Rebecca Walker Interview


Rebecca Walker, author, feminist, writing coach. 
Photography of Rebecca Walker by Amanda Marsalis.

Rebecca is inspirational. She is truly among the Who's Who on any important lists about feminism, women's issues, writing, the arts and politics.

She is a wonderful writer, speaker, feminist, and contemporary woman. I had the pleasure of meeting her in 2009, when I attended one of her writing workshops for memoirists. Well, I don't write memoirs (not yet), I write romance fiction, but the experience and what I learned in a jam-packed week of reading, writing, marketing sessions, and idea exchanging, changed my writing life. So, I am honored to have her as a guest blogger, and she's going to hang around for a day or two - just to talk. So enough of my ramblings, here goes...

Let's get to the facts right up front. What's your full name, website, your latest release, the WIP that is keeping you up at night, your agent, your editor, how long have you been writing…your successes? Yes, I want the mini bio right here, right now!

Rebecca said: Rebecca Walker here, and there are a plethora of ways to find me. Check my site at www.rebeccawalker.com, my FB fan page, Twitter feed @rebeccawalker, and of course LinkedIn for all you business-minded folks. There's more, but I will leave it at that.

My new book coming in February 2012 is called Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness. It's a look at the different elements that make up what we think of when we see Obama step out of the limo with dark glasses, or strut across the White House lawn. What is that ineffable quality of cool? Reserve, audacity, swagger, what? And where did it come from.

This will be my sixth book, my fourth collection. My other two are straight-ahead literary memoirs, one on growing up mixed race in the seventies and eighties called Black White and Jewish and another about my decision after much ambivalence to have a child, called Baby Lovewhich was very controversial!

I am fortunate that my books have done well, and are taught all over the world. Today I signed  a permission for my introduction from my book on masculinity, What Makes a Man, to be included in 350,000 textbooks! One of my manuscript clients just sold her book to a major publisher, and I'm thrilled to be teaching another master class for writers in December in Maui at one of the most gorgeous resort properties in the world: the Grand Wailea. AND I get to come home and kiss the most beautiful six-year old you ever did see. I count my blessings.

Q.  What's the best-kept secret about your writing process?

Rebecca said: I hate to actually write. I like to write the entire book in my head before sitting down at the computer so the sitting down isn't so brutal and lonely and terrifying. I also find sitting and "trying to find you story" extremely inefficient. Time management people!

Q.  What character/theme have you written or are writing about that keeps you up at night - just one, please:)?

Rebecca said: Lost love. Fidelity. The vast ocean between continents. The need for human evolution.

Q. What recording artist/television or pop culture fictional character has had the greatest influence on your writing style and why?

Rebecca said: Gosh, so many! I feel like a big sponge. I'm constantly inhaling high art and pop art and mashing it all together in that thing called my creative brain. Maybe Miles Davis because I play Kind of Blue on repeat for hours? Maybe Michael Jackson because he's Michael Jackson and my son worships him. Maybe Michael from the Office because his self-deprecation makes me laugh. Don Draper because his character is so beautifully written with so much complexity. Nikki from Big Love because she's at once completely lovable and repugnant.

Q. What book/author is the current "hot read" on your bookshelf?

Rebecca said: I'm reading the Steve Jobs book right now, like everyone else. Also a gorgeous memoir/biography of a woman who started her creative career at 72: The Paper Garden by Molly PeacockVery inspiring.

Q. What's your favorite drink on a cool October evening - and who (fictional or not, friend or family, celebrity or historic figure) would be sitting at your side enjoying that drink with you?

Rebecca said: Steaming hot chai with almond milk and agave with my husband, for sure. I'd like to have tea with Joni Mitchell. Coffee with Joan Didion.

Q. Who's your favorite author, poet, lyricist and what would you ask them if you had the chance (or when you had the chance)?

Rebecca said: I would definitely ask James Baldwin if it was all worth it. The exile, the torment, the struggle, the coming out, the bearing of the torch. All of it. Was it worth it, in the end?

Q. Last question…what question have you been dying to answer but no one has ever asked?

Rebecca said: People have asked me so many questions, I feel I've covered everything over the years. Let's see. I think the question would be the same: Is it worth it? The struggle to write, to publish, to share, to risk? Is it worth it? What have you lost and what you have gained. The answer to both questions is...everything.

Thank you Rebecca!

Check out her workshop December 19-26. I'll be there!

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