Shelby author takes more somber route with second book

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published March 4, 2015

 Julie Roberts poses with her second book, “The Wow Factor,” at her Shelby Township home March 1.

Julie Roberts poses with her second book, “The Wow Factor,” at her Shelby Township home March 1.

Photo by Sean Work

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The idea for a Shelby author’s second book grew from a seed to fruition when she was summoned for jury duty and had to wait for her interview in a courthouse in the spring of 2012. She filled a notepad with the makings of a first draft.

“The Wow Factor,” published Feb. 21, paints a picture of the ups and downs of Julie Roberts’ eight years in teaching, from college to student teaching to teaching full-time at a charter school. It is divided into a collection of several dozen smaller stories.

Roberts, who now works full-time at an insurance agency, said if it weren’t for fate, she would still be teaching, but she could not find the job she wanted — a full-time position in a public district.

“(The stories) are about the kind of stuff you don’t learn when you’re in college training to be a teacher. There’s a lot of stuff you’re not prepared for,” Roberts said. “(It) gives strong opinions based on my classroom experience.”

Some of the stories relate Roberts’ experiences with parents who harassed teachers, bullying and having to call Child Protective Services.

“It’s just about having common sense with whatever you do,” she said. “When common sense is taken away, that’s when things get hard for teachers.”

She said her target audience is anyone who is thinking about going into teaching, anyone in the education field and parents.

Roberts’ first book, “That’s Not a Toilet!” was a lighthearted collection of stories from herself and others about dorm life at Central Michigan University. The book was published last year.

“Both have humor and raw honesty, but they’re different in the fact that the first one was aimed more toward humor and the fun craziness of college life, and the second one is about life after college and what the real world could bring,” Roberts said.

“There’s definitely more emotion with this one. It’s my own personal experiences, my opinion and my perspective about what happened to me.”

Eagles Nest Publishing Co., a small publishing company in Ann Arbor, picked up Roberts’ first book and stayed with her for “The Wow Factor.”

Heather Richards, founder and executive director of Eagles Nest Publishing Co., said she loved “The Wow Factor” and that it took about nine months from the first time she read a draft to the book’s release.

“I love her writing because her personality comes out,” Richards said. “You still get her humorous side (in ‘The Wow Factor’), but you also get her more serious, business side of her personal experience.”

“The Wow Factor,” which is 182 pages, is available for purchase on Amazon.com for $8.99.

Roberts said she intends to keep writing. She hinted that her third book would not resemble the first two. She said she also intends to continue with her black belt training in karate, which she should earn in four months.

“Karate is a great example for life,” she said. “Nothing comes easy. If you want something, you have to work hard. Integrity, honesty, discipline, respect for others are all aspects of karate.”

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