Interview with Marla
Q: Where are you from?
A: I'm a California native, born in Los Angeles, and raised in Orange County, California. I lived in Costa Mesa and El Toro with my family, and then after I moved out on my own, lived everywhere between San Clemente and Huntington Beach before moving to San Francisco in 1986, which is still my home.
Q: What gets you up in the morning?
A: Initially? My two hungry cats. After that, I'm excited to begin every day, because they're usually packed with all kinds of fun stuff.
Q: What's your idea of fun?
A: I start my day with exercise, first stretching then weights, followed by my spiritual practice, which always includes some form of meditation. I can have so much more fun if I'm grounded. It's fun to be smart, so every day I learn something new on the many different online learning platforms I have chosen.
I volunteer a lot, visiting the sick, and working events at various charities or other interesting groups.
I ride my 1950s beach cruiser, not at the beach, but around my neighborhood, the Fillmore District of San Francisco, where there are fewer hills than the rest of the city! I would ride my beach cruiser to the beach, but there are way too many hills between the Fillmore District and the beach!!
I binge watch Netflix and Gaia, go to movies and restaurants, and can't get enough culture—live theater, ballet, symphony, and concerts--blues, jazz, whatever.
I read voraciously; my favorite genres are fiction, history, biographies, poetry, and anything that's well written. And of course, writing, I love to write and attend writing classes whenever I can.
I take infrequent vacations. I spent six days traveling to Los Angeles and Portland over Thanksgiving in 2019. And spent six days in Cancun for a HeartMath conference in November 2019. Also spent a week at the pyramids at Teotihuacan, Mexico in 2016 with some really amazing people and the shaman Francis Rico.
Q: What's your pet peeve?
A: My pet peeve is when people judge others. People who judge others are really, really bad…just kidding! Seriously, no one has the right to judge another person because we never know what is happening in someone’s life or what is going on inside their head. Ever!
I love to experience as many things in life as I can, and I often hear from people I talk to about it, "You should write a book." I guess I heard that often enough that I started doing it.
Q: When and why did you begin writing?
A: I'm a super experiential person. I love to experience as many things in life as I can, and I often hear from people I talk to about it, "You should write a book." I guess I heard that often enough that I started doing it. I have started many books, but Sally in the Afterlife will be the first I have completed. I plan to publish a few more that I've started, so be prepared to be entertained!
Q: When do you like to write?
A: Not mornings, since that seems to be my time for reflection. When I try to write first thing, I've got nothing productive to say. Even though I don't make it a habit to begin writing in the morning, I have on occasion woken up in the middle of the night full of inspiration and written it out until the sun came up.
My favorite time to begin writing is in the late afternoon or evening when I am my most productive.
Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?
A: Even as a very young girl, I could never commit to one occupation, so my answer was always that I just wanted to be happy. I didn't understand then the implications of my answer, but I must have thrown off a lot of unsuspecting adults, who were probably expecting answers like a teacher, or a nurse, or a mother.
Q: What is the first thing you notice about a person?
A: The first thing I notice about a person is their eyes. I know it's a cliché, but for me, eyes are indeed a window to the soul. I often forget a person's face because I see their eyes instead of their face.
Q: Do you prefer reading a book or e-books?
A: I love books! That being said, they are inconvenient—they take up lots of space, and I have to wear my glasses to read them. So I read e-books. I have both Kindle and Nook apps on my phone. Thousands of e-books on both apps take up no space, I don't need my glasses, and I read multiple books at a time. Super convenient!
Q: If you were to write a book about yourself, what would you name it?
A: If I wrote a book about myself, I would name it, Everybody's Got Something.
Q: If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see play the lead role as you?
A: I'd like to see Chelsea Handler play me in a Hollywood movie about my life. I think she would "get" me.
Q: How did the idea to write Sally in the Afterlife come to you?
A: The idea came to me one Sunday night while washing my dinner dishes. I heard a whisper in my ear, telling me to write this book and to call it Sally in the Afterlife.
I thought it was an incredible idea, but I ignored it because it wasn't a convenient time for me to start writing a book just then.
I heard the whisper again a little bit louder and again ignored it. The whispering got louder and louder until it was no longer a whisper. Very early the next morning, before the sun came up, I awoke while the cats were still sleeping and began writing Sally in the Afterlife.