Welcome to the six hundred and ninety-sixth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with non-fiction author Bobbi Linkemer. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Bobbi. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based.
Bobbi: I have been a writer for forty-five years (seems impossible that it is that long!) in many capacities. During that time, I have always freelanced but also worked as a magazine writer and editor, corporate communicator, and marketing manager for twenty years. I went out on my own in 1989 and have done everything imaginable since then. If someone asked, “Can you do this?” I said yes and then figured out how to do it. I am based in St. Louis, Missouri, where I work out of my condo.
Morgen: I’ve heard a few times to say “yes” and worry about the “how” later. I think it kicks us into accepting and doing things we probably wouldn’t have done otherwise, and everything we do (in whatever profession) is something for the CV. How did you come to be a writer?
Bobbi: I was a thirty-year-old housewife and mother. I wasn’t looking for my destiny; I was just looking for a night school class. I signed up for Writing for Fun and Money, about which I remember nothing, except, of course, the words that changed my life. On the last night of class, as I approached the teacher to thank her, she grabbed my shoulders and gave them a good shake.
“Listen to me,” she said. “I know talent when I see it, and I see it in you. You’d better keep writing!” I had no idea what caused her to say that. We hadn’t shown her samples of our work or done any writing in class. But it really didn’t matter. She had said it, and I believed her. Her words affected me so profoundly that for forty-five years, “You’d better keep writing!” has remained a sustaining mantra.
Morgen: What a great teacher. I’m teaching eight courses for my local council (five creative writing, three I.T.) from January and maybe that’s the approach I need to take. What have you had published to-date?
Bobbi: In more than four-and-a-half decades of full-time writing, I have filled fifteen large binders with published work, ranging from annual reports and hundreds of articles to marketing materials and websites. I have also written seventeen books of my own, plus those I have ghostwritten.
Morgen: Wow. I’ve been pretty busy since 2005 (eight novels, 400+ short stories) but most of those sitting (unpublished) in files. I’m terrible at submitting anywhere, although one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to have something in each month’s divide in my current submissions / competitions folders. Have you self-published? If so, what lead to you going your own way?
Bobbi: I have self-published my last several books, all of which are on writing. Up until 1998, I was published by traditional publishers, including Amacom Books and Amazon New Media (New York), Marshall Editions (London), and publically-funded agencies that provide services for adults with developmentally disabilities.
Morgen: Are your books available as eBooks? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Bobbi: I have five books in e-book format with two more in the works. I have been a reader all my life but made an unbelievably smooth (and expensive) transition to e-books on the Kindle. If I put out a book in print, I also have it converted to digital and advise my clients to do the same.
Morgen: It’s a great idea. I was helping one of my writing group ladies, Monica, yesterday to put her children’s novella on Smashwords (which I always do first as they provide a free ISBN) and Kindle. It took most of the day (although I hadn’t designed the cover until I got there) but it’s up and she’s delighted. Which authors did you read when you were younger and did they shape you as a writer?