Kirkus Books, Washington Post laud Wendy Wimmer’s ‘Entry Level’ | Green Bay Press-Gazette
Lit Wisconsin is a sporadic series of stories in which we highlight the work of writers of Wisconsin or those with ties to the state.
Today we’ll feature the work of Green Bay fiction writer Wendy Wimmer and her critically acclaimed short story collection, “Entry Level.”
About the author, Wendy Wimmer
Wimmer, of Green Bay, grew up creating worlds in her imagination, so in many ways she has always been a writer.
“I don’t know when I started thinking of myself as a writer,” she said. “But I do know that I always kept myself occupied playing with Fisher-Price Little People, concocting stories and dramas, or making dioramas out of cardboard boxes, elaborate set pieces in which my dramas could unfold.”
Wimmer does remember a significant step that led her to becoming a writer.
“When I was in fifth grade, I wrote a poem about the north wind and showed it to my teacher, and she asked where I had copied it from, and that was the first inkling that maybe I was good at this thing,” Wimmer said. “I also learned at a fairly early age that I could tell ghost stories that would make my friends start crying, so I also had to pivot fast and tell stories to make them forget whatever gruesome thing my brain came up with as well.”
She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and a master’s degree in English from UW-Milwaukee. Wimmer said the only time she left the state was to earn her doctorate in English literature from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
Her day job is as an editor in chief of two information technology publications. She is also the co-founder of UntitledTown Book and Author Festival in Green Bay and president of the board for The Art Garage in Green Bay.
About the book, ‘Entry Level’
“Entry Level” is a collection of 15 short stories that profile people who are “underpaid, overworked, underemployed and often under the gun by the universe or their job,” Wimmer said.
In Wimmer’s hands, these down-to-earth, hardworking characters sometimes find their worlds being warped by other-worldly forces. There is the group of people who work at a roller skating rink who find that the rink might be making them younger. There is a Quentin Tarantino-esque storyline about a Wisconsin casino worker who she said “is in trouble for dropping a stack of bingo cards, resulting in the disappearance or abduction of a country snowplow driver.”
The people and stories are “inspired by the people I know here in Wisconsin, people like my grandmother, for whom I dedicated the collection. She ran a private care home for elderly wards of the state, people who were unable to live independently,” Wimmer said. It wasn’t until after her grandmother’s death that Wimmer learned her grandmother wrote poetry alongside her caregiving.
The book is also inspired “by my own jobs – I put myself through my undergrad and masters programs by working in restaurants and a homeless shelter, as well as database programming and working at a tech support helpline,” Wimmers said.