Welcome to Reviews and Interviews, Chloe. Please tell us about your current release, This Business of Children.
Vera Harriss, Deidre Fletcher, Mark Pettingill, and Stu Martel are elementary school teachers in the fictional town of Blevins, Maine whose secret, private lives change dramatically as you read.
Vera, who is about to retire, vents her anger during a Board of Education meeting with a speech that brings the audience to its feet. Why does Deidre, an exceptional teacher, leave the job she loves to become a corporate trainer down South? Then there is Mark, the perennial job hunter looking for a corporate position with more prestige and pay but then turns down the perfect offer when it finally comes through. Stu, one of the most popular teachers in the school, struggles with a deep, dark secret that he can only share with Deidre. What causes Stu’s untimely death?
Vera Harriss, Dee Fletcher, Mark Pettingill, and Stu Martel are eager to share their intriguing secrets and entangled lives with you.
What inspired you to write this book?
I took a leave of absence for a year back in 1991 because I had had a very stressful year in the school district where I was teaching. I needed some time to regroup and think about my options. I went back to Maine where I had experienced the best teaching in my entire career and stayed with a friend. Without really planning to write a novel, I began to write and found myself creating these 4 characters almost effortlessly. At first, I thought it would be therapeutic for me but I soon realized that I wanted the world to know what teachers go through in the course of an academic year.
What exciting story are you working on next?
Actually, I don’t have anything in the works at the moment because I have 2 other manuscripts waiting on the back burner and I’m exploring the possibility of having this novel turned into a screen play.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I loved to write even as a child and I’ve been writing most of my adult life. Years ago I wrote occasional articles for newspapers and magazines but I didn’t start writing seriously until 2001. Now I have 3 published books.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
No, I don’t write full-time but I do maintain a schedule and fortunately, I happen to be highly organized. When I’m on a writing schedule, I allow 3-5 hours for this. Self-discipline and consistency are indispensible if you are serious about your craft.
My life is rich and full with other activities and I seem to be able to make time for everything I want to do.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t think I have any quirk to talk about unless you consider the fact that I actually trashed this novel. The friend I was staying with retrieved it telling me, “You are NOT throwing this away!” I took it back, shelved it, and went on to write 2 non-fiction books – nearly forgetting about it until I realized that everything I was reading in the news about teachers this past year and a half was in my book!
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I’m sure that this will make you smile but I actually wanted to be a nun. It seems that god had other plans for me but today I am a Third Order Carmelite.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I invite your readers to visit my web site where they can take advantage of some freebies and enjoy reading portions of all three of my books.
Thank you for being here today, Chloe, and introducing yourself and your writing to us.