Jeannie Walker is an Award Winning Author, Award Winning Songwriter and freelance writer. She studied creative writing in New York and Connecticut and is a member of the International Association of Writers. She is an avid reader of mystery novels.
Walker's debut novel, the true crime story, "Fighting the Devil" is a ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Finalist in the True Crime genre.
Walker became a real-life Sherlock Holmes sleuth to help solve her ex-husband's murder.
IAN. Please tell us about Fighting the Devil.
JW. "Fighting the Devil" - A True Story of Consuming Passion, Deadly Poison, and Murder is a true crime story, depicted the way it really happened with factual accounts, information and recollections.
I wrote the book to speak for my ex-husband who no longer has a voice. He was poisoned to death and died a slow, painful death.
Book Description: In the midst of Texas ranch country, on a quiet and peaceful spring day in 1990, a 49-year-old millionaire rancher sat down to lunch with his wife and bookkeeper, as he often did. Less than half an hour later, he was deathly ill, with stomach pains, severe vomiting and intense intestinal distress. Three weeks later, he was dead from a mysterious illness. His wife seemed to show no emotion when she learned of his death. However, his bookkeeper became very nervous and upset upon hearing the news, and ran through the hospital corridor to the elevator.
The Texas millionaire rancher discovered his wife and bookkeeper had stolen thousands of dollars from him. After he demanded the money back, he started getting sick. While in the hospital, doctors were mystified as to how an otherwise healthy, energetic man could become so deathly ill. The dying man told everyone within earshot that his wife and bookkeeper were killing him. The man's wife said her husband was hallucinating from drugs the doctors were giving him. The millionaire rancher succumbed in the hospital while strapped down to his bed with restraints on his hands and feet and tubes in every orifice. After the rancher died, an anonymous caller tipped off the police. The widow was the sole beneficiary of the estate and a $350,000 life insurance policy. A week before the man's death, a teenager visited the rancher's home and became deathly ill after he drank juice that was in the rancher's refrigerator. Two years after the millionaire's death, a bottle of arsenic was found in a storage locker rented by a woman under an assumed name. The millionaire's ex-wife, the mother of his children, became a sleuth to help solve the murder. No one could have predicted the aftermath with its strange twists and unexpected results.
IAN. How long did it take to write Fighting the Devil?
JW. It took me almost 20 years to write the book.
IAN. What inspired you to write the book?
JW. The horrific murder of my ex-husband and father of my children.
IAN. Talk about the writing process.
JW. I mostly write 3 - 4 hours in the morning. However, I have gotten up in the middle of the night to write down thoughts that I feel are important.
IAN. Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?
JW. I used an outline.
IAN. How is your book different from others in your genre?
JW. My book is different from other true crime stories in that this is a story that I lived through and is very personal to me.
IAN. Is your book published in print, e-book or both?
JW. My book is available in paperback, hardcover and e-book.
IAN. What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
JW. It is my hope that anyone who reads my book will come to the realization that they are not alone in their struggles, no matter how big or small. And that they have the ability to overcome and the right to be their loved one's advocate and if necessary to become their own, real-life Sherlock Holmes.
IAN. Where can we go to buy Fighting the Devil?
JW. My book can be bought online at my website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders or other online book sites. It is not currently available in bookstores.
IAN. Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
JW. The murder case I wrote about is still an open murder case. There is another suspect that has not been brought to justice. I am hoping to have a sequel, but it depends on whether or not we get additional evidence. Additionally, I want fans of crime stories to realize that if their lives are ever touched by anything as horrific as a murder, "they have the ability and right to become their loved one's advocate, and to become their own, real-life Sherlock Holmes.
IAN. Any other links or info you'd like to share?
JW. The murder case I wrote about in my book is still an open murder case. I have an online petition asking the Governor of Texas and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to fully investigate the 1990 arsenic murder of Jerry Sternadel, a Texas millionaire, who was my ex-husband. I would appreciate it if people would go there and sign the petition. (The widow, who walked away with a million dollar estate and half a million dollars in life insurance is a suspect and has yet to be arrested or tried for her part in the murder conspiracy of Jerry Sternadel.) The link for the petition is: http://www.petitiononline.com/jwbs218/petition.html
Fighting the Devil: A True Story of Consuming Passion, Deadly Poison, and Murder
By Jeannie Walker
Page count: 336
Genre: True Crime
There was a time when the millionaire rancher, Jerry Sternadel, gave all the orders. No one dared to tell him times were a-changin'. When he discovered in May of 1990 that his wife, Lou Ann, and his bookkeeper, Debbie Baker, had stolen thousands of dollars from him, he demanded the money back by Memorial Day, threatening to have them arrested for embezzlement if they did not. He also told his wife he was going to divorce her.
A week before Memorial Day, Jerry ate lunch with Lou Ann and Debbie as he often did. Soon after consuming his taco salad, he became violently ill, with nausea, vomiting, and severe diarrhea. He was admitted to the hospital on three different occasions between May 23 and June 12.
Doctors were mystified as to what was causing this otherwise healthy forty-nine-year-old man to become so deathly ill. Jerry did not smoke or drink and he exercised daily. During his final stay in the hospital, toxicology tests showed 4,895 mcg of arsenic in his system. Even while he was a patient in the hospital, the arsenic levels had continued to climb!
Jerry told nurses and anyone within earshot that his wife and bookkeeper were killing him.
From "Fighting the Devil"