by Cyrus Webb
When it comes to discussing the universal power of love, I couldn't see myself doing it without mentioning author Wendy Williams. Her book THE GLOBALISATION OF LOVE helped me and readers around the world to think about the complexities of love in a totally different way---and we are better off because of it.
When she appeared on Conversations LIVE in late 2011 I knew that I had so much more to discuss with her that we needed more time than just the radio show could provide. I reached out to her in Vienna, Austria, and she graciously agreed to continue the dialogue in print. In this interview Wendy discusses what she calls the "GloLo" community, how using humor to discuss what can be a serious issue is not just suggested but a must and what advice she has for new authors.
Wendy, thanks for taking out the time to talk with us. First of all, congratulations on the success of the book The Globalisation of Love. I know we have discussed it on the radio show but tell our readers what led you to write the book.
Thanks Cyrus. There are many reasons why I wrote the book. Firstly, globalisation has been the buzz word of the past 20 years, yet little attention is given to the most profound influence of globalisation, which is the effect it has on people. People from everywhere are falling in love with people from everywhere else. Secondly, multiculturalism is another term that is bandied about to describe some kind of pesky nuisance to society, yet multicultural, interfaith, and biracial couples and families are constantly increasing and becoming a social norm. Thirdly, multicultural couples, what I call GloLo couples, get a lot of negative attention, like they are all destined to fail. In fact, most GloLo couples describe their multicultural relationship and experience as enlightening, enriching and the most amazing journey to take through matrimonial life. Ultimately, what I saw in my own marriage as well as with multicultural friends, there is a story to tell, and a funny story too.
You describe individuals who are living an experience like yours and so many others as the GloLo community. Has it made it easier to know that you are not the only one who has had to deal with challenges in relationships due to background and upbringing?
Definitely. When conducting the interviews for The Globalisation of Love, I was sometimes amazed how other couples faced the same set of issues and sometimes experienced remarkably similar stories even when the country and culture mix were different. Now when my husband and I are having a GloLo moment (good or bad), I'll say to him, "it's all in Chapter 10, read it and then we can talk about it again". Inevitably we start laughing.
I think our readers probably think more of race when it comes to thinking about multi-cultural relationships. What was interesting to me was that you take out the time to show it might be difference in religion & geography that may cause one to approach things in a different way. What has surprised you the most about the way the book is being received and discussed?
The biggest surprise is who defines themselves as multicultural and who sees the book as being relevant to their situation. There are couples who are culturally different on so many levels – they are international, bilingual, interfaith and biracial – and yet they are so beautifully unified and unfazed by their ethnic constellation that they don't even consider themselves to be multicultural. Other couples will have everything in common except that they grew up in a different state or province 100 km away and they will say, "oh, do we have stories for you!" Another surprise, and pleasant surprise I should add, is the gratitude that non-GloLo readers express. Almost everyone knows someone or even has a family member in a GloLo relationship, so they are grateful to learn about the issues and to understand the family dynamic better.
Though it is a serious topic, you have managed to address it with humor and personal stories as well. Do you think those elements will make it a little easier for others to discuss?
Yes. There are many wonderful books about multicultural dating and marriage however The Globalisation of Love is the first book that is deliberately written with humour and wit. I wrote the book in an accessible style so that everyone can relate to it. One interviewer said that it is “for real people, not just academics”. Humour has probably been the defining theme throughout my marriage – next to skiing that is! – and I think that humour, along with respect, is one of the best ways to deal with multicultural issues.
Wendy if you had an overall hope for the book, what would it be in terms of its purpose?
I love that question. Firstly, I would hope that multicultural couples who read the book or my blog learn to recognise that a multicultural relationship is inherently different than a monocultural relationship. It is more challenging and possibly even more fun. Secondly, I would hope that family and friends of GloLo couples also begin to understand that GloLo couples are constantly dealing with a different set of variables in their marriage and understanding that is going to make it easier for the couple. In my book, I also conclude that multicultural families promote world peace. So that would be my third hope for the book, that it promotes cultural understanding and tolerance, and therefore world peace. It is a pretty grandiose wish list considering that the original idea was to write a book about funny cultural faux pas that occur in multicultural relationships!
For our aspiring writers out there I should also say this is your first book. What advice do you give others now about the writing process that you have applied or learned on your own literary journey?
I have two bits of advice that I like to share with aspiring authors. Firstly, write about something that you are passionate about and like to talk about or read about all day long. Writing a book takes an incredible amount of discipline and time and it is a long and often lonely journey. Therefore you need to be absolutely fascinated with your subject matter and enjoy spending time with it, even if it is a work of fiction. Secondly, don't tell your friends when the manuscript will be finished! I missed at least 5 of my own deadlines and it was painful to repeatedly hear "is it done yet?!" from excited friends and family.
Thank you for your time, Wendy. How can our listeners find out more information about you and the book online?
The fastest and easiest way to read about the book is on the good old-fashioned website www.globalisationoflove.com. I have posted book reviews and other interviews there along with the blog. Amazon also has some interesting reviews to read. Most of the online book shops have picked up The Globalisation of Love, so it is easy to find.