Wilson interviews the rich and famous after starting writing career at age 10

Connie (Corcoran) Wilson has been writing since she was 10 years old and today writes for a wide variety of audiences with many online-links. She recently interviewed a woman I would love to meet, Valerie Plame, author of “Fair Game” a story of how a top CIA agent was betrayed by her own government. She is a dedicated member of the Illinois affiliate and travels 7 hours to attend meetings in Chicago. Meet another one of our unique, unbelievable NFPW members.

Connie Wilson and her granddaughters Ava and Elise

Connie Wilson and her granddaughters Ava and Elise

Name: Legal name at birth: Constance Ann Corcoran. Name I use to write: Connie (Corcoran) Wilson. What people call me: Connie.  For my adult writing, I use Connie (Corcoran) Wilson, unless it’s an online site that wants things short, in which case it’s just “Connie Wilson.” For my children’s series, I trotted out Constance (Corcoran) Wilson to try to keep the small fry away from the scary stories.

City and State:  I live in East Moline, Illinois, in the Quad Cities, and I also have a condo in Chicago, Illinois. My Sylvan Learning Center and Prometric Testing Center were in Bettendorf, Iowa.

Affiliate and any leadership positions:  I drive 7 hours to get to meetings in Chicago. Therefore, I am not very helpful or useful in IWPA leadership positions—although I served 4 terms as President of my Teachers’ Union in Silvis (IL) and masterminded recognition as the bargaining agent for the district’s teachers  during a stressful, confrontational three-year period. So I do work hard in leadership positions, when I able to do so. [I’m doing good to make it to even half of the things I’d like to attend at IWPA in Chicago].

Years a member of NFPW:  Five.

Tell us a little about you.  I’ve been writing since age 10, when the local newspaper editor (Reeves Hall) thought it would be “cute” to send a 10-year-old out to interview people for the Independence (IA) Bulletin Journal & Conservative newspaper. Since then, I’ve interviewed many famous writers (Kurt Vonnegut, John Irving, William F. Nolan, Frederik Pohl, Anne Perry, Joe Hill, son of Stephen King) and many celebrities attending the Chicago Film Festival. (See on Pinterest).  I’ve written for 5 newspapers and 11 blogs. Most recent “famous” interview: Valerie Plame, the CIA agent outed by the Bush administration whose life was made into the 2010 movie “Fair Game” starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. I attended the University of Iowa on a Ferner/Hearst Journalism Scholarship, but ended up in English/Journalism and Education. [My mother was a kindergarten teacher for 40 years, so she influenced me in switching away from journalism to teaching, saying, “You can always write on the side.”] There are 150 teacher years in the immediate family; my first full-time writing job was as an educational writer for Performance Learning Systems, Inc., of Emerson, NJ, writing their book Training the Teacher As A Champion. (1989)  I was Film and Book Critic for the Quad City Times (Davenport, IA) for 15 years and that led to one of my 15 books entitled “It Came from the 70s: From The Godfather to Apocalypse Now.” I painstakingly assembled my 43-year-old reviews, with pictures and reviews from the Times and had them brought up to the 600 dots of today. It took 8 years (some I had to find on micro-fiche at the public library). The book has 50 representative 70’s films, 76 photos and interactive trivia and won several awards. I also interviewed local celebrities and wrote a humor column for the (Moline, IL) Dispatch. I’ve continued reviewing film for Yahoo and have covered the Chicago Film Festival for many years, as well as some others (Toronto). I also was invited to cover the 2008 DNC and RNC conventions for Yahoo inside and was Yahoo’s Contributer of the Year for politics following the 2008 election. I’ve had over a million “hits” (as Connie Wilson) on Yahoo. [My most recent piece predicts the winners of this year’s Oscar race]. I was also Silver Feather winner in 2012 in Chicago and Midwest Writing Center Writer of the Year for MWC and I write for ITW (International Thriller Writers) online blog. My degrees/educational hours are from Iowa, Berkeley, Western Illinois University, Northern Illinois University and the University of Chicago.  I taught at all 6 colleges in the Quad Cities, founded 3 businesses, have been married for 46 years, and have 2 children, born 20 years apart.

Any career advice you would give?  If you’re trying to write a novel, don’t give up your day job. Learn all the basics of writing, and finish what you start. Also, don’t do what I did, which was to set out to “write one of everything.” While I have almost closed in for the kill since 2003, it was NOT a good game plan, but I didn’t know it at the time. (Branding is everything, they tell me—-NOW!)

Which talent would you most like to have?  I’d like to be able to fly. I’d settle for a pilot’s license, but wings would be okay, too. Having your own plane, like John Travolta. Now THAT would be traveling in style!  Other than that unlikely goal, I’d like to be able to speak fluent Spanish, and I’d like to have more close, close friends I’d feel comfortable sharing my innermost thoughts with, like my college roommate and closest friend of 50 years. Old friends are hard to replace, but I’m willing to run in some new ones, as long as they like to talk about interesting things and don’t focus on what I call “the floor wax mentality.” (I once got stuck in a group of wives whose entire conversation for 2 hours focused on the best floor wax.)

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?  I’d live in a climate like Cancun, (Mexico) during the 3 horrible months of Midwestern winter and then spend the nice weather in Chicago, writing, with side trips to interesting places. We spent a month last winter in Australia and New Zealand, where I had a book signing at the Galaxy Bookstore on York Street. We were in Cabo San Lucas for 2 weeks this year (Jan. 3-17).   I’d like to visit Greenland and Iceland and cruise Alaska and the Mediterranean and take a train trip across Canada, but Chicago is great as home base—if it’s not winter-time. It’s absolutely one of the most beautiful cities in the world (and I attended school at Berkeley for a bit, so it’s a close call there.)

What book are you reading?  The last 2 books I completed were “Dr. Sleep” (Stephen King) and “The Cuckoo’s Calling” (J.K Rawlings) in Cabo. I also read William F. Nolan’s book on 60 years of friendship with Ray Bradbury to review it, and, prior to that, I read Valerie Plame’s “Blowback” to interview her. I am going to (finally) be reading “Gone Girl,” “The Husband’s Secret” (but my husband already told me the secret, so maybe not), “The Goldbug” and Gary Braunbeck’s new short story collection “Rose of Sharon” to review it for him.  He’s a genre writer (mostly horror writing) who doesn’t get the respect he deserves. You can read reviews of the two books I finished in Cabo on my blog, http://www.WeeklyWilson.com.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?  I play 4 musical instruments—a couple of them well. They might also be surprised to hear that son Scott is 46 and daughter Stacey is 26. They probably (also) don’t know that I founded Sylvan Learning Center #3301 and Prometric Testing Center #3301 and, now, Quad Cities’ Learning, Inc., dba Quad Cities’ Press. Some would know I have 15 books up on Amazon (and a few out of print) by 7 different publishers; some would not. Maybe they’d find it interesting to hear of the alphabet soup of organizations I’ve joined: IWPA, AWP, MWA, MWC, HWA, ITW, IEA/NEA, Delta Kappa Gamma. (I’d tell you what all those letters stand for, but then I’d have to kill you.) My sense of humor might surprise some, but I’m not sure it would be everyone’s cup of tea, since humor is very subjective. (I have 2 books of humor, “Laughing through Life” and “Both Sides Now.”) Most would perhaps be surprised to learn that I am very genuine. I am not a phoney. If I say I will do something, I will do it. If I make you a promise, I will try to keep it. And I promise to never discuss floor wax with any of you. Another thing: I hate early mornings and am a streak writer who writes through the night and thinks anything before 10 a.m. is early.

Connie Wilson and her husband

Connie Wilson and her husband

I do want to share this bit: I had to mail my 2013 books for the NFPW competition off on Tuesday, Jan. 28th. As I came out of the post office, on my way to a movie, I fell flat on my face. I have no idea why. It has only happened to me about 4 times in my life. It hurt, naturally (mostly my pride) and I quickly looked around to see if anyone had seen me fall. Nobody had, so I scrambled to my bruised knees, got my cell phone out from under a nearby car (!) and gathered the contents of my purse. On Thursday (Jan.30th), I went to the hospital for a routine mammogram. What was the first question I had to fill out, in writing? “Have you fallen down any time in the past 6 months.” For a MAMMOGRAM! I had to answer yes, and they made me wear a yellow armband from then on.  I asked, “Why do you ask about falling down for a mammogram?” The nurse said, “We’ve had a rash of patients falling down in the hospital, so you’ll be asked to take a wheelchair to the front door.” The armbands made me look like a Holocaust victim, and I now feel really ancient. The eye exam the next day, they conducted a hearing test. Go figure. This is what I mean about humor. I’m sure this paragraph has only amused me, but I felt I had to share. Feel free to ignore that and the floor wax comments. (And no offense to anyone re the armband comment. Or the floor wax.)

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?  I welcome the opportunity to meet and interact with new, interesting, accomplished people in IWPA and NFPW (and anywhere else) who are interested in the world around them and in present-day happenings. This is a truly educated, interesting group of women, with lots to offer, and I am a “newbie” in Chicago, don’t forget, so I know very few people. The accomplishments and depth and breadth of abilities of IWPA/NFPW members is quite amazing.  I hope I get the opportunity to meet many more of you from across the country. [I’ll be the unimportant one over in the corner not talking about floor wax. Maybe I’ll be intimidated into silence by the accomplishments of those of you around me, or maybe I’ll be joking about floor wax or actively in the process of falling down.]

Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.  Link to Connie Corcoran Wilson books on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Connie%20Corcoran%20Wilson,

Sign up for my feeds at Yahoo here:  https://contributor.yahoo.com/account/  I am listed as Connie Wilson there.

My own blog is http://www.WeeklyWilson.com and you can sign up for a feed of that, if you are interested in articles like, “Don’t Tase Me, Bro’!” and Oscar predictions. On Twitter,

I am Connie Wilson Author (Connie_C_Wilson) but I think I have a coupe of old accounts that I don’t know how to eliminate. I also have a Pinterest board and a YouTube account and a Facebook account as Connie Corcoran Wilson.

Book blogs: http://www.ItCameFromTheSeventies.com, http://www.RedIsforRage.com, http://www.TheColorOfEvil.com, http://www.HellfireAndDamnationTheBook.com, http://www.TheXmasCats.com, http://www.GhostlyTalesofRoute66.com, http://www.KhakiEqualsKiller.com (under constructi

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