Interview with Linda Foulkes

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Linda Foulkes is the author of Learn Microsoft Office 2021; we got the chance to sit down with her and find out more about her experience of writing with Packt.

Q: What are your specialist tech areas?
Linda: Always had a passion for eLearning, Microsoft Office (all versions and full suite), face to face / remote training, as well as any new software technologies and the learning and development of others.

Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?
Linda: I was approached by Packt to write the first edition book, Learn Microsoft Office 2019 and again for this book, the second edition. Have self published books prior and eLearning pathways for Skillsoft, and with training office for many years I enjoy imparting content to others.

Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?
Linda: With prior knowledge and experience of the software (over 25 years experience) and training the software, my research was mainly to make sure I had covered all that was current at the time of writing the book and to research other books on the market.

Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?
Linda: Only challenge I found writing the second edition book was working full time and writing at the same time. Found it quite challenging towards the end with writing and reviewing deadlines, but still engaging and giving of my best to both my day role and writing of the book to publication in the evenings and weekends.

Q: What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?
Linda: As technology is enhanced every couple of weeks, it is important to keep up to date if you are moving to the next version of the software. Users tend to only utilize an small percentage of the technology they have access to, so it is important to work through the books to learn how to do things more efficiently. Using the first and second editions of our books instills the most important foundation skills, as well as feature enhancements at the time of writing.

Q: Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?
Linda: I hope that my passion for the technology lifts through every page and the writing style is easily digestible by the end-user. Explanations are very important as well as the ability to give the reader extra so that they do not stumble when applying the steps to their own scenario using the technology. Although we are constrained by page count, it is always a goal of mine to satisfy the reader.

Q: What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away with from the book?
Linda: To be knowledgeable about the new technology and what it has to offer at the time of writing. To take the end-user on a step by step journey to learn Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams skills to communicate and collaborate. Also to have the reinforcement of the first edition book to provide the basics should they need to refer to it.

Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?
Linda: I do not have a blog at present but busy revamping a social media page – will provide details when this is ready for interaction.

Q. Can you share any blogs, websites and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?
Linda: As technology moves extremely quickly with new features being released every couple of weeks, I tend to research using YouTube mostly. I do recommend the Microsoft Learn community and to access their learning paths and certification routes.

Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?
Linda:
The author journey is both exciting and intense, and the support from Packt colleagues is absolutely amazing. I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone who would like to take the leap. Although a long process it is thoroughly rewarding once you reach the final due date!

Q. Do you belong to any tech community groups?
Linda:
I belong to the elearning industry group, as well as Microsoft Learn, and a few key individuals from my trip to Microsoft Redmond – it depends on what I am focussing on at the time, but tend to follow individuals on social media (YouTube, Microsoft, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, TikTok, Instagram).

Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?
Linda:
As mentioned before, I browse mostly to keep up to date and visit Microsoft Insiders to see when features will be released. It is important to be a lifelong learner when it comes to tech and to try out new and existing features for yourself, then support this with quick browse on the net or with communities you follow, rather than to assume you know all the feature has to offer.

Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?
Linda:
Before you accept the writing timeline with the publisher, take into consideration any events you need to attend, holidays, and definitely plan the agreed dates into your personal calendar. This way you are committed and focussed (set reminders). Although the gaps may look far apart, they do creep up when you are busy. You need to be very disciplined especially when working full time as well as taking on an author role.

Q. What is that one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?
Linda:
Make sure you stick to the deadlines you accepted! It can really be stressful if you don’t – write a few pages every couple of days. This helps to keep the content fresh and to come up with engaging content. Another tip would be to communicate regularly with your Packt team!

You can find Linda‘s book on Amazon by following this link : Please click here

Learn Microsoft Office 2021 – Available on Amazon