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Arlene Uslander
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Interview with Arlene Uslander, author of 14 books, over 400 articles/essays and recipient of a number of awards for "excellence in journalism."

1. How and when did you get started as a writer?

I got started when I was about 8 years old and I wrote articles for my school newspaper. I never stopped after that. However, my first book, no longer in print, was called Their Universe: How Children Feel, and was published by Delacorte Press, and then Delta in paperback. As the title implies, the book was about children’s feelings about the world around them, in their own words, with narrations from me. The book received outstanding reviews and sold very well.

2. How do you usually find your ideas?

They just come to me, mainly when I am walking outdoors  especially along the beach. .

3. Did you ever get any rejections?

Of course. I received 49 rejections on my first book, and was about to toss all copies of the manuscript into the trash can when I received two phone calls on the same day from publishers offering me a contract. If you really believe in what you have written, never give up!

4. If yes, how did you react to them?

I was upset naturally, but I am very persistent and have always kept trying until I found a publisher. And, POD publishers published two of my books.

5. Tell us about your most recent book.

The Simple Touch of Fate: Real People; Real Stories,
which I co-edited with Brenda Warneka.  This is an anthology of true inspirational stories written by people from all over the world about their personal brushes with fate. It has received wonderful reviews, which you can read on our website:

6. What inspired you to write this book?

A young man whose book I edited told in the book about how he would have died if not for the fact that his sister, who had a job that kept her away from home on weekends, had a strong premonition that she should drive home one Saturday night. She found her brother unconscious, rushed him to the hospital, and doctors said that if not for her going home that night, he would have died. I then began thinking about experiences in my own life that would have turned out very differently if not for the intervention of Fate or some Higher Power. And, I realized that there must be thousands of stories out there about the profound effect Fate has on people’ lives. I decided to do an anthology of Fate stories, including some of my own and my co-editor’s.

7. How long did it take you to write it?

It took my co-editor and me FIVE LONG YEARS to put it all together  collect the stories, edit the stories, put them in the right order, verify facts, as we only wanted true stories, etc.

8. What are the major challenges you have faced in your career?

Three instances in which I had contracts with publishers, after writing the complete books, and then they went out of business.  In one of the three instances, at least I had gotten a nice advance, but I received nothing (but disappointment and aggravation) for the other two.

9. What do you advise new writers to do?

If you want to try your luck with agents, make sure the agents are legitimate; that is, they do not charge reading or editing fees; that they have a good track record of sales to publishers, and that they are willing to give you references from people whose books they have sold. Many times, it is better to go directly to publishers with your manuscripts than to agents because the top agents usually are interested only in published authors. There is a website called “Editors and” Before you sign on with an agent, see if there is any negative information about her or him on the Editors and Preditors website. Also, make sure your manuscript is formatted correctly and is professionally edited (unless you have good editing skills). And, most important, don’t give up if you have written something you really believe in. Keep on sending!!!

Arlene Uslander, Co-editor with Brenda Warneka of The Simple Touch of Fate: Real People; Real Stories. Please visit our website as we are looking for stories for a sequel.

Also, I am a free lance editor with excellent references, so visit my editing website:



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