VAH: Jerad, What got you to the point where you knew you were a writer?
JWA: I’m not sure I ever had an “awaking” of sorts. I’ve always written in one capacity or another. Up until the past decade I’ve always treated it like an appendage.
VAH: Best advice for emerging writers?
JWA: Write. Every. Day.
Ready. Good. Works.
There is no other way.
VAH: What are your thoughts on the Master of Fine Arts in writing?
JWA: I do not have an MFA. While I can’t speak to the networking/work shopping side of an MFA program, and at the risk of criticizing something I don’t fully understand, I’m wondering if perhaps one could simply read and write on their own and get a good grip on the craft without laying out the cash for something that will more likely not guarantee a return, given the marketplace. That isn’t a slam on MFA programs specifically, but I suspect a lot of the work can be done off campus.
VAH: Jerad, I have a MFA and I’d agree with you. There’s something to be said about a couple dedicated years with a small cohort and I think you are right about doing some dedicated reading, writing and I’ll add, having a good writing group or community. Do you have a favorite conference or writing retreat or seminar.
JWA: Admittedly, I have not attended any writing conferences, retreats, or seminars. This is something I need to rectify.
VAH: Writers tend to also be readers – What books or authors keep you up at night because you don’t want to put them down?
JWA: Without a doubt, Cormac McCarthy.
VAH: That’s some good reading. Jerad, thanks for joining us here at Three by Five. The final installment of an interview with Jerad Alexander will publish here on the 30th.
Jerad W. Alexander is a writer and the associate editor of the upcoming literary journal The Blue Falcon Review, an annual collection of military fiction. His novella, The Life of Ling Ling, was a finalist in the 2012 Serena McDonald Kennedy Prize for Fiction. His essay “On Our Next Stop in Modern War” was a finalist is the Narrative Magazine Spring 2013 Contest. From 1998 to 2006 he served as a U.S. Marine infantryman and combat correspondent, deploying to the Mediterranean, the Horn of Africa, and Iraq. Since leaving the U.S. Marines he has earned a BA in English Literature from American Military University and is pursuing a Masters of Professional Studies in Strategic Public Relations at The George Washington University. He currently lives in Atlanta, Ga. His novella, The Life of Ling Ling, A Novella about Iraq, is available on Amazon.com. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook.
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