Author Interview: Jeri Walker-Bickett

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Author Interview: Jeri Walker-Bickett

Today it gives me great pleasure to present Jeri Walker-Bickett.

JeriWB

Jeri is the author of two published books, a good friend, and an award winning blogger from What Do I Know? Allow me a moment to express my great appreciation for Jeri and all that she does. Thank you Jeri!

My Interview with Jeri:

What is the title or working title of your current book?

My current collection of short stories is titled Such is Life.

Such is Life by Jeri WalkerBickett

Please provide us with a brief synopsis of your book.

My book of stories feature characters down on their luck, yet stubborn enough to move on. A tryst between a carnival worker and a pretty high school student begs the question of who takes advantage of who. A young man’s encounter with a drug addict finds him striking out on his own in hopes of a better life. An English teacher publishes literature deemed inappropriate by a Mormon community. A mother goes on a quest to get rid of the family’s aggressive pet. Finally, New Orleans provides the backdrop for a stroll with a psychotic housewife. Such is life!

What genre does your current book fall under?

My short stories are best categorized under the genre of literary realism.

Do you always write for the same genre?

I gravitate toward contemporary plots, and I aim to add literary elements. I not only want to tell a good story with interesting characters, I want to deepen my writing by working in thematic elements and artfully crafted prose. That being said, I also find myself drawn to writing psychological suspense. In time, I hope to publish creative nonfiction and poetry as well. I also have a few ideas for eBooks that will draw on my expertise as a teacher, namely an eBook supplemented by tutorial videos on how to write a variety of poetic forms.

Who or what motivates or inspires you to write?

I’ve always wanted to tell stories. Even before I learned to read and write, I would gather my stuffed animals and tell them tall tales. My imagination knew no bounds. Although, I don’t think anyone in their right mind would choose to be a writer. Some strange internal drive just keeps telling me to record my perspective on the world. I write to try to make sense of the world.

Tell us about your writing background.

I’ve had one short story published in an anthology, and it was the first and only one I have submitted. Once I started teaching high school, the demands of constant 65-hour work weeks zapped my creative urge. Luckily, a friend and co-worker had the idea to start a writing club where she and I, plus another co-worker, would meet once a month for dinner, wine, and critiquing.

I’m proud of my writing degrees. My M.A. is in English Education, though I’ve earned graduate credits toward a degree in Rhetoric and Composition. My B.A. is in English with an emphasis in writing, and I also earned an A.A. in English. My transcript includes numerous writing workshops in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The title of my blog What do I know? comes from the personal motto that the father of the personal essay, Michel de Montaigne, wore on a medallion which hung from his neck.

How long does it typically take you to write a first draft?

I wish is knew as I’ve met a few unexpected hurdles! Instead of just focusing on churning out a draft, I overwhelmed myself with learning all I could about blogging and building an author-platform. Not to mention, I also took time to learn the basics of video editing as well as start a freelance editing business.

It took sixteen months to write 60,000 words. Granted, I deleted nearly 25,000 words at one point. Now that I’ve started revisions, I hope to add about 20,000 more words to the next draft. I should have a readable draft ready for beta readers by this November. In the future, I want to produce approximately 80,000 word first drafts in four months, which will necessitate 1,000 words a day when writing five days a week. I need to get a lot better about turning off my internal editor as I type!

Do you employ an editor to assist you in your writing process?

Yes! Only after getting feedback from my online critique partners, sessions with an in-person workshop group, and submission to beta readers and multiple revisions on my behalf will I submit my story off to a copy editor (whom I have yet to pick).

Are you self-published or represented by an agency?

My short stories and user-friendly Popular Poe Stories in Plain English are both self-published. I go back and forth about whether or not to seek a more traditional publishing route or self-publish my forthcoming novel. Either approach requires a lot of hard work, and deep down, I feel like I owe it to myself to at least go through the querying process at least once.

Do you have future projects we can look forward to?

My work in progress is titled Lost Girl Road. It’s a story of psychological suspense that takes place in the woods of northwest Montana. The inspiration comes from the actual name of a road located in the Bull River Valley where I spent time at my grandpa’s cabin while growing up.

Do you have any tips or advice to offer fellow writers?

Never stop learning, network, and be patient. Not only methodically study the craft of writing, seek out sources of information on how to market your work. Try to find a mentor. Most of all, please don’t publish hastily.

Is there anything else you would like to share with your potential readers?

Obviously, I would love potential readers to consider downloading my work, but more than what, please take the time to visit my website and get to know me and what I do. It’s an exciting time to be a writer and an editor. I would love to be able to entertain you, or meet your editing needs.

Tell us how we can connect with you in the world of social.

Blog JeriWB: What do I know? #/ All my social media links are on my blog.

Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/Jeri-Walker-Bickett/e/B006UHV4CA

There you have it. Jeri Walker-Bickett. Stop by her blog, grab her books, or just say ‘hi’. I have both of Jeri’s books and thoroughly enjoyed them. 🙂

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Comments (13)

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  1. Aw, I love Jeri and all that she does, but you know that already. She has helped m tremendously in wanting to take my efforts in writing short stories to a book. Her advise about never stop learning, network, and be patient, especially the patience part is spot on. Thanks for sharing Jeri's story and her book Cheryl. 🙂

  2. JeriWB says:

    Cheryl, thanks for having me today. I just got back my first round of critiques for the second draft of my novel. A small flickering flame still burns that I might be able to have a draft ready for beta readers in November…. maybe… hopefully… In any case I want to participate in NaNoWriMo in November. I really need to start a new project, no matter that state the never-ending novel will be in at that point.

  3. JeriWB says:

    Susan, it's been exciting to witness your progress on your blog as well as with getting ready to publish some of your stories. We all offer each other such great give and take when it comes to our strengths and weaknesses. I know I am learning a lot from you as well.

  4. Susan Oakes says:

    Excellent interview and I have a feeling Jeri you will be very successful with your writing. I also like the way you said Jeri never stop learning as that advice is for all of us whether we are writers or not.

    • JeriWB says:

      Susan, thanks for wishing me success! It's been hard to make the shift from a successful teaching career to almost going back to square one with my writing and editing endeavors. At least I have stubbornness and patient on my side.

  5. Leora says:

    Great interview! I have been meaning to download your short stories, Jeri – maybe I'll do so today.

  6. JeriWB says:

    Leora, I know the feeling when it comes to meaning to download stories. My list is long 😉

  7. Cheryl, thanks so much for interviewing Jeri! It's so great learning more about my BHB friends. What an amazing groups we have! So much creativity and talent. Congrats, Jeri, on launching a new career as a writer/author. I have no doubt your writing will receive accolades, as I deeply admire your creativity and insightfulness.

  8. JeriWB says:

    Doreen, we are all certainly lucky to be a part of BHB. In more than a few ways, the members of that group have helped me stay the course.

  9. What a wonderful idea to write about Jeri, Cheryl.

    Jeri really is a dedicated writer. Love her advice to people who wish to write: "Never stop learning, network, and be patient. Not only methodically study the craft of writing, seek out sources of information on how to market your work. Try to find a mentor. Most of all, please don’t publish hastily"

    • JeriWB says:

      Catarina, I think it's safe to say we're all dedicated in our own ways 😉

  10. Leora says:

    I enjoyed this insight into Jeri's writing and background. Thank you for having her on your blog, Cheryl.

  11. JeriWB says:

    Leora, thanks for stopping by, and thanks even more for downloading my stories.