Welcome to my Second Acts Series!
Today, we have Soul Mate author Katie O’Boyle talking about the perfect storm that inspired her second act and her debut novel Stepping Up to Love.
As a young teen I passionately wanted to teach English, because I loved language, loved writing and wanted everyone to love literature. My first three years teaching in a tough public school convinced me I was a failure as a teacher, so I searched for a more practical, promising career. It was the early 1970s and women were making inroads in the new field of computers. I picked up degrees in Library Science and Computer Science and worked for fifteen years as a software engineer. The deeper I got into technology, the farther away I was from the users—schools, libraries, people. When my company offered an “Engineers into Education” deal, I jumped at the chance to get my doctorate in Education with an emphasis on technology.
Unfortunately, I leapt into the perfect storm. The stress and uncertainly of a career change precipitated a health crisis which forced me to stop working entirely, and I had to spend my entire life’s savings to get back on my feet. When the flood waters receded I had: my doctorate; a chronic health problem; the beginnings of a second career as a professor, consultant and technology planner; and an entirely new network of professional colleagues. I worked as hard as I could in my new field for twenty years and enjoyed every aspect of my work—teaching teachers, consulting with schools and colleges, and writing and speaking at conferences everywhere. And I still enjoy it, but in smaller and smaller assignments.
In the past two years I’ve resurrected my love of writing fiction and begun to publish the Lakeside Porches romance novels. I’m not so much “Dr. Kate” anymore, as “Katie O’Boyle,” and I’m loving my new act as an author. Writing is the most important work that I do now, and it doesn’t feel like work.
Looking back, that perfect storm that engulfed me as I jumped from “heavy techie” to Dr. Kate taught me a lesson that I practice to this day: value your network and keep it strong and current. My transition from Dr. Kate to Katie O’Boyle has taken two years and I continually work at my personal friendships, my connections to the colleagues who will be part of my network after retirement and to the wonderful new colleagues and friends I’m making as an author.
When I was struggling terribly to recover from illness and get my second act off the ground, I saw an inspiring bookmark that said:
Sometimes you have to take a leap and build your wings on the way down.
Scary job! But I wasn’t doing it alone. Faith and Hope were working along with me, insuring success. And my friends were cheering me on. With that change of perspective, the hard work became less of a nightmare and more of a thrill.
When her boss Joel Cushman catches her using the spa shower at The Manse, junior accountant and graduating college senior Manda Doughty comes clean about the alcoholic drinking that has led her into a disastrous relationship with a predatory professor. Joel, who is also a trustee of the college, is faced with more problems than a beautiful, naked woman in his shower. While he’d rather make love all night with funny, brainy Manda, Joel knows his desire for her has no future if Manda cannot stay sober, grow up, and face her problems. While Manda immerses herself in AA, Joel uncovers harassment and embezzlement that threaten the existence of the college his ancestors founded. Can he fix the problems at the college without exposing Manda to public humiliation? Can Manda clean up her mess and trust the love she feels for Joel? The odds may not be in their favor, but miracles happen for those who are willing to change their lives and open their hearts.
Where to Find Katie…
I am in awe of your strength and courage, Katie. And I can easily visualize you flying higher each day. I enjoyed reading Stepping Up to Love and look forward to the next book in the series.