Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. Stephen Hawking

Cali Gilbert Interview Published on: 30, Mar 2019

Tell us a little bit about your hometown and your life growing up.

I was born on the east coast of America, yet grew up in Toronto, Canada. I'm a former figure skater and my dream growing up was to go to the Olympic Games. I've always loved to write and have had a passion for photography for as long as I can remember. Following my skating career I went into journalism and published a magazine on Canadian figure skating. I then returned to university and hold both a Bachelor and Masters degree in Sport Management. In 2002 I was able to fulfill my Olympic dream, yet not as an athlete. I supported the Canadian Olympic Committee by working at Canada House. It was also an amazing time as I had friends competing and winning gold for Canada which was a huge thrill.

What challenges did you face while publishing your debut novel?

My first book, It's Simply Sausalito: An Inspirational Journey was actually an outlet for my grief. In 2011 I lost EVERYTHING (child, relationship, car, money, home). I needed an outlet for my grief and emotions, and that outlet I found in my passions for writing and photography. I lived in Sausalito, California at the time, this beautiful town of two square miles. I shared photographs I had captured and inspiring words from my heart, and that became my first book. The biggest challenge in publishing that book was lack of funds and experience.

I love sharing the story of the day I lost my home, but it was a bit ironic at the time. I had packed everything I owned into a storage container. I checked into the office at the storage facility and gave the manager my name. He looked up and replied he had just been reading about me. He held up the newspaper and my book was on the front cover. I didn't have a home, yet I was making news, in a good way. Suppose it was a sign of things to come.

How did you get started with your company, Tower 15 Productions? What made you decide to supports other creatives through your company?

Tower 15 Productions had been a dream of mine for a few years now. After moving to LA in 2013 I decided I wanted to take my writing to the next level. For me, that was screenwriting and filmmaking. In 2014 I dove head first into the film world and learned everything I could about what it takes to be a successful Writer/Director. In 2018 I published my 9th book, It's Simply Filmmaking which is a guide for the aspiring and emerging female filmmaker. After that I knew it was time to officially launch the production company with a focus on education and collaboration in support of other creatives. I believe we should focus on collaboration rather than competition as artists, and imagine what we could create together?

How do you think your book "Pearl" has helped your readers to live a truly authentic and purposeful life?

My book, Pearl is the second book in my Memoir Series after It's Simply Serendipity which is where I chronicle my journey of transformation from homelessness to success. I often say, the Serendipity book was about losing THINGS whereas the story I share in Pearl was about losing MYSELF. There was a lot of growth that took place in both stories. In It's Simply Serendipity I share my story, but also introduce the reader to a four-step formula I used to create the life of my dreams. In Pearl, I share how I implemented those steps to create a life lived authentically and on purpose.

How did you come up with the title, "Timing The Tides?" What is the key theme and/or message in the book?

Timing The Tides is a very special book for me as I wrote it with my partner. He is also a gifted writer and it was a story we felt needed to be told. It is classified as Historical Fiction, yet based on true events. It's about two people Bridget McAdams and George Baxter who meet on the RMS Titanic in 1912. George is a sailor and Bridget is a third class passenger. The book chronicles their meeting and what they experienced together during the Titanic tragedy, and then how through reincarnation, they meet a hundred years later. It is OUR story.

Which is your favorite photo among all in "It's Simply.Sausalito: An Inspirational Journey?" Who took all the beautiful photographs in the book?

I can't say I really have a favourite photo from the book. Each holds a special place in my heart. I took all of the photos.

One thing you wish you knew when you wrote your first book? How did your friends react to your first book?

The first book was so special because of the timing. I was homeless, but it was a gift because it allowed me to express what was in my heart at the time. My friends loved it and so did the community of Sausalito. I was blessed in that Sausalito is a huge tourist destination. So even though I didn't have a home, I was able to sell books as the shops would carry them. I also sold many sitting at Starbucks to the tourists visiting or on the ferry that went back and forth between San Francisco and Sausalito. I published the book through Amazon's self-publishing leg, CreateSpace, so it was print on demand.

What inspired you to write "It's Simply.GOLDEN: 75 Years of Inspiration" with imaginative descriptions of seventy-five years of the Golden Gate Bridge?

This was the second book in the IT'S SIMPLY series after the Sausalito book. I lived next door to the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito, so was blessed to photograph it often. In 2012 the bridge celebrated its 75th anniversary, so I thought what better time to release a book about it. I didn't know I would be homeless at the time it came out in early 2012, but it was a huge success as well. The shops that carried my Sausalito book wanted this one as well since there were big plans for the Bay Area to celebrate the occasion. I simply replicated the format of the Sausalito book and used the photos I had captured of the bridge as well as inspirational phrases.

What was the most challenging thing about writing "It's Simply...SF: Our City By The Bay" containing original photography and inspirational phrases celebrating the city of San Francisco, California?

The third book in the IT'S SIMPLY series was pretty much a continuation of what I had started with the Sausalito and Golden Gate books. The biggest challenge was all the competition of other books about San Francisco and the better quality at the time. I was simply doing the best I could and also learning as I went along.

What are some new ideas and writing techniques that you explored in the book "It's Simply Publishing?"

It's Simply Publishing was the culmination of all I had learned about the publishing industry after publishing five books up to that point when it was released in 2014. It's a step by step guide to writing, marketing and publishing your first book, and the precise steps I used to publish several bestsellers.

What are your goals with the book, It's Simply Filmmaking? How has been your experience of being a social impact filmmaker?

When I was first starting out as an author, I learned from those who were doing what I wanted to do. I looked to bestselling authors and learned everything I could about how they went about their work. When I started out in the film industry in 2014, I followed that same path. I looked to filmmakers who were doing what I wanted to do, and learned from them. It's Simply Filmmaking is a guide for the aspiring and emerging female filmmaker. I interviewed 28 female filmmakers in various categories - Screenwriters, Producers, Directors, Cinematographers, Composers and Editors. I share their stories and words of wisdom as a guide for those just starting out in the industry. In the back of the book there is also a reference section filled with valuable information for a newcomer to the industry.

It's Simply Filmmaking is the first of a seven-book FILM series dedicated to those who aspire a career in film. It is also the basis of the educational component of my production company, Tower 15 Productions.

When is writing hardest for you? What do you do to pick yourself up during those moments?

I tend to multitask quite often. I run a production company. I'm currently working on three film projects, and I have a new book coming out in the Spring. Writing is hard when I try to do everything at once and lose focus. As a former athlete however, that's when discipline comes into play. I simply must prioritize and force myself to make hard deadlines.

With my forthcoming book, Shuffling The Tides, it's been extremely difficult. The prequel I wrote with my partner and this one I'm doing alone as he has other commitments that take precedence. I'm also sharing this story from the male point of view which is making it extra challenging. Yet I'm making it happen. I go to my happy place, which is the ocean. I can walk every day and that is such a blessing. I usually write from the beach as well. I've also been blessed with a group of good friends who have offered support from the male perspective so I can be as accurate as possible in sharing the story.

What are your top five writing tips as an international bestselling author?

My top five writing tips would be:
A. Be authentic in your writing. Sure you can look to others in terms of ideas, format, etc. Yet you have a beautiful unique voice. Share it!
B. When it comes to writing techniques, do what works best for YOU! I always hear you should write every day or schedule a certain amount of time to write, or do it this way or that way. There isn't a cookie-cutter way to write. Do what works for you.
C. When it comes to writing memoir, try to find a way to teach the reader about the lessons you've learned throughout your story instead of simply sharing the story. What can the reader take away from your experience? What are the benefits?
D. Also when it comes to Memoir, yes there may be similar stories out there, but NO ONE can share your story the way you can. It is unique to you, and by sharing it, you just never know who you will touch and inspire.
E. Write about what you love. You don't need to focus on one genre. My books cover several genres and it's okay. Simply do what you love and you'll enjoy the process a lot more.

How do you manage all your social media accounts and write promotions? Have you had a pleasant experience with AllAuthor so far and is this a platform you might recommend to others?

I write and manage all my social media posts. I'm a morning person so I tend to get everything out of the way early. I don't necessary post every day, but most days. I have had a pleasant experience with AllAuthor so far and would recommend the platform to other writers/authors. Any way we can share our work with others is a good thing.

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