Valerie McGee author of Insight who wrote a book about a blind woman that witnesses a murder. Ms. McGee talents go beyond her writing career former NYPD opens up and tells her story.

Please introduce yourself

I was born and raised in St. Albans (Queens), though I lived in four of the five boroughs in New York City, New York. I began writing because of Mr. James C. Morris who was the head of the English Department at JHS 59.

Almost my entire life I have been friends with or been related to persons with a wide variety of disabilities. The overwhelming majority of my protagonists have a disability which they refuse to let hinder their lives. My daughter amd I have learned to fingerspell. We are presently learning American Sign Language and Braille.

Upon returning from Desert Storm my outlook on life took a drastic turn. Being bombed repeatedly tends to alter one's view. After more than fifteen years in the military and twenty years as a Police Officer I finally retired. Finally, I am able to devote my free time to writing and re-writing stories, poems and screenplays. Many were previously penned during my teens. More important than making my dream a reality is my son and daughter.

My message to youth: "I originally wrote INSIGHT when I was 15 years old. If I have one thing I'd like to accomplish during my life it is to encourage young people to follow their dreams regardless of what everyone else says. So long as it is legal, moral and not going to harm anyone ...go for it ... just don't be afraid to listen to constructive criticism. I must've made a thousand changes while writing INSIGHT and still find something I'd could do different every time I read it again. The most anyone can do is their personal best. God gives each and every one of us something we're good at. Keep searching until you find your niche. Then, learn to improve upon it"

I am a Lifetime Member of the Veterans Of Foreign War (Proctor-Hopson Post #1896), a Lifetime Member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, as well as a member of the National Writers Union.

Usually, during the middle of the night, I am writing my next book.

What do you do for a living?

I am a writer. My pension allows me the freedom to do so.

Where did you go to school?

From Kindergarten and half of the 1st grade I attended a wonderful school (that was torn down that following summer - it was a wooden school house) I then went to Public School 147 through the 5th grade. I was supposed to be skipped and as fate would have it the city of NY had its first big teachers strike. By the time it was over my records were lost and they forced me to go to another school for the 6th grade . I hated that school so I won't mention it, except to give an A+ to my teacher William Blaes. I then attended Junior High School 59. The only thing great that resulted from going there were a few teachers that really cared . Most especially, Mr. James C Morris who I give the most credit that I became a writer. INSIGHT is dedicated to his memory. Against my will , I was then forced to go to Benjamin Cardozo High School . I have attended a couple of colleges, military schools, and of course, the NYC Police Academy. I hated it there too.

You have an extensive past history with the military and the police department can you tell us a little about that?

I was one of the first women to attend the OSUT (One Stop Unit Training - Basic and Military Police School) in a co-ed environment. I had a blast and learned for the first time to like myself. For the first time I wasn't somebody else's something. I was just me and what I accomplished, I accomplished. After ten years I was talked into becoming a Chaplain's Assistant by a remarkable Chaplain (Rev. Dr. Glyger Beach) I loved my job and only had issue with a few folks I was required to work with. As irony would have it, I was also one of the first dozen women assigned to the NYC Housing Police Department. I loved my job and hated the department. The same can be said about NYPD. Had I been able to go straight from my house to the place I was assigned I would have been a much happier person. They are both largely in my past so I do not discuss it much.

Given your background was it easy to write this novel?

INSIGHT had nothing to do with my backgroud as far as occupations go. I wrote it at age 15 when all I ever wanted was to become a Pediatrician, get married have children and write children's books. The only influence my jobs had were to make the related scenes more realistic than the nonsense most folks believe. I definitely know that the persons with disabilities that have always (and are still ) in my life inspire my work. My family's very rich history has tons to do with my works. The 8 book series I am working on was inspired by my son. I have done a great deal of research both with my family and the histories of Red-Black peoples.

How long did it take you to complete INSIGHT?

I can't remember how long it was when I first wrote it. Probably a few weeks at most. When I re-wrote it at 37 it took me about 7 months because I was working and raising a family.

Is this your first novel?

It was important to publish INSIGHT because it was the first full length story I ever wrote.

If so, will there be another?

I have about 36 books written over the years, not counting the Talisman Sagas (the series) of which I am now writing the first - The Grass Is Always Greener. Many of my readers have asked that I write a sequel to INSIGHT. The pre-quel will probably be my third book. And the outline for the sequel is completed.

Has your family been very supportive of your works?

I am guessing you mean blood ties. My Dad was probably my longest and most devoted fan of my writings. My Mom was in a sense was my first editor. Most of my youth I honestly thought she hated my work becasue of her ever ready red pen. I would come home with an A+ paper. By the time she was done with it, it would look like an F with red marks all over it. A chance meeting at a Military Police Ball with Paddy Chayevsky was the first realization that she actually did like my stories. She just wanted perfection. I had a few other fans throughout the years. Cousins, Aunts and Uncles. From my immediate family, not so much. My son was very supportive .The one presently motivating me is my eldest sister. Jerri is also the illustrator of INSIGHT and (hopefully) all of my books. She already did the cover for my next book. I have discovered, that often the family that was chosen (close friends) can be equally if not more supportive. I have few that I call family. But, those that I have are dear to me and a great source of support.

Do you ever get writer's block?

Yes. My biggest problem is getting distracted by new stories that pop into my head while I am trying to focus on one in particular.