Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?
Jo Virgil: Mostly, I write in literary nonfiction (my Master’s Degree is in Journalism), but I’ve also recently found a passion for writing novels, short stories, and even poetry.
Scribe: What authors would you like to have coffee or a beer with and which beverage?
JV: That’s a tough question to have to choose just ONE! But, if I must, I’d probably choose Richard Russo or Bill Bryson. See? I can’t choose just one!
Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?
JV: How about just my Kindle??? That might be cheating. If I really had to have just one book, I think I would choose Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron.
Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?
JV: I have loved taking writing workshops that help me focus on helpful techniques to improve my writing, and I learn a lot from the Third Thursday meetings with various authors, writers, agents, etc., hearing them share tips and their own experiences in writing and getting published.
Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?
JV: Now that I have recently retired, I hope to make more time for my true passion – writing. And my goal is to have at least one novel, as well as some short stories, poems, and literary nonfiction essays published in the near future. I want to learn more about effective publishing tactics, and I am hoping to be able to join or create a helpful critique group.
Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?
JV: I’ve always loved Ben Rehder’s books (Blanco County Mystery Series and other mysteries), but the one by him that just grabbed me recently was The Driving Lesson. It’s not one of his typical funny and suspenseful mysteries – it’s quite different from most of his writing. This book is the story of a terminally ill grandfather going on a road trip with his grandson in order to find a legal option for assisted suicide. Much of the tale takes place with the two exploring amazing landscapes and sites in Texas.
Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!
JV: Let’s see … Well, one of my most recent “claims to fame” is that one of my short stories received Honorable Mention from the Texas Observer’s Short Story contest last fall. I’ve had several nonfiction pieces published in journals and books, and I wrote for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for a few years in the mid-1990s; I’d love to see about writing some feature stories for Texas magazines or newspapers. I truly enjoy taking and teaching writing workshops. I’m currently working on a re-write of a novel that I wrote a few years ago titled Limestone Buddha. Now that I am retired, I have time to edit it and work on getting it published. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!