Canadian author Wendy Williams has lived in six different countries and worked internationally for 18 years. She currently resides in Vienna, Austria, with her husband and daughter.
Cendrine Marrouat: Hello Wendy, thank you for answering my questions. First, tell us a little more about you.
Wendy Williams: I am the author of “The Globalisation of Love,” a book about multicultural romance and marriage. I grew up in a multicultural family – a British-Ukrainian-Canadian family. My mother is from Winnipeg actually. My husband is from the same town in Austria as Arnold Schwarzenegger, although my husband’s accent is much more charming and he never says “I’ll be back”. My book was published on November 13th which was our 13th wedding anniversary.
CM: “The Globalisation of Love” is your first release. Why such a title?
WW: Since the spice trade has been regulated by the WTO and all the continents have been mapped out on Google Earth, multicultural relationships have become as common as the ‘Made in China’ label on clothes. It is a huge social phenomenon yet it does not get that much attention in society.
I guess I am kind of a romantic and wanted to talk about the effect of globalisation on people. One of the most profound influences of globalisation is that people from everywhere are falling in love with people from everywhere else. There is a world of romance happening out there!
CM: You interviewed dozens of multicultural couples from around the world. Is there one story, in particular that truly impacted you?
WW: It sounds corny, but somehow all of the stories I heard were very touching because the couples opened up their relationship for me to peek inside so I would not say that there was one story in particular that is most memorable. What was amazing, however, is how the couples who were so completely different from each other would sit in front of me and seem so beautifully unified and unfazed by their multicultural, international, bilingual, interfaith, biracial relationship and family. They would say, ‘oh yes, the main difference between us is that I like broccoli but he prefers carrots’. Their love blinded them to differences and it helped them to overcome their differences, and I thought that was both lovely and inspiring. It is why I concluded that multicultural relationships are microcosms for world peace.
CM: How long did it take you to write “The Globalisation of Love”?
WW: The idea for the book came in 2007 and I started interviewing couples in the same year. I used to travel frequently on business so I could meet multicultural couples in the various countries where I was working. It was only in January 2010 that I gave up my ‘day job’ and started working on the book almost full time. The writing therefore took a year and half in total. Mind you, there was often a toddler lurking in the background or randomly pounding on the computer keyboard helping me out.
CM: Has your experience played a role in the way you wrote the book?
WW: Definitely. My husband is very funny and uses humour to glide through cultural faux pas and other awkward situations. It was fascinating to see how couples deal with their own set of multicultural issues and how many of the most successful couples see the funny side of cultural confusion. I thought that it would be nice to have a book that looks at the ‘problems’ in a multicultural relationship and shows both how funny it is and how wonderful it is to have a GloLo relationship.
CM: Would you share a short extract from “The Globalisation of Love”?
WW: Here is a cute anecdote that demonstrates the different cultural ideas of what constitutes family and how it can impact a couple.
Angel is Mexican-American, from Texas, and Edward is, in his own words, ‘very British’.
“Before Angel would go on a proper date with me,” Edward began in his Englishman-in-Texas accent, “she insisted that I meet her family. As a proper English gent, I had no problem meeting her parents. It struck me as a good idea.”
“I drove up to her parent’s house but could not park nearby. I thought there must be some kind of neighbourhood festival going on,” he said dryly. “The cars were parked along the entire block. Even before I entered the house, I heard a terrible raucous going on. I assumed there was trouble inside. Then Angel’s brother or cousin or uncle or some such came bursting out the front door. He grabbed me in a crushing bear hug. I thought I was being robbed until he called me Eduardo.”
Angel, who had been giggling like a school girl throughout Edward’s discourse, continued the story.
“My mother has seven brothers and sisters, all married, all with three or four children. My father has nine brothers and sisters. The family is kind of big, you know,” she said, holding her arms wide. “We meet every week. Not everyone of course, but as many as possible. It’s kind of loud sometimes. We all like to talk.”
Edward leaned slightly forward in his chair to tell me more.
“When we got married, my mother, my brother and my brother’s wife came to Texas,” he said while counting them on his fingers. “Angel’s family asked, ‘Where is Eduardo’s family? Why didn’t they come to the wedding?’ But they did come. All of them,” he finished, his posh accent disguising his humour.
“The side of the church where my family sat was filling up,” Angel continued, “and there were just the three from England sitting on the other side. No one from my family wanted to move over. They thought a bus or plane load of people would come at any minute. I thought the church was going to tip over, everyone was sitting on the bride’s side.”
CM: How has your book been received so far?
WW: Oh, brilliantly! It is still very early days of course and I have just hit the point where the people who read the book aren’t just my friends, in other words, they are readers who don’t have to tell me that they like it. But they tell me that they like it anyway.
“The Globalisation of Love” deals with a potentially difficult subject matter, yet it is described as a brilliant and funny page-turner, so I am very pleased with that. It’s not a big surprise though as I had an impressive round of experts review the book before it went to press. You can read their reviews on the back jacket of the book and they are very flattering.
CM: Tell us about the term ‘GloLo’ and the cocktail you invented…
WW: Originally, GloLo was simply shorthand for ”The Globalisation of Love.” I used it in casual conversation with friends and with my editor. It somehow took on a life of its own when friends started asking if I had finished writing ‘the GloLo book’ and my husband said we were having a ‘GloLo moment’ when we were discussing an upcoming family vacation. Now GloLo is used both as a noun and an adjective.
As for the GloLoTini, after a long day of writing, I like a glass of bubbly either to celebrate or to commiserate. The GloLoTini is fun & bubbly, it has a fresh taste with international flair and is the colour of love.
CM: Why did you choose to self-publish your book? Any advice for writers who want to follow in your footsteps?
WW: I chose to self publish “The Globalisation of Love” so that I could maintain full control over the writing process. When I first started writing, I did not have a clear strategy for the direction of the book and I did not want to commit to a deadline, so it was about maintaining control (and possibly being a bit lazy).
What was a great help for me was to have a ‘book mentor’, someone to guide the writing process. She helped me ‘find my voice’, develop a consistent writing style and create a format for the book and then she dealt with the administrative side of publishing by listing the book on Amazon and writing the press release. Writing a book takes a long time and it is also a ‘personal journey’. Having a coach along the way was a great help.
CM: Where do you see yourself in five years?
WW: In 5 years time, the sequel to “The Globalisation of Love” will have been written and I guess even the 3rd book will be in the final review stage. I have several ideas for future books in any case, so that’s where I see myself, crusading for ‘the globalisation of love’.
CM: Where can people find more information on you and your book?
WW: The fastest and easiest way to read about the book is on the good old-fashioned website. I am working on the Facebook page too, but I must admit that I am a rather ‘late adaptor’ with social media. Amazon also has some interesting reviews to read.
CM: Any last words?
WW: Oh yes, thank you for the interview. Do you have time for a GloLoTini?!