Often the public face of SEPTA, Jerri Williams will step down as the organization’s director of media relations today. It’s a post that she’s held since 2008.
Before that, Williams spent 26 years with the FBI as a special agent investigating fraud and, later, as a spokeswoman, something that she said was as much of a risk as anything else.
“I have no relatives in law enforcement, so doing that is a risk,” Williams said. “I have a whole life of taking risks, even this …”
What is “this,” you may ask. Williams is starting a new career as a crime novelist. Her book, “Pay to Play,” is being shopped around for publishing, and she’s already penning a second story, all while looking for a book deal.
“Putting it out there — why I’m doing it — knowing that I don’t have a book deal, that’s risky too,” she said. “You know, six months from now, people can ask, ‘When is the book coming out,’ and I still don’t have a book deal.
“I have met so many people, now that I’m out in the writers community, who have agents but have never sold a book,” she added, saying that she’s following a dream.
Williams said her experience as a special agent rolls nicely into the writing she enjoys. And she’s always been fascinated by fraud, greed, and corruption.
“One of my very first assignments when I was with the FBI was investigating fraud,” she said. She said that every con artist thinks that he or she is the smartest person in the room and that calculating nature of thieves is what drives her to write.
“I came to love it. It’s really different than other law enforcement-type positions. You normally have a person who has committed a crime, but it’s usually a crime of passion — like murder or a robbery. This is a calculated crime where someone is scheming and trying to figure out how to get somebody’s money — how to take something of value — and it just fascinates me that a person could intentionally do that type of thing.”
For more on Jerri Williams and her new adventure as a novelist, Press the play button at the top of the page.