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Thursday, 27 October 2011

Author Interview with Jeannie Walker

Jeannie Walker is an Award Winning Author, Award Winning Songwriter and freelance writer. She studied creative writing in New York and Connecticut and is a member of the International Association of Writers. She became a real-life Sherlock Holmes to help solve her ex-husband's murder. She is an avid reader of mystery novels, and the wife of a murdered Texas millionaire, for whom she wrote, "Fighting the Devil". Jeannie Walker's debut novel, the true crime story, "Fighting the Devil" is a 2010 BOOK OF THE YEAR SILVER AWARDS WINNER in True Crime & 2011 National Indie Excellence Awards

Hello Jeannie, please tell us about you, as a writer.

I write because I love it. I write because I believe in truth and justice. I write because I want to reach human beings and tell them to keep trying and to do all they can, because in the end it is worth it, and to let everyone know we are not alone in our struggle. I grew up in rural Oklahoma and later Texas. Most of the reading and writing I did was in school. Growing up on a farm didn't leave a lot of time for anything else except tending to farm animals, feeding and watering the chickens, gathering the eggs, milking the cows, and feeding the pigs. Then there was harvest time when the entire family had to pull cotton, combine wheat, and bale hay. Any spare time I got, I spent outside sitting under a big oak tree enjoying nature and reading a good book. My English teacher at Lone Wolf, Oklahoma was a big influence in my life. Mrs. Schreiner encouraged all her students to excel in reading and writing. I worked hard to achieve excellence and make straight A's because of the respect I had for Mrs. Schreiner and my other teachers in school.
Would you tell us something about your latest book?

My latest book is "Fighting the Devil" - A True Story of Consuming Passion, Deadly Poison, and Murder. It is a true crime story, about the murder of my ex-husband, a Texas millionaire, who was callously poisoned to death in an unthinkable and horrendous way. It is depicted the way it really happened with factual accounts, information, recollections and actual dialogue, as well as photos.

How did you come to write this particular book?

The sheriff asked me to help with the murder investigation because the small county could not afford and did not have the time or resources to do extensive research. I became a real-life sleuth to help solve the murder.  I wrote the book to speak for my ex-husband, who no longer has a voice and to tell the aftermath with the strange twists and unexpected results. 

Do you have a favourite character from the book?

My favourite character is the Sheriff, for whom I dedicated the book. He was a small town sheriff, who was very devoted to his job. He died before he saw anyone arrested or justice done in this murder case.

Where can people buy your book?

My book can be purchased on my website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

What qualities does a writer need to be successful?

I believe in order for a writer to be successful, they must have confidence in their ability and the patience to persevere.

What’s your working method?

Taking the necessary time to research, organize, and outline before I ever sit down to write the manuscript.

What’s the single biggest mistake made by beginner writers?

Expecting overnight or immediate success.
To what extent are grammar and spelling important in writing?

Yes! It is absolutely essential and vital that there are no grammar and spelling mistakes in the finished product. Grammar errors and spelling mistakes is a turnoff to readers.

How much do you revise your MS before sending it off? 

I delete at least 10 percent from my first draft. According to a writing genius, Mr. Stephen King, the formula for success is 2nd draft equals 1st draft minus 10%.

As a writer of true crime, a non-fiction area, to what extent do you think genre is useful in the publishing world? 

When one thinks of genre, certain images and themes are conjured. Genre theory is important because it informs the reader as to the subject matter.

Many authors see marketing as a bind. What's your opinion on this, and how do you deal with it?

It is a given that authors must market their own product. Nobody knows the product better than the original author. The author has everything to gain from personal marketing, even though at times it can be rather time consuming.  I take marketing my book with a grain of salt and just grin and bear it. I believe that when we market our own products, then we have the right and the fortune to brag of our success and accomplishments.

What sort of displacement activities keep you from writing? 

Household chores, telephone calls, and marketing my book keep me from my writing.

What support, if any, do you receive from family and friends, writing group, or dedicated professionals?

I am blessed in that I receive support from my family, friends and also dedicated professionals, who kindly offer their services and expertise.

Is presentation of the MS as important as agents and publishers suggest?

It is imperative to have a professional presentation of the MS.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Honestly, it took me 20 years to write this true crime story. As it was a murder case, certain things had to happen before I was able to finish it. In real life it can take decades to bring a perpetrator to justice, no matter how seemingly obvious his or her guilt. I was hoping to have a good ending for my book.

Who or what inspires your writing? 

Other authors inspire me.

If there’s a single aspect of writing you find frustrating, what is it?

Finding the time to sit down and actually put my thoughts and research into a readable format.

Is there a particular feature of writing that you really enjoy?

Being able to pick up my own book and realizing I was the one who wrote the book, and was the person solely responsible for making it happen.

Do you believe creative writing is a natural gift or an acquired skill?

Some people do have a natural gift for creative writing. But, most people, like myself, have to study and learn the art of creative writing.

What are you writing now?

I am working on my next true story about my Cherokee Indian heritage.

Do you have a website or blog where readers can visit?

I have a website and also a blog. The links are:

Given unlimited resources, where would you do your writing?

Given unlimited resources, I would still do my writing on my IMAC computer in my home office.
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