Lisa Sugarman works, lives, and writes in Marblehead, Massachussetts. She received her Bachelor of Arts with honors from Salem State University in 1991 and attended Emerson College's MA in Writing, Literature & Publishing program. Since 1991, she has written for a number of Boston-area newpapers, including the Canton Journal, the Randolph Herald, the Hingham Journal, the Cohasset Mariner, the Swampscott Reporter, the Jewish Journal, the Sharon Advocate, and the Stoughton Journal. Since 2009, she has authored the weekly opinion column It Is What It Is for the Marblehead Reporter and other GateHouse Media, Inc. publications.
Q/A with Lisa Sugarman:
-1- Why did you decide to become a writer? What brought you to this destination of being a writer?
I never really decided to become a writer. I think I always was one. From the time I was five or six, I carried a little spiral notebook around with me and pretended I was a newspaper reporter. And if I wasn't finding things to report on in my neighborhood, I was writing in one of my journals. So I guess I was always pre-destined. Being a writer was always my dream.
As for the path I took to become a columnist, and now an author, that took a little more work. I was an English major in college and got very involved in my university's newspaper. In my junior year I became the News Editor and eventually took over as Editor in my senior year. And even though my college didn't have a formal journalism major, I acquired enough experience and contacts while I was in school that I was hired by a Boston-area newspaper chain the weekend I graduated. From that point on, I took every opportunity I could find. I wrote marketing and PR copy for non-profits, I wrote features for any magazine that would run my work, I worked for a healthcare publishing company creating all their marketing collateral, and eventually, after I had my daughters, I ended up writing for my local newspaper as a contributing columnist. The ironic thing about that was that I was doing it just for fun. And that was when I realized that opinion writing was really my sweet spot. So I've been doing it since 2009. And the idea for the book came from fans of my column. Enough people suggested that I compile my columns into a book that I guess I couldn't ignore anymore.
-2- What was the motivation for choosing your book(s) genre(s)?
I've always had a lot to say, so opinion writing seemed like the perfect fit. It's very liberating being able to write about whatever's on your mind. And that's the biggest part of the appeal for me.
-3- What is your professional background? What role does writing play in your life?
After I graduated from college, I was a newspaper reporter for several years. Then I turned to freelance copy-writing, then marketing and PR, and eventually opinion writing. I also work for my town's school system. I have for the last ten years. I was an assistant teacher for many years and moved over to the administrative side about three years ago for a change of pace. Writing allows me to collect my thoughts. It always has.
-4- What is your favorite character and moment from any of your books, and why?
My favorite "character" is my hometown. It's the main character in my book and it's the love of my life. there are plenty of places out there that I've fallen in love with over the years, but there's no other place I've fallen for enough to call home.
-5- What is the best thing about being a writer? What is the ultimate wisdom you have gained from writing your works?
The best thing about being a writer, for me, is the ability to make people think and feel on a deeper level than they normally would. I love when people feel they can relate to the stories I tell and feel comforted or inspired by them. That's powerful stuff and I'm humbled every time it happens.
Lastly, if you could tell your fans/readers anything what would it be?
I'd tell everyone who would listen that life is a work in progress, so they need to put themselves out there and get their nose in it. And that as much as we'd like it to be, life just isn't a straight line. But that's ok, because it's not supposed to be.
EXCERPT from Girls rule, boys drool, written in April of 2014:
I know going into this that it's going to be impossible for me to get away with saying what I'm about to say without completely alienating an entire population's worth of people, and that's a pretty big risk to take in my line of work. But what the hell, we both know I'm going to say it anyway. So here goes.
Women should rule the world.
Now I know most of you girlies out there just jumped out of your chairs clapping and screaming and yelling, "DUH!" But I'm afraid the boys probably aren't having quite the same reaction. And I expected that going into it.
But I'm honestly not trying to insult anyone here, in spite of how it may look. Because I know, it looks bad if you're reading this and you're a guy. But toughen up, boys. The truth sometimes stings, but it'll make you stronger in the end.
All I'm saying is that, collectively, guys have been at the wheel now for the majority of human history and we're still doing an awful lot of fighting and there are still millions of mouths out there in the world that need feeding. Not to mention a laundry list of other things that still need fixing. And that's just the plain and simple indisputable truth, hurtful as that truth may be
I mean, let's just talk about hunger alone for a second. As far as the hunger issue is concerned, any mom I know, myself included, would never let anybody go hungry if they had breath left in their body. It's just not in our DNA. Every single one of us is genetically wired to feed the people around them. That's why we have whole neighborhoods in our kitchen on any given day of the week and we're always feeding everybody else's kids. You think we'd let the rest of the world go hungry? Oh,please.
And that's only one example. But I'm not alone in thinking this. Even though I'm pretty confident that most women believe that a girl in charge might just be the solution to all our problems, there are people out there who are way more credible than me who think the same thing. And one of them, who's been pretty vocal about it the last couple of weeks, is former White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers. Dee Dee has been out in the foreground lately reminding people that the last century has been the bloodiest in human history. It's been a tale of war, terrorism, religious extremism, abject poverty, and disease. And while Dee Dee and I are by no means saying it's all men's fault, we are pointing out that men have been the ones mostly in charge, and we seem to be no closer to finding answers to our problems now then we were two hundred years ago.
The rest of Sugarman's column can be read by visiting It Is What It is The Blog
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Additionally, listen to Sugarman read one of her favorite columns:
There should be a road test for parenting, on YouTube.
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