Tag Archives: Gwendolyn Brooks

10 Questions for Alice Wootson

alice 3Alice Greenhowe Wootson grew up in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She attended Cheyney University and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education. After graduating, she married and remained in the Philadelphia area. She earned a Masters Degree in Education and Reading Specialist Certification and taught in the public schools. Alice is the award-winning author of ten romance novels and an award-winning poet; she has taught writing workshops for numerous groups. She is also a board member of the Philadelphia Writers Conference. Alice Wootson is an active member of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church of Philadelphia. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Isaiah. http://www.alicewootson.net/

Interview with g emil reutter

The Interview 

alice 2GER: You have published a large body of work in the genre of Romance Novels. What drew you to this genre?

AW: I write romance novels because I like happpy endings.

GER: Some have described your novels as realistic romance full of suspense with out of the ordinary plot twists. How does this set you apart from others in the genre?

AW: I add twists to my novels because I don’t want the story to ‘unfold in a straight line’ and I don’t want the reader to reach the end and say ”I knew that’s what was going to happen.”  

BorderLove-2GER: You latest release is Border Love. Please tell us about the book?

AW:  ‘Border Love’ features Border Patrol Agents assigned to Brownsville, Texas located on the Texas/Mexican Border. My husband and I spent several winters in Brownsville and I found many interesting things about it. A highway just outside town has a tall chainlink fence running parallel to the road for miles and miles. Just on the other side of the fence is the Rio Grande River. If your arms  were long enough, you could dip your hand into the water. The river is also shallow along here so the most that would get wet would be your pants legs. No buildings are visible on the Mexican side and ranches are along the road on the US side with no buildings in sight. It would be easy to wade across the river, use the spaces in the fence to climb and be in this country. The fence follows the contours of the river so many areas are out of sight. Also many Mexican students commute to Texas Southernmost University which is within walking distance of the bridge they walk across. You can pay a small toll and walk across into Mexico. With all of this in mind, I let my imagination run wild and thought of various problems that could arise from the close proximity and easy access to and from Mexico. I did extensive research which I do for all of my books. Then I decided what problems to give my agents. Drugs are a bigger problem in Mexico than they are here. Some towns are subjected to nightly battles between rival gangs over turf. A lot of the problems are caused by people from countries to the south of Mexico. I also had to consider that the drug smuggling trade wouldn’t get a foothold here if not for the involvement of US citizens. Unfortunately all of the situations I use in the book are possible.

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GER: You have conducted a number of writing workshops. What are the benefits of workshops to those attending and to you?

AW: I do several writing workshops for groups of interested people. The basic one deals with the three elements necessary to write a story: character, setting and plot. I go into detail about the three and explore various options. If time permits, I have those attending develop the beginning of a story that includes all three elements. I pose questions along the way. (I’m a retired teacher so I can’t help it.  What’s in it for me? I enjoy helping people follow their dreams.)

GER: What advice would you give to emerging writers and poets?

AW: I always tell writers and poets, if you have an idea, write it because it will continue to bug you until you do. You don’t have to worry about forgetting it. It’s not going anywhere until you write it. Remember, the hardest part is starting. 

alice 5GER: Your poetry and short stories range from realism to the surreal. Do you approach these genres differently than your romance novels and does it reflect another side of Alice Wootson?

AW:  I don’t know why my short stories and my poetry are not only different from my novels, but they are different from each other. I think my personality is split three ways. I might read something or see something and an idea pops into my head and I have to get it down.

GER: You are firmly grounded in family and faith. How does this stability assist you in your writing?

AW:   I am blessed in many ways and I am aware of it. I have choices. I do not have drama in my life and I am thankful for it. I live comfortably in a nice house on a quiet street in a quiet, safe neighborhood and I have everything I need. I am aware that too many people aren’t as blessed as I am. I write because I want to, not because I have to. (Although, if I have an idea it will make me write it so it will leave me alone.)

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GER: Some poets shy away from public readings of their work. You have performed your poetry at many venues. Tell us how the interaction with an audience has assisted you in the development of your poetry?

AW: I am still a little uncomfortable reading in public, but I like to think people enjoy hearing my poetry and find much of it thought-provoking. I get positive feedback from those who hear it and I am grateful for that.

GER: Who are your favorite writers and poets?

AW:  A few of my favorite poets are old: Langston Hughes, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Gwendolyn Brooks, but I read whoever I have access to. I’m only going to name two authors: Beverly Jenkins and Catherine Coulter although I read many, many others. I’m on a romantic suspense kick right now and there’s a lot of authors out there.

GER: What is next for Alice Wootson?

AW: My next book released will probably be “Border Danger” because my editor already has it. “Border Danger” also features Border Partol agents stationed in Brownsville, but they are different agents facing different dangers. The two books aren’t part of a series, just wiith the same setting. I also have to get back to Nate, a secondary character from ‘Aloha Love” who tried to take over every scene he was in. He finally backed off when I promised him his own story. I started it and have to get back to it soon, but I’ve been working on submitting 4 other finished novels. I have to get back to Nate, though. I have a feeling he’s losing patience with me. I’m serious about this..

Alice Wootson at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Wootson/e/B001JRUHYM

You can read the poetry and fiction of Alice Wootson in The Fox Chase Review: http://www.foxchasereview.org/2008/22-AliceWootson.html http://www.foxchasereview.org/10WS/WootsonA.html http://www.foxchasereview.org/13WS/Wootson.html

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2nd-saturday-poets-1-21-12-guarnieri-reutter-readiing-017-g emil reutter lives and writes in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa. (USA) https://gereutter.wordpress.com/

The Poets Laureate Anthology

Hardcover: 762 pages

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition, edition (October 4, 2010)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0393061817

ISBN-13: 978-0393061819

Review by: g emil reutter

Released in 2010 this anthology covers seventy five years of American Laureates from Auslander to Merwin. The value of the anthology is not only a historic look back at who has served in the office but the development and growth of poetry in the United States. Of specific note are each Laureates view of the office, concise biographies and the selection of poems by editor Elizabeth Hun Schmidt.

The office has no specific job description. Auslander viewed the laureates position as, “… a task of building in our national library for the People of the United States a permanent sanctuary for the manuscripts and memorabilia of the poets of our tongue”.  He also launched the first recorded readings, “The Poet in a Democracy”, which succeeding laureates built upon the foundation he created. Frost attempted to use the position as a bully pulpit for the arts while in term. Pinsky and Ryan reached out across America to bring poetry to the people and inspire those who love the art.  William Carlos Williams and Robert Hayden survived political attacks although Williams never served in office.

Stanley Kunitz said, “ If we want to know what it felt like to be alive at any given moment in the long odyssey of the race, it is to poetry we must turn. The moment is dear to us, precisely because it is so fugitive, and it is somewhat of a paradox that poets should spend a lifetime hunting for the magic that will make the moment stay. Art is that chalice into which we pour the wine of transcendence. What is imagination but a reflection of our yearning to belong to eternity as well as to time.”

The Poets Laureate Anthology is a robust collection capturing precise moments in time reflecting not just the past but the future. The anthology is a must read for lovers of poetry and should be on the shelves of poets everywhere.

You can find The Poets Laureate Anthology in bookstores or on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Poets-Laureate-Anthology-Elizabeth-Schmidt/dp/0393061817

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g emil reutter is a Philadelphia Poet