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Bill by book
Longtime Toms River Regional Schools Business Administrator Bill Doering stands next to the evidence of his personal and professional accomplishments-- his CPA license and two of his eventual three published novels from the Utopia Project series. Story below.

Utopia Project cover
The second installment of the Billy Dering's Utopia Project series, The Frayed Threads of Hope, is currently available on Amazon and other outlets.
Bill in office

Bill Doering explains his writing process within an office that provides clear evidence of his ample workload as a full-time and longtime district business administrator.

July 12, 2022-- At the risk of generalizing, those in the financial sector don’t tend to be creative types. It’s a numbers game, after all, and those crunching the numbers are typically content to let those numbers tell the story.

Not so with longtime Toms River Regional Schools Business Administrator William Doering. Or, as the many fans of his dystopian novels know him, Billy Dering.

This spring, the second installment of Doering’s Utopia Project series was published, The Frayed Threads of Hope. The first book, Everyone Must Die, has a 4.2/5-star rating on Amazon with more than 300 reviews. The series follows a group of young adults navigating a post-apocalyptic world, a world that includes some familiar Jersey Shore locales.

Doering, who started writing the first book in the series many years ago as a college student, and after his father’s job relocated the family out of New Jersey, credits homesickness for the NJ connections in his novels.

“At that time, I really missed New Jersey,” he said. “So I wrote using these familiar places as a way for me to remember them, and set myself up there creatively.”

Like many people who leave this state, Doering found his way back. He became a certified public accountant (CPA) in 1996–a title he maintains to this day, even though his current role does not require it–for Ernst & Young, before transitioning to Middletown Public Schools as an assistant business administrator. He’s been the BA at Toms River Regional Schools for 12 years now, helping navigate the district through trials like Superstorm Sandy and, currently, the ramifications of State Bill S2, all while earning praise from colleagues and coworkers along the way for his calm, reasoned, and transparent approach. Under his leadership, the district has earned ASBO International's Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting for eight consecutive years.

Amidst his many full-time professional responsibilities, as well as his roles as husband and father, the time to write a novel–much less a trilogy–is obviously limited. So, where does he find the time?

“At night, and at the expense of sleep,” Doering says, noting that throughout his life he’s been able to be highly functioning on limited amounts of sleep. “I always try to devote at least a few hours a night to writing.”

Doering’s interest in writing emanates from his high school years, specifically a teacher with whom he formed a special relationship. Jack Germain was Doering’s favorite English teacher, and it was Germain who sparked Doering’s love for reading and, ultimately, writing as well.

“He was so passionate about reading … it was infectious,” Doering said. “He was that teacher who really affected my life.”

It was years later that the two reconnected on social media, and Doering had the opportunity to thank Germain for the impact and influence he had on him as a student. They have kept in touch since, and that teacher-student relationship evolved into a genuine friendship, and Doering now looks to Germain for critical feedback on his novels. Doering shares that his former teacher will edit the third installment of his series, Utopia Project.

Although Doering’s role in the district is not that of an educator, his time spent with Germain and years honing his writing style and finding his voice have developed in him a desire to help and encourage other young readers along their writing path.

“If you want to be a writer, you need to be willing to put in the time and effort to perfect your craft,” he said.

While the book series gets tagged as “dystopian” and “post apocalyptic” because of its setting and broader context, it more accurately blends numerous genres; it’s a thriller, a suspense novel, action-adventure, even romance, and dedicated readers become consumed with their connections to the characters. While he admits there exists some hints of his full-time job within the novels–the board of elders might echo his vast experience at school board meetings, for example–Doering has never had trouble compartmentalizing and separating his dual passions.

“At any given moment I can be either very left brained or very right brained,” he said, “but rarely both at the same time.”

Whichever side is being accessed, there’s no doubt Doering’s remarkable brain has positively impacted so many people, along the Jersey Shore and beyond. For decades now, tens of thousands of staff and students have relied on his budgetary acumen, and once the Utopia Project trilogy is published in full, it’s possible just as many readers will have thoroughly enjoyed being taken on a thrilling and memorable literary joyride. 

This story was written by the district's Communications Department and High School North graduate and Monmouth University communications student Maggie Downs.