Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Guest Post by Kathleen Shoop

For My Own Little Corner of The World

By Kathleen Shoop, author of After the Fog

Thank you so much for having me to your blog, Julie!

The true story of Donora’s 1948 “killing smog,” and the facts related to it are compelling, but I knew After the Fog needed more than that to keep fiction readers absorbed. The novel needed Rose Pavlesic’s family—characters who were struggling—siblings, children and parents who were already falling apart when the suffocating smog settled in, pushing them to the brink.

Aside from family issues Rose’s initial problem arose from her need to raise money to fund her community nurse position and the clinic that saw hundreds of patients per week. It was common for these services to be funded by wealthy patrons, community chests, and other soft money sources.

One of my favorite parts about writing After the Fog was exploring the elements of community nursing that I never knew existed. In pouring over vintage nursing manuals, reports, and newspaper articles it became very clear that adding this layer—community nurse to Rose’s character was exactly right. Community or Public Health nurses were the health champions of the average American in the first half of the 20th century. They were charged with a multitude of tasks—everything from teaching women to store food appropriately to changing patients’ beds, bathing newborns, delivering post-partum care, and providing follow-up care for those with infectious diseases. Some even crafted wheelchairs from a regular chair and roller-skates.

Public health nurses kept meticulous notes regarding the formal care they delivered and the sociological observations that helped shape their on-the-job actions. The hand/typewritten reports revealed incredible humor, pride, and dedication to what is both the art and science of nursing. The efficiency and directness with which they did their jobs led them to be revered by most, but feared by some who wondered what it would mean to let a nurse have a say in their lives. All in all, community nurses were a central part of our country’s progress. I hope I was successful in honoring this group of women as Rose tends to her family and friends while Donora experiences one of the worst environmental disasters America has ever seen.

Kathleen Shoop

Author of After the Fog and The Last Letter

After the Fog is the second historical fiction novel by bestselling Kindle author Kathleen Shoop. It will be released in May 2012. Her debut novel, The Last Letter, sold more than 50,000 copies and garnered multiple awards in 2011, including the Independent Publisher Awards Gold Medal. A Language Arts Coach with a Ph.D. in Reading Education, Kathleen lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children. www.KShoop.com

Kathleen, Thank you so much for stopping by! I appreciate how you have honored community nurses through this book. I am about halfway through the book and I have really enjoyed it so far. 

I do want to point out to my readers that this book does have "tender" scenes and strong language. I hope to have a full review for you soon! 
Many thanks to Kathleen for providing a review copy of this book to read!

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