Topic: Author Interview
Gloria Oren the person:
1. What three words do you think describe you as a human being?
optimistic determined caring
2. How do you think others would describe you?
quiet detailed dedicated caring concerned dependable humorous diligent thoughtful
3. Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.
Outside of my writing I'm most passionate about my family and friends.
4. Do you have any pets? If so, introduce us to them.
Not currently. Our dear dog, Lucky, passed away two years ago. She was more than a dog. She was part of the family in many ways. She was just turning two when we got her and for the first two years of her life the children in the family she was living with abused her. Lucy was a Dobie-Australian Shepherd mix and when we came to see her she was all skin and bones. My husband was not a dog person so we didn't think we'd go home with one when we headed out the door that morning. But seeing her and the fact that she didn't damage the wooden furniture where she was living nor did she jump all over he agreed to take her home. For a while I couldn't even bring the paper in from outside without her running away in fear I would hit her. She learned with time that the paper was for reading and not a weapon against her and since then became very devoted to all of us. I miss her a lot and hope to one day get another dog.
5. What is your most precious memory?
Actually there are two. One are my childhood summers up in Carmel, New York at our summer home and two, the day I got the call that led to my reunion with my birth mother.
My adoptive parents owned a summer home in Carmel and mommy and I would spend the whole summer up there. Daddy would join us on weekends and then return to the city to tend to his store during the week. I'd help mommy tend to the rock gardens, go sow the road to our neighbors blueberry bushes and pick fresh blueberries, take walks with mommy down to the bridge over the reservoir where people would go fishing and go row boating with another neighbor. On weekends I'd help daddy trim the hedges and do other stuff. We'd go into town to shop and at the end of the summer we'd all go to the Annual Summer Fair.
On June 4, 1996 at 6 AM my father-in-law called from Israel. He never called at that time since he knew my husband was already at work. This time, however, he was calling me personally. Someone from Jerusalem had called him asking for my address and phone number. He was afraid to give this information so he called me for permission. I asked who the inquirer was and he said it was a guy named Yehudah. Not knowing anyone in Jerusalem by that name I too hesitated so I asked if he had the person's phone number. He did and I wrote it down. I called.
A young child answered and told me that he stepped out to empty the garbage and would return my call if I left my number. I did and five minutes later the phone rang. Yehudah, it turns out, is married to my birth mother's cousin and he was helping my birth mother find me. A half hour later, eight days short of my 41st birthday I spoke with my birth mother for the first time.
6. What is your most embarrassing memory?
One day when I was in high school and living in Israel I was waiting for a bus on a main road when out of nowhere a young gal came running down the street calling out my name. I had no idea who it was. Too embarrassed to admit, I couldn't seem to remember who this was and whether I had ever seen this gal before. I said hi and we started talking. Realizing I had no clue who she was, she said, "Don't you remember me? I'm Phyllis. Phyllis rang a bell, but she looked so different from the Phyllis from Florida who attended school with me in Brooklyn, New York. Hesitantly I asked if she was from Florida and she responded in the positive. She was spending some time visiting Israel and how or why she was on that street at the very same time I was is yet unknown to me, but not recognizing her after having been in the same class for at least two years was embarrassing.
7. If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?
Like Lea, I too have wanted to be a teacher since I was a child. Unlike Lea, though, I didn't use my Barbie dolls as students. I had five friends in the building we lived in and we would meet once a week at my house where I held a club. We would do activities which I led and other stuff too. I would take attendance, hold "school" for about 15 minutes and then do an activity. During the school session we would practice math, spelling, etc. taken from our homework assignments and make corrections when needed. I actually did attend a Teacher's College and was as close to getting my certification as could be, but thanks to a mean instructor that would not occur. I had turned in three papers (the end of year paper that would determine the grade and two for extra credit) which he claimed to have lost and even though the head of the department had me do a substitute assignment, he would not accept it. Without his grade I wasn't able to get my certificate. The school no longer exists, but I have done some successful part time teaching despite everything.
8. In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.
I just couldn't resist. Since I am still here and plan on being around for a long while why not make this a fun exercise. For what it's worth, here is my take on a humorous obituary. Now that's an oxymoron if ever there was one.
Gloria Oren, age unknown, data entry clerk by day writer by night of Redmond, WA is gone. No information on when, where or how guess she just went up and out. Her family wants to be left in peace and ask that you donate the time you'd spend visiting with them by donating to Gloria's passionate charities - the ADA and the AHA, if you can figure that out. If you can't, hold onto your well-earned dollars.
Gloria was a great writer who had a unique humorous style that popped up occasionally. She was a great mother, wife, teacher, and friend. She will be missed but not for long as time has a way of making that happen - you know it makes the forgetter get better.
Gloria Oren the writer:
9. Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?
I realized I was a "real" writer the day I graduated from the Long Ridge Writer's Group - Breaking into Print - course after writing twelve pieces that never had a request to resubmit. With that encouragement I went to work on the rough draft of my autobiography.
10. What is going on with your writing these days?
These days I'm doing several things. The main thing I'm working on is the first revision of the autobiography manuscript. At the same time I am trying to get the articles I have written placed for publication. I'm also starting to publish a new newsletter (via email) for my new Voice of Adoptees project. And to top that off I am doing a review of "Lifeliner: the Judy Taylor Story" by Shireen Jeejeebhoy for Carol Hoenig, a publishing consultant in New York as well as submitting stuff to contests. Now, if that's not enough, I'm also on the AuthorBound Advisor's Board.
11. What are your future goals for your writing?
Long-term - to get my autobiography published. Short-term - to get my articles published and successfully build a platform for my book through my newsletter.
12. Can you describe a typical writing day for you?
I work outside the home so I am up at 5:15 AM daily and spend 2-3 hours in the morning on my writing related work. Depending when I get home I either just have time to check email or do something on the writing front as well before getting dinner ready. I may or may not get another hour or two in on evenings and some time in on weekends but not much. Weekends are usually busy with catching up on housework and errands and when my daughter comes in from college catching up on things with her.
13. Why do you write?
I just have the urge to put my thoughts on paper and share them with others. It allows me to escape from my role as the do-it-all mom and take some me time. My first doctor I had, here in the states when we came here in 1985, told me that whatever I choose to do in life, to always make room for some me time, some time for me to do what I love doing and only me doing it. Ever since he told me this I have been trying to comply.
14. What writer most inspires you? Why?
As a child I read so many books that I couldn't begin to point to any particular writer that inspired me. As an adult I'd have to say the writer that most inspires me is Belva Plain. She started her writing career, as an older woman yet has been quite successful. She writes fiction (I know I'm more into nonfiction) but writes mostly family sagas in a style that makes her books feel more real than not.
15. How do you define your writing?
I write mostly nonfiction bout serious topics of life in an easy to understand, engaging manner. For example, I wrote a piece on andropause. I can hear you say "What?" Andropause is the male middle-age crisis, much the equivalent to menopause in women. The way it manifests and the length of it differs though and to relate a topic like this one which many people have not heard related to by name while not sounding too medical brings the topic down to the level of the lay reader thus informing so many more readers than it would had I written it using a bunch of medical terms.
16. In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?
After all these years, her easy to understand style keeps me wanting to read more.
Gloria Oren the details:
17. Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website? Blog?
Sure, that's easy.
My main website - Family Matters: http://gloriaoren.com/
My family related/writing blog - Gloria's Corner: http://gloriaoren.blogspot.com/
My Voice of Adoptees project
Family Connections Blog: http://gloria-familyconnections.blogspot.com/
Voice of Adoptees Newsletter: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/voiceofadoptees
On Lulu: http://stores.lulu.com/goren (my daughter's book of poetry which I edited and put together.)
North on I-35 (I wrote the eighth part in what was to be a collaborative venture - guess I stumped them dead in their tracks) http://www.geocities.com/mfcrowl/committeestory/8thgloria.html
18. Is there a place where readers can reach you?
Sure one can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Anything general relating to the Voice of Adoptees project use email@example.com
19. Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?
I don't have a published book yet but the autobiography I am working on has had two titles so far. I started out with Miracles Happen: the Story of My Life from Adoption to Reunion and Beyond. I had comments that this was too long. So now it is Forever Bonded at Birth: An Adoptee's Search for Her Roots. Another option I was toying with is Out of Sight, Out of Mind: the Maternal Bond Lives On. Any suggestions feel free to email me them. I know that the publisher may change it eventually but at the same time may not.
20. For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?
A good story that holds their attention from start to finish and the realization that when you want something so bad nothing can stand in the way unless you let it. In short, persistence pays off.
21. Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?
I'm always learning and believe that I'm walking proof that it's never too late to start. I created the website for my Voice of Adoptees project using XHTML 1.0 coding which I learnt as I went along. My motto: Never say can't. If you want to do something you can do it or learn how to do it. I never wrote or published a book yet but I will continue on my journey of learning and one day it will be there in print.