Local Celebrity Profiles
- 1 Record Found.
- (View All)
Jerry Bledsoe | New York Times Best Selling Author
Jerry Bledsoe | New York Times Best Selling Author
Q: How did you become a writer, and was it something you always wanted to do?
Actually, I wanted to go to art school and I got talked into going into the Army because I was told they'd help pay for my art school and that it could be a good career path. As it turns out, the schooling I was looking into didn't really have the great art department I was hoping for. In 1960 I started working at the Post Newspaper on projects with the special forces near Fort Bragg. Then I finally got transferred to the art department of the paper when I was sent to Okinawa, Japan. I mostly worked on propaganda pieces and psychological warfare during the Vietnam War. I did headshots and drawings or illustrations, then I started doing posters of the generals. When I went to Tokyo I got to write for some propaganda magazines and I got to also write about topics I found interesting. That's when I decided I really wanted to write for a living.Q: How did your career progress from there?As soon as President Kennedy was killed I had an overwhelming desire to go to Dallas and to write about the funeral, even though I had no outlet for my story. I sat on the grass where Oswald had just been and I had an innate need to become a reporter. When I went back home to North Carolina I met a WWII veteran that related to me from the Kannapolis Independent where I worked for a while. I also worked for the Charlotte Observer. In time I was a freelance editor and I worked in High Point for a paper and as a columnist in Greensboro. I wrote about subjects from the Civil Rights Movement to the KKK and black Muslims in Alabama and so on. I also wrote for Esquire Magazine. I traveled all over for stories from the jungles of South America to small towns in the U.S.Q: You wrote a book called 'Bitter Blood' that was the New York Tims Best Sellers List for many weeks, which is exceptional. How did that come about?I worked for the paper's crime list in Greensboro. In 1985 I did a big series of stories on this strange crime for eight days straight and later I turned it into a book, which was also made into a made-for-TV movie. That book is still a great seller which I'm happy about. Three of my other stories have also been adapted to film.Q: What is your favorite subject to write about?I like writing about ordinary folks I've met in the Carolinas. I enjoy getting to know people and getting them to open up to me. Sometimes it's a real challenge but I love it. It's exciting! I also like writing humor.Q: How many books have you written, and what was your first book?I've written more than 20 books, but I've edited and helped many people get their books done, too. The first book I wrote was 'The World's Number One, Flat-out, All-Time Great Stock Car Racing,' in 1975.Q: How many hours a day do you write, and do you have any favorite authors of your own?It depends on the day, but I typically write for many hours at a time once I get started. As far as authors I admire, there are so many! There never seems to be enough hours in the day to write or read all of the books I'm interested in. I'm a big Mark Twain fan. I like John Steinbeck, Truman Capote, Tom Wolfe, Thomas Wolfe, Reynolds Price...really there's just too many to think of. North Carolina is just crawling with great writers, too. It's a real hub of creativity here.Q: Do you have any favorite people that you have interviewed while you were a reporter or any interviews that stand out in particular?I wrote for The Plantation Supper Club in Greensboro and I interviewed so many people. It was always exciting because I never knew who I'd meet next, so I was never bored. I have some funny stories about Jerry Lee Lewis, and I got to know John Glenn really well, who was one of the original "Mercury Seven" astronauts. One story you may enjoy was when I was supposed to interview the band The Monkees, but they were too busy to talk to me. So I ended up talking to the guy that was the opening act for them who most people had never heard of yet. As it turned out, it was Jimi Hendrix! At first, he seemed disinterested in talking to me too, but when I brought up the fact I was also in the Army, I got his attention. Once I got him to laugh I knew we could have a good interview. We began talking, but he had to go on stage to begin his performance. He sang his heart out and put on a show like no one had ever seen before in Greensboro and at the end of the show, he smashed his guitar into a hundred pieces. It was a show stopper. When he walked off the stage the first thing he said to me was "I'd like to see those little Monkees top that!" He had on a pair of velvet pants and they were all ripped at the knees and I asked him if that had ever happened before and he said, "every damn time!" I'd have to say that one stands out, but I have dozens of stories...I couldn't pick a favorite.Q: Do you have any hobbies other than writing?I still love art. I love collecting art, and I love North Carolina pottery so I collect that, too. I love my rescue dogs and cats, and of course, I love reading.Q: What's your favorite thing about Randolph County?I've lived in this same house with my wife for 45 years. My wife and I always wanted stability for our son, Eric, and once we got here in Randolph County we knew it would be home. We live in a beautiful spot, and I've always known this is the place where I'm supposed to be. I've never looked back, I love it here. There's a lot of creative energy here and it's beautiful and close to everything we need. What more could I ask for?