Saturday, March 26, 2016

Interview with Author Cathy S. Tooley

Hello everyone, this is an interview time and today Author Cathy S. Tooley is with us...

  1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I never set out to be a writer.  I was born a teacher.  Teaching is in my blood.  From as far back as I can remember, teaching was what I planned on doing.  I went to college to TEACH.  I loved TEACHING.   I was natural at it and I loved being in the classroom, impacting my students, and teaching.  It was all I ever wanted to do.

I was a great teacher for twenty years and remained rather protected from most of the “politics” of education. I heard about it and saw it some but had never really personally been impacted by it.  I taught, I enjoyed my students, loved my career and felt blessed that my “calling” had come to pass and was now a career.

Then, I became an administrator and ultimately a building level principal and quickly saw with my own eyes and felt with my own experience the things that were happening in our schools.  I saw students discarded.  I watched the “numbers” and the “scores” take rank over doing what was best for students and the educators.  I watched the political “niceness” of those in power supersede the needs and demands of students and educators.  I “kept the waters calm” at the cost of what I KNEW in my heart was right so that right person would remain happy.  I knew, based on my experience and the experiences of my colleagues I HAD to write this book. I was raised that complaining about a topic does NOTHING to change it.

This book was more the subject that I felt HAD to be addressed.  I knew, after thirty years in public education and watching what was happening in our educational system, I HAD to write this book. I knew, in writing and having it published, it would change my career in education.  I knew and know that the dialogues that this book will inspire WILL be difficult and will cause some dissention in some of my former colleagues.  While that last statement brings me NO joy and some sadness I also know that our students and our educators deserve more and we must begin the uncomfortable conversations if we ever want to affect change.

I just knew, based on my thirty years of experience that this book HAD to be written, these conversations HAD to be had, the change has to be made and this book had to be published…… So, I did.

  1. How long does it take you to write this book? 
I began writing this book in January of 2015.  Began submitting to publishers in March of 2015.  Was picked up by a publisher within a week and signed the contract in October of 2015.  Release date is April 6, 2016.
  1. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I left my career in education in November of 2014.  I spent the months of January, February and March of 2015 writing and building my new business, Tools for Success.

  1. What brought you to write this book?
I think I already answered this in number one.  But, let me add this.  I am a very passionate person.  When I believe in something I move forward with both feet, full time and completely committed.  I wrote this book with the same passion.  Once I picked up my computer and began “writing” this book I knew my life would be different.  I knew the career I had built for over thirty years was changing AND had prepared me for this moment and this time to begin these critical conversations.

  1. How you become a published author? Any inspiration?
That story is rather funny.  I had NO idea how to write a book let alone get it published. I KNEW in my heart that this book would be published.  I never questioned that.  I KNEW that the moment I began typing and pouring out what has to be said!

Remember, I was in education.  I had certainly read my entire career.  I had an entire library of amazing books to inspire, to teach, to influence and to guide me in my career.  As a principal I conducted book studies with my staff every semester to assist us in looking at our craft differently.  I was always open to and looking for ways to make the learning of our students better, stronger, richer and more meaningful. 

After I had written my own book and took it to one of my former English teachers to assist me with editing.  I was in a quandary as to how to “submit” it.  Do I just google publisher?  Do I look on line?  I was really at a loss.

Then, one night I had an idea.  I pulled every one of those books that I had collected and read over my thirty years in education off of my shelves.  I created a spreadsheet of the book titles and the addresses of each of those publisher.  I sorted and discovered that most of those amazing books were published by about ten different publishers. 

So, I got on line.  Five of those ten would not allow you to submit your manuscript without a “literary agent”.  I did not even know what one of those was, let alone have one.   The other five did allow me to submit.  I completed their required paperwork and as they say, the rest is history.  Within a week Rowman and Littlefield reached out to me, requested revision, and here we are today.

  1. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I lived it.  This book is based on my personal experience, the personal experience I witnessed from my own colleagues and other educators.

  1. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
This is my first book.

  1. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I LOVE spending time with my family.  My husband and I have been married for over thirty years.  We are the proud parents of three amazing and inspiring children.  Two of our children are out of college and living their lives.  One of them just got married in October and the other one is getting married in March of 2017.  Our youngest is a sophomore in college now studying engineering.

Anything that puts me with my growing family and spending time together is exactly what I LOVE to do and exactly where I want to be.

  1. How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
This is my first book.  There will be others, but this is my first.

  1. What's next for you? What are you working on now?
What is next for me is to get the conversations started regarding our educational system.  I started my own business, Tools for Success.  I am a consultant, a coach and a public speaker.  It is my intention to speak to audiences and to then assist all of us to move to a less divisive attack on public schools.  I will create a new way of “doing business”.  I will create the uncomfortable conversations.  I will open dialogues and create new ways of educating our students that respect the educators in our schools.

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