Valerie: Hi Myles! Great to have you at Inspy Romance today.
Myles: Great to be here. I think.
Valerie: What made you decide to go for a position teaching first and second grade at Bridgeview Elementary School here in Spokane?
Myles: Well, I like younger children. They’re not as jaded as the older ones. I like elementary school because I like variety. Teaching five algebra classes a day didn’t appeal to me.
Valerie: You’d been teaching in Spokane Valley? Why the switch?
Myles: Yes, I’d been there five years, teaching sixth grade. I do feel I was able to make a difference there. Anti-bullying and things of that nature. But I was getting restless for a change, so when Bianca Lopez moved to Boston and left this position open at BES, I thought I’d give it a try. I never expected to get the job.
Honestly, one of the single female teachers in my school was hitting on me constantly. I wasn’t interested. She stopped just short of harassment. Anyway, I’d rather sidestep conflict if I can, so this position came open at the perfect time for me.
Valerie: Tell me more about this teacher.
Myles: Not much to tell, honestly. Her name is Dakota, and she’s a few years younger than me. Very outgoing and opinionated. Taught fifth grade and felt we should collaborate more, both in teaching and in life. She made me uncomfortable.
Valerie: Uncomfortable enough to take a job in a different city? Wouldn’t a talk with the principal have cleared things up?
Myles: Not really. Her mom is the principal there. Anyway, like I said, I hate conflict, so this was easier.
Valerie: Are you still living in Spokane Valley? Quite a commute.
Myles: It’s not too bad, but yes, I haven’t had the chance to find a place in the city yet. Everything happened so quickly. I’d like to give notice on my apartment there, but first I have to find something closer, hopefully right in Bridgeview. I hear Fran and Tad Amato have a vacant basement suite. I’m going to see it this afternoon.
Valerie: That’s a pleasant apartment. I think you’ll like it, and it’s only about eight blocks to the school. A comfortable walk.
Myles: Or bike ride.
Valerie: True. You like to ride? It’s a bit of a hill getting up out of Bridgeview proper, but there are plenty of good cycling trails in Spokane. The one along the north side of the river, for instance.
Myles: I can bike hills. Not a problem.
Valerie: You like to work out then?
Myles: I invested in a home gym a few years ago, and I’ve always liked to swim. I prefer solo sports to team sports, and fitness is very important to me.
Valerie: How about nutrition?
Myles: I limit trips through the drive-through, but they’ve been known to happen.
Valerie: Do you cook? Or mostly eat out?
Myles: Eating out alone isn’t that much fun, so I don’t do it often. I had a few teacher friends in SV who’d get together for dinner out a couple of times a month. So… I’ve learned to cook.
I’m more a meat and potatoes kind of guy than international cuisine. I do try to eat a balanced diet. Protein shake for breakfast. A couple of sandwiches and an apple for lunch on school days. Sprouts are good in sandwiches, and I like a variety of deli meat. Also, I prefer artisan bread to the run-of-the-mill grocery store bread. Suppers are generally pretty simple. Steaks, pork chops, chicken. Microwaved potatoes. Frozen veggies reheated.
Valerie: Any food weaknesses?
Myles: (Chuckle) Dessert. I like sweets as much as the next guy.
Valerie: So I hear you’re not a fan of the greenhouse and garden project at Bridgeview Elementary.
Myles: I already had my curriculum planned.
Valerie: You know the PTA has worked hard to get this program rolling. They care whether you participate or not. They care a lot.
Myles: I figured that out. A few of the parents questioned my plans. One of them got downright belligerent about it.
Valerie: Let me guess. Adriana Diaz?
Myles: That’s the one. Wow. I don’t know why parents can’t loosen up and let the teacher run the classroom.
Valerie: You think parents should abdicate responsibility for six hours a day?
Myles: Well, not abdicate exactly. But trusting the teacher wouldn’t go amiss. We’re the ones who’ve got education degrees. Truth? Ms. Diaz reminded me a lot of Dakota, and her daughter seems just like her. Seriously. A room full of sweet, innocent six and seven year olds, and then there’s Violet. I bet she demands as much attention as the other 24 kids put together.
Valerie: I’m sure you’re up for the task of winning Violet and her mother over. Are you planning on incorporating the greenhouse after all?
Myles: I might have to, but as minimally as I can get away with. I already told you I don’t like conflict. And Bianca Lopez did leave me several boxes of notes, so I can get a feel for what she had planned and thought appropriate for the lower grades.
Valerie: Wow, you really don’t like conflict, do you!
Myles: No, I don’t. I’ll adjust, I’m sure.
Valerie: We might have to grow you a backbone.
Myles: I’m not sure I like the sounds of that.
Valerie: Tell me about your spiritual journey.
Myles: It’s tied into my parents’ divorce when I was a teen. Dad moved out to a small apartment and got involved in a church. I stayed with him as much as I could and went to church with him. My mom and brothers thought it was ridiculous, but it filled a void in my life.
Valerie: You told me about Dakota, but have you dated much? Looking to settle down and start a family?
Myles: Somehow I got to be 32 without dating seriously. I guess I haven’t actively looked, just stayed busy with my career and hobbies. Maybe I thought God would drop the right woman in front of me, but so far, He hasn’t done that.
Valerie: Are you open to dating a woman with kids?
Myles: I’d really rather not. I’d like to be her one and only, you know? Like I would be hers. It’s not that I don’t want to be a dad, but having shared custody or something doesn’t sound appealing. I want to be the father of my own kids, not some other guy’s. I know that sounds terrible and the older I get, the less likely it is that I’ll meet ‘that’ woman. But it’s still my hope.
Valerie: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Myles: So you think I need to change, is that it? I’m pretty content with my life just the way it is, thanks. All I need is two or three friends, a church to call home, a fulfilling job, and a place to live. Some fresh air and nature. My needs are simple.
Valerie: But if there’s a woman for you?
Myles: Then I guess God will have to make that plenty obvious. The woman I fall in love with — if I ever do — will be sweet and mild-mannered. We’ll spend quiet evenings at home with intellectual conversations.
Valerie: Hmm. You might be in for a surprise or two… and even like it.
Myles: You’re making me nervous.
About Memories of Mist
Single mom Adriana Diaz isn’t about to let the new teacher derail the PTA’s hard work in securing a greenhouse and garden area for Bridgeview Elementary School, but taking matters into her own hands turns awkward when she realizes her attraction to the teacher.
Pro-level conflict-avoider Myles Sheridan finds himself against an entire community with his reluctance to incorporate gardening into his classes. The only thing that could make his situation worse is falling in love with the ringleader, whose child is his most difficult student and whose husband had died a hero.
How can Myles compete with the man from Adriana’s memories? He’s not the material champions are made of. Or is he?
Memories of Mist releases on July 20 and is currently up for pre-order at the discounted price of $2.99, but let’s give away two digital copies here this week! Comment below and let’s talk about conflict! To what lengths do you go to avoid it? Or are you one of those who steps up to the plate immediately, ready to face it down before it grows too large?
Two commenters’ names will be randomly drawn on Saturday.
“Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.”