Friday, December 6, 2013

From School Principal to Thriller Writer--The Grassroots Journey of Andy Rose

In 1967, Andy Rose started working as a fifth-grade teacher in the impoverished Lower East Side of Manhattan. The children in his classes were predominantly illiterate and presented many learning issues.  Andy immersed them in daily readings of literature, used humor and passion to motivate them.  He found them wonderful to work with--their spirit was indomitable--and thirteen years later, he became principal of the Norwood Public School in Bergen County, New Jersey.  He served as its chief school administrator until 2009.

During the last decade of Andy's career, he read the works of Nelson DeMille, Dan Brown, and John Grisham. Their thrilling novels provided welcome escape from his 24/7 responsibilities as leader of a public school district. When he retired, images and stories about teachers and school children filled his mind. Characters and an inner city school setting began to emerge. It felt natural to write about schools and to portray teachers, instead of James Bond, as heroes.

But a major obstacle:  Writing fiction was very different from writing reports for a Board of Education, press releases, and analytical articles for local newspapers.