by Leslie Jasper
About The Author
Leslie is a journeywoman electrician who works within Westchester County, New York, Fairfield County, Connecticut, and the five boroughs of New York City. Leslie has worked within the construction industry for the past 17 years. She is also an evening OSHA instructor/writing coach working part time for Empire College. Leslie recently graduated and received an MBA with honors at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York. She lives with her two sons, Tom and Johnny, in Lake Carmel, New York. Leslie enjoys spending quality time with her sons such as snowboarding and visiting haunted houses throughout New England. She also enjoys cruise ship traveling around the world, renovating her home, and spending time lifting weights in the gym.
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Welcome to BK Walker Books Etc. I'm so happy you have invited me into your home today to chat.
BK: Looking out the nearest window, describe the scene you see to our readers.
I’m sitting at my kitchen table looking out a big window. I see my big yard, loads of leaves tossed aimlessly about, a long brown stained fence, and my annoying neighbor’s house. The fog that is rolling in limits my view on this chilled November morning.
BK: Tell us about your office. Is it a mess like mine, or is everything in its place?
I have two extremes. It can be organized and spotless. Then it can be a mess with a pile of papers that need to be organized when I have some down time.
BK: What is a must-have, such as coffee or a favorite pen, that you need to write?
I like to have my big black comfortable chair so that I may kick up my feet and be relaxed when I write. I need to feel at ease so that the words may flow on my laptop. I have needed to stop a few times to get some coffee. If I have a good thought to write about, I will spend hours getting it typed out.
BK: Do you like to write in silence, or do you need music or background noise?
The ideal situation would be to sit in silence. However, I learned to adapt a long time ago. I just need to be in the zone and have a clear roadmap in my head of what to write about. Then all the noise around me fades to the background.
BK: Tell us a bit about your hero/heroine, and their development.
In my book, I played the heroine in a sense. I pushed through barriers and past people who said I should not be on the job. I somehow managed to defeat the odds and challenges that were stacked against me. I did many things normal people would not be willing to do. This was in an effort to chase the almighty dream of a great wage, pension, and benefits. I never gave up, never showed emotion, and always kept a smile on my face. Now that I write this out, I realize I was indeed the heroine in my book. I started out as a young woman with a dream and chased that 100%. By the time I finished, I won many men over and finished my apprenticeship. It was indeed a success story. Other women must know it is possible as well!
BK: As a writer myself, I'm always curious how other writers get through stumble blocks. When you find a story not flowing, or a character trying to fight you, how do you correct it?
I have actually gotten up from writing, put my sneakers on and hit the gym, and have returned with a fresh perspective. I have even skipped that thread of writing and went onto another topic in the past. Sometimes, writing about the second thread jars my memory and gives me some material to pick up on the prior thread.
BK: Using the letters of your first name as an acronym, describe your book...
Leadership, Endurance, Strength, Legacy, Independent, Entertaining
BK: How did your writing journey begin?
I started writing the book back in 2009. I know that I am a woman that belongs to 2% of the female construction workforce. No one really knows what it is like and people should hear the stories. I had no idea of the long process to get a book published. My long stint of unemployment, which was sparked by the recession, made me decide to re-group. I started writing the book but I had no means of getting it published so I stopped. I then shopped hundreds of literary agents and publishing houses for a book deal. I combed through hundreds of rejections. A lot of them did say that the book was interesting. However, I am unclear of how to market your book. The story is so unique and does not fit into a typical genre. I then discovered that I could self-publish and it would be available on Amazon. Armed with new information, I dived back into writing the book. The last few months of the summer were grueling working with my editor. Now that I have gone through the process, the second volume should come sooner. I have many more stories to tell to make Construction Tales: Volume II.
BK: Using the letters from the word, Summer, how would friends and family describe you?
Strong, Undefeated, Musclebound, Malleable, Electric, Real
BK: What is the craziest thing you've ever written about, whether it got published or not?
I wrote about how one of the people I was working with was pacing back and forth on a major, world renown, trading floor, speaking loudly, about all of the sexual encounters he wanted to have with this attractive employee. She was working on the floor and he was not shy about letting her, and anyone else, know of his vial intents and desires. It was rather embarrassing yet extremely funny to witness. There are many more stories similar to that in the book.
BK: Tell us one thing you've done in life, that readers would be most surprised to know.
I worked in a dirty trench with yellow boots spinning 85 lb. lengths of rigid pipe while pregnant in the summer. I did not want to be treated differently or lose my job. Therefore, I kept my pregnancy a secret until almost 6 months. It was the biggest endurance race of my life doing my job and not wanting to vomit. I will be writing about that experience in Construction Tales: Volume II.
BK: What can we expect from you in the future?
I plan to find time to write Construction Tales: Volume II this winter. I have already started brainstorming on what I want to write. There are more funny stories to tell. I will cover my newly minted journeywoman experience that I will pick up after the last story from Volume I. I talk about being pregnant in construction. I also talk about my stint working in jail and the interaction with inmates. I also intend to get a collection of stories from a group of old timers (from all construction trades) from the business who want to get their stories on paper.
About The Book
Genre: Self Improvement
Publisher: Self-Published at CreateSpace
Release Date: August 6, 2013
Strap on your work boots and put on your hard hat. Let me take you on a sheetrock dusted journey tosee what it is like to work within the construction industry. The work is hard, the environment is unforgiving, and the jobsite can be either extremely hot or cold. Almost 17 years ago, I stepped foot into a male-dominated work environment. Despite the lack of a warm embrace, I pushed my way into this world to learn the trade. I showed my many mentors that I wanted to be here and was ready to learn and work. After some grit and sweat, I worked my way out of my apprenticeship to become a journeywoman electrician. I earned a great working reputation within my trade and some aches and pains along the way. I work with guys from all backgrounds and all walks of life; and a few females that share my goal to be called journeywomen. Construction workers do not care that you do not feel up to the challenge that day. You must suck it up and get the job done! You will witness what it is like on a weekly basis to work within my industry. Every story in this book is real. The names of my co-workers have been changed to protect the innocent….or the guilty! I must warn you that this book is not for the faint of heart!
Chapter 3- The Big Job
Construction Tales: Volume I: A Woman’s Journey To Become An Electrician
I was sent to work on a brand new job coming out of the ground in Connecticut. This job would provide massive amounts of overtime and help my living situation tremendously. I learned real quickly that the pace on this job was very different from my last job. It was more of a laid back, easy-going work environment. I would have never guessed that I was about to meet a whole group of characters on this very large job.
I set foot on the largest construction job I had ever witnessed at this point in my apprenticeship. By this moment in time, the country was coming out of a recession and this massive deck job was going to catapult many trades’ people into a good financial position. My first day was in a giant room that was in the process of becoming the data center for a very large trading floor. As an apprentice, my first three hours of the day were all about getting coffee for a third of the crew of roughly 100 electricians. There were no elevators so two other apprentices and I had to walk up a minimum of six (up to thirteen) flights of stairs and provide coffee for the group of hungry and hung-over electricians each day.
The coffee trek was a half-mile walk to the deli each morning. I placed my order and sat there with the other apprentices until the order was ready. I had to make sure I had proper change for each person who ordered and double-checked all orders for accuracy. Coffee was the most important part of the day and screwing up the order could ruin the entire day. This was especially true when we went into overtime. If you got the coffee order wrong, plenty of these guys would react like spoiled children and have an actual temper tantrum. I started to get to know two fellow apprentices, Ryan and Todd, very well while getting our daily orders of coffee. I will never forget my friendship with these two fellow apprentices.
Ryan was a tall, dark-haired, and very hairy guy from a community normally filled with rich and upper-class folk. Ryan often reeked of body odor, cigarette smoke, or booze from the night before. He was and probably still is clearly a fish out of water in his community, yet he fit right in on a construction site. Ryan played in a band. He was very rough around the edges, with plenty of piercings all over his face. Ryan came in to work on a regular basis hung-over, often stinking as if a keg of beer had been splashed all over him.