Marlene Wagman-Geller Interview

Wagman-Geller received her BA from York University and her teaching credentials from the University of Toronto and San Diego State University. She currently teaches high school English in National City, California, and lives with her family in San Diego.

What inspired you to write?
What inspired me to write was my love of books. It was a logical leap from loving to read the printed word to trying to become a writer. And both reading and writing have always proved the salve to my soul.

Did the inspiration to write come to you suddenly, or had you been thinking about it some time?
I always had the desire to write but inspiration - like love - does not call when beckoned.

How did you tell your story? In other words, did you use an outline, or just write your story from start to finish?
Before I embarked on my six books I had the overall vision where I wanted to go and then just wrote true to that vision.

Did you receive any encouragement from family and friends, or did you work on your book alone?
Encouragement came from within. My mantra was 'dreams do not just have to be for sleeping.'

What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
The most difficult aspect of writing was finding the time. Once I sold my book proposals there were deadlines I was obliged to meet. This proved challenging as I have a full-time teaching job and a family. However, every free moment was dedicated to writing and I always did honor my time lines.
As a writer who teaches high school English I had to give up things I enjoy-watching movies, lunches with friends-but in life one has to often give up something to get something else. In retrospect I made the right decision. Publishing is the gift that keeps on giving.

What was the most enjoyable aspect of writing your book?
Writing is extremely therapeutic. When I am working on my books all problems and worries slip away. Oblivion is priceless. In addition, an unintended benefit of publishing was meeting people one would otherwise never had come into contact with. In addition, there were unimaginable perks such as giving book talks, radio and television appearances, thrills I never dreamed would ever be on my life's resume.

Did you experience any personal transformation after the book was published?
My personal transformation was affirmation. It gave me a sense of validation that a literary agent and a publisher believed in my projects. It also was very self-affirming when people contacted me to say they enjoyed my books. Books are a writer's brainchild and when people compliment them it is akin to hearing praise of one's own flesh and blood offspring.

What’s something that gets in the way of your creativity?
What hampers creativity is the tick-tock of the deadline.

What strategies do you use to deal with criticism?
When one embarks on the publishing path it is essential to develop thick-skin. What helped me deal with criticism was my realization that just as not everyone likes me as a person not everyone will like my style of writing.

Have you received any awards for your books?
In 2008 the San Diego Book Awards gave my first book Once Again to Zelda an award for Best History. In 2010 the San Diego Book Awards Association gave an award to my second book Eureka! in the Best General Nonfiction category.

Are you working on a new book?
My fifth book Still I Rise: The Persistence of Phenomenal Women will be released in June 2017.

Do you have any forthcoming author appearances?
Hopefully, when Still I Rise comes out next month there will be author appearances and perhaps book giveaways. Please stay tuned.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and moved to San Diego in 1986.

Do you have a favorite quote?
I love quotations but do not have a favorite one.

What is your favorite show on TV?
Alas, television is no longer on the agenda. I utilize my spare moments to write.

Favorite movie?
Casablanca and Cabaret

Favorite book?
The Great Gatsby, Wuthering Heights, To Kill a Mockingbird

Who would you want to meet if you could? Dead or alive.
I would love to have lunch with Dorothy Parker and Oscar Wilde.

Is there a talent you wish you had?
Yes-to be a better writer!

What’s something about you that would surprise us?
That I have still managed to salvage a sliver of sanity.

Describe yourself in 3 words!
Persistent, kind, hard-working.