Message From The Author

Author's Message

Cop of the Year is primarily a love story. It's about two lonely, world-weary people who've had a rough life. Both are battle-scarred, though in different ways. When the hero, Mitch Lansing, a by-the-book cop, is forced to work in Cassie Smith's less-than-traditional classroom, sparks fly because of their differences and their strong personalities. But surprisingly, they find in each other a solace from their pasts and the courage to go on and risk in the future.

But Cop of the Year is also about teaching kids. I've spent my entire adult life doing that, and the book reflects many things about teaching. It's rewarding to see students grow because of my class. It's uplifting to see them alter their views on life because of what they've learned with me. And it's the best thing in the world to know that I've helped someone choose a better way than he would have if it hadn't been for my class.

I've had many of the experiences Cassie has in the book. I've taught reluctant learners who hate school and want to hate you. I've worked with kids just as tough as Johnny, the young student who's in danger of slipping back into a gang. Some of them have gone on to be successful in life; some have not. I've also taken risks like Cassie does with her teaching methods; the book reflects my whole philosophy on how to teach kids and keep them motivated. I've actually taught many of the lessons described here.

Mostly, though, Cassie feels about teaching and about love as I do. She gives her heart and soul to her job, sometimes too much. And when she finds the man with whom she wants to share her life, she fights to keep him-against almost insurmountable odds.

Thought I've never been a cop, or been to Vietnam, I have the highest respect for men in uniform: soldiers, police officers, firefighters. They are a different breed of men. They are often loners who intentionally distance themselves, but at the same time, they can be the most unselfish, caring individuals who routinely risk their lives for others. Mitch is the embodiment of this special kind of man.

Both she and Mitch became very real people to me, so it was a pleasure to spend time with them again in the spin-off to this book, my December '98 Superromance.

Please write to me and tell me what you think: P.O. Box 24288, Rochester, NY 14624-0288.

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