He’s known about town as the approachable city councilman with talent for listening. Now, Mount Dora is seeing a new side of its elected official -- novelist. This year Marc Crail, who represents Mount Dora’s District 4, penned “Tales Out of School,” a semi-autobiographical novel that follows the rookie year of a young teacher. The main character stumbles and bumbles his way through thanks to a lot of luck and the support of a very understanding principal and colleagues. There are lots of highs and lows and plenty of funny tales, many of which are true, according to Crail. The book could be the ideal gift for teachers this year.
Before moving to Mount Dora, Crail spent his entire 35-year career in education working in Northeast Ohio, During that span, he taught fifth and sixth grades for five years and became an elementary principal before ultimately serving as a Superintendent of Schools for 17 years.
Mount Dora Buzz asked the councilman-turned-author a few questions about his 229-page unexpected journey into semi-autobiographical fiction:
BUZZ: What made you decide to write "Tales out of School"? CRAIL: I just thought that America was looking for a book a bit sexier than “Fifty Shades of Gray,” more poignant than “Of Mice and Men,” and at the reading level of Harry Potter. The other reason is that is that I’ve been laid off from Disney’s Animal Kingdom for more than seven months due to the pandemic and I needed a project.
BUZZ: How long did it take you to write the novel? CRAIL: The stories have been rolling around in my head for years now. Once I decided to go for it, it took about five months to complete. There’s no bad language, and the font is fairly large so it’s appropriate for all audiences.
BUZZ: Tell me about your experience as an educator and administrator in the school system. CRAIL: I enjoyed every minute of each of my jobs. I was very fortunate to have worked with extraordinary kids, some of the best teachers in the universe in communities (mostly small to middle-sized towns) where education was a high priority and for caring and thoughtful school boards who gave me the opportunity to do the things I believed would make a real difference for our students. No one has been luckier than me. BUZZ: What would you like readers of your book to walk away with? CRAIL: Teachers have long been undervalued, as well as underpaid, but the work they do is incredibly important to our society and to the future of America. We must allow and encourage our teachers to be creative to meet the unique needs of their students. Textbooks and state tests have value but relationships among parents, teachers and students are far more important.
“Tales Out of School” is available locally at Barrel of Books and Games in Mount Dora and can be ordered in paperback for $10.99 or for electronic readers for $3.99. There are other books with the same title, so be sure to purchase the one by Marc Crail.
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