Interview with Catherine Hughes

What inspired you to write your first book?
I've provided career services in high schools for over 25 years now. Over that time I've completed three postgraduate qualifications in career education and vocational psychology. So I have developed quite a lot of experience and knowledge that I want to share with others. I have observed that in some schools staff who are required to deliver career services have no qualifications in this field. Also some work-related courses have career development content and the teachers delivering the curriculum many have minimal career development knowledge. Many textbooks in this field are aimed at postgraduate study and academia. However, 'Careers work in schools: A primer for career development facilitators' fills a gap because it has been written to inform those working in schools who facilitate student career development. In addition to career development professionals this may include a range of school staff such as student counsellors, academic advisers, teachers, chaplains and pastoral support staff. School staff for whom careers work is not their core work, may not pursue postgraduate study in career development or vocational psychology. However, 'Careers work in schools: A primer for career development facilitators' will provide them with the necessary background.
How do you approach cover design?
I have also written a website: It is a whole school careers website for all Australian schools. The aim was to have the ebook cover aligned with the overall look and feel of the website because they are interrelated, although the ebooks will have an international focus rather than an Australian national focus. The plan is to use the same bright green cover with the Grow Careers logo for the series. The bright green is simple, yet easy to identify.
What are you working on next?
I am planning a series of ebooks with the stem: 'Careers work in schools: ...' The ebook, Careers work in schools: A primer for career development facilitators' which has recently been published on Smashwords is an overview of careers work in schools for new or experienced career development professionals and other school staff who facilitate student career development as part of their core role, e.g, teachers, curriculum coordinators, chaplains, etc. One of the major problems that schools career services face is that there are too few career professionals and too many students to serve. School budget limitations often do not provide for the employment of additional career professionals and a crowded curriculum often does not permit additional time for careers work in schools. So what career professionals and administrators need know is how to deliver cost-effective career services that meet the identified career development needs of all students. This is the topic of the next book in the series, which I hope to published by January 2016.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small regional city in Australia. From a national perspective most of the state where I grew up is classified as rural and in terms of educational and employment opportunities individuals from a rural background are considered to be disadvantaged compared to their metropolitan counterparts. This background influenced my social justice orientation. My aim is that my ebooks will benefit all schools, regardless of geographic location or socio-economic status. I mainly focus on tools and resources for careers practice that are of good quality and are inexpensive or freely available to all. While I live in Australia, my ebooks have an international focus and are intended to assist schools in all countries.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing, I am providing career services in a Grade 7-12 school in Australia. Alternatively, I might be doing craft work or spending time at my family's beach cottage, enjoying the natural environment and walking on our beautiful pristine beaches, previously with our beloved boxer dog, Lucy. Sadly Lucy recently passed away. Hopefully soon I and my family will be enjoying the beach with a new boxer pup. I absolutely love the beach and can understand how being in the natural environment can inspire writers.
Published 2015-10-18.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.