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Andy didn't look like Santa Claus until his hair color turned white and he sported a white beard and mustache. His bright blue eyes would twinkle from time to time. His smile was contagious.
GREENFIELD, MA, August 28, 2019 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Katherine Batsis, an author, publisher, biographer, and the beloved wife of the late Dr. Andrew Batsis, is pleased to announce that she will launch a book titled, Dr. Andrew Batsis, Husband! Dentist! Kiwanian! Santa Claus? The upcoming book lovingly labored over by Dr. Batsis' widow is composed of a poignant and entertaining account of their life together. Additionally, the author also focuses on her late husband's vast success as a dentist, as well as an influential pillar of his community. The manuscript serves as a marriage memoir, a biography, a family epic, and a veritable compendium of the life's work of not just one man, but an entire family.
While it is not unusual for a loving wife to honor her husband's memory, Katherine Batsis goes the extra mile. She has utilized the written word in hopes of capturing his essence, as well as reaching a wide audience. Her now finished, soon to be published biography of Dr. Batsis also reads as a stirring journal of their marriage to one another; a heartwarming "sweetheart piece" which provides wisdom, entertainment, and comfort to all those who choose to commit to this biographical marriage memoir; a unique term reserved exclusively for this new, exciting genre of literature. The prospect of this manuscript is now at a fever pitch, perhaps becoming one of the most anticipated non-fiction literature works of recent years.
Recently, TSR News Group sat down for an exclusive interview with arguably the most fascinating up and coming author of the new decade. Ms. Batsis was more than happy to illuminate us on her process, her setbacks, her goals, and so much more.
Kathi, it's so great to speak with you about this amazing, new manuscript. First of all, this has been a highly anticipated book for a couple of years. Why the holdup?
Before I had a publisher the title page read, "Dr. Andrew Batsis, Husband! Dentist! Kiwanian! Santa Claus? Written and compiled by Katherine J. Batsis". I had received many letters from his patients, his receptionist and dental assistant, his friends and K [Kiwanis] fellows, and family — my brother shared a wonderful poem, which comforts me every time I read it. When I procured Lulu Publishing Services, and when one of their staff read the manuscript, I was told that 70% of the manuscript had to be my original writing; that I could fictionalize the manuscript or get permission as from my brother to give up copyright to me for his poem, and the others who shared letters, recipes, photos, etc. I wanted to keep the memoir factual. So far, I have received over 200 permission statements. I have more to get through. I have deleted about two dozen names/letters as well. So now "and compiled" is deleted on the title page.
Sometimes a long, steady buildup actually works in one's favor, especially when dealing with the mystique of literature. Do you find that the anticipated release of Dr. Andrew Batsis, Husband! Dentist! Kiwanian! Santa Claus? has made people in your life more interested to finally own a copy?
Over 200 are interested. Now that I reside in an assisted living facility, there are more people interested in reading the book when it's published.
With the publicity I've received through marketing, advertising and news releases, I believe there are thousands of people who have visited my website, and are interested in reading my book.
As a post script: I would like 50% of the proceeds to go to the New Jersey Kiwanis Foundation for the "Young Children, Priority One" program.
Let's talk about that title… What a mouthful! But what an absolutely fantastic, memorable mouthful nonetheless. How did you decide that the title would be Dr. Andrew Batsis, Husband! Dentist! Kiwanian! Santa Claus?
Just his name wasn't enough. I was compelled to describe him. First, he was my husband, a hero to me by:
1- helping me up five flights of stairs humorously
2- sharing the tradition of the bay leaf, of which I was unaware
3- pleasing him by doing the right thing in our apartment with a ship-shape notice taped to the outside door.
When he graduated dental school he became my hero dentist by:
1- protecting me from a dentist instructor who put his hands in my mouth
2- giving me excellent advice in caring for my teeth
3- giving all patients a dental kit which consisted of a toothbrush, a sample tube of toothpaste, and a tablet to show plaque buildup.
4- bartering dental services with laundry services
When he joined Kiwanis he was enamored with the six objects of K International. His enthusiastic participation led me to call him "Mr. Kiwanis." When I joined Soroptimist International [Andy and I] discussed issues that affected both Kiwanis and Soroptimist. Andy quickly became a hero to adults in Kiwanis and to the Kiwanis-sponsored youth. He was a smart man, as he knew what to say, and he was a wise man, as he knew whether to say it or not. If yes, he knew when to say it.
Andy didn't look like Santa Claus until his hair color turned white and he sported a white beard and mustache. His bright blue eyes would twinkle from time to time. His smile was contagious. When he chuckled, his belly shook. More often than not, there was an aura of love about him. He was able to put most people at ease and brought out the best in the youth he guided. I imagine Santa Claus is able to do the same.
You've essentially stumbled on an brand new genre of literature; the 'biographical marriage memoir", as it is now known. This broad scope has enabled your work to stylistically modulate from comedy to drama to tragedy, and all around. In your mind — in the mind of the author, Kathi Batsis — is there a general genre this story falls into?
The circular nature of the memoir came from the children's book, "Wheel on the Chimney" by Margaret Wise Brown, which begins "First there was one stork. Then there were two…" The storyline goes by the changing seasons. The end of the story lends itself to starting from the beginning again. This book is noted as Juvenile Fiction even though the text describes the life of two stork mates in one year's time period.
Part I, the Memorial Tribute, is a straight transcription of the video — now a DVD. The chapters for Part I state who is speaking and what was read; that is, a letter, a poem or a composition tribute.
Part II, Personal Reflections, lent itself to answering questions. I would think of an anecdote to share, then I would think of a question to introduce the anecdote. I found this procedure easy to do. So all the chapters in Part II are questions. You don't have to read all the chapters as you may not be interested in the description of the house. You can read the chapters in any order you like, as each chapter is a complete response to the question.
Part III, Kiwanis, is written in chronological order with chapter titles stating Andy's participation in the Kiwanis organization. Some chapters do not include all of the people involved with Andy as a result of the Kiwanis organization, because (1) I was unable to contact them, (2) they were deceased and I couldn't find next of kin, (3) next of kin didn't want their loved one's name publicized in the book, and (4) I did not want to make up fictitious character names. I want the memoir to be as accurate and truthful as I can possibly make it.
The prologue is similar to a script. It is one page short with a short statement from the death certificate at the end. The one page epilogue is more verse than prose. It describes Andy's life concisely. The last two lines welcome the reader to reread the book.
It's no secret that in 2019 there's not a whole lot of dependency on big publishing houses. Much like the music and film industry, you can go just as far on your own as you can with a corporate giant, so to speak. That creative and commercial freedom is priceless. Add to that the idea that doing it "alone" makes the most sense financially, and it all adds up to a pretty tempting business model. Lulu Publishing seems to capture the best of majors and independent publishers alike. Has your experience with Lulu been positive thus far?
First of all, I'm thankful I have a publisher. The publisher has directed me to have 70% of the book as my own work [as I mentioned before]. Because I had many people who knew Andy, I had received condolence notes at the time of his passing, and when I was writing the manuscript, I contacted many people from his past who wrote letters describing events they shared to put into the book. Had I had a publisher then, I would have known to ask these people to give me written permission to include their letters as part of my writing. It's been difficult for me to contact these people now. Lulu Publishing Services expected me to make contact by myself, as I shared a name of the woman who introduced me to international folk dancing, whose husband was deceased before her. They had no children and her obituary was sparse and had no next of kin (named in the obituary). It didn't even include that she was widowed.
I've heard from another publisher, "Doesn't Lulu help you in getting contacts?" So I'm thinking I'm not getting as much help as I should.
Your official website is very impressive (www.KathiBatsis.com). The Greek recipes section could break off and become a separate phenomenon on its own… Seriously! Any possibility book #2 will be a Greek cookbook?
There's always a possibility. I would include the recipes in appendix B [of Dr. Andrew Batsis, Husband! Dentist! Kiwanian! Santa Claus?] and some of the recipes in the actual text of the book. Then I would request more recipes from Cousin Dina and members of my extended family. I believe Cousin Marte makes her own filo dough. Sisters-in-law, Sharon and Madeline, are great cooks. Sister-in-law, Cheryl, may have more recipes from Mom Batsis. So, I repeat: there's always a possibility.
Is there going to be a sequel to Dr. Andrew Batsis, Husband! Dentist! Kiwanian! Santa Claus?
If there is going to be a sequel, it would be an imaginary composition taking place in heaven. This would be the first time I write fiction. For it to be a sequel, I would have to include Andy meeting Aristotle as the master of ceremonies mentioned in Part I of the book (entitled "Memorial Tribute").
What is your personal favorite part of the manuscript?
It is Christmas of 1971. Andy didn't want to host our holiday party that had become a Batsis tradition. His reason wasn't because of the expense or because of so much preparation. There was family dissension between Pop Batsis and Aunt Bess, and Andy lost his usual enthusiastic expectation for the party. What we discuss and what happens is best read rather than described by me now.
The ending of Christmas 1971 can be summed up (by Shakespeare) with the words "all's well that ends well."
Here's a question we're sure everyone who knows you has wondered at some time or another: How in the world do you find the time to eat supper, much less write a book?! You're famously active. Tell us about what your average day is like, and how you found the time to write and revise a modern masterpiece.
Editor's note: Kathi's poetic, short story-length answer to this question has been granted its own secondary news article, which has been released in tandem with this one. Seek it out right now, or visit her website to read the full interview.
ABOUT KATHERINE BATSIS & www.KathiBatsis.com
Katherine Batsis is a graduate of Simmons College and Lesley College where she acquired her L.S. and B.Ed. Her training and learned skills lie in library sciences, but she is equally expert in thinking, researching, reading, and writing. During her free time she leads an active, rich life filled with entertainment, good friends, good food, and lots of laughs.
She is a biographer, author, publisher, and the loving wife of the late Dr. Batsis. Kathi has received a great deal of recognition for her literary achievements during various phases of finalizing her debut work, Dr. Andrew Batsis, Husband! Dentist! Kiwanian! Santa Claus?
To learn more, please visit Katherine Batsis' official website today.
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