Kindle Author Interview: Catherine Durkin Robinson

Catherine Durkin Robinson, author of Learning Curves, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Learning Curves?

CATHERINE DURKIN ROBINSON: It's based on my experiences teaching in the nation's most scandalous school district. Tampa has seen more scandals with teachers than anywhere else. Learning Curves details some of the reasons why. It's also my own fictionalized story about how close I came to some scandals myself.

Here is the blurb:
Carolyn Reardon loved being a full-time mom, but after enrolling her children in preschool, she wanted to do more than just wait for them at home every day. Becoming a high school teacher seemed like the perfect career.

At first, Carolyn found meaning as an educator, helping students who grew to appreciate her enthusiasm and passion for learning. Carolyn’s caring and dedicated co-workers also became her closest friends. But she noticed a disturbing trend. Many teachers turned to drugs in order to deal with the stress of low pay and impossibly high demands. Others lost themselves in illicit affairs, conducted in unused or empty classrooms, and a few risked it all by seducing their own students.

Carolyn tried to ignore the sexually-charged atmosphere and cling to her happy marriage, but when an attractive and flirtatious teacher pursued her, Carolyn got swept up in a scandal of her own.
DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

CATHERINE DURKIN ROBINSON: These are real people and good friends of mine. I came to care about so many of them, yet it was important to me to remain objective. It helped not to talk to a few of them while writing in order to present the story as it happened without feeling guilty. I am still close to many of them.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

CATHERINE DURKIN ROBINSON: I've had men and women between the ages of 25-55 say they enjoyed Learning Curves. It's a fun read, full of twists and turns. I also recommend it for anyone who wants to teach high school.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

CATHERINE DURKIN ROBINSON: I stayed home with twin sons and immediately knew that if I continued watching television every day, I'd end up on mood stabilizers. So while they slept, I wrote my first novel, Olivia's Kiss. I also wrote op-eds and political speeches. I gradually made the move toward blogging with Out in Left Field and built up a local audience, writing funny posts about women's health issues, parenting, and marriage. My humor columns were picked up by The Tampa Tribune and Creative Loafing and are now syndicated to a wider audience.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

CATHERINE DURKIN ROBINSON: I carry a notebook with me where I go. When my children or husband do something particularly funny, I am immediately inspired. The possibilities are endless.

DAVID WISEHART: What writers most inspire you?

CATHERINE DURKIN ROBINSON: Elizabeth Gilbert, Molly Ivins, and Erma Bombeck.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

CATHERINE DURKIN ROBINSON: The Grass is Always Greener Over The Septic Tank by Erma Bombeck.

DAVID WISEHART: How did you create your cover?

CATHERINE DURKIN ROBINSON: I paid someone to design it and then a friend of mine complained that it didn't look right. I told him to come up with something better or keep quiet. He created exactly what I needed so I use his cover.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

CATHERINE DURKIN ROBINSON: I've lowered the price, post on forums dedicated to e-readers, and use my column's fan base to get the word out.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

CATHERINE DURKIN ROBINSON: It's free to publish on Kindle and there's a growing market eager to read independent books.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

CATHERINE DURKIN ROBINSON: Join a writers group and make sure your book has been edited so that's it's your best offering and free of grammatical and spelling errors.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.


Catherine Durkin Robinson earned her degree in History and Political Science from University of South Florida in 1994. She earned street cred working in Boston and Tampa as a community activist, rabble rouser and high school teacher before becoming a freelance writer and launching her own ranting blog: Out in Left Field. Not easily defined, she’s a feminist who’s had cosmetic surgery, a liberal who supports the death penalty, and a mommy who doesn’t particularly like kids. In her spare time, she investigates missing socks.

Read her blog, find her on facebook, and follow her on twitter.

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