Renee’ Gatz – Author Interview

What is the name of your book? Tell us a bit about it.

My book Wise Words & Witty Expressions is based on my experience growing up in a household with a no-nonsense mother and a traditional, old-fashioned father who provided me with a lifetime of their various expressions–profound, funny, and even sarcastic– to teach me what was important in life while providing insight into a situation or person. Without realizing it, their expressions stayed with me and came back to me at the appropriate moments in my life to help me laugh, understand, or survive. I have compiled those expressions in my first book and hope that readers find the same wisdom, insight, humor, and shear enjoyment in these words that I have grown to appreciate.

Tell us something about yourself.

Renee’ Gatz was born and raised in New Jersey, the oldest of three girls and had always been taken by the strength of character and conviction that her parents displayed. They navigated through life by holding true to their core beliefs. Those beliefs were most often exhibited by their example but were also exhibited in the expressions they used to keep life in perspective, to remind them of what was important, and to laugh at foolishness so as not to take life too seriously.

In her early growing years, Gatz did not appreciate the power of the expressions her parents spoke but, as she grew was amazed at how these expressions would come back to her to provide clarity, understanding, or a laugh at just the right moment.

Many of the expressions she learned growing up were passed on to her through her mother who learned them from her mother. Gatz’s grandmother was a woman of strength and good humor who immigrated alone at the age of 18 to the United States from Ireland in the steerage section of a ship that landed in Ellis Island.

Gatz’s late father was a man of few words who relied more on the power of his actions to express himself. Nonetheless, he is credited with teaching Gatz some important life lessons through the use of expression and some sarcastic repartee as well.

Gatz was motivated to share these expressions based on the positive response she would receive when she would mention one in conversation, the surprise that an expression she had heard her entire life was new to someone, and her natural desire to communicate those great thoughts with others.

Renee’ Gatz earned her BS in business management from St. Peter’s College. She has held a variety of marketing and communications positions in the financial services industry for over fifteen years. She has always enjoyed writing and was inspired to share the wisdom she learned from her parents in her first book, “Wise Words & Witty Expressions.” Gatz lives in New Jersey today, not far from her childhood home.

What inspired you to write this book?

I have often been surprised when I would drop one of the expressions captured in this book into conversation that whomever I was speaking with would begin laughing or would give me that now-I-get-it look or would say “that really helped.” My purpose in writing this book was to share with others the wealth of good common sense that my parent’s expressions provided me with. I hope my readers enjoy my collection of expressions and find as much wisdom, value, and humor in them as I have.

How did you publish this book? Why did you decide on that publisher?

As a career marketer in the financial services industry, I was completely outside my area of expertise when I completed my manuscript and wanted to get it published. In order to find the help I needed, I reached out to my fellow Association of Women in Communications (AWC) members for help directing her toward the next steps of getting published. By using AWC’s national database, I was able to contact AWC members and received more than 200 e-mail responses from across the nation. Women I had never met before provided the benefit of their publishing experience, offered contact information of those they felt could help me, and outlined the differences between self-publishing and working with a traditional publishing company.

Ultimately, thanks to all the information I was provided, I elected to work with a start-up publishing company right in my own North Jersey AWC chapter. I met with Donna Thompson and Brenda Hendrickson, owners and partners of Woodpecker Press and members of AWC, to discuss the unique hybrid of self-publishing services they offer.

Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?

I learned that writing the manuscript is 25% of the book publishing process. 75% is marketing and an ongoing process, but well worth it!

What are you reading now?

Interestingly enough I am reading “How to Get a Literary Agent” by Michael Laresen. I am considering how to get greater exposure for my book. I have just started reading it so I cannot comment as to whether I will pursue a literary agent.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

I plan to write a second edition of “Wise Words & Witty Expressions.” My first edition represents the expressions I heard growing up. I would love to hear from my readers and learn the wise words and witty expressions they remember when navigating their way through life’s ups and downs.

Maybe their expressions represent the geographic region of the United States they live in or maybe they are reflective of their ancestry.

I have set up a link on my blog site “Share Your Wise Words & Witty Expressions” where they can tell me about their favorite expressions. Perhaps they will even see their expression and name in my next book!

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Reach out to your network and ask them about their experiences with publishing. This can be extremely helpful, especially for first-time authors like myself. The direction I received from my network did not end at getting my book published. It extended to help me develop effective marketing, social media, and design programs that have served me well in promoting my book.

What are you doing to promote your latest book?

I have been reaching out to local, regional and national publications to promote my book. I have been most fortunate to secure a review by Irish America, which is a national publication with over 100,000 subscribers. I am also attending many Meet the Author events and connecting with organizations and associations who would enjoy the content of my book. I also regularly communicate with my readers through a monthly newsletter, regular blog posts, which I feed to my Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter accounts.