Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Eric E. Jenkins. I use the middle initial because Eric Jenkins is such a common name. I’m 52 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Los Angeles, California, but I currently live in a suburb of Dallas, Texas.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I’m married with six children. I have a Master’s Degree in Human Behavior and Development, and at the same time that I am advancing my writing career, I am also accepting bookings as a speaker. My primary concentration is helping young people to make the most out of their lives by helping them to understand their part in their development and success.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
In addition to promoting Things That I Learned From the Word, my latest piece, I am working on my next piece, which will be the second in a series of books subtitled Things I’ve Told My Kids. I am also doing the preliminary work towards starting my own podcast. I am considering a number of show focuses, and I am narrowing it down to the one in which I feel the strongest.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I guess that I have always been a writer of some form. When I was in school, I would write essays and reports, and my teachers thought that I was cheating because the work was seemingly advanced for my age and grade level. It wasn’t until I was asked to create an essay on a topic in front of my teacher (as opposed to doing it as homework) that my 7th grade English teacher accepted that I was a talented writer. As a child, I always sat around creating stories, plays and poems, and as I grew older, I refined the work. It is something that I have done for as long as I could read.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
As I mentioned, I have always participated in the art and craft of writing, but I actually began viewing it as a career path in the early 1990s. I had created a series of mini-mysteries that I pitched to children’s magazines. Though I wasn’t successful, it was through the rejections that I began to study the business of writing.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Well, Things That I Learned From the Word is my first published book, but my first book was a follow up to the mini-mysteries that I had created. Without elaborating, I found myself in a strange situation,and I began to wonder what would happen if a detective were hired to solve the problem. From that, I took my mini-mysteries’ detective and thrust him into the situation. That book was completed but never published, even though I had planned a series of successive stories.
As for Things That I Learned, I was teaching bible study, and I read an article in a writing magazine about an author who was too busy blogging to finish a manuscript, so he took his blog posts and put them together into book form. I was looking for a manuscript idea, so I took three years’ worth of bible study lessons, and put them together into a manuscript that flows from one topic to the next, while combining ideas into organized topics.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title came from the intent of the work. Even though I was teaching bible study, the time that I spent studying the bible and preparing the lessons was as educational to me as I hoped that the lessons would be to the listeners. When I prepared the manuscript, it was easy to come up with the title because though I believed in God and attended church regularly, there was still a lot about the bible that I did not know until I started teaching the lessons. The lessons were honestly things that I learned from the word of God.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I honestly don’t have a particular writing style. I have written sports commentary, mystery stories, religious works, biographies and a variety of other things. I currently operate three separate blogs so that I can write in different styles and on different topics, based on what I am feeling at the time.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Things That I Learned is based on the word of God, and I made it a point to keep my perspective out of the work. The lessons are based on what the bible says about whatever topic is being discussed. However, there are a number of vary transparent anecdotes sprinkled throughout the book, as there are events from my personal life from which I have learned, that help to illustrate the points that are being made in the lessons.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
For this book I didn’t have to travel, but I intend to bring back the detective series at some point, and I am also working on another fiction piece. Both are cased in Southern California, and I currently live in Texas. Though I lived in California for a number of years, I may have to go back to re-familiarize myself with the cities and the streets.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I designed the cover myself. I wanted it to be simple, emphasizing the bible that is center on the cover.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
In Things That I Learned, the message is that there are benefits to living one’s life for God through Jesus Christ. I understand that there are many who do not believe in God, but for those who do, or those who are not sure, this books help the reader to gain an understanding of who God is, what he promised to do for us, and what he asks of us in return.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
My favorite author was Robert B. Parker, the creator of the Spenser detective series. Parker has since passed, but his works live on through Ace Atkins, Robert Knott and Reed Farrel Coleman. I am also a huge fan of Janet Evanovich. Mystery writing is my passion, but I also understand that I have a mission to help teach young people how their lives can be better.
I like Parker and Evanovich because their protagonists are not 100% serious 100% of the time. They don’t take themselves too seriously, but they are willing and able to do what is necessary when called upon. I patterned the detective in my first novel after Spenser.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My old boss, Tomie Mundy, was very supportive of my desire to have a career as a writer. He had succeeded in having an entertainment career, and he was always pushing me to reach as far as I could with my writing.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do. It is one thing that I know that I do well with a minimum of effort, which is what is supposed to determine whether or not a person actually “works” for a living. If you enjoy what you do, do it well, and can monetize it, then you are not truly “working”.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not at all. When I made the decision to create the manuscript, I poured over the bible study lessons, took out parts that would not be universally understood, and formed each into a more widely understandable component of the whole. The only thing that I might want to be different would be to have had the idea years prior, but things happen, I believe, when they are supposed to.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Even though I had studied the bible in order to create the lessons, reading them over for this project gave me a greater understanding of the lessons, and of God himself. In addition to that, self-publishing through Amazon taught me much about how a manuscript is converted into a finished book.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Interesting question. I have known of many non-fiction pieces that have been made into movies, so it is not out of the realm of possibility that this one could as well. As for the lead, if I could not play the part myself, I would love for Chris O’Donnell or Will Estes to play the lead.Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
My best advice is to write as much as you can, because just like any other talent or
skill, the more that you work at it, the better you will get. Also, find a friend who is not afraid to be straight with you, and enlist them as your personal reader. If they can tell you the truth without hurting your feelings, then that person will tell you if a work is garbage or needs help, as opposed to all of your loved ones telling you that it is good, even when it is not.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Just know that I am honest with my work, and it is never my desire to insult another’s intelligence. I hope that people enjoy my work, but if someone is offended by something that I have written, or disagrees with something that I have written, I am willing to participate in an open and honest discussion about it.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am usually into two books at a time; one that I read in the house, and one that I listen to in audio form in the car. Currently, the house book is Robert B. Parkers Debt to Pay by Reed Farrel Coleman, and the audiobook is Lost Light by Michael Connelly.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Honestly, I remember being four-years-old, and sitting in front of my Kindergarten class reading Green Eggs and Ham to the class. There was supposed to be a recording, but it wasn’t working so I volunteered to read it. When the teacher realized that I could read at that age, I was moved up to the first grade.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Lots of things make me laugh. I love any type of comedy; silly stuff like the Three Stooges, and more intellectual comedy like on Seinfeld. At times, I remember funny bits from my favorite shows, and make myself laugh all over again.
As for crying, I seldom cry, but when I do, it is probably because of a lost loved one. My best friend passed recently, and it was the greatest hurt that I had experienced in quite some time.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I would have loved to have met Robert B. Parker, just so I could pick his brain about writing, and get his opinion of my work.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
When I’m not writing, I’m reading. Whether it is comics, novels, or the newspaper, I am reading something. I also love brain games like crossword puzzles and such, because they entertain me and also help to keep my brain sharp.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Currently, my favorite TV shows are Scorpion and MacGyver. My favorite movie is Anatomy of a Murder with Jimmy Stewart.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Food: Hot Dogs
Music: Classic R&B
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would go back to hosting a radio show and continue to do speaking engagements.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Things That I Learned From the Word is available on Amazon (dot) com. Go to my Facebook Page @ Facebook.com/ericejenkins65 and click on the “Shop Now” button. That will take them directly to the Amazon page for the book. It is available in paperback and Kindle formats.As I mentioned, I am currently operating three blogs:
Culturally Relevant – A blog about pop culture and contemporary issues (http://ericejenkins.blogspot.com/)
Sporting Thoughts – Thoughts about sports (https://sportingthoughtseric.blogspot.com/)
Things I’ve Told My Kids – Information that I’ve shared with my children that could be helpful to other children and parents (https://thingsivetoldmykids.blogspot.com/)
Fans can follow me on Twitter @ ericejenkins65, on Instagram @ ericejenkins65, and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ericejenkins65/