RL: Tell me about your latest book and why you wrote it?
EW: My latest book is Free College, (on Amazon, https://amzn.to/2Y7wN9q). I wrote it for families of children attending preschool through high school. It contains an easy to follow step-by-step guide, so they can master the defining habits of successful scholarship students. I did extensive research and discovered there were specific practices that resulted in earning more free college scholarship money. I was teaching this vital information to students at my school during lunch. After telling my sister what I was doing, she replied, “So only the students in your school get to learn how to avoid taking out student loans? Write a book!” She was right, the information is too important to share with just a few.
RL: What do you hope to accomplish now that your book is out?
EW: Now that my book is readily available, I’m promoting it to the general public, while also seeking out people who work with children, the PTA, school administrators and teachers. I hope to find an organization or foundation that will help me put it in the hands of every family of K-4th grade students. This will give them the start they need, so they can avoid taking out student loans to pay for college. Student loan debt is a terrible burden I hope to help families avoid.
RL: What advice would you give other authors who are just starting out?
EW: Writing a book is the easy part of being an author. Marketing and promoting your book after it’s finished is far more difficult. Authors are writers, not marketing professionals. My advice to new authors is to schedule some time during your work week to learn how to promote your book and build an author’s platform.
RL: What kind of feedback have you received on your writing?
EW: People who have read my book have been very enthusiastic. They see the need for the information, and how beneficial it is to those who wish to go to college. They’ve also pointed out how helpful the tips are not only for college, but for later in life. The reviews have been quite positive so far. Some have gone so far to say it’s a “must have for any parents whose children have college in their future”.
RL: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
EW: The best money I’ve spent as a writer was the $1,000 I paid a literary attorney to go over the contract I was given by the first publisher I met. He made sure I was protected, in case anything went wrong. It did. My publisher didn’t perform, but I was able to take back the publishing rights to my book because of the additions the attorney made to the contract.
RL: Can you describe the moment when you decided to write a book?
EW: Free College isn’t my first book. At a conference for German teachers I attended years ago, a representative of the Goethe Institute, who had heard me speak, asked me to write a book. She wanted to help other high school German teachers learn how to build a successful German program like mine. It was a thrilling experience. I asked if a colleague could help, and she agreed. After the book was finished, we were sent to speak at conferences in San Diego, Los Angeles and Boston. Other cities were on the schedule, but the German government’s priorities shifted, and funding ran out. I’ve updated the book lately, and created editions for teachers of French and Spanish. They’re available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, called Selling Academics, (https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Selling-Academics).
RL: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
EW: I knew I was a teacher when I was about seven years old. Several preschool aged children in the neighborhood were upset they couldn’t go to school yet. I volunteered to teach them after school in my neighbor’s backyard. I did so until they started kindergarten. I was assigned teaching duties throughout my middle and high school years. When observing high school classes while still in college, teachers frequently put me in charge of their classes. I never really decided to become a teacher. I knew I was one from an early age. My official teaching career spanned over thirty-five years. I taught mostly German and French, but also some English when I first started building my language programs. I also have an MBA, and taught Business Administration in the U.S. and abroad for a few years.
RL: What is the best thing you have done in your life so far?
EW: So far, the best thing I have done in my life has been to show students how to identify, and then go for their goals in life. The bulk of my teaching career was working in lower socio-economic schools where students didn’t see a bright future for themselves. I was able to turn that around for an enormous number of students. I taught many of the same students from their freshmen to their senior years. It was thrilling to hear seniors talk about their plans after college. As freshmen, many of them were doubtful they would even graduate high school. Now, I’m helping students all over the world avoid a lifetime of debt. Helping students is my passion, always has been.