I first met Ginger at The Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta, Georgia. While giving an author presentation, I scanned the audience and noticed a stunning redhead with a gorgeous smile. Later in the evening while I was signing books, she introduced herself and we hit it off immediately. Well known for her radio show, Book Talk With Ginger, and, for her book, Back on Top; Fearless Dating After Divorce, Ginger is the real deal—a dynamo with energy to spare and a quick, inquisitive mind. When she told me about her life and her writing, I knew I wanted to feature her here, and Ginger graciously accepted my invitation.
I’m so pleased to introduce you to the delightful Ginger Emas Schlanger, and here, in her own words, is her story …
“I’ve been writing stories for as long as I can remember, inspired by my 7th grade English teacher who, after reading one of my short stories, told me I was a strong writer. I cringe at that story now (yes, torn and tattered, I saved that year’s anthology), but sometimes it only takes one person to believe in you and motivate you for the rest of your career. I began mine in Charlotte, NC, working for IBM as a magazine writer, then editor. Who knew corporations needed so much writing? After six years I moved to Atlanta, Georgia. I told everyone I was moving because I wanted to open my own communications firm (which I did), but the truth was, I had dated all of the eligible young men in city of Charlotte and the surrounding counties, and I needed a larger pool.
Which leads me to my topic: sort of a Sex and the City-meets-I Love Lucy. I’m the author of the recently-released book, Back on Top: Fearless Dating After Divorce. After 13 years of marriage (and 14 years of couples therapy) I became the first person in my family’s history to divorce. Suddenly single, I thought I’d simply pick up where I left off nearly two decades earlier. But while I was changing diapers, the dating world had gone to the wolves – and apparently, the cougars.
My first date after my divorce was excruciatingly awkward. When I got home that night, I did what writers do — I wrote about it. Finding both the humanity and humor in that first date saved me from swearing off men altogether. That story was published in a women’s magazine, along with several others that I wrote during my first year of post-divorce dating. Unaware that this is not how things happen in the publishing world, a publisher read my articles and called to ask if I would write a book on the topic. Something funny, hopeful, helpful, snarky … And that’s how Back on Top was born.
During the writing, I interviewed dozens of men and women and realized there was a strong connection around this topic. We all love to talk about love — the beginning of it, the pursuit of it, the heat of it, the end of it, the meaning of it. I also learned that there was a lot of uncertainty among recently-divorced women about dating “rules:” online dating etiquette, dating with kids, dating safety, when to have sex (if we’d ever have sex again) – none of us who were dating again seemed to have a clue. So I took it upon myself to learn and stumble, get back up and back on top — and share.
Beyond the humor and advice, I think my book offers women acceptance and validation. There’s no judging from me, because believe me, I’ve been there, too. I’ve made so many mistakes, learned from (some of) them, only to make an entirely different mistake the next Saturday night. Today I host Girlfriend Makeovers and post-divorce dating workshops where I hear stories that many women have never spoken about before … they tell me they feel a sense of failure. They think their love life is over … they wish they had made different choices … they worry that they didn’t try hard enough … they think they went too wild or not wild enough, and that they’ll be judged. My goal is to support women the best way I can, and often that’s through the lens of laughter and a girlfriend-to-girlfriend honesty. It’s how I’ve always tip-toed through my own life’s challenges.
I write a column for www.Sharewik.com and www.Skirt.com, sharing what I know: the experiences of a divorced working mom who only a few years ago was baffled by the terms “MILF” and “Cougar” and who is doing her best to stay sane while co-parenting with my ex to raise our teenage son. I write about my previous dating escapades as well as my current relationship with a man significantly younger than I am. I talk about the women and men I continue to meet, and the amazing grace with which so many people handle difficult transitions. And I mostly tell stories of my ex, and the well-worth-it benefits of developing a true friendship after divorce. Most people think we’re a little crazy, but I am thrilled to have the family of four I’ve always wanted … only it looks a little different than what I’d imagined: my boyfriend, my ex, my son and me.
I am always excited to interview authors for Book Talk with Ginger, part of Radio Sandy Springs in Atlanta, Georgia and a top radio site on America’s Web Radio. A full hour of your favorite writers live every Monday, 1 – 2 p.m. EST. Please email me at email@example.com with suggestions of authors you’d like to hear, or if you are a writer who’d like to chat with me, please let me know. I’d love to have you listen to the show, and email or call in to win copies of free books! You can also download the show every Tuesday and play it on your phone or media player while you walk, exercise, carpool, volunteer, work – all the things women do all at one time! You can hear Beth’s interview by visiting the site, scrolling down to Archives, and selecting 3/1/10, Beth Hoffman.”