From the clean streets of the San Fernando Valley to the dark backalleys of The Tenderloin, Jeri Estes has seen it all. Thankfully, she has lived to tell the tale with her debut novel Stilettos and Steel.
At the age of 16 Jeri was facing a life of pencil skirts and halterneck dresses. She found herself in a crisis. There was no way she could maintain this lifestyle and stay true to herself, stay true to who she really was: A gay woman. With the pressures of societal normalcy weighing down on her, Jeri’s only option was to run away. Her ordinary life and Catholic values were no predictor of the crime-ridden lifestyle that was to be her future.
The roads of fate lead this newfound runaway to San Francisco’s infamous red light district - The Tenderloin. There she discovered a hidden world of lesbian call girls and gangsters. Jeri felt at home on the dangerous streets of the Tenderloin. She was free to dress as she pleased and walk hand-in-hand with whomever she wished. However, life in the TL was by no means a walk in the park. Jeri and her fellow travelers were forced to band together as they navigated this power and sex-fuelled world.
Stilettos and Steel, her debut novel, is a portrayal of Jeri’s life in the Tenderloin. It is meant to shed light on the historical truth of this notorious area and to memorialize her fallen comrades. For if it weren’t for Stilettos and Steel they would have died invisible, just as they were forced to live.
The birth of Jeri’s daughter was the catalyst that drove her out of the depths of hell that was the Tenderloin. Now, forty some odd years later, she lives her life as a novelist, screenwriter, and social activist. She has been recognized by the mayor of California for her work in the community and for society as a whole.
With the screenplay of Stilettos and Steel already complete, a live adaptation is currently in the works. Jeri is also planning a book tour in the future so stay up-to-date and join her email list here! You can also stay current by following Jeri on Facebook and Twitter.