#MTW2017 Interview with Jerri Schlenker

Hi Jerri;

Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for us for MTW.

Being an official reviewer for MTW is one of the most exciting things we can do as a blog site and as is our primary goal we love to READ! REVIEW! PROMOTE! That being said; I am also excited to interview authors whether I have read their books or not because it is an excellent opportunity to get to know the person behind the book and to get a lot of information about writing.

Because I haven’t had a chance to look at your rather interesting seeming books; I did do some research on the internet before I decided to conduct this interview.

That being said I would really like to know you are described as a late blooming author – what did you do before you decided that you wanted to write and publish stories?  

I worked in an insurance office as an commercial lines underwriter/rater—boring, one might say, but I met a lot of nice people through my fellow co-workers, and I’m sure it prepared me for what was to transpire or unfold in the coming years. Art was and is always my true love. I have a degree in art. During the insurance gig, I taught myself to weave, as a hobby. The hobby became a business. I quit the insurance job. I did art/craft shows, had a weaving studio and added an art/craft gallery to that. After nearly twenty-five years of that life, a life in which I met slews of fantastic and interesting people, other artists and patrons, I more or less retired. There was hiking and trail building, volunteering for a couple of organizations, and many projects.  All the while I was starting to write.

Having a look at the books you have published; you certainly provide a variety of plots. Your first two books seem like they are more serious contemplations of life while The Missing Butler and Other Life Mysteries seems more humorous. What made you decide on such a different change of pace?

I don’t think it was necessarily a different change of pace, as life is mixed with many different emotions. I was writing short stories before and during the writing process of three different novels (one still in progress). I think laughter gives us a break from the serious contemplation of life. And possibly more insight into life.

Focussing on your MTW submission The Missing Butler and Other Life Mysteries; it is a collection of short stories summed up in a hilarious blurb. How hard was it to compile your blurb for your book?

Blurbs are the hardest for me. After you’ve poured so much into a piece, suddenly you have to sum it up in a few words. I had no idea how to sum it up, and I couldn’t find any help on looking up blurbs for other collections of short stories. So, I decided to be flippant about it. A lot of the stories in the book could be described as flippant.

Still looking at the outside of The Missing Butler and Other Life Mysteries; the cover is very plane but enticing. Did you design it yourself? What was your motivation for the cover?

I love designing covers. I drew the picture. I have to use my art degree somehow. The Missing Butler is the lead story, thus the butler. The typewriter implied stories are served. I debated on the font. I wanted it to look like something that was actually typed. But the monogram on the serving cloth draped on his arm had be eloquent. The illustrations inside the book are in color.

What advice would you give aspiring writers about choosing the right blurb and cover for their books?

It’s what the potential reader first sees, so better make them good. Being an artist, I’m more drawn to the cover than anything else.

Your book differs from most that I have seen during MTW in that it is a collection of short stories rather than a standalone novel or one book in a mystery series. Writing one book in a series seems hard enough – how hard was it to write a collection of stories and combine them into one book? Are the stories interrelated or are they standalone stories?

The stories came from writing for several years, things I wrote between the NaNoMoWri’s.  Some of them came from prompts. Two came from writing stories for an anthology that my writing group published (also designed the cover for that one), some from my take on actual experiences, and one from a past life regression.

What would you say was the hardest part of compiling and publishing The Missing Butler and Other Life Mysteries?

Getting the formatting right, lining up the pictures, especially for the paperback.

I find that support for authors differ; some have support from their families; some from their friends; some none at all. Have you had great support during this adventure of writing?  

My husband supports me like crazy, and I also have several friends that do. And, I belong to writing groups.

Have you got any books that you are currently working on and if you do; can you tell us a little about them?

Two books –

“The Innkeeper on the Edge of Paris”  A woman leaves her marriage and job in the US and travels to France and stays in an old inn where she has strange dreams and encounters a ghost, and meets a man.

“Sally”  Historical Fiction about a woman I met when I was 8. She was 103 at the time. She was born in 1858 into slavery.

We would just like to take a moment to thank Jerri Schlenker for taking the time to answer the questions to our interviews and we wish her the absolute best in her writing.

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