Information Update - Fall 2011

Introducing Our Staff

Kym Fetsko works as the administrative assistant to the dean of the library and the Schemel Forum events coordinator. Kevin Norris, editor of the information update, interviewed Kym via Facebook Messenger.
 
Kevin
OK -- first question. What is your background, and how did you get into being an administrative assistant?
 
Kym
I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
 
I was fresh off a waitressing stint (which seems to be an art school prerequisite), when my younger sister decided to move back to Berks County. I was hired as a receptionist at Feldman & Pinto, P.C., a law firm in Philadelphia, to replace her. I was soon promoted to legal assistant and then later became their bookkeeper. When we moved to Dunmore, my husband's hometown, I was hired as a bookkeeper at Benchmark Advertising in Dickson City, and when they went bankrupt in 2004, I came here as an Administrative Assistant.
 
Kevin
Was it a jolt moving from the art world to administration?
 
Kym
Not really. Art is an extremely tough business. I only know a couple of people who are lucky enough to call it their full-time career, and they were supported, either by trust funds or family, to make it work. As I had neither, I always knew that if I wanted to make art it would have to be as a side career.
 
I've been lucky to have a steady group of clients to keep my freelance business running at an even keel over the last 10 years.
 
Kevin
Tell us about your freelance business.
 
Kym
I'm an editorial freelancer, so I am commissioned mostly for alternative weekly papers (like our Electric City) or magazines.
 
Well, it's all about organization. Between work, family and my volunteer efforts, I need to stay organized to find the time to work on new pieces, and then market them to my mailing list.
 
Kevin
Do you do illustrations?
 
Kym
Yes. My website is www.kymbalthazar.com.
 
Kevin
Anything particularly interesting about the illustrations you do? Any projects which were particularly exciting?
 
Kym
I do mostly caricatures. It's always fun to do a piece for a magazine that you can find at the local bookstore.
 
Kevin
Speaking of books, did I hear correctly that you have written one?
 
Kym
Yes. It's actually my second.
 
It's a strange story, but I was home with the flu about two years ago. During my week confined to the couch, I consumed the entire Twilight series. Reading the author's bio, I saw that we had some similarities. I figured, "Well, if she could do it, why can't I?"
 
My husband looked at me like I was insane when I told him I was planning on writing a novel, but I started writing anyway. I finished my first manuscript, a young adult paranormal novel, about nine months later. I found a couple of online writers' groups where we critique each other's work, polished it up, and started sending it out to agents.
 
I had a few bites, a handful of partial requests, a couple of full manuscript requests, but no one offered representation. During that time, William Bernhardt was honored with the Distinguished Author Award. While he was here, he was kind enough to critique my first three chapters and offer advice on the process.
 
He encouraged me to start a new project. I did. My second book, "Lavender's Blue," is a middle grade novel about a down-and-out kid from Philly, trapped in an alternate world populated by nursery rhyme characters, who struggles to find the four items that will get him back home. I started sending the completed manuscript out in March and was offered representation by Erin Harris at Skolnick Literary in New York in May.

Kym FetskoCurrently, Erin and I are revising my novel to bring it to the level she believes will be appealing to publishers. She will begin shopping it around (hopefully) in the fall.
 
Kevin
How do the ideas for your novels come to you? Out of the blue, or do you have to really work at them? Do you write as you find time, or do you have a particular time each day that you work on your writing, or your art, for that matter?
 
Kym
I feel like I'm constantly taking mental notes on things that could be turned into a story. It's important to write about something that keeps your interest. I've started a few stories that I shoved in a drawer because halfway through the outline or synopsis I realized that I was either bored, or it just wasn't for me. I'm sure any audience would be bored too.
 
I try to squeeze my creative endeavors in whenever I find the time – lunch breaks, after dinner, at the dog park, in the middle of the night – whenever! Luckily, my kids are getting to the ages that they don't need me every second, so they understand if my studio door is closed not to bother me. It helps.
 
Kevin
Could you tell us about your work at the University?
 
Kym
Here at The University of Scranton, I'm the administrative assistant to the dean of the library and Schemel Forum events coordinator. I handle schedules, finances and general office organization, as well as coordinate Friends of the Library and Schemel Forum events and programs.
 
In 2009, I was elected to serve on the Staff Senate, and I won the 2010 Staff Senate President's Award. I chair the elections and membership committee and was recently honored to accept the role of vice president and chair of the finance committee.
 
Kevin
What do you like best about your job?
 
Kym
I like that it varies from day to day and that I'm not stuck doing the same thing all the time. I also like the people I've met through Friends and Schemel events.
 
Kevin
So, what do you do with all your spare time?
 
Kym
I am on the board for DGR (Dunmore/Green Ridge) Soccer and coach my daughter's U10 team. In addition I'm an active volunteer for the NEBTR (Northeast Boston Terrier Rescue) and assist in transporting Boston Terriers to their new homes. I was also recently elected president of the Dunmore Middle School Parent, Teacher, Student Association.
 
Kevin
Thanks, Kym. It sounds like a very full and interesting life. And good luck with your novel.

Kevin Norris

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