The Interview

Fill in the blank: “To know Zulmara Cline is to know her passion for life, living, reading, writing, and education.”

Who is Zulmara Cline?
An inspirational Latina writer whose purpose is to spread love, good cheer, enthusiasm for life, and positive energy.

What are THREE adjectives that best describe YOU?
Passionate, Loving, and Giving

You’re walking down the street on a beautiful day; you’re feeling good, looking good. What theme song plays in your mind?
I’m Alive by Celine Dion

I met you on MySpace and have been following you around the Web. I love your fire, your spirit and tenacity. What drives you?
My passion for life and leaving a legacy. I see so much hope and potential in the world that in my time here, I want to be able to say I truly left it a kinder, gentler, more understanding place by being a positive force for hope and change. I actually have a collection of poems entitled, My Life is My Message that conveys these feelings.

I read that you co-write bilingual children’s books; what moved you to write in this genre?
I have been working with educating children all my life and I have such a strong place in my heart for bilingual and biliterate children because I feel they bring life skills with them to the educational arena that are not admired, appreciated, and nurtured. I want to change all that.

The Coloring Book, a multimedia bilingual program, is a primary program for learning colors and animal names in English and Spanish. In this program, the students can select a variety of pictures to color. The program is easy and intuitive to use. Children can select from 30 pictures and hear the name of the picture in English and Spanish.

What is the ultimate goal behind these books?
The ultimate goal is to have a series of multicultural bilingual books that will help parents and educators maintain, sharpen, and enhance the biliteracy skills of their children.

The Little Star that Fell from the Sky is the story of a spunky little star whose curiosity causes her to fall to the earth where she begins to feel afraid, alone, and sad. She feels anguish, not only because she is in a strange place, but because she has disobeyed her mother. Some fireflies decide to help her and the stronger one of the two takes her back her mom in the sky.

You have a story in Chicken Soup for the Latino Soul. Tell us about it.
In this story I try to capture how hard it is for parents, especially single moms to see their first one off to college. Our parents work so hard for us to break the cycle of poverty and make it in this world, but it is with apprehension that they send us away and with a knowing in their hearts that things will never be the same, but they will be better. My own mom struggled with me leaving and in the end, only wanted me to soar and this story is a tribute to this wonderful lady who I was fortunate enough to have grace my life.

You are, indeed, an EVERYWOMAN. You’re working on children’s books. You’ve written and published short stories. And you also run your own company, EZ Bilingual. What was the inspiration that led to this company’s inception?
The inspiration was the desire to make a difference in the world of dual language education. I realized that both parents and teachers needed more support to help their children learn a second language and I wanted to use original tales that children could listen to over and over again in both languages. When I met Eduardo, a writer in Nicaragua, our partnership was born. We started chatting and realized we shared similar interests as writers and he became my Spanish support.

How do you see EZ Bilingual growing in the future?
I see us expanding to offer curriculum as well as the stories. I want to have a way that parents and children can practice the language together. Especially Latino parents who want to reconnect with their heritage language and want to make sure their children grow up bilingually. The newsletters now offer ideas and ways to reconnect and I hope to be expanding in that direction.

What first attracted me to you were your “Journaling for the Creative Mind: Discovering Your Inner Diva” blogs at your page on Art by Latina Artists. Where did the idea for the blogs come from?
I have always journaled and have always taught it as a way of helping students become better writers and to get in touch with their essence. I feel that journaling is a powerful outlet for anger, healing, love, and positive karma. It is through our writing that we can get in touch with our spirits and be connected to our purpose and give our lives meaning. That is why I stress that journaling does not have to be original writing, but can be pictures, quotes, lyrics, or poems–whatever moves you, will help you get in touch with that inner core that drives you.

The idea from the blogs came from the journaling workshops I have conducted where I work with getting participants to free themselves up and start having a conversation with themselves.

Why do you journal?
I journal because I have to, it is my life, my essence, my need. If I did not write every day, I would go crazy. It is my time to dump my mind, get in touch with feelings, and make sense of the world. For me, journaling allows me to be in touch with my core, who I am, what I want, and how I am going to achieve it.

How important do you think it is for people to write their stories?
Very, especially people of color, we see so little of us in mainstream writing and when we are present, we are not “normal” but caricature for someone else’s story. I think when we started writing our own stories, either fiction or non-fiction, something began to happen to the society as a whole. We become real people with real lives and real stories to share. No one can take that away from us, our people, our culture, and our way of being and knowing in the world—it is the essence of who we are. And, others need to know, we are proud of it and make no apologies.

Do you think you might ever publish journals or memoirs?
Yes, I can see myself doing that in a few years. I have been organizing my thoughts and ideas in that way and am seriously considering doing that or I will write a autobiographical fictional piece.

What are your inspirations as a writer?
TRAVEL-READING-WRITING. Travel inspires me because I meet wonderful people and have wonderful experiences. Reading inspires me because it gives me so much cache. I read all the time and I read all genres. Writing is also inspiring and for me, writing begets writing. The more I write, the more I want to write. I respond to blogs and comments on MySpace and other social networking sites because I find the process of reading quickly and responding is inspiring to me and exercises my writing muscle.

Word Association. What comes to mind when you see the following words:
LIFE: Enthusiasm
WRITING: Passion
ZULMARA: Love of Life

What’s currently going on in your WRITING LIFE?
A lot…so much that I am not sure where to start. I have been writing for some online ezines and am loving it. I have a few articles with Blacktino, In the Company of Sistas, From a Writer’s Point of View, and Trei Literacy. I have a few others coming out and have started a series with

I am also busy writing curriculum, not only for the books on my website, but for other books as well. I think it is so important to have curriculum and study guides to help people navigate towards the books.

I am also writing articles for my Newsletter, which is so cool. This is the first time I have been able to write what I am passionate about without having someone else decide if it will be published or not.

I am hoping to take some time next year to start outlining a novel. I have been writing back story on my characters and I have a story line I want to follow. I may actually do this as a short story first, that will eventually be expanded to a novel-length work.

1 Comment

  1. Zulmara is great. It’s funny how you can connect with others without ever meeting in person. But the effect can be just as powerful.

    Wonderful interview! I look forward to reading more.


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