Editor’s Note: This exchange is part of a series of brief interviews with emerging writers of recent or forthcoming books. If you enjoyed it, please visit other interviews in the I’ve Got Questions feature.
- What’s the title of your book? Fiction? Nonfiction? Poetry? Who is the publisher and what’s the publication date?
My book is Class Dismissed, a novel. It is being released by Regal House Publishing on July 1, 2021.
- In a couple of sentences, what’s the book about?
A young Midwestern teacher is cast down a NYC rabbit hole of Board of Ed bureaucracy and union politics when a privileged but learning-disabled student is injured in his classroom.
- What’s the book’s genre (for fiction and nonfiction) or primary style (for poetry)?
Class Dismissed is realistic literary fiction.
- What’s the nicest thing anyone has said about the book so far?
Jane Hamilton called my novel “pitch-perfect . . . elegantly plotted . . . very funny . . . not to mention harrowing.”
- What book or books is yours comparable to or a cross between? [Is your book like Moby Dick or maybe it’s more like Frankenstein meets Peter Pan?]
If Richard Russo and To Sir with Love had a baby.
- Why this book? Why now?
Although Class Dismissed is set in mid-’90s Manhattan, the race and class tensions are just as strong today. Maybe stronger. The inequities between urban and suburban schools have not been addressed.
- Other than writing this book, what’s the best job you’ve ever had?
Teaching 8th graders how to write, speak, think critically. City or suburb, 8th graders are a wild and fascinating bunch.
- What do you want readers to take away from the book?
What a complex task teaching is, what a small miracle it is when it’s done really well. How much work is left to be done to make education a level playing field nationally.
- What food and/or music do you associate with the book?
Certain scenes and chapter titles riff on music from Frank Sinatra to ’60s rock ’n’ roll.
- What book(s) are you reading currently?
I’m reading American Prometheus, a biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer, and re-reading The Radetsky March, a brilliant novel by Joseph Roth.
Learn more about Kevin at his website.
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