Fact to Fiction

Little Rock journo Suzi Parker plots ahead
02_suziparker_webIn the seventh grade, Suzi Parker watched as Barbara Walters made someone cry during an interview. It changed Parker’s life. She turned to her parents and told them she knew what she wanted to do. From that moment forward, she had one goal: to become a journalist. And as anyone who knows her will tell you, it wouldn’t have been wise to bet against her.

“If you rely on a cushion, then you aren’t going to hustle, and so my whole mantra is, ‘Never look back,’” she explains.

It is an attitude that served her well when she decided to leave a steady newspaper gig to freelance full time. (In six months, she had her big break: a story on the then-yet-to-be Clinton Presidential Center in The Economist.) And it’s an attitude that forced Parker to finish Echo Ellis: Adventures of a Girl Reporter, her first self-published novel, out in paperback this month. Although she’d already written two nonfiction books, fiction presented much more of a challenge for the longtime journalist, even though the novel is set in her native Arkansas. But Parker finishes what she starts—even if, as in this case, it takes more than a decade. The sequel won’t take nearly as long, she says.

I left this [story] hanging, so there has to be another. I tricked myself. I set myself up. That’s what I do.”

 

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