Margot Horwitz has spent her career in public relations, writing and marketing, in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. Throughout her life she has had a strong commitment to community work, volunteering her writing to promote everything from adult literacy to food security to youth development.
Margot is the author of three books: A Female Focus: Great Women Photographers, Claudia Taylor (Lady Bird) Johnson; and “Digging into the Past.” She has also published feature and opinion pieces for national magazines and local newspapers, primarily in the areas of health and art. She is an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania, with a BA in English Literature and an MA from the University’s Annenberg School for Communication. Margot lives with her husband, a retired attorney and avid photographer, in Bryn Mawr, PA.
What led you to becoming a writer?
I will soon be 82 years of age and I have written all my life. After winning a poetry contest in third grade, my parents bought me my first typewriter! I went on and studied liberal arts in college and communications in graduate school—both at the University of Pennsylvania. My early career was in advertising and public relations, first in the for-profit and later in the non-profit sectors. During the years when our children were small, I did consulting and free-lance writing, primarily in the areas of arts, education, health care and community service. These projects also included newspaper and magazine articles. My first foray into book publishing was initiated by a friend at the company Franklin Watts, which published my first adult book, “A Female Focus: Great Women Photographers.” My next book, for Children’s Press, was “Claudia Taylor (Lady Bird) Johnson” and then I co-wrote “Digging into the Past” an adult book published by Watts. My most recent book, “From Kimchi to Pizza” tells the adoption story of my younger granddaughter. Currently, I am publishing op-ed pieces on human rights and politics. I plan to write as long as I can—I do believe that writers and artists never retire!
What motivated you to start writing children’s books?
I have always admired children’s books, and when I was asked to write one about America’s first ladies, I was happy to choose a woman I’d always admired, Lady Bird Johnson. It was a terrific research and writing experience, and when I gave copies of the book to her daughter, Lynda Bird Robb, Mrs. Johnson sent me a lovely letter of thanks!
Why did you make adoption a focal point in From Kimchi to Pizza?
My son and daughter-in-law had their first child when they lived in California. By the early 2000’s they had moved to Rhode Island where they met a social worker at an adoption agency. The Taiwanese-American social worker had just returned from a trip to Taiwan and told them “I have the prefect child for you!” After a complicated, nearly two-year process, they got a call on Thanksgiving Day of 2009 that Su Chen was theirs and she was ready to join their family! Right after Christmas they traveled to Taipei, Taiwan to meet her, and by New Year’s Eve they were all back in the United States. Bodhi—her new name—is now 12 1/2 years old, beautiful and bright, and much loved by her parents and sister.
Our first granddaughter, Fifer, was eleven years old when Bodhi came to live with the family. Fifer had always wanted a sister, even with a seven year difference in their ages, and she was excited that I wanted to write a book about the adoption. But Fifer—wanting to protect her own privacy and Bodhi’s—asked that I make the child a boy, from a different country. Knowing a Korean-American man, I did research into South Korea, to make the story as authentic as possible. It was published by BookArchitecture.com.
Fifer is now a sophomore in college and Bodhi is in middle school. The girls are extremely close, and love to do things together when Fifer is home. They don’t feel as if they’ve come from different worlds—they are just sisters—as if the age gap and time in two countries never existed. It is a lovely relationship, which pleases all of us.
Are you working on any upcoming projects?
At the moment, I am not involved in any book projects, but have some ideas I will be discussing with my publisher. Currently, I am writing op-ed pieces, as I mentioned above.
To purchase From Kimchi to Pizza click here!