What inspired you to write this book?
After I retired from teaching, I had time to pursue my lifelong dream of writing a book. Since they say you should write what you know, I decided to write a novel based on my teaching experiences, one that would give readers a feel for what it’s like to be on the front lines in the classroom. When I was doing market research, I found that there were virtually no novels with a teacher as the protagonist. This surprised me, because most people involved in education are avid readers. So I decided to tell their story. There was also a part of me that wanted to continue to touch the lives of students, and I felt that Project June Bug would be a good vehicle for doing that.
What topics in your book or background do you think book clubs would find interesting?
I think a lot of people have misconceptions about what it’s like to be a teacher. In Project June Bug, I’ve tired to give a realistic picture of the profession with all its rewards, frustrations, and problems. The book will appeal to anyone who’s ever wondered what it’s like behind the teacher’s desk. Readers will find the story engaging and the characters realistic and appealing. In addition, anyone whose life has been touched by ADHD will find a self-help element embedded in the story that will be useful. But at its core, Project June Bug tells a really good story that any reader will enjoy.
Tell us about your career outside of writing and how it influence your writing
It’s hard to separate my career from my writing because Project June Bug came straight from my experiences as a teacher. During my 25 years of teaching, I taught many ADHD students. I’ve always been fascinated by what makes them tick, so much so that when I was studying for my Master’s degree, I decided to make ADHD the basis of my thesis project. Actually, the strategies Jenna uses in Project June Bug come directly from my Master’s thesis. They’ve been tested, and they work. I also wanted to give readers a feel for what a teacher’s life is like, warts and all. I think they’ll find it interesting and surprising.
Describe your style of writing
A lot of readers have compared my writing style to that of Janet Evanovich. Since we’re both writing Chick-Lit novels about “Jersey Girls,” I guess that’s partially true. We both inject humor into our stories, but I think that my writing isn’t quite as slapstick as hers. I also include more descriptive passages than she does, and there’s an instructional element woven into in my story that you won’t find in Evanovich’s books. As a teacher, I hope readers will come away from my book feeling that they’ve learned something. But I think any readers who are fans of the Stephanie Plum novels and other Chick-Lit books will enjoy Project June Bug.
Which authors have inspired you?
I love the lushness of Ray Bradbury’s writing. I think Stephen King is one of the great storytellers of our time and a writer with a deep reverence for the craft. Since I live in Florida, I’m a fan of Carl Hiaasen and Dave Barry. The teacher in me loves Frank McCourt’s books, and no one can beat J.R.R.Tolkien when it comes to transporting readers to another world.
By: Jackie Minniti
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