During the week, UW-Whitewater professor Ann Garvin teaches a classroom of students as any other professor would.
But once the weekend hits, Garvin travels the country to promote her recently released novel, “On Maggie’s Watch.”
“On Maggie’s Watch” was released on Nov. 2 and since then, Garvin has been on a book tour around the country. She has traveled to California, New York, Minnesota and all over Wisconsin.
Garvin teaches in the health, physical education, recreation and coaching fields.
In the classroom, Garvin said she prefers a conversational atmosphere rather than lectures.
“Often times, the way that I teach is more like telling stories than telling facts … so I tried to bring that skill into writing a fiction book,” Garvin said.
Garvin said the idea of the novel came in part from real life events. A sex offender, known as the “mall rapist,” was living in her town right next door to Garvin’s good friend. Garvin said she got to thinking about how upset she would be if she did not know “evil” was living as close as the next house down.
Garvin said her concept expanded when she began wondering what the situation would be like if a person was not stable. Putting these two thoughts together, Garvin came up with her main character.
The book centers around Maggie Finley, who has recently moved back to her hometown in Wisconsin. She discovers a man living in her neighborhood she is “very nervous about.” Maggie takes it upon herself to get rid of him, but she does it in very unconventional ways.
“She cuts the heads off of his geraniums, steals his light bulbs and sends him pizza, hoping the saturated fat will kill him,” Garvin said.
The main character is described by Garvin as a funny character who is “just like any of us who aren’t quite as stable.”
For many authors, writing a book is a tedious process that takes years to finish. In Garvin’s case, it took her about two-and-a-half years from start to finish.
Garvin said she did a lot of networking, from California to New York, and sent out 125 career letters to editors all over the nation.
“I was rejected [by editors] a lot,” Garvin said. “You have to know when to quit, but you also have to know when to keep going.”
Garvin said getting rejected 100 times was what she needed, and said she cannot explain how lucky she was to get a publisher like Penguin Group.
“I was really fortunate to get a big name publisher,” Garvin said. “[I was] very fortunate to find an editor who loved my work and loved my writing and really wanted to publish me.”
Lori Hedgpeth, one of Garvin’s book bloggers from Blogcritics.org, was one of Garvin’s book critics who said she enjoyed the novel.
“The best part of ‘On Maggie’s Watch’ is Ms. Garvin’s writing style and overall story,” Hedgpeth wrote. “She has taken a relevant and timely issue and managed to pen a thoughtful, funny and inspiring book.”
Garvin’s novel is available at any major bookstore, as well as the campus bookstore for $15. She urges people to buy the book so there can be more in the future.
“I hope what people get from my book is a good laugh and a little insight,” Garvin said. “They will understand that people are gentle and have to be handled gently.”
INTERVIEW WITH ANN:
Q: Does your profession have anything to do with your novel?
A: It does and it doesn’t. I have a very strong background in psychology and my book is all about relationships and people and kind of what makes them tick.
Q: What is Maggie’s character like?
A: She’s a funny character. She’s just like any of us who aren’t quite as stable at this very moment in life.
Q: What prompted you to start writing the book?
A: [One of the reasons was] we had a nasty sex offender in our town and he lived next door to my girlfriend … If I was the one living next door to him, I would have been very upset with my inability to sense or detect that this guy was a problem.
Q: Do you plan to write any more novels?
A: Yes … there are two more. One is done and the other is almost done. We’re waiting to see how this one does and then we’ll move forward.