Dr. Andy brand strategy and web development by Strategic Impact Partners
Dr. Andy discovered the genre of thrillers in the twilight of his career. The role of a Chief School Administrator is essentially that of a lightning rod for controversy. Consequently, he found a welcome escape from his 24/7 responsibilities in the reading of novels by Nelson DeMille, Dan Brown, and John Grisham.
Upon his retirement in 2009, Dr. Andy ventured into the world of fiction writing. Given his educational background, it is no surprise that he registered at the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center in Sleepy Hollow, New York. He took classes with five different authors but spent two years with published author Mary Carroll Moore to focus on the art of writing literature.
Moore taught Dr. Andy how to design a plot in three acts, how to develop characters and craft a contemporary literary style as well as the effective use of dialogue. During this time, she guided his writing of Lily’s Payback, occasionally referring to The Writer’s Journey, Mythic Structure for Writers, by Christopher Vogler.
Dr. Andy chose to place four school teachers at the nexus of a romantic thriller for a few reasons. First, throughout his 42 years in public education he developed the deepest appreciation of, and respect for, his teacher colleagues. From his own experience in a New York City classroom for thirteen years, he understood firsthand the challenges of helping children to become literate – especially those living in poverty.
As a Principal and then career District Administrator in the Norwood Public School District of Bergen County New Jersey, Dr. Andy gained a unique perspective on America’s public education system. He recognized that the school was like an orchestra and that while he was the conductor, teachers made the music. Indeed, it was the quality of his teaching faculty that determined the education experience and its impact on student progress.
Second, Dr. Andy is disappointed that teachers are too often blamed for the inherent flaws in our public education system. He believes that “character and grit”* matter more than academics in assessing student learning. Such a focus would shift the considerable concern over the role of teachers to how parents raise their children and society at large influences family values.
Lastly, Dr. Andy writes about what he knows, and he certainly knows teachers!
Lily’s Payback is a tribute to all the teachers for the real heroes they are.