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Thursday, 19 August 2010

Interview with Writer, John Pearson

Cover of "Learn Me Good"Cover of Learn Me GoodJohn Pearson was a design engineer but is now a 3rd grade maths teacher who says the only thing that hasn’t changed noticeably in his daily life is the maturity level of the people surrounding him all day. He works in Dallas, Texas, with a very diverse, at times frustrating, at times inspiring group of kids. He writes as well, mostly about said kids and his interaction with them. His book, Learn Me Good, is largely the result of his first year. He also enjoys college basketball (Go Duke!), Stephen King books, Lost and 24, and watching Jeopardy – and hopes to be on it someday!


 
SA:  Tell us about Learn Me Good.
JP:  Jack Woodson was a thermal design engineer for four years until he was laid off from his job. Now, as a teacher, he faces new challenges. Conference calls have been replaced with parent conferences. Product testing has given way to standardized testing. Instead of business cards, Jack now passes out report cards. The only thing that hasn't changed noticeably is the maturity level of the people surrounding him all day. Learn Me Good is a hilarious first-person account, inspired by real life experiences. Through a series of emails to Fred Bommerson, his buddy who still works at Heat Pumps Unlimited, Jack chronicles a year-in-the-life of a brand new teacher. With subject lines such as "Irritable Vowel Syndrome," "In math class, no one can hear you scream," and "I love the smell of Lysol in the morning," Jack writes each email with a dash of sarcasm and plenty of irreverent wit.

SA:     What qualities do you need to be a successful writer?
JP:      First and foremost, you need to be a storyteller.  Someone who can draw the reader into the world you are creating or describing and then hold their interest.  On the flip side, after the book is written, you need to have perseverance, especially indie authors, in order to get word of the book to the public, promote it, and get people to buy it!

SA:     What is your working method?
JP:      Step one, procrastinate.  :)  Actually, I try to get in a bit of writing when I have free time, which during the school year, is not often.  I write with pen and paper first, then I transcribe it to a computer document, print that out, and make corrections with a red pen.  I went through 7 drafts before publishing Learn Me Good, so revising is a big part of my work.

SA:    What is the single biggest mistake made by beginners to writing?
JP:     Underestimating the importance of good editing.  Spelling and grammar IS important, and the lack thereof can really turn a reader off.

SA:     How did you come to write this particular book?
JP:   In 2001, I was layed off from my job as a thermal design engineer, and I was unemployed for quite a while.  I finally decided to go back and get my teaching certification, and in 2003, I became a 3rd grade math teacher at a public school in Dallas, Texas.  Having gone to private school all my life, I was not quite prepared for what I would experience in public school.  The kids really kept me on my toes, and I realized that I just had to put my stories down in a book to share them with others.

SA:     If you have a favorite character in your novel, why that particular one?
JP:      There is a student named Marvin in Mr. Woodson's class who is based on a real troublemaker that I taught my first year.  He was one of my LEAST favorite students, but he's my favorite character in Learn Me Good because I have had some time removed from the REAL child, and the character is just so darn funny.

SA:  What are you writing now?
JP:   I am working on a sequel, tentatively titled Learn Me Gooder.

SA:     How can people buy your book(s)?
JP:      Learn Me Good is available on Amazon in print and for the Kindle, as well as Smashwords and the ibookstore.

SA:  Do you have a website or a blog that readers can visit?
JP:   My blog is learnmegood.com, where I write about education-related topics.

Here is the link to the UK Amazon page for Learn Me Good:

Thanks!

John Pearson

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