Rachel Thompson

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Friday, March 8, 2013

Author Interview – Kathleen Shoop




What was the hardest part about writing this book? The hardest part was developing characters and a plot that grew from real experiences and people, but that would work in a fictionalized story. I suppose I could have written non-fiction and included all the ladies I worked with as “characters,” but none of us is that interesting in real life. Same with the kids. I didn’t want anyone to read the book and feel like I exaggerated something, something that was hurtful. I really needed to take the essence of us, of any women just out of college, women new at their jobs, and women figuring out their love lives and friendships and distill them into wholly fictional people. I drew more “true” information from my work in education than I did for the personal plots and characters. Again, it’s wrapped up neater than it would be in real life so it works for fiction, but I needed the realism of classroom issues to be authentic. But while many of the problems at the school are playing out in schools every day, I needed added drama like Klein’s secret and other things like that to raise the stakes. At this point I’d have to draw a map to sort out the kernels of fact that are wrapped in an entire fictionalized experience. That was hard to do…

Will you write others in this same genre? Yes, I have others written…they need to be published (and subjected to all that means!)…

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Just that life is more complicated than we want it to be. We think solving educational problems is a matter of some money and a plan, but when you dig into people’s lives, their limitations, you find that blanket solutions don’t work. It’s not just that some schools and districts need more money they need a complete transformation in the way kids are engaged in the learning process. When I think of what I do to lay the groundwork for my kids to go to school, to be ready to learn, when I consider how exhausting that is, how some nights I let things slide because I am too tired to press one more thing…and I have no monetary worries, no wondering if I can pay for health care, no roadblocks to providing what my kids need to be able to eventually function in the world, and yet some nights I don’t feel like reading with my kids…how can we look parents who are working two jobs each, struggling to eat and buy clothes, to provide a safe home, and ask them why the hell they didn’t read for an hour with their kid last night…Of course in a perfect world, that’s a perfect question…that’s the point I guess. Nothing works like it should.

How much of the book is realistic? I think I brought the essence of what makes young adulthood, urban education, love and friendship realistic, but it’s not non-fiction by any stretch.

How important do you think villains are in a story? Very, very important… The principal, Klein, and the boyfriend’s sisters are central to developing Carolyn’s character arc. They are there to push her to define herself, to discern what is important to her in life.

What are your goals as a writer? Write tons of books that people want to read.


Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Women’s Fiction

Rating – PG15

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Kathleen Shoop on Facebook & Twitter

Review: Love & Other Subjects by Kathleen Shoop

Love and Other SubjectsLove and Other Subjects by Kathleen Shoop
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Introduction - I liked that the introduction didn't drag or that the author doesn't give you chapters of happy stuff before finally letting things go downhill for her main character. From the first chapter, you feel how tensed Carolyn is and things get worse by chapter two.

Structure - I liked this book very much. It was easy to understand and made all the points it set out to make from the beginning. Because the book is told from Carolyn's point of view, it got a bit grating for me at some points but overall I liked the book.

Characters - There were quite a few secondary characters in this book. They appear for a short while and you think they are going to have some grand impact on the story but eventually just fade off as a passing moment in Carolyn's life. No complaints about this. Given what Carolyn was going through, I would have probably done the same. i.e. forgotten a few people from my past.

Disclosure - I received a free copy of this book from the author via Orangeberry Book Tours. I was not obliged to write a positive review.

View all my reviews

Orangeberry Book Tours – Love & Other Subjects by Kathleen Shoop

For every woman who wonders if she chose the right career…

In Love and Other Subjects Carolyn Jenkins strives for two things—to be the greatest teacher ever and to find true love. She’s as skilled at both as an infant trying to eat with a fork. Carolyn’s suburban upbringing and genuine compassion for people who don’t fit effortlessly into society are no match for weapon-wielding, struggling students, drug-using colleagues, and a wicked principal.

Meanwhile, her budding relationship with a mystery man is thwarted by his gaggle of eccentric sisters. Carolyn depends on her friends to get her through the hard times, but with poverty-stricken children at her feet and a wealthy man at her side, she must define who she is. The reality of life after college can be daunting, the road to full-fledged adulthood long and unscripted. Can Carolyn take control and craft the life she’s always wanted?

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Women’s Fiction

Rating – PG15

More details about the author

Connect with Kathleen Shoop on Facebook & Twitter