I have written a how-to book for high schoolers on getting into the Naval Academy. When my daughter wanted a book on how to get into USNA, all she could find were books that told her how hard it was, how selective they were, how very few could achieve it. My daughter brushed them off, but I wondered how many kids would be discouraged by that approach and decided to write a book explaining how to achieve the goal, not why kids couldn’t. I stressed how teens can solve the problems that stood in their way rather than why they couldn’t, how they could get where they wanted to go rather than why they couldn’t get there. That worked for my daughter and I had no doubt it would work for others. From what I hear from readers, it’s true.
If we are to belief that old saw, Write what you know, that is my answer. I love computers, love shining a bright light on them for kids, so here I am. Writing books about them. In fiction, my genre is techno-thrillers. What a surprise, hunh? I love the sizzle of technology.
I think the more kids understand technology and realize it isn’t complicated, pretty intuitive actually, the more they’ll embrace it throughout their education. Like reading, it makes learning so much easier than the lack of it.
You mean like chick lit? No, just not me. The people who write chick lit, or literary fiction are probably called to it, as I am to techno-thrillers.
My tech books are designed as a guideline for learning from Kindergarten through fifth grade. You start with the first and work through to the end. You can start in the middle, but it’s not as effective. Skills are missed or become more difficult because the student doesn’t have the background.
Right now, I’m working on a fiction novel, To Hunt a Sub. PhD candidate and single mom Kali Delamagente has something in common with Albert Einstein: They both regret their inventions. His changed the world and hers is on a train-wreck course to destroy it. It starts when her brainchild, a supercomputer named Otto, accidentally uncovers a foolproof way to steal military secrets. Kali’s brilliant friend, Cat, persuades her to enter Otto in a contest, the same one where Cat will unveil her undetectable DNA-based computer virus. It’s no surprise both inventions catch the attention of America’s enemies. Their goal: hijack America’s Trident subs, the most advanced military platforms in the world.
I have an excerpt available on Scribd.com Please—log it and check it out. I’ve had over 3600 reads since I posted it a few months ago.
Non-fiction came first. Building a Midshipman was from a passion to share my daughter’s experience in her successful USNA application process. My technology workbooks were necessity—I couldn’t find any textbooks for my tech classes! No file drawer of unfinished stories. I have several finished novels which I will edit at some point in the future, but that’s it.
Do you have an agent, or have you gone alone? (If agented please give names, if not please tell us a little about your journey into SP.
No agent, but some definite interest in the book. I have a short list of people who have expressed an interest, so I will send it to them first when I’m finished. I hope they enjoy it!
My non-fiction books are published by Structured Learning.
Where can you be contacted?
Anyone interested in reaching me, the best way is through my publisher, Structured Learning or email me at AskATechTeacher@structuredlearning.net My Twitter handle is twitter@askatechteacher. My writing tips blog is WordDreams. I also write a column for Examiner.com. I invite everyone to read that, add comments, follow me!
- My six technology workbooks are available on Amazon.com and the publisher’s website. The ebooks are available on Scribd.com.
- My two computer lab toolkits are available on Amazon.com and the publisher’s website. The ebooks are available on Scribd.com.
- Building a Midshipman is available on Amazon.com and the publisher’s website. The ebooks are available on Scribd.com.
- If you’re interested in To Hunt a Cruiser, leave a comment on my WordDreams blog and I’ll let you know when it’s out.
- My Building a Midshipman site is USNA or Bust.
- My Computer Lab Toolkit and Technology Workbooks site is Ask a Tech Teacher
Lastly, can you leave us with a summary of two of your books?
You don’t have to be a miracle-worker to the 10% of applicants accepted to a military academy, but you do need a plan. For the thousands of students who apply every year–and slog through the numbing concatenation of decisions preceding a nomination–there is no greater discouragement than the likely event that they will fail. This, though, is the Board’s peek into an applicant’s moral fiber and an important ingredient to the go/no go decision. In the words of James Stockdale, USNA ’46 and Medal of Honor Winner: “The test of character is not ‘hanging in there’ when you expect a light at the end of the tunnel, but performance of duty and persistence of example when you know that no light is coming.” This is the true story of Maggie Schmidt, an All-American kid who dreamt of attending the Naval Academy when her research into the typical Midshipman uncovered a profile alarmingly like herself. This book describes her background and academic interests, her focus, as well as her struggle to put together a winning admissions package. Along the way, you gain insight into the moral fiber that grounds everything she does and the decisions she must make that some consider impossible for an adolescent, but are achievable for thousands of like-minded teens. This workbook walks you through the long process, provides check lists of everything required, decision making matrices, goal-setting exercises to determine if USNA is a good fit for you, and a mix of motivation and academic advice to balance a decision that rightfully might be the biggest one most teens have ever made. See the publisher’s website at structuredlearning.net for more details.