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Interview with:

Roberta Currie [rc2147] 

What is your profession? What is your title printed on your business card?
I am finally ready to call myself an author! After years of writing on others' demands for curriculum and books and speeches, I am embarking on writing as an outgrowth of what I love. For the next 6 months at least I am going to devote myself to exploring and learning, developing and marketing and writing. I am, in fact, a published writer in the areas of library resources and children's Bible storybooks. Under the name is use except for the MasterCard folks: ROBIN CURRIE
What did you study and why did you choose to study that field?
Fun fact: I have graduated once a decade for the last half century! Advanced degrees in library science and theology, doctorate in preaching. I pursued two careers with passion. Writing steamigng mounds of children's curriculum has supported my studies and often the family.
What is expected of you in your job, and how do you accomplish it?
Whoo-hoo! I am retired early from the World of Other's Expectations - I did my time. Now I want more than "staying busy" - and the motivation has to come from inside me. Yikes - harder to find than I expected!
What links do you have on the Internet: website, blog, social networks?
I just joined Facebook. I have a recounting of my month in China on blogspot.com. I take classes online and love e-mail. Oh - and I have a Wedkinz! I am recently seeing the intense need for a website of my own.
Are you satisfied with the education that you received?
Well, I had enough of it, don't you think? In a perfect world, I would have had more training in management and personnel and budgeting, but when could I have fit in cataloging and Hebrew? And the best lessons in life come from...life. Usually the painful parts.
In which areas have you thought of building upon your education?
All that Dewey class and 3-point sermon stuff is sooo 2007! (A phrase I realize is also sooo past tense...) Now I want to absorb what it takes to be a published author.
In which tasks are you good at, and in which could you better yourself?
Creative, imaginative, funny, energetic, curious. Totally un-self-disciplined! ADHD with an overlay of dyslexia. But my cat loves me.
Do you usually attended seminars or coursework to advance your professional work or would you consider yourself a more self-taught person?
I like to learn from others but in short chunks. And it has to be really really relevant and useful. I don't mind theoretical discussions but continually chewing over the same stuff...
When did you realise that your work was being considered important and that it could possibly take you places?
As far as writing goes, it was the publication of Story of Easter for Standard. that was not my first published book, but the first one I created and got out of a slush pile and for which the illustrations were perfect. Sadly, it is out of print. After that life happened with too much intensity and here I am a decade later...never too late!
Who have been the most influential people in your career?
The best influences have been the best encouragers: my husband Bob, my children Brian and Bethany.
With which types of persons do you feel you work well with as a team?
I have always been the team facilitator and supporter so I get along with anyone. I think it would be fun sometime to have someone support and facilitate my ideas. Maybe an editor or agent?
Which goals have you focused on in your professional career?
My current goal is to see my name in print again on a book before calendar year 2011. (Whoa - I did not know that until just now!)
Which publications associated with your field do you regularly read?
I watch SCWBI boards for children's books, ALA and ILA news for the latest in library fields.
Which languages do you speak, and how have you learned them?
English has worked for me so far. I lived for a month this year in China and got along pretty well so I suspect International Mime Language may also be a skill. Interestingly some of my books have been translated into Indonesian, Arabic and Latvian! Not by me.
Do you have a website or blog? How was the process in making it? Does it accomplish the purpose for which it was created?
Next on my to do list.
How do you feel about speaking in front of an audience? What experience have you had in this arena?
In the library world I would tell stories to 200-500 at a time in schools and conferences. As a pastor there were weekly forays to the pulpit and singing the liturgy! Talking in public groups is no problemo!
Do you attend cocktail parties, presentations, fairs or conventions related to your profession?
Ah-ha! There's the weak link - mano a mano (chicko a chicko?) is not my skill set. But I will learn.
Have you explored the social networks for professionals online? Are you member of any of them?
How are you different from others in your professional sector?
In most children's writing circles a degree in theology is unique. It made me desirable in the library world for collection development. Conversely in the pastoral professsion, anyone working with children was...well...unusual. So I guess the combination should fit some unique market. Somewhere.
How is the Interent changing the way you work?
I wrote currculim and worked for hire through the change from typewritten copy to mail submission of printouts to submitting everything on line. Way easier. In the libray I waved good bye to the Card Catalog and started doing virtually all reference on line. It was a bump that the profession is still working out, but I personally love it. Oh, and I met my husband on line...
Do you do telecommuting?
Assignments, manuscripts and editing are all done via e-mail now.
Do you feel your hobbies serve to elevate your career?
How boring is it for a librarian/author to love to read? Sigh. But true.
Do your hobbies aide in professional networking?
Book clubs are social but not necessarily professional. Hmmm....
Would you relenquish some of your income in exchange for more free time?
Yes yes yes - I just did that since for the first time in 40 years the family is not depandant on my salary.
What are the things you least like about your job?
Yukkies include mailing stuff and getting rejected. Keeping files, making contacts. I need a wife maybe to take care of this stuff.
Besides your current profession, what other things would you have liked to have been?
I think I have done what I wanted big time and used my skill set to the extent it exists. I would have started writing sooner.
What is the most important thing you have learned from experience?
Experience - what a teacher! Gratefully I have learned forgiving is the key to all relationships.
When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Oh my - when I was young there were only three professions for a woman: nurse, teacher and secretary. And you just did those until you got married and someone took care of everything. That didn't work for me! And it is not what my daughter was taught, either.
Save some excpetions, do you believe professional and personal relationships should not be mixed?
The trick is to have time for both and family as well.
List any credits, publications, competitions, etc.
Publications Rainbows and Ice Cream: Storytimes About Things Kids Like, Iowa Library Association, 1983 Mudluscious: Stories and Activities Featuring Food for Preschool Children, Libraries Unlimited, Incorporated, 1986 Glad Rags: Stories and Activities featuring Clothes for Children, Libraries Unlimited, Inc., 1987 Full Speed Ahead: Stories and Activities for Children on Transportation, Teacher Ideas Press, 1988 Raising the Roof: Children’s Stories and Activities on Houses, Teacher Ideas Press, 1991 The Mini Easter Activity Book, Lion Publishing, 1993 From the Heart: Books and Activities about Friends, Teacher Ideas Press, 1993 Straw into Gold: Books and Activities about Folktales, Teacher Ideas Press, 1993 Second Helpings: Books and Activities about Food, Teacher Ideas Press, 1994 Bible Buddies: Noah and the Big Boat, Chariot Victor Publishing, 1995 Bible Buddies: Zacchaeus, the Little Man, Cook Communications Ministries International, 1995 The Baby Bible Storybook, Chariot Victor Publishing, 1995 Baby Bible Stories about Jesus, Cook Communications Ministries International, 1996 Story of Christmas, Standard Publishing, 1997 My Bible Friends Read and Do Book, Pauline Books & Media, 1997 The Story of Easter, Standard Publishing, 1997 Toddlers’ Action Bible, Concordia Publishing House, 1998 Baby Bible: The Lord's Prayer, Chariot Victor Publishing, 1998 Peanut Butter Promises: Nap 'n' Snack Devotions, Concordia Publishing House, 1999 Baby Bible: Teach Me to Sing and Pray, Cook Communications Ministries International, 2000 More Baby Bible Stories, Cook Communications Ministries International, 2000 Baby Bible Christmas Storybook, Cook Communications Ministries International, 2001 Baby Bible Animals, Cook Communications Ministries International, 2003 Baby Bible A B C, Cook Communications Ministries International, 2004 Baby Bible 1 2 3, Cook Communications Ministries International, 2005
Your Bible?
How do you handle customer complaints?
Gracefully, with the goal that cooperatively we can find a solution.
Someone wants to ask for a pay rise and they ask you for advice in how to approach the matter with their boss. What do you tell them?
Make your case in writing. Then support it in person. Do not threaten anything you are not willing to carry out.
What do you do to manage stress?
Exercise (hate it), hugs (love it).
What are the most common mistakes clients make when they judge your work?
Apparently from the volume of rejection slips, that it will not appeal to the audience intended. Hrumph!

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Roberta Currie
Glen Ellyn, IL

[rc2147] Roberta Currie
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