Cuppa and a Catch Up – An Author Interview with…Kathleen Shoop

SATURDAY 22nd DECEMBER 2012

Cuppa and fireHurrah! Despite what the Mayans said we have survived the End of The World – it’s great to see you all on the other side! So here’s to new beginnings and with that, I would like to welcome back author Kathleen Shoop to my blog whose novel, Love and Other Subjects is out now. 

So get that kettle boiled, grab that cuppa and your favourite biscuits (umm I could just eat a shortbread right now now nom nom) and get all snug as we find out more about Kathleen Shoop and her new novel….

 

Kathie’s bioMJ2kathie_photo_outside_snow-1

Love and Other Subjects is the  third novel by bestselling Kindle author Kathleen Shoop. Her debut novel, The Last Letter, garnered multiple awards in 2011 as did her second novel After the Fog in 2012. A former Language Arts Coach with a Ph.D. in Reading Education, Kathleen lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

 

Synopsis of Love and Other Subjects:

Love and Other SubjectsFor 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?

 
Now start sipping on that cuppa and dunking that biscuit as we catch up with Kathleen Shoop…

Hi Kathie and welcome back! It’s great to have you here and congratulations on the release of the new book! Where did the inspiration behind this book come from?

The inspiration for Love and Other Subjects came from my own experiences during my first two years of teaching. But in addition to all the new teacher escapades in the novel, I also drew from my experiences in doing research during my PhD studies and working in schools across the country for the last 20 years. The scenarios—Carolyn’s, Nina’s and Laura’s failures and triumphs were in some cases exaggerated, but unfortunately some “inspired by real life” situations had to be dialed BACK to be believable. Carolyn’s love life is complete fiction although I had my share of breakups and wondering if I would ever meet the man of my dreams. This romantic plot was a chance for me to introduce some humor to balance the more serious school issues. As far as the plot thread dealing with Carolyn and her friends, that comes from much of what I experienced while living with a group of new teachers, all of us experiencing young adulthood and our first classrooms together. I created Carolyn, Nina and Laura by pulling from all of our personalities (at least six of us!) creating streamlined “people,” and issues rather than having the reader try to keep track of too many characters.  I suppose the heart of this novel—the post-college coming of age theme is as “true” as nonfiction in the sense it captures the unwieldy days after college when people have no idea what they’re doing, but they’re damn sure they’re smarter than you’re appearing to be. I think readers, no matter what their profession, will recall the same feelings that the characters experience.

 How would you compare writing this book with writing your previous books; After The Fog and The Last Letter? MJ2AFTERtheFOG_COVER-FINAL copy

Well, for one thing, this was so much more fun. Though the educational thread in Love and Other Subjects is serious, there’s a lot of levity, facing adversity with humor, seeing characters transform into the people they want to become. So much of what happens in After the Fog and The Last Letter is shaped by a world that Jeanie and Rose are not equip to manage—they are powerless in some ways. Carolyn, due in part to the era in which she comes of age, has the ability to demand the world change, she has the means to carve out the existence she wants because she has an education, she is independent and not yet saddled with family and children. Although it takes Carolyn a while to figure out how to access her abilities, to recognize her strengths, she knows somehow she’ll figure things out. I feel like the historical fiction I’ve written is heavier in nearly every sense. This book is quirky, light, and fun.

last-letter-cover I have read Love and Other Subjects and thoroughly enjoyed it. You had me hooked in the first chapter where I really felt the tension and panic that you built up in that classroom as well as thinking ‘where is the going’ making me really want to read more! What made you choose (without giving too much away) that particular set up as your first chapter?

I’m so glad you liked it, Gemma! That is just the best to hear! I chose to write the first chapter like I did so the reader would know right away what Carolyn was up against every day, but also to show there would be humor in the story, that it would address serious issues with respect, but also with hope and levity. For me, being able to laugh at problems helps me deal with them—it doesn’t mean roadblocks are silly or unimportant, but humor allows me to work through problems that would be too weighty to address otherwise. I think this comes through in the first scene and early chapters. At least, I hope it does.

 I really empathized with your character when having to deal with the principle, Klein, who was a character I loved to hate. His attitude towards Carolyn really wound me up. There was a point where I had a slight wobble towards him, but he inevitably did something equally annoying to change that pity. Who was your favourite character to write?

Well…I loved writing Jeep because he is sort of a fantasy guy in a lot of ways. He had his issues, yes, but I loved that he seemed to “know” Carolyn instantly and fall in love with her and all of her shortcomings. But, really, I have to say I loved all these characters, the students, the teachers because in drawing from real-life experiences I could craft people to suit my needs—who doesn’t love that? But, I agree, Klein’s a great character—he is severely limited in his ability to mentor people, but he has his moments of compassion, that hopefully round him out a bit…but he is a good villian. 

And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

Well, in keeping with this book, I’d say that I wrote my dissertation and worked on research projects that put me in the homes and lives of children, observing the ways their families used text in throughout their day, throughout their work and play. That type of research offered an inside view of how people’s lives work, it stripped away all I thought I knew about people and where they were coming from. It was incredibly transforming to experience this—to be in the role of the “other” in someone else’s world.

 Thank you for being here today Kathie

Love and Other Subjects

Readers – here is where you can purchase Kathie’s books:

Kindle Edition UK

Kindle Edition USA

You can also follow Kathleen Shoop on Facebook and Twitter @KathieShoop, as well as view her website and blog.

 Love Missuswolf xxx

After The Fog – Kathleen Shoop

MONDAY 24th SEPTEMBER 2012

In the wee small hours of last night I finished the final 10% of Kathleen Shoop’s After The Fog. I have read this as part of the Best Indie Book Festival; when I was delighted to have been given the opportunity to do an Author Interview with her – featured on my blog Friday 14th Sept.

Over the last sixteen months, I have been really expanding my reading horizons; absorbing books from all genres and Author’s; in particularly Indie Authors.

This was the perfect occasion as I have discovered that I love reading books from different eras, with the backdrop set in the 1940’s in Donora, Pennsylvania surrounding the ‘killing smog’.

The book had a wonderful balance of fact and fiction; following Nurse Rose Pavlesic struggle to care for her patients and balancing it with her family life. It’s nice to see that women had the same guilty balance then as they do now; working hard whilst trying to raise the family the best they could. Sometimes society seems to forget this and that it is the modern woman who invented this. It’s comforting to see that women have been strong characters for longer than what we think.

I loved how Rose’s character was strong and bold; I really felt for her at the beginning of the book and almost experienced her exhaustion that emulates from the story. It is contrasted wonderfully with the character of Sara Clara, whose laziness drives you to irritation in comparison to Rose’s whirlwind life.

There was some lovely imagery throughout the book; even little details conjured up the biggest pictures. One of my favourite’s was the description of Unk recycling the baby jar’s – screwing the lids into the wood on the walls and filling the jars with construction items, then screwing these back into the lids. I could just picture this wall dotted with baby jars containing nuts and bolts.

I almost felt like I was choking along with the residents of Donora as the smoke from the zinc mills gets freakishly trapped by the weather. Another beautiful piece of imagery is the smoke not rising properly and visibly hitting a ‘wall’ in the sky that seems to push its poisonous gases back down to earth. That in itself has me gasping for breath.

Another description I loved was the coal seam trapped inside earth, part of the world but not able to contribute to it. I won’t explain this any further as it may give part of the story away but I thought that was a perfect way to sum that particular scenario up.

As the story unfolds, it becomes apparent why Rose is so controlling and you feel her highs and lows; with all the secrets and lies from within her family colliding together in the height of the ‘killing smog’.

I would recommend this as not only does it have a good story to it, it is also interesting to learn about the ‘killing smog’ of Donora. It is written in such a way that it does not bog you down with facts, they are beautifully woven into the storyline.

You can buy After The Fog in Paperback or download to Kindle here.

Follow Kathleen Shoop on Twitter @KathieShoop.

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

Best Indie Book Festival

TUESDAY 18th SEPTEMBER 2012

Well, the day has finally arrived!

After a whirlwind week of preparations, whereby Melissa Foster’s Awesome Support Team #GoTeamPIF have managed to host Blog Author Interviews for the ten finalists, The Best Indie Book Festival is here!   

I volunteered to be involved in this fantastic event by snapping up the opportunity to interview one of these fantastic author’s; Kathleen Shoop.

It has been an amazing experience for me, not only have I met some fabulous new people in the Support Group (#GoTeamPIF!), I have got to know ten Self Published Indie Authors and learn their journey to success, gaining valuable advice and insights as to how they achieved their dreams .

So please, kick back and show your support for these ten wonderful author’s whose hard work and efforts have brought them to this amazing Final. They have motivated and inspired us aspiring Indie Authors that success is achieveable and that you can achieve your vision of writing success through hard work, determination and self publishing.

If you’re looking for a few good books, the BEST INDIE BOOK FESTIVAL is today and tomorrow only at the World Literary Café! Check it out here http://bit.ly/Q93gVK ENTER to WIN Amazon gift cards (no purchase necessary!)

Good Luck to all Ten Authors

Love Missuswolf xxx