AUDIO: For her encore career, computer scientist turns to thrillers

July 10, 2011 9:00pm

•  Determination is at the heart of her work

•  ‘I knew there was more left inside me’

When computer scientist Irene Gargantini was finally forced to retire from her daily teaching position at Western Ontario University, she didn’t sit around – she launched a new career as a novelist.

She took courses in how to write fiction as opposed to the scientific writing she had done over her 32-year career, and began the grinding process of creating plots and characters – and trying to get published. Her first three novels were self-published before traditional publishing companies “discovered” her.

The writing fulfills a long-ago goal of becoming an author -- before her career got in the way. “When I was young, I wanted to be a story teller,” she says.

Now, writing under the pen name Rene Natan, she has built a second successful career with eight novels published and a ninth in the works.

One secret she shares is not being locked into a specific plot.

“You have to let your characters talk to you,” Ms. Gargantini says. “They tell you where to go.”

(In today/s CVBT Audio Interview via Skype, Irene Gargantini talks about making a new career at a time in life when many would have retired. Please left-click on the link below to listen now or right-click on the link to download the MP3 audio file for later listening.)

“When we’re young, we think we have a plan for our lives, and we pursue that plan, but we forget to think about what happens after we’re finished,” she says.

Adding to the vacuum that often follows retirement, Ms. Gargantini’s husband died after a lingering illness.

“I found myself alone with quite a bit of time on my hands and I felt a pull toward my other passion: writing. So I took six online courses and then decided to venture into the field on my own,” she says.

“It’s not that I threw my hands in the air and said, ‘Why not?’ It’s that I knew there was more left inside me and I was determined to find an outlet that was driven by passion, and not just boredom.”

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