Social Worker and Author of “Unprotected the Novel”, Kristin Johnson is offering a free download of her book starting today on December 26, 2012 to December 30, 2012. I had the opportunity to interview Kristin about the book, and here is our Q & A interview:
Q1. Describe a bit about your background, entry into social work, and your work with CPS.
I have been a child protection social worker for the past 18 years I spent my first five years as an investigator, and now I am a case manager for ongoing Child Protection cases. I work with families when the investigator has determined there is a need for services to prevent future maltreatment. About half of the kids on my caseload are in placement, and a small percentage of my cases end up in adoption.
Q2. How long did it take you to write Unprotected, and what motivated you to write the book?
I started writing in 1999 after I had been doing my job for about 6 years, and I was getting burned out. I wanted to vent, and when I’m writing the story I can give it whatever ending I want. I also wanted to give people an idea of what we do. There are so many stereotypes and misunderstandings out there about how child protection works. If we are portrayed in the media, child protection workers are usually dragging children kicking and screaming away from their parents. I wanted to tell our side of the story.
Q3. Writing a book is a huge accomplishment, how has this process challenged you to move outside of your comfort zone and embrace new challenges?
I am waaaaay out of my comfort zone in many ways! A big part of publishing is promotion, so I have had several book signings where I have to stand at a table at a book store and encourage people to by my book. In child protection, the clients come to us–usually involuntarily. I am not used to soliciting clients. I’m also not very comfortable being in the spotlight. I had a book launch party with 60 friends and family members, all thrilled for me and excited to read the book. It was so touching and humbling, and incredibly overwhelming to be the center of attention. The entire experience has been amazing.
Q4. Who is the main character of the book, and what characteristic do you admire and most dislike about the central character?
The main character is Amanda, a 23 year old social worker in a small Minnesota child protection agency. Amanda grew up in poverty with a self centered mom who exposed Amanda to the types of situations that many of Amanda’s clients have faced. Amanda hides her upbringing because she is afraid that she will be judged by her coworkers, but she can’t help but relate to many of her clients’ struggles. Early in “unprotected” Amanda’s mom dies, leaving her without any family. She is left alone and painfully lonely. I admire Amanda’s resilience, which I have seen in so many of the children that I have worked with. The only quality I don’t like about Amanda is that she doesn’t always believe in herself, and she doesn’t recognize her strength. But Amanda grows as the story progresses, and I enjoy seeing her find faith in herself.
Q6. Quick synopsis of the story line…..What genre does this novel fall in….ie fictional romance, thriller, inspirational?
Paraphrased from the back cover: “unprotected” is the story of Amanda, a young child protection social worker with a past she is trying to forget. She quickly becomes embroiled in a case against a former state champion hockey player who will do anything to buck the system rather than work with it–including whatever it takes to get Amanda out of his way. Luckily, Amanda reconnects with Jacob, a new county attorney…With history and chemistry hovering between them, their job is to make sure the town hero doesn’t get away with abusing his son. As in many child protection cases, however, the presenting problem is just the tip of the iceberg. Set against the always messy world of child protection, “unprotected” is ultimately about family–and a young woman’s discovery that there are all kinds of family and many places that can be called home.
It’s hard to fit “unprotected” into a genre–there is some mystery, both in the child protection cases and in Amanda’s personal life. There is some tension and romance between Amanda and Jacob, and ultimately it’s an uplifting story about redemption.
Q7. “How can readers get a copy of Unprotected the novel”?
“Unprotected” is available on amazon.com in hard copy or on kindle. And there will be a special FREE KINDLE promotion from Dec. 26-30 when readers can download “unprotected” at no cost. Even if readers don’t have a kindle device, kindle is also an app that can be downloaded on computers or smart phones–so just about anyone can take advantage of this free offer. Also, please check out my website www.kristinleejohnson.com for more information about the book and my work. Thank you so much for your support.