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An Interview with Woodrow Wilkins, Author of Delta Blue

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Woodrow Wilkins is a native of Greenville, Mississippi. After serving in the U.S. Navy for nine years, he went to work as a reporter for his hometown newspaper. He spent several years as a copy editor, columnist, editorial writer, and page designer before transitioning to television. He’s been a reporter, anchor, assignment editor, producer, and, for a brief period, weather person. Woodrow enjoys writing, has one self-published novel that’s being updated, and several works in progress. He enjoys singing karaoke, dabbling in guitar (too much time writing to actually learn how to play), community theater, and making friends. Woodrow is married and has three adult children and one grandchild.

You can buy Delta Blue here.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

An interest in storytelling. I have a vivid imagination but didn’t really have a vessel for expression. Then, I read George Lucas’ novelization of Star Wars (the 1977 film) and the way the book enabled me to understand certain things I didn’t quite get in the film made me realize writing was the way to go.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I had several assignments during my Navy years and a few temp jobs before getting hired by the newspaper. I swear, Navy duty makes one a jack-of-all-trades, master of few. The best job, though, was at a marina on the base in Jacksonville, Florida. Renting boats and camping/fishing gear and basically just lazing away for the nine months I was there. I was supposedly an electrician, but ask anyone who served with me—I was terrible.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

Well, the “Delta” part was easy because I live in a region known as the Mississippi Delta. “Blue” is kind of a double entendre between the region’s blues culture, and “blue” as in police. My MC is a police detective. Think about it. We’ve had “Hill Street Blues,” “NYPD Blue,” and “Blue Bloods.” Now the working title before I got close to publication was “Red Creek,” named for the town where the murder takes place. But I figured that wouldn’t connect with anyone.

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

Say, that’s two questions. Loved it.

Euphoric. After a couple of decades of fits and starts, I had finally finished something.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

“Tear the Roof off the Sucker” or “Dr. Funkenstein” by Parliament. People sometimes refer to the former as “We Want the Funk” because that’s what they sing in the chorus.

“Mississippi Flatland Blues” by Eden Brent. She’s actually in the story, though I don’t use her last name.

“Big Boss Man.” It was written by a Delta blues artist, Jimmy Reed, but has been performed by just about every local band that plays the blues.

Probably some 1970s and 80s pop and rock. Definitely some 1960s and maybe early 70s Motown because Brietta, the MC’s girlfriend, was force-fed that sound as a child. Oh, and several by the Temptations because they’re in a scene. “My Girl” for certain, and probably “I Can’t Get Next to You.”

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

Jim Crow segregation ended in the 1960s, but choices people have made since then continue to cause black Americans and white Americans to be separated. So I would hope people come away with greater awareness of how we sometimes are our own worst enemy.

Perfect reader? Anyone who wants to be taken on a ride that might make them angry at times but happy in that individuals can make progress even if society at large doesn’t follow.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

Being able to say “I did that.”

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

Innocent Souls, which begins almost immediately after the events of Delta Blue.

Eklund’s Quest, a science fiction story about a call center worker who gets sent on a secret assignment with the promise of a huge payoff, only to return to Earth and find out he’s dead. Now he has to figure out what happened and try to get his life back. Oh, and the money.

An as-yet-untitled adventure. A shady casino operation builds what is purported to be an interactive history museum but really is a time portal. Characters *cough* uh, er, people from history appear in the present day and people from the present get caught in the past. The MC has to wade through all this to find where (when?) his girlfriend is and bring her back. And this is intended as a screenplay: The Driver. A black limo driver is given the wrong instructions and is sent to a rural California airport in an aging bus. He finds out his pickup is not a businessman but a group of teenage white girls, from a private school no less, and their chaperone. What could possibly go wrong?

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