Getting to Know… Winnie Griggs
© Laura E. Gawronski, 2002
Scheduled to be released in December, 2002, WHATEVER IT TAKES is Winnie Griggs current project. It is the story of a woman who needs something that will lend her an air respectability, at least temporarily, to offset the effects her unconventional household has on her reputation. Her solution - hire a reputable, handsome stranger to court her. Set in the fictional 1890s town of Pepper Cloud Missouri, the story has a determined heroine, a lethally charming hero, and a really fun set of quirky secondary characters.
The story is a historical romance. When asked why she decided to write historical romances, she said that, "historicals are what I love to read." Indeed, she found her "voice" in this type of subgenre. She also claims that the era reflects a slower pace and people tended to stay in a "small geographic area because it was more difficult to travel great distances." Aside from historicals, she also enjoys writing pre-school picture books and middle school fantasy books, though she hasn't found a market for any of these works yet.
Winnie finds writing to be very rewarding, despite the fact she has four (though nearly grown) children, a full-time job, and a "stuffy-sounding" degree in mathematics. She says that her household is hectic, but everyone helps out around the house and her children are independent for the most part.
When does she find time to write? After she has supper out of the way and everyone has scattered to do homework or watch TV, she can usually find a block of time. She also takes advantage of the occasions that she is away from home due to business travel. She says that "she usually spends one week a month in Columbus and my laptop goes with me on the plane and in the hotel." She jokingly admits that it is amazing how much work you can get done when there are no household chores "clamoring for your attention."
Winnie's full-time job is that of an IT (Information Technology) Professional for American Electric Power. She is based at one of their operating subsidiaries, SWEPCO, in Shreveport, LA, but her boss and work team are located in Columbus. Aside from Columbus, she does occasional travel to the other corporate offices in Dallas and Tulsa. She says she loves Louisiana where she grew up in a small town called Marrero, right across the river from New Orleans. She currently lives in the opposite corner of the state, in the small town of Plain Dealing, a community that bears a strong resemblance to the towns in her books. As for hobbies, she collects trinket boxes, works on her website, and she loves to read.