Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Oxford Messed Up by Andrea Kayne Kaufman

Welcome to Author Andrea Kayne Kaufman

Andrea Kayne Kaufman has guided and mentored hundreds of students as a professor at the DePaul University College of Education, where she serves as Chair of the Department of Leadership, Language and Curriculum. A professor and attorney who earned a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College, a master’s degree in Education from Harvard University and her Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Andrea has students who are primarily teachers, seeking masters and doctoral degrees in Educational Leadership to serve as principals and superintendents.
Andrea is an award-winning expert in the area of school law, and has published and spoken widely about special education law, education civil rights, the No Child Left Behind Act, cyber bullying, and other legal and political issues having an impact on students and schools.
In her personal and professional life, Andrea has been involved with issues relating to special needs, in particular Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Her debut novel, “Oxford Messed Up,” is a literary love story that transports readers on a redemptive and emotional journey, where the academic world of Oxford University serves as a backdrop for true learning, self-discovery, and transcendent love. Andrea’s professional expertise and personal experience have given her the vision to create a novel hailed by experts as one of the first to present the inner workings and treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder accurately, from the inside out.
Andrea is currently working on her next novel, “Parent Over Shoulder.” In this poignant love story, Andrea brings her education background, sensitivity, insight and articulate writing style to another “hell” found in many school communities – cyber-bullying.
Andrea draws inspiration for her writing and life from poetry, Van Morrison’s music and other classic vinyl, her daily walks along Lake Michigan, and her time spent with her husband and two children in their equanimity-filled Chicago home.


Night owl, or early bird?

Night owl, but I battle it to see my kids off to school in the AM. I abuse the snooze button.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

Because we all suffer love triangles, battling the internal saboteurs who deny us happiness; this book’s tale of two people doing just that gives readers hope and strength.

What is your dream cast for your book?

Daniel Radcliffe as Henry, Natalie Portman as Gloria. And I think Bill Nighy would do a bang up job as Oliver.

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?

Although my protagonist Gloria is named after a classic Van Morrison song, I’d have to go with one of his even more sultry ballads, “Tupelo Honey”. The following passage describes Gloria pondering the delicate and vulnerable blossom often destroyed by the elements: “But when it survived, the blossom produced sweet and delicious tupelo honey, which Gloria thought an incredible prize for the remarkable feat of holding on.”

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

Start. Speak into a voice recorder. Pick up a pen. Put some paper in the typewriter. Open a new document in Word. Whatever your medium, the characters cannot tell you their stories unless you are willing to take steps to record them. They’ll tell you where to go.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?

I’m definitely a pretty even blend of Henry & Gloria. I’m always a bit late, but always meet a deadline. I’m an overachiever with my work but my desk drawers are a mess. I am okay with imperfection but not with inertia. And while I am moved by Sylvia Plath’s work, Van Morrison is the poet who truly rocks my world.

Favorite music?

I’m a classic rock girl and Van Morrison junkie. I also adore those artists who’ve remade his classic anthem “Gloria” like the Doors, Patti Smith, Jimi Hendrix, and U2. Love the Belfast Cowboy’s muses like Muddy Water, Ray Charles, and John Lee Hooker. Also I enjoy fellow poets like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Tom Petty. You know how there are melody and lyrics people? I’m a lyrics person. It’s the poetry, after all.

Write a Haiku about your book

Clawfoot tub in loo,

Place of suffering and love,

It’s Oxford Messed Up

Print or Ebook?

Oy! I hate to choose. I want to say print because I love my books with the dog-eared pages and marks from college and graduate school, but ebooks are so damn convenient. I have rotator cuff issues and they really lighten my load.

Summer or Winter?

In Chicago, you have to go with Spring AND Autumn. They’re beautiful and bearable and very, very brief!

PC or Mac?

Mac. All the way. I write on a MacBook Air or a Mac desktop. I always have my iPhone and iPad with me. I’m a walking advertisement for the impact of Steve Jobs on creativity and marketing.

What is you favorite way to spend a rainy day?

Walking by Lake Michigan listening to Van Morrison’s “And it stoned me.” Nothing like feeling impervious and soaking wet at the same time.

If you could have a signed copy of any novel what would it be and why?
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. My favorite novel and feminist treatise of all time. I think Elizabeth Bennet’s rejection of Darcy’s first proposal is one of the most important scenes in all of literature. With no dowry and no prospects, Elizabeth is self-actualized and has the courage to say “no”to one of the most eligible bachelors in England. For years, I have strived for her internal locus of control, rereading Pride and Prejudice every year on my birthday.

If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?

I would be with my mother. She died when I was eight but I have always reunited with her in my dreams, fantasy life, imagination, and writing. She’s my muse for Oxford Messed Up and so many things.

Oxford Messed Up

Oxford Messed Up is a unique literary love story that transports readers on a meaningful and emotional journey where the academic world of Oxford, the music of Van Morrison, and an old claw-foot bathtub serve as a backdrop for learning, self-discovery, and transcendent love. Rhodes Scholar Gloria Zimmerman is an academic superstar who has come to Oxford University to study feminist poetry. Yet the rigors of the academy pale in comparison to her untreated Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, fueled by her overachieving parents and manifested in a deathly aversion to germs and human contact. Her next-door neighbor (who is also, to her mortification, her loomate) is Henry Young, the appealing but underachieving musician son of an overbearing and disapproving Oxford don. Still mourning the death of his supportive mother while enduring the mockery of his disapproving and merciless father, Henry is haunted by the unexpectedly serious ramifications of a reckless and tragic youth. Gloria and Henry’s relationship evolves from a shared obsession with Van Morrison’s music into a desire on the part of each to fill in the gaps in the life of the other. Yet the constraints of a debilitating illness and the looming revelation of a catastrophic secret conspire to throw their worlds into upheaval and threaten the possibilities of their unlikely yet redemptive love.

Giveaway Details:
1 copy of Oxford Messed Up
Shipping to US only
Ends 5/1/12

a Rafflecopter giveawayYou need javascript enabled to see this giveaway.