NORMAN — Sonia Gensler has long been haunted by the stories of heroines past, swept away by tales in history books and novels alike of women who transcend the limitations placed upon them.
Though the Norman resident dabbled in literature and history in various career capacities throughout her life, it wasn’t until recently that she followed her literary examples to chase after her dreams.
Gensler set aside her desire to become an author to teach others about the joys of literature. While teaching English at Norman North High School, Gensler said she was struck with how brave her students were with their writing.
“Some of them were terribly shy — just like I was — but they’d still share their writing,” she said. “And they took themselves seriously as writers. So it was when I was teaching that I thought, ‘I need to take myself more seriously as a writer.”
The following summer Gensler dove back into her own writing, managing to complete her first novel.
“And that novel is terrible,” she said, laughing. “It will never see the light of day again. But it at least got me on the path.”
When the school year started up again, Gensler began teaching part-time so she could commit more time to writing. She used “NaNoWriMo,” or National Novel Writing Month, to draft her next novel about an Arthurian legend minor female character cast as the heroin. And this one landed her an agent.
“So that made me think ‘I’m on my way now.’ I love my agent, she was passionate about it, it just didn’t sell to a publisher,” she said. “We sent it out, people were interested, we got some really lovely rejections — if you can imagine that — where they write a letter and say this is what I love but this is why it’s not going to work.