As mentioned previously, I’m getting really excited about attending the Historical Novel Society annual conference in Oxford, UK. My historical novel, Three Lives of Peter Novak, tells the story of a boy born into abject poverty in 1889 Bosnia, and at age eight, sold into indentured servitude to a German aristocrat. At age 18, his service contract up, he makes his way to America to avoid conscription into the German army. The book has sold very well to date in America, and I’m both pleased and surprised that Peter is returning to his European roots. To my knowledge, copies of Three Lives of Peter Novak have made their way to Slovakia, Belgium, and Germany. Of course, Peter will be traveling with me to England as I will personally deliver several books to locations in London and hopefully find readers in Oxford.
On a personal note, many years ago I completed my Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Psychology. Options for a scholar with a B.S. in Psych were limited to graduate study, which at the time did not appeal to me as I needed to seek gainful employment. Employment opportunities for the recipient of such a degree included automobile sales, floral delivery person, and perhaps a applying for a management trainee position at a department store chain, all of which I tried but none struck my fancy. I was heartened when a friend of the family contacted me and offered me a job teaching the sixth grade in a rural community that housed a brand new school – the state’s first middle school (grades six, seven, and eight). Despite the fact that my degree was in Psychology and I’d taken no Education courses, nor had I student taught, the teacher shortage at the time and a forward-thinking superintendent believed a Psychology major might be a good fit in the experimental school. I took a few education courses at a nearby teacher-preparation college over the summer and enjoyed what turned out to be a wonderful teaching experience.
Oh, the connection to Oxford? The bucolic village in which the state’s first middle school resided was Oxford, Pennsylvania. Whenever I spoke of my resume, I often would say, tongue-in-cheek, that my first job out of college was “teaching at Oxford!”