Monday, August 24, 2009
“Where do you get your book ideas?”
This is one of the most common questions asked an author. The response is usually that the author writes what she knows. One of my books is called “The Substitute that wouldn’t Die.” And I’m writing what I know.
I started my seventeenth year as a substitute teacher this month. Thirteen of those years have been spent at the high school level. I work a lot. Some years I’m more full- time than the regular teachers. I’ve been working at Cass High School longer than the majority of the staff. This year is the first year in a number of years that I didn’t go to work on the first day of school. But I did work the third day.
Though the years I’ve written down snippets that have happened both happy and sad.. The title for my book comes from the time a student came into class, saw me and asked, “Weren’t you my kindergarten substitute?” I had been. He didn’t look happy to see me again, bless his heart.
I’ve written a group of short stories about the characters (students) that have passed though my classes. One of these is about a boy that had me every day for six long weeks, got a two week reprieve, and had me in a different subject for six more weeks. We got to know each other well and are still great friends. Another is about the girl that asked me to check on the number of her excused absents, and I discovered she forged some of her doctor’s notes. No, she wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. She got ISS for a week. I also have stories of when I arrived at school to find out one of the students had died the night before in an auto accident and I had to deal with the emotions in the classroom. My stories go on and on – enough to fill a book.
Going back to school this year has already added new stories to my list. By the end of the year I should have many more.
Even my romance heart can see a story in two teachers coming together to help a student in need…
What kind of stories can you build from your everyday life?