Saturday, November 17, 2007
Don't Call Me Rosie - Kathleen Thomas
Don't Call Me Rosie, The Women who Welded the LSTs and the Men who Sailed on Them
Author: Kathleen Thomas
1 - How did you get interested in the topic that's featured in your book?
When I was young, I knew that my mother and two aunts were welders in the shipyard during World War II because my mother would occasionally talk about it. I had no idea that the ships they worked on were LSTs nor did I even know what an LST was. I was very proud that she did this non-traditional job.
In 1999, Les Parker, a former crew member of LST 743, somehow found out about my mother and two aunts and asked them to attend the LST 743 reunion banquet being held in Pittsburgh. My mother was so pleased to attend this banquet and receive recognition from the LST 743 crew.
After listening to her talk about the reunion, I decided that I wanted to write a book about the women welders. Finally, in October 2001 on a visit to Pittsburgh, I interviewed my mother and two aunts.
2 - Tell us a bit about your background. What have you done in the past that relates to your book and that topic?
I am a civil engineer and majority owner of a consulting civil engineering firm, Thomas/Wright, Inc. Nothing in my background really relates to the topic except that I am interested in history. When I was younger, I rarely read current events because I felt that when the event would be reviewed in the future as history, we would learn more about what was actually going on.
I believe there is a view that Civil Engineering and writing are mutually exclusive skills. However, one needs to be at least a good technical writer to be successful as an engineering consultant. I have strong organizational and listening skills. These were invaluable in writing a book such as “Don't Call Me Rosie”.
3 - What advise would you give to someone who is interested in your topic?
Since the “greatest generation” is dying at a significant pace, the first thing I would advise is to talk to anyone you know in this generation about their experiences during World War II.
LST 325 is located in Evansville, IL and the website is http://www.lstmemorial.org
There is a discussion group on that website that one can join.
I also have a Bibliography at the end of my book and would recommend reading the books I used for my research.
4 - What do you see as the benefit to participating in groups and organizations? My first thought would be networking opportunities and the chance for personal and business growth. What are your reasons?
Networking opportunities and the ability to learn from others with similar interests. Most of my involvement in organizations has been on the professional side but sometimes I find a group that I enjoy because its members are fun to be with and are interesting.
5 - Who is the ideal person to read your book? If each person that reads this was going to recommend your book to one person, what sort of person would they want to chose?
An individual interested in World War II history and the involvement and interrelationship of both women's and men's role during that time period.
6 - What do you think ignites a person's creativity?
I really don't know the answer to this question. However, I would recommend a balanced lifestyle in which one is happy with what they are doing in life. If one isn't happy, then I think they need to take steps to change it.
7 - What have you found to be the biggest stumbling block for people who want to start writing?
I feel that some people are overwhelmed by the thought of producing a book in its entirety instead of recognizing that books are written one chapter at a time.
8 - How would you suggest they can overcome that?
First, produce an outline of the book. If one gets stuck on a chapter, skip it and go to the next chapter. You can always come back to the chapter you are stuck on but if you don't continue on, the book may never be completed.
When I was writing my book, I would realize I might need another oral history to include in it for a particular chapter. While I was trying to locate that individual, I could still continue on with another chapter in which I had all the information and research completed.
9 - What do you find is the biggest motivator for people to succeed? Is it money, security, desire for fame or something else?
I think it is different for each person. A secure and comfortable lifestyle is important to me. However, I think my genetics and family upbringing have made me a motivated person in general. I would not object to fame (i.e. author on the bestsellers list) but I feel it is a double edged sword that can intrude on one's lifestyle.
10 - Who is the “perfect” person to read your book?
The son or daughter of parents who lived during World War II.
I also feel that high school students would benefit from reading it since the oral histories would have more meaning to them then learning a bunch of dates about events without really comprehending the significance of those events.
11 - Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I know that your blog is time consuming to produce and appreciate the opportunity you are giving authors to be a part of it. Thank you.