By Robert Morales —
Robbie is a writer, an author. She just completed her latest work, Cecilia Jackson's Last Chance. The book is available on Amazon (amazon.com). She says Last Chance has its roots in Van Horn. She explains more about her book later in the interview with the Advocate.
When asked about her influences that helped her develop an interest in writing, she responds this way: “I have always written. In the backyard of our old house on Summer Street in Van Horn I wrote my first masterpiece at age 8. It was an ode to Donny Osmond. I think my influences have always been other writers, such as O Henry, Hemingway, Larry McMurtry, Anne Lamott, Janette Oke, Francine Rivers. I am always inspired to write after I read a good book.”
For those who have always aspired to be a good writer, or to write a book , she gives this advice: “Write. Write a great deal. Then write some more. Many people want to have written a book, but few actually sit down and write. After you've written a great deal, join a writer's group in your town or online. Learn the craft and the business. It is a business. And while you are doing that, write some more.”
Robbie knows a little about education as well. She taught for 19 years, mostly in California, and two years teaching at Van Horn High School. “I was Ms. Floyd then,” she says.
I believe that testing is a necessary and extremely political tool,” she explains. “Assessment is vital, and testing is the fastest and easiest way. But not the best. I honestly don't see it changing, however, without a radical change in the educational system.”
She makes a point of not completely endorsing standardized testing because some students, including her 14-year-old son, are not good testers.
“The best assessment tool for my son is an old-fashioned discussion. That's when I discover how much he knows and understands. However, to have an array of individual assessment plans, based on individual
learning styles, is an ideal that I think will never happen. Another highly idealistic notion is to just let teachers be teachers. Most of the teachers I've worked with are wonderfully dedicated professionals. But many are burned out or unmotivated. To let those folks just “be teachers” without accountability would hurt students.”
As for her interests, and how she manages to balance her time between her profession and her family life, Robbie underscores how lucky she is to love her “job” as a writer and a speaker.
“I am a writer/speaker so I spend most of my time writing and preparing talks,” she says. I speak to women, moms and other writers. I am blessed to have my greatest interests match up with my profession. I also enjoy reading, movies and scrapbooking. I have three step daughters and three granddaughters in California, while I live in Denver with my husband and son. I treat writing/speaking like a full-time job so I work during the hours that my husband and son are at work and school. So when they are home, I am wife and mom. And servant to Scooby and Thor, a puggle and a chug, our two dogs, definitely a part of our family.
Finally, Robbie tells us just enough about her new book to tantalize us.
“Cecelia Jackson's Last Chance is a women's fiction novel. Three women grow up in Boots, Texas going to the First Baptist Church, vowing to change the world. On their high school graduation night, something happens that destroys their friendship. After 25 years of not speaking, they return home to their small town in west Texas for a funeral of their spiritual mentor, Cecelia Jackson. One woman is running from the law, one is desperate to find love and the third has a secret that may take her life. Meanwhile, two old women, Cecelia's cohorts, are on a mission to steal the top secret recipe that Cecelia left to the three “youngun's” that return home.
Cecelia Jackson's Last Chance explores the themes of friendship and redemption and is a highly personal story for me. All the characters are made up, but I based Boots on Van Horn. Folks who've read this book and have lived in Van Horn recognize the town in the story. Like many of us who grew up in Van Horn, I couldn't wait to leave, but now recognize the town as a wonderful place to grow up. I have great memories of the school bus trips, driving up and down the main street with my friends, jogging out toward the airport and back, climbing up and painting the V mountain and of course, going to the rodeo on Frontiers Day. I am proud that one of the characters in my novel is my hometown. Cecelia Jackson's Last Chance is easily available to purchase on www.amazon.com or my website www.robbieiobst.com To follow me online, go to facebook.com/authorRobbieIobst
Iobst, Robbie says, is pronounced “Yo – psst.”
“When I taught, I would tell my students to imagine seeing me across a campus and wanting to tell me a secret. They'd say, “Yo – psst.” That's how Iobst is pronounce with a Y and p. It's an old European name.”