"And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy. Your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions." Joel 2:28

Monday, January 29, 2018

~Author Interview~ Suzane L. Bricker


I am very happy to have author Suzane L. Bricker to stop by today for an interview.

Let's give her a warm welcome!

Tell Us about yourself? 

I have been a college instructor since I left journalism.   When I began teaching for the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) as an online instructor, I had my first concentrated interactions with military students.  Some of these students were deployed, some were stationed around the world, and some were in the U.S.  But, I began to notice that their attitudes toward learning sometimes appeared to differ from the more traditional students.  If fact, it was partially due to the fact that I heard one or more of my military students complain that they had been flunked by a professor when they could not complete their assignments due to an unexpected deployment, that I began to conceive the idea for my first book. 

When did you decide to become a writer?  

I tend to be somewhat of a “black-and-white” thinker, who has difficulty adjusting to the phrase: “Life is not fair.”  So, I struggle with injustices, if I see such actions either go unpunished, or the wrong people are considered the “victims.”  Being able to document the facts in as objective a manner as possible, and as a journalist, also being able to convey such information to a large readership, made me feel like somehow I was doing my part to make the world better. 

Why do you write?  Acting out my anger is not acceptable, so I learned that I could express my true feelings through my writing.  In many ways, I would have to say that I am actually more honest when I write, than when I interact with people on many levels.  My poetry also expresses similar emotions, and I think I use that vehicle to try and bring about justice as well.

Do you write full-time or part-time?   
Writing is expensive, in that it is a creative field, and therefore, very difficult to get respectable wages on a full-time basis.  I write books that will hopefully provide me with additional money, but I never count on my writing to pay my expenses.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?  
I do not have an ego when I write, and when I do, I recognize that is my problem.  The more open I am to feedback, the more able I am to learn what I am doing wrong.  And to me, the transmission of a successful message means that my reader can understand and easily interpret my central meaning, regardless of my physical presence.

What is the hardest thing about writing?  
The amount of time it takes to get an effective message across to my target audience.  Moreover, when I teach, I put myself in an authoritative position, and sometimes I wonder if that is where I belong.  Although I like to encourage the talents of my students, I also know that writing is a subjective art, and so, really your audience is the only one who can effectively judge the quality of your work.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?   
Four years into the project, I experienced a change of editors, and was forced to justify why my book was publishable again.  That required a lot more research, a revisal of my original proposal, and even the creation of a readership survey, to respond to the concerns of the new editor.  Not a very comfortable experience for me, but I survived, and as we know, my book is now published and available for sale on such venues as Amazon.

Any advice for new authors?  
Don’t overvalue yourself or your work.  Even the most famous writers will admit that they are only beginners.  You can never really become an expert in a creative field like writing, because each time you sit down to compose your thoughts, you face the exact same challenge of putting your words on paper.  Sometimes you are up to the task, and sometimes you are not.  But either way, you are the same person, and you have the tools to compose your message, so you just need to keep writing, editing, and receiving feedback, until you have produced the type of artistic end product you wanted. 

Suzane L. Bricker is an Associate Adjunct Online Professor at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC), and a peer editor for the Journal of Business and Technical Communication (JBTC).

An Instructor’s Guide to Teaching Military Students is a resource for online and on-ground educators in private and public learning institutions around the world. The content applies to faculty members in liberal arts and research-oriented institutions, and vocational trainers. Topics are related to the creation of lecture material and delivery of course content in computer and information science, engineering, and engineering technology, healthcare, business and finance, marketing communications and general education courses in the arts and social sciences. Suggestions on providing feedback that is sensitive to the unique culture and experiences of military students are provided as well. The last chapter includes the opinions of academic and military experts on what progress has been made in meeting the needs of this particular student population, as well as predictions about future changes that will facilitate the transition from service member to scholar. 

The term, “military learners” has been adapted for this text to include active-duty service members and their families, veterans, members of the U.S. National Guard, and reservists, as well as U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) contractors. Language used that can be easily understood and applied by the novice instructor, or the seasoned professional. This handbook also provides useful suggestions on helping students translate their military training and experience into more active classroom participation.

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