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Retired professor uses experience as basis for fictional novel | Life

City in which you reside: Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Day job: Retired teacher/professor

Book title: “Mr. M’s Notebook: A Teacher’s Life”

Synopsis: High school teachers confront personal, professional, and student issues in schools during the students’ teen years.

Publisher: Piscataqua Press

“Mr. M’s Notebook” is based on a fictitious teacher, but you taught for more than 50 years. Why did you want to write a fiction novel instead of a nonfiction one?

I have written nonfiction books in history, government and media literacy. There are a number of good books in teaching and the issues teachers face. I wanted to write a book that involved readers in some contemporary and controversial issues that are difficult to address except in fiction. Also, a good story along with a dramatic portrayal of important issues can enable “Mr. M” to reach a wider audience.

What inspired you to write this book?

There are many issues in education that educators and the public need to discuss. Hopefully, Mr. M generates dialogue among and within educators and the public.

Tell me about who you see Mark Blenchard as? Is he totally shaped after you or just a portion?

There is little about Mark Blenchard that is me. Mr. M. and I have both taught history but that ends our similarities. He is much more conventional than I am. Yet, the issues Mark Blenchard and his faculty contend with are anything but conventional.

You observe other teachers as well as students, are these based on real people as well?

None of the teachers (including Mr. M) or students is based on real people although the characters are vivid examples of teachers and students in plausible situations. The characters in the book, however, are all fictional. The issues and events they encounter are relevant.

“Mr. M’s Notebook” delves into a lot of issues teachers faced in the 1970s to ’80s that they still…

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