Monday, September 19, 2011

How to Pass a Degree with Confidence: an author interview with Anthony Fox

Hello everyone! Today I'd like to welcome author Anthony Fox to The World Crafter's Inkspot.

Anthony is the author of HOW TO PASS A DEGREE WITH CONFIDENCE, a motivating self-help book on how to pass a university degree with confidence. It contains detailed information for those individuals contemplating an under graduate or post graduate degree, as well as insightful stories from the writer's own experiences. It was recently published on July 29, 2011, by Chipmunkapublishing.

Hello, Anthony! Thanks for coming. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born in London. As a young boy I went to school in America before returning to England to finish my education. I also lived in Australia before leaving for America with my parents. In England I studied art at Bideford Art College.

From an early age I wanted to be a writer / artist. Ever since I can remember I have been drawing and writing. Around the age of 12, I became a keen reader of history, archaeology and science. Throughout my life I have been a dreamer and thinker, always trying to understand the wonders of the world. I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge.

Ooh, London. I could tell you were British from the way you phrase your sentences. I love British authors! In a writer's "rule of three", three of my more favourite authors, J.R.R. Tolkien, James Herriot, and Diana Wynne Jones, are all British writers.

Continuing with the "rule of three", what do you think are three of the most important things in your life?

My children come first - Colleen my daughter and my son Jamie - and then there's me. After that, well I guess whatever is most urgent. Love, hope and charity.

What was your goal in writing HOW TO PASS A DEGREE WITH CONFIDENCE?

I wanted to write a book that shared my experience so that other students could avoid some of the pitfalls I faced, and also have a useful study guide to help them focus of gaining that degree. On a more personal level, I wanted to become an author and was proud of the achievement of having a book published.

You should be. Publishing a book is an enormous achievement, as well as a terrific confidence booster. Before you decided to pursue a degree, and before you wrote HOW TO PASS A DEGREE WITH CONFIDENCE, what did you do for a living?

Over the years I have had many jobs, from salesman to office manager, power station technician to construction worker, as well as an IT consultant. Before starting my degree I worked as a carpenter and really enjoyed the satisfaction of working outdoors and making things with my hands.

Very neat! You were certainly an all-around kind of man, weren't you? How did this influence your decision to pursue a Master's in Software Engineering in Artificial Intelligence?

It didn’t. My interest in computers goes back many years before, to when I was building computers and writing code as a teenager. From an early age science has always been a keen interest of mine with the words and voice of Carl Sagan resonating in my head.

You actually wrote computer code? That simply staggers me. I don't think I could write computer code to save my life!

So what triggered the idea to write a how-to book?

I noticed there was no comparable book on the market that gave an insight to university life which would also be a useful study guide to passing a degree. I also wanted to share my experience so that other students could achieve what they wanted. And that it was never too late to start.

That's very true. Good for you for pursuing such a goal!

So, tell us a little bit about HOW TO PASS A DEGREE WITH CONFIDENCE.

I describe the book as an interesting, innovative, and motivating self-help book on how to pass a university degree with confidence by providing, not only the do’s and don’ts of college life, but also insightful and fascinating examples from my personal experiences. It was written using the knowledge I gained as a student representative as well as the achievement of gaining an MSc and a BSc Honours degree. Comprehensive and detailed information is provided to help those individuals contemplating an under graduate or a post graduate degree visualise and achieve their goals. Each chapter recalls a personal experience that helps to reinforce the academic topic. Topics include:

1.) How to write your project or dissertation
2.) Exam preparation
3.) How to research
4.) Time management
5.) How to reference correctly
6.) Critical thinking
7.) How to study
8.) How to revise (with a bonus anecdote of When A Girl Came Knocking At My Window)
9.) How to build confidence
10.) The need to set goals
11.) Student perspective
12.) How to cope with stress
13.) How to cope with meagre funds
14.) How to score more goals than Casanova
15.) Ten tips for university

and much more. Also there’s a bit more meat on the bone. Read the chapter why understanding critical thinking is so important.

Exam Preparation and Time Management were two of my more favourite chapters. I especially liked When A Girl Came Knocking On My Window. It showed a great example of managing your study time, as well as being hysterically witty.

How long did it take you to write your book?

Around 6 months, maybe longer. I originally started the project in mid-2005 but because of illness and other mishaps I didn’t start seriously until mid-2010.

What were the biggest obstacles for you on your road to publication?

At times, fear of rejection was my biggest obstacle. I had read so many horrid stories, about how difficult it is to get published or to find an agent.

Rejection really is an enormous barrier for writers. Those evil little letters are just so dispiriting! Do you plan on writing more books in the future?

Yes. I am currently working on a couple of book projects; one is a crime thriller novel and the other a non-fiction book.

Ooh, a crime thriller! That ought to be good! Can't wait for it.

So what is your main suggestion for people who are thinking to pursue a degree?

I recommend you ask yourself this question: am I doing this for me? If you are, that’s great, because if you’re enthusiastic about your task then you’re halfway there to gaining that degree.

Totally off topic, but I understand from your book that you like to dance the salsa. Aside from that, are there any other hobbies or activities that you enjoy?

One of my daily occupations is walking and exploring the countryside and the coastline, especially since I spend a lot of time on the keyboard. When I am in the mood then art becomes my passion. To relax I like to read books and watch films. I love a good story.

Me too. Good stories are rare and beautiful things.

Thanks so much for your time, Anthony! Congratulations on your success, and here's to many more published books. (Hurry up with that crime thriller.) :-)

You can find Anthony at his blog, How to Pass a Degree With Confidence, as well as on Facebook

The print version of his book is available for purchase on Amazon, or you can purchase and download the e-book version here.

Again, thanks so much for the interview, Anthony.


  1. Great interview! Sounds like a unique and interesting book.

  2. Thanks, Eve.

    Ruth, it was really quite good. It was interesting, contained good advice, and was so funny! He kept my interest through the whole thing, and made me think. If I ever go after a degree, I'd probably use this book as a "pointer."

  3. Great interview. This sounds like a good book for any college student.

  4. It was very interesting, the chapters followed a logical chronology, and it was funny to boot. Really a very good book. It's "Cat Recommended." :)

  5. Excellent interview! Sounds like a great book.

  6. I think you'd like it, Fairday. I found myself snickering appreciatively over it as I had a cup of coffee.


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