Kathleen Gerard ’87 Publishes New Romantic Comedy Novel, "The Thing Is"

Kathleen Gerard ‘87, just published her third novel, a romantic comedy titled The Thing Is. In the story, a woman deep in the throes of grief after the death of her fiancé, has her heart and soul rallied by a therapy dog, a Yorkshire terrier named Prozac, who has supernatural wisdom and a Mensa IQ.

“I had so much fun writing this book,” says Gerard. Her eight-pound Yorkshire terrier and literary co-pilot, Sissy, who sits by her desk as she writes, served as the inspiration for the therapy dog in her new novel.

Gerard’s first novel, In Transit, won "Best Romantic Fiction" at the New York Book Festival. It is a woman-in-jeopardy story that delves into the ordinary lives of NYPD career cops and combines romance and suspense. Her next novel, Cold Comfort, was a heartwarming-style romance about a workaholic photojournalist.

Philip Cioffari, professor of English at William Paterson, helped to inspire Gerard to become a writer. “His disciplined work ethic – and ability to deconstruct creative writing of all types, to show what works and what doesn’t – was unsurpassed,” notes Gerard. “I learned so much from his workshops.” She also enjoyed taking a course called the Mystery Novel with Stephen Hahn, associate provost and English professor, and says that William Faulkner is still one of her all-time favorite writers thanks to everything she learned from the late Professor Donald Duclos, a brilliant William Faulkner scholar.

Gerard writes across genres. She has been awarded The Perillo Prize, The Eric Hoffer Prose Award and nominated for Best New American Voices, The William Faulkner - William Wisdom Prize, The Mark Twain House Humor Prize, The Saturday Evening Post "Great American Fiction" Prize and Short Story America, all national prizes in literature.

Her short prose and poetry have been widely published in literary journals and anthologies, as well as broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR). She is also a book reviewer for and contributor to Shelf Awareness (http://www.shelf-awareness.com/), a publication of the book industry.

Gerard is also an active and working fine art photographer. Her photos are published in journals and magazines, featured in art shows and galleries and showcased in private collections.

Gerard began at William Paterson as an art and photography major, but once the writing bug bit, she longed to merge all aspects of her creativity. The dean of the College of the Arts and Communication at that time was instrumental in helping her merge all of her creative interests into a BA in liberal srts, she says. “I’m very grateful for the classes I took and the professors I studied with in the English department. The diversity of my education at William Paterson continues to inspire, influence, and inform all aspects of my work…work that has become a very fulfilling way of life.”