Zoe & Tell
Zoe Ghahremani is not your average writer. Actually, she’s not your average anything. A dozen years ago, this gutsy gal ditched a wildly successful dental practice in the Windy City and moved her family to San Diego. While moving to warmer climes might not be something to write home about, starting a new chapter as an author is. Zoe’s first novel “Sky of Red Poppies” was a page-turning success. And her second novel “The Moon Daughter” has her fans howling with joy.
I snagged an interview with this literary maven and found her to be delightful humble, feisty and absolutely hilarious.
NN: What is more painful: Having a root canal or writer’s block?
ZG: “Are you joking? Of course a root canal! I’ve only had one, but it nearly killed me. Also, I’ll admit, I have never experienced a true writers’ block.”
NN: Why on earth would you give up those fabulous Chicago winters for those endless balmy days in San Diego? Do you ever miss the snow?
ZG: “Why indeed! Not only do I detest winter gear – woolen clothes, boots, and earmuffs – I’m also diagnosed with SAD (Seasonally Affected Disorder.) That means if I don’t absorb enough UV light, I will suffer from depression. I do miss Chicago’s rich culture, active life, and my good friends. But it’s winters? All I have to do is open the freezer and that’ll take care of it.”
NN: Am told your children are all extraordinary artists in their respective fields. Did you encourage them to pursue the creative arts?
ZG: “To take such credit is tempting, but the truth is they each found their own way. To me Lilly, Susie, and Cyrus are life’s most valuable gifts and the best people. But when it comes to their achievements, all I can do is brag about having cared for them while they were little.”
NN: Did your family think you had gone bananas when you told them you were closing your dental practice to write full-time? The truth now Ms. Zoe.
ZG: “By the time I made that decision, my siblings were scattered around Europe and the extended family had no vote. But I’m sure my husband, who is a man of reason, did think that. However, being a true gentleman, he has shown me strong support. Only once he mentioned in his subtle humor, ‘Your book could go into the Guinness Book Of World Records as the costliest novel, because for over a decade you let go of a six-figure salary in order to write it.’ The truth in that statement still gives me a smile.”
NN: What is the best thing about being a writer?
ZG: “Being a writer’ can mean different things to different writers. For me writing gives my soul a chance to exhale. The stories I write have been held back for most of my life. To release them liberates me. And of course, being connected to my readers through the Internet or face-to-face has been a most delightful experience.”
NN: What is the most dreadful thing about being a writer?
ZG: “Special requests and deadlines! Sometimes after a big event, the organizers ask me to write an article about it for their website. Not only do I find it easier to be spontaneous, but also pushing a deadline is not fun.”
NN: What advice do you have for women out there who are on the cusp of a dream – but can’t seem to find the courage to pursue it?
ZG: “My advice isn’t exclusively for women. Anyone with a dream should first define their goal and then go for it at the right time. If you are sure of what you find, courage comes naturally. The problem is that many people rush too early and face a brick wall. I have spoken at many schools and colleges and my message to the young is to reach for the end through justifiable means. Parents who want their children to be doctors and lawyers have seen the way societies work. True that there are a few exceptional cases of extreme talent who know the way from the start to most others happiness comes with financial security. There’s a right time and a right place to reach for dreams. Be on the lookout and when you find it, prepare to make the needed sacrifices. I know I did!”