Recently I interviewed Joan Hetzler who produces and hosts the Writers Show on WAWL in Chattanooga, TN. I was on Joan's show a couple of years ago discussing Netwest, and she invited me to come back and talk about my poetry book, Now Might AsWell Be Then, but we had to cancel due to the rock slide between Murphy NC and Cleveland TN. I hope I can go later because I found Joan extremely professional and I enjoyed the entire experience. The following is my interview with Joan.
Glenda: I know you host the Writers Show on WAWL in Chattanooga. You are a writer, yourself. Why did you decide to pursue a radio show for writers? What was your purpose?
Joan: There are a lot of programs that offer published and well know writers the chance to promote their books. However, I didn't know of one that promoted the "craft" of writing and also gave unpublished authors that chance to air their work. The purpose of the show is to encourge and promote writing as well as readers.
Glenda: How do you plan your shows as to what writers, what kind of writing and how many writers you have on one show?
Joan: I try to have a variety of topics. For example, I've had playwrights with actors read their works, a tv producer talk about writing for broadcast news and air a sample story, poets, and storytellers. Right now we are limited in the number of guests but in a few months, WAWL is moving to a new studio where I hope to have several authors discuss writing in a roundtable set up.
Glenda: You tape your show yourself. You edit the show and, it seems, you do everything for the show including the interviews. How did you learn all this and how does this show help your own writing?
Joan: Originally, I had a producer who did all that. Due to staff cutbacks and tight deadlines, I found it helpful for me to learn to record and edit. If the show helps my writing, it's to keep my work condensed and just the essentials because both readers and listeners have limited time. Today, there are so many other forms of entertainment that pulls for a reader or listener's attention, that I'm aware the content needs to be interesting and fast paced.
Glenda: Thank you so much, Joan. I feel sure our readers will enjoy learning about you and your show.
Joan Hetzler was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and attended Chattanooga High School and The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga before moving to Atlanta to work for several years as a secretary. In her late twenties, she completed her undergraduate degree at Agnes Scott College and Emory University with a major in Philosophy. While working as a technical writer documenting computer software, she attended Georgia State University to compete a masters degree in applied philosophy with a focus on artificial intelligence.
Just before completing her M.A. degree, she developed severe allergies to chemicals in her work environment and moved back to Northwest Georgia. She lived in a log cabin on her mother's farm where she raised chickens, did organic farming, and took an active role in setting up an environmental group and establishing a community wide recycling program.
From North Georgia, she moved to St. Simons Island, where she lived for ten years until returning to Chattanooga. While on St. Simons, she wrote and published poetry chapbooks, established a poetry writing group, wrote newspaper articles, and a memoir about many of her experiences. Her poetry has also been published in the Savannah Literary Journal. Her writing has won awards in humor, nonfiction, playwriting and mystery at the Southeastern Writers Conference.
Since returning to Chattanooga, Ms. Hetzler has served on the Board of Directors of the Chattanooga Writers Guild. Her drama skits have been peformed in a local church. Selections from her memoir have been published at Southernscribe.com and other publications. She hosts The Writers Show, a local radio progam for writers which airs the first Sunday of each month at 1 pm. To find out more about the program, visit http://sites.google.com/site/thewritersshow/