Chances are you’ve come across the name Jacqueline Cutler at some point. A syndicated journalist covering New York and New Jersey, when she’s not reviewing books she’s writing about National TV and Broadway. After learning that she began her career as a New York City crime reporter (like me), I reached out with a few questions to learn more about her crime days, her family, and her work today. Follow her on Twitter @TMSJackCut.
1. Please tell us a little bit about your own writing career. You started out as a crime reporter like myself. Where was your beat? How did that experience affect you? What brought you from there to where you are today?
I began by covering cops for Manhattan community weeklies – the Westsider, the Chelsea Clinton News and East Side Express. It was the spring of ‘79, and the city was dangerous, making it a great beat. I was paid 70-cents a column inch, and covered some horrific stories.
My last story on the beat was the murder of John Lennon. I was a hard news reporter for many years, covering town halls, a state capitol, different cities, politics and education. I worked in NYC, Chicago, Greenwich and Hartford, Conn., and Oakland, Calif., before returning East 15 years ago and making my home in New Jersey with my husband, two children, two rescue dogs and way too many books.
2. What are your journalistic goals?
I wish they were loftier, but they are usually about meeting the next deadline.
3. How do you find the time for creative writing pursuits in between your career and raising a family?
My own writing is forever pushed to the back burner. I have been swearing to myself that I will reserve an hour a day for fiction and rarely make it happen. I cover television on a national basis for a syndicate, and my main job is writing features stories for TV books. I also write for the syndicate’s website, and am our NYC theater critic, and write for the group’s magazines, in addition to the column about NJ writers. I am [also] the mom of two teenagers.
4. Does being a New Jersey author help or hurt those goals? In other words, does it matter where a writer lives today, career wise?
As a journalist, I think it depends what you are covering as to where you need to live. New Jersey is such a rich, diverse state that it’s a treasure trove for writers. And for fiction, I am guessing you could work most places.
5. What do you see as the challenges facing new authors today?
Getting paid, and making your voice hard above the din.
6. How does your column, New Jersey Authors, address those challenges?
I try very hard to find writers who are from, living in or were educated in New Jersey. As long as it is not a self-published book, I can consider it. I wish that I could give space to every book, but that is just not possible.