Fed Up chronicles the daily trials and tribulations of a young African American woman as she navigates the ins-and-outs of working for the United States Federal Government. Carol’s journey begins when she decides to the join the Air Force at the ripe young age of twenty-three. Three excruciating years later, she realizes the military wasn’t her cup of tea and decides to become a civil servant. Over the course of twelve years, Carol works for three federal agencies in several states. Her countless encounters with controlling, tomfoolery, and downright manipulative people turn her once perfect dream of rising to the top of her game as a federal employee to a recurring nightmare. When her frustrations reach a fever pitch, she finally decides enough is enough.
“Ok ladies. The best piece of advice I can give you is get out there and get involved. Don’t ever let a man tell you that a woman can’t do something. If they do, that’s when you prove him wrong by doing it. It’ll be like a kick in the nuts when he sees you excel.” Ok. She’s a bit of a feminist. Colonel Nolan continued to tell us how, as women, we need to strive for perfection and not to get bogged down by a society that’s controlled by men. This is too much for me! I just want to come to work and get paid.
Thirty minutes later, she finally changed the subject. “I have a really important event happening this weekend that I would love for both of you to participate in,” Colonel Nolan sounded like she was going to explode. Umm, I don’t know about this. My weekends are mine.
“Sure what is it?” Althea asked with a little too much enthusiasm.
“One of my many passions is participating in Civil War re-enactments. I have an authentic Confederate soldier uniform I purchased off eBay a few years back that fits me amazingly. I would need the two of you to help with the setup of the field.” Did she really just say she does Civil War reenactments as a Confederate soldier and wants two black women to participate in this mess? You’ve got to be kidding me?
“That sounds like fun. Count me in.” Althea exclaimed. Girl, you’re taking brown-nosing to a whole other level right now.
“I won’t be able to attend. I have plans this weekend,” I quickly said.
“I do them twice a year. Next time you can participate, Carol.” Ummm, that’s not a no, but a hell no. Guess what, Colonel Nolan? THE SOUTH LOST! How many times do you need to reenact that?
“What time do you need me there?” Althea asked.
“Well, I’m going to set up mid-morning on Friday. Come to my office around ten-thirty in some clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.” She’s doing this mess during duty hours? Rank does have its privileges.
They continued talking for a few more minutes before Althea said she needed to get back to her office.
“Nice meeting you, Carol,” she said as left the office.
“Carol, I would like to discuss what your duties are going to be. As a new lab officer, you should be familiar with what everyone does in the lab. With that being said I would like for you to do a rotation through each section of the lab.”
“Ok. I worked as a generalist in a small regional hospital before joining the military for about six months.”
“Ok. That’s good. It shouldn’t take you long to get through the sections.” Is she expecting me to run patient samples? No way, officers don’t do that. They shuffle papers all day.
C.P. Henderson graduated from Angelo State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Medical Technology. While on active duty, in the United States Air Force, she earned a Master’s in Forensic Science. She was inspired to write Fed Up! after years of working with characters even Hollywood couldn’t dream up. C.P. and her husband currently reside in Austin, Texas, with their charismatic Cavachon, Steve.
1. What made me decide to sit down and actually write a book?
I had just quit the third job I’d had in two years. I couldn’t help but think there was a reason I’d encountered so many ‘interesting’ people in my career. While enjoying my new free time, shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation also contributed to my desire to write about my life. I saw the characters on those shows and thought I’ve worked with and for people way more ‘colourful‘ or unbelievable than them. I also felt like it would be therapeutic to sit down and write about my experiences.
2. How long did it take to write the Fed Up!?
I wrote the book backward, meaning I wrote the last chapter first. All of the characters’ personalities and emotions were still fresh and very raw. I was able to write the last chapter of the book in about a week and a half. So much emotion poured out of me as I typed away I could feel my anxiety creep up when certain memories were relived. So much so, I decided to take a few weeks off and let my emotions settle down. Once I got past the feelings of hurt and anger I was able to complete the first draft of the book in six weeks.
3. What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?
A round of drinks. Just kidding. Most of the characters in my book I hope to never encounter again, but if I were to run into them, I’d thank them. Thank them for giving me the stories to tell others and make people laugh. Also, for helping me develop a tough skin. As I was working with these people I couldn’t believe some of the things that were said and done to be me on a daily basis, but when I look back I can’t help but laugh.
4. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Whenever I get an idea of interest I start writing. I have about four or five short story/novels in the works ranging from modern Biblically based short stories to romance fiction (experiences taken from my own life, yet fiction).
5. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Being a self-published author has given me a new appreciation for the entire writing process. Writers who are blessed to have agents and marketing teams really only have to concentrate on the writing itself. Self-publishing authors have to be and do everything for themselves. It took a lot of guts to put my story out there, to begin with, but having to talk and pretty much ‘brag’ about writing a novel was very overwhelming but rewarding. When I saw how people react to my work it motivated me to put myself out there even more.
6. Where do your ideas come from?
Most, if not all of, my ideas come from my life experiences. When I wrote my second novel, Illusion A Love Story, I took bits and pieces of things I’d experienced in previous romantic relationships and tied them together in a fictional story.
7. What is the hardest thing about writing?
Staying focused. I have to set weekly goals for myself in order to stay on track. It’s easy to get sidetracked when you don’t have anyone breathing down your neck to meet a deadline.