Interview with Steven Baldwin and Karen Holgate, authors of FROM CRAYONS TO CONDOMS: THE UGLY TRUTH ABOUT AMERICA'S PUBLIC SCHOOLS

As Chairman of the California State Assembly Education Committee, Steven Baldwin initiated a series of hearings that demonstrated how fads, failed methodologies and political correctness have devastated the California public school system, the nation's largest - and one of the worst.

The co-author of "The Real Secret War," Mr. Baldwin has appeared on numerous talk shows including Larry King Live, and has written articles published in the Regent University Law Review, Washington Times and Human Events. Mr. Baldwin is currently the Executive Director of the Council for National Policy (CNP).

Karen Holgate became an educational activist after joining the fight against hardcore pornography. During public speaking engagements, she began hearing from parents concerned about the sex education curricula being promoted in the public school system.

Mrs. Holgate's articles and policy reports have appeared in publications including the Congressional Quarterly, Investors Business Daily, the Washington Times, and Insight Magazine. She has been interviewed by local and national radio shows, and has appeared on CBS, NBC and Fox news shows.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Karen. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I’m a mother of two daughters and four grandchildren that range in age from two to twenty-two. I’ve always had an interest in writing but have usually written articles or issue-related white papers and legislative analyses related to my work as the legislator director for a pro-family public policy center.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

When Goals 2000 and School-to-Work were introduced in the 1990’s I knew education was taking a wrong turn. As I traveled throughout the U.S. speaking to parent groups, they shared their personal horror stories. At the same time Steve Baldwin, then a California Assemblyman, was hearing the same kinds of stories. When we talked with each other we soon realized that what we were hearing was widespread. We started asking parents, students, and teachers to write their stories. Over the years, their experiences have worsened. Steve and I believe their stories will serve as a warning to other parents and also encourage parents to get more involved in overseeing their children’s education. Our book gives lots of ideas that will help parents be effective advocates for their children.

What kind of research was involved in writing “From Crayons to Condoms: The Ugly Truth About Public Schools”?

Parent interviews, compiling tests, questionnaires, surveys, curricula, textbooks, etc. The book reflects only a small percentage of the information and abuses collected.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

Actually, the publisher did all of that. We think they did an outstanding job of capturing the essence of the book with both the title and the cover.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

Well… it took a long time to find the right publisher. We originally started the book years ago and had one publisher. However, we couldn’t agree on title, etc. and Steve and I decided it was better to wait than to go with something with which we were both uncomfortable. We are glad we waited. When we decided to go with WND Books, we were able to add new stories. Education today is getting worse, not better. Parent frustrations are the same and in some cases worse today than they were when we started the book.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

About eight months.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

We don’t have an agent. For this book, it has worked well. We are extremely happy with WND Books and have had no problems.

Do you plan subsequent books?

It’s possible.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

Definitely not morning. I write during the day.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

A good publicist. We are fortunate that we have one for From Crayons to Condoms.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

Again, our publicist and WND Books are booking interviews on TV and radio. That is extremely important.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Don’t get discouraged. Even if you can’t find a publisher right away, don’t give up. It may just mean you haven’t found the right one.

Thank you for coming, Karen Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

At all major bookstores like Barnes & Noble or online at Amazon or BN.com.

ATTENTION: This interview is being brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion. As a special promotion for Steven and Karen's book, FROM CRAYONS TO CONDOMS: THE UGLY TRUTH ABOUT AMERICA'S PUBLIC SCHOOLS, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour or $25 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky person who comments. Leave a comment below to have a chance to win one of these prizes! For more stops on Steven's and Karen's blog trail, visit www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com.

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