Her Story: A timeline of the women who changed America by Charlotte Waisman
Recently we had the pleasure of meeting author Charlotte Waisman who spoke with us about girls our age who have done amazing things because they dared to dream and took risks. She was gracious enough to answer some questions created by our reporters, Ali and Delilah.
What inspired you to write Her Story: a timeline of the Women Who Changed America?
I was teaching a year-long Leadership Development Course and I wanted the women to understand the women who came before them. I thought if they read a book, they could see strong role models. When I went to buy a book, there were many available, but none in the time line format that I thought would be valuable. So, I had to write my own.
Have you written any other books besides Her Story?
Yes, I have published two prior books on Leadership that were used by other teachers of Leadership issues. I also completed a manuscript that did not find a publisher
How long did it take to write Her Story?
I was working full time while I was writing, so the book took perhaps three-four years before there was a truly solid first draft.
What was the process like?
I worked closely with co-author, Jill Tietjen. We often met at the library, as we wrote the book before information about the women was available on computers. We reviewed and discussed about 4,000 women and their accomplishments before we cut it back to the around 850 who are included in the book.
What would you like your book to teach people?
That it takes hard work and perseverance to keep going and do the things you believe should be done. That there were Many women whose stories were not captured earlier in our history who have done remarkable things.
Do you think your childhood contributed to you writing the book in any way?
I don't have any recollection that I thought of writing or teaching when I was a child. I was a drama gal. I sang, danced and read aloud. I often entertained for family and friends.
What age did you get interested in the topic of women's history? Did your family feel the same way?
When I taught Women's Studies at the University of Utah, I realized that most of the students had no idea that women had done strong, bold things. I began doing research, so I could incorporate lessons from women who had come before us. We all stand on their shoulders!
I never discussed these ideas with any members of my family. I was an adult who had moved away from family and friends, to be a University Professor.
How do you want your readers to look back on your book after reading it?
There is certainly a WOW factor that I am hoping that readers will feel. I would also like readers to become more action-oriented as a result of the reading (perhaps inspired?) and work toward discovering their greatest personal talents and then doing something in their own lives that build upon that.
After 20 years of experience, what is your greatest accomplishment?
I am truly proud of the work I have done as an Executive Coach. I have put in hundreds (perhaps thousands) of hours to help others find their best selves. I know from the kind remarks, cards, letters and gifts I have been given that I have made a significant difference in the lives of others.
Out of the millions of women/girls you could have written about, what is so special about these girls/women you have chosen?
I chose to include women and girls who were the first to do something, or who did something truly significant, or who did something that was unusual. As you read the stories it is generally clear why each person was chosen.
What do you think are the most valuable things you learned?
I learned to enjoy the long laborious process of research. At the beginning it was not clear that we would find a publisher, so I decided simply to enjoy the time I spent working on it, rather than pushing for a "product". Then, when it happened that we were able to publish, I was joyful, gleeful, and most appreciative.
What do you think is the most inspiring word?
Who is your favorite female heroine in real life?
What quality do you most admire in a woman?
What were you like at age 10?
I was incredibly busy with acting, dancing and dinging, along with school work. I was very joyous and happy.
What inspires you?
Knowing that I make a true difference in others with all that I do.
What do you value most in your friends?
What is one thing you learned from your mother that has helped you in life?
To gain clarity regarding what I wanted and then "go for it" all the way! Be ALL IN!
Ali and Delilah