Questions and Answers about My Last Year of Life (in School)

What is your novel about?

A teacher’s last year of teaching, how Ethan Miller deals with students, fellow faculty members, and incompetent administrators in his 35th year as an educator. It also involves some of the actual events, like the Chicago teachers’  strike, the tragedy at Sandy Hook, and the Atlanta test cheating scandal.

What is your background?

I taught and coached in four different high schools during my 35 years as an educator so I used all those experiences to create My Last Year of Life (in School). I still teach at the community college level in the Cleveland, Ohio area.

What is the genre of this novel?

It’s fiction, of course, but also semi-autobiographical and told in a diary/epistolary format. Readers could consider the book reality television in a novel.

Who would enjoy reading this novel? Who is the target audience?

I think my fellow educators would really reading My Last Year of Life (in School), but I also think parents, especially those who have children in the public schools, could benefit from reading it as well.

How did you come up with the idea for My Last Year of Life (in School)?

I had felt the urge to write about my experiences as a teacher for a long time, but I finally kept a journal during my actual last year of teaching and listened to fellow educators in various schools tell me, “I could write a book about . . ..” So I actually did. I think this story about life in a public high school needs to be told.

What challenges did you face while writing this book?

Originally, I had the intent of creating a memoir, but another published writer suggested that unless my last name was Kardashian there would probably be little interest in a memoir from a school teacher. So I transformed my daily journal of my last year as a teacher into fiction, embellishing some of the events and creating new characters.

What other books have you published?

I have already published nine other nonfiction books for teachers and coaches, but My Last Year of Life (in School) is my debut novel.

What books do you plan to publish next?

I have finished one young adult novel and am working on finishing another. Young adult is the genre I feel most compelled to write, especially with books that have a strong male protagonist.  Teaching and coaching teenagers have given me a lot of background material.

Where can readers get My Last Year of Life (in School)?

It’s available at and Barnes & Noble and now as an e-book.

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