsonian would show up, and the bones disappeared, and then that’s all you hear about, but that’s what was on the wall with the newspaper clippings.
C. G. Cooper: Oh, that is cool. That is cool. Thank you for sharing. I know it’s always interesting when you’re sharing your own work. I know. I don’t know if you’re like me. Sometimes, when I read my own stuff, I’m like, “Ugh, I could’ve put an 'it' or 'them' or be a little more descriptive.”
Ted D. Berner: Oh, yeah.
C. G. Cooper: That’s fantastic. Thank you very much. How about this? What is turning out to be our authors’ favorite part is mean reviews. Did you happen to bring some with you?
Ted D. Berner: Oh, I did. Yeah. Yeah, and then most of the … Of course, you got some one stars in there, and most of the one stars were because people didn’t like how it was ended with a cliffhanger, but that one that was pretty comical, and he says, “I wish I had read the reviews first,” which most of the reviews are five and four stars, but he says, “I wish I had read the reviews first. I’d not have purchased this book just based on half-a-book thing, but purchase it, I did. After the first 10 to 12 pages, there was nothing that made me want to keep me doing. Just tedium, poorly written tedium, clichéd, stilted dialogue, bad editing. There’s an old maxim. ‘Show your readers, don’t tell them.’ That means telling a story. This read more like a synopsis of a good story delivered by a guy who read it and was asked to give the gist. Again, talking about the first dozen pages roughly. Maybe it got better as it went on. I’ll never know.”
C. G. Cooper: Yeah. I’ll tell you. You get everything. You got one side, and then you got the other, and then you got everything in between.
Ted D. Berner: Yeah, I know it. Yeah. I got another here too that’s comical. This one, he gave me a three-star, and it’s quite a lengthy one. I won’t read the whole thing because he spent a lot more time writing this than I did on my book, but he gets down after a lot of talking, and he says what he liked and what he didn’t like. He says, “What I liked: Much to my surprise, the writing is pretty good.”
Ted D. Berner: It’s like, well, why is that surprising? You don’t even know me. Now, if my friend said that, okay, I understand. They have every right to.
Ted D. Berner: But then, he gets down to the end here. He says, “This story might be for you if you like speculative tales placed in the distant reaches of the ozone layer. If you like to wear tinfoil hats, buy this book. I did find it entertaining in spots, but I doubt I will read any of the inevitable sequels.”
Ted D. Berner: Now, that’s funny about the tinfoil hats because you come up to the top here, and in the first part of his review, he says … because the reason he bought it was Genesis 6:4 was quoted on the front, so he says, “I certainly have no problem with the concept of giants living in antiquity since canonical scripture says so. Even the idea that giants or Nephilim were the unnatural progeny results from fallen angels mating with human women does not seem to be absurd.” He goes from that down to the tinfoil hats, so it’s like, well, I don’t know. I guess it depends. As long as you believe what he believes, you don’t need a tinfoil hat.
C. G. Cooper: Maybe you’ll throw in some tinfoil hats on the second.
Ted D. Berner: Yeah. I always have one that I wear every time we fly over an NSA. We fly over NSA Headquarters going to Salt Lake. Yeah. I put one on every time I go over there.
C. G. Cooper: I bet you’ve got some good stories about that.
Ted D. Berner: Yeah.
C. G. Cooper: Awesome. All right. Mean reviews done, onto the speed round. Are you ready for some questions?
Ted D. Berner: Sure.
C. G. Cooper: All right. Number one. What’s your favorite thing about being an author?
Ted D. Berner: Just the fact that I get to tell a story that I think people … because I want to make them think, and I like to give them some facts that they may not see otherwise, and so they can just … just so they can think. That’s really what I like.
C. G. Cooper: Excellent. What is the best advice you ever received? This does not have to be about just writing.
Ted D. Berner: Don’t give up. Don’t give up. There might be a time when you have to, but if you believe in what you’re doing and it’s really something you enjoy, even if you’re going down an empty well, if you’re enjoying it, keep on going.
C. G. Cooper: Amen. What is one piece of technology you could not live without?
Ted D. Berner: That’s a tough one. I love the internet with Google and YouTube. There’s so much information on there now. That would be hard. On the same side, a chainsaw. Living here on a ranch, I could not live without a chainsaw.
C. G. Cooper: That’s something. See? Again, that’s why I love asking this question because I get … Like I think I got a coffeemaker the other day, chainsaw from you, a refrigerator from somebody else. I love these answers. Alright. Next one: What is the one thing you wish you could change about publishing whether it’s the industry or the process itself?
Ted D. Berner: The one thing … That’s tough. It’s tough. I started my own publishing company, and I never even attempted to do it the traditional way, but it’s hard to say what it would change because it’s just a lot of work. There’s a lot of work involved, and I wouldn’t want to change that because that’s part of the reward after you do that, so it’s hard to say. One thing I would change?
C. G. Cooper: It’s a loaded question. That’s why I like to ask it, Ted.
Ted D. Berner: Yeah, yeah.
C. G. Cooper: Alright. On to the next one: What genre do you wish you could write in?
Ted D. Berner: I’m sure I can’t write in romance, but I don’t know that I want to. Which do I wish that I could write in? That’s another tough question. Maybe reality.
C. G. Cooper: Reality?
Ted D. Berner: Yeah.
C. G. Cooper: That might come in handy with more screenplays or more scripts for TV, right?
Ted D. Berner: Yeah, right.
C. G. Cooper: Next one: What’s on your bucket list?
Ted D. Berner: I want to see all the places I wrote about in the book. The great pyramid in Egypt. The ruins down in Peru. I want to go to all these places. That’s my bucket list.
C. G. Cooper: Love it. Luckily, I think you can get there pretty easily with your free tickets, right?
Ted D. Berner: Yeah. Right.
C. G. Cooper: Alright. If you could teach a college course, what subject or class would you teach?
Ted D. Berner: Maybe something spiritual like the Hay House authors. I don’t know. That kind of spiritual and some spiritual thing that’s just based on everything and not narrowed down to just this religion, that religion, this belief, that belief. Maybe something like that.
C. G. Cooper: Cool. I like that. Alright, and last one. This one is kind of fun. If you could only eat one type of food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Ted D. Berner: You mean and not have to chase it with nitroglycerin?
C. G. Cooper: For example, mine is pizza because I could eat pizza probably every meal if I had to.
Ted D. Berner: Yeah, that. I could eat that too. I couldn’t give up cheese. Cheese is a hard one, which of course, that’s … Pizza is loaded with that. If I had to give up one thing, it would … The hardest thing for me to give up would be cheese. I do like cheese. Although, I try to cut back, but probably that. I love Italian food and all that, but you know?
C. G. Cooper: Okay, cheese. Cheese it is. Ted, thank you so much for joining us.
Can you give a few last words to our listeners and let them know where they can find you and your work?
Ted D. Berner: Sure. Of course, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, all the internet sites. The book is Proof the Novel. That’s the full name. Ted D. Berner. ProofTheNovel.com. You can access everything through there. There are some t-shirts you can buy, some pretty cool t-shirts you can buy too. All the proceeds go to a charity. Yeah, that’s pretty much it. I’m going to be working on an audio book. I got a couple coming out. I got one in Spanish, in Italian, and an audiobook. I’m going to just start on that here pretty soon. Yeah, ProofTheNovel.com should lead you everywhere.
C. G. Cooper: All right, listeners. Check it out. Ted Berner at ProofTheNovel.com, or on Amazon, or any of the other online retailers. This has been Books in 30 with C.G. Cooper. Thank you for listening, and don’t forget to email me at cgc (at) cg-cooper.com to say hello or let me know of an author you’d like to see as my guest. Thanks for tuning in. This is C. G. Cooper, out.
BOOKS IN 30 Podcast