Moments Like This: Anna Gomez on Weaving Stories About Life Abroad
Filipino-American author Anna Gomez talks about life in the United States, motherhood, corporate life, and being a book author.
Anna Gomez embodies the essence of a modern-day juggler—deftly balancing the intricate worlds of a successful corporate career and a blossoming writing vocation.
She was a certified public accountant and later a chief financial officer at Leo Burnett—one of the top advertising companies in the world—before becoming an author. Working in corporate life can be tasking but writing romantic novels is a different challenge altogether, she shares.
“To be honest, it’s been a little more difficult to shift from one to the other as I have gotten older,” she explains. “I think this is mainly because as you progress in your career, it becomes less of a job and more
a way of life. My creative mind is on 24/7, but it sits behind my career as a CFO on my priority list.”
Writing, she admits, was by accident. “I never in a million years thought I’d be writing books. But when my mom passed away in 2010, I had these words and emotions I needed to put on paper. I self-published my first story and as they say, the rest is history.”
Adjusting to a Life Abroad
Moving abroad has its advantages and disadvantages. Anna was fortunate enough that she and her husband Bill were able to stay with his parents for a while so they could adjust to life in Chicago.
“Once we moved to our own place, we had to sit down and figure out who was doing what and how we were going to manage our jobs vis a vis their childcare,” she shares. “We were just starting, so I remember my entire paycheck paying for daycare until 5 PM, and then paying for another person to pick them up at 5 PM and to stay at home with them until one of us would get home from work.”
Her husband would also take on duties when she was not around—especially when she had to go to Europe for some trips. “I gave up a lot of time with my children to focus on building that, but my husband always made sure he was home to make up for my absence. He was the one who received roses from the students on Mother’s Day. He was in every football game and every cheerleading practice. They say it takes a village. No doubt, it truly does.”
Looking back, she and Bill had to make sacrifices but managed to get through them.
Unearthing Her Filipino-American Heritage
Just how does being a mom inspire her as an author? Anna pondered the question before answering. “Because I write romance and women’s literature, being a mom does not necessarily inspire my storytelling; it fuels it,” she reveals.
“The humility and resilience I have gained from being a mother—the ups and downs of raising a family, of the stages and phases of your children’s years, the heartache of knowing you can’t fix everything or be everything to everyone all at once—has given me the ability to write from a good place. A place of nurturing and strength that only comes from the hardships you experience as a woman who wants to be focused but remain multidimensional at the same time.”
“The feelings of guilt, the confusion about who you are, the legacy you want to leave to your children—these are what drive my stories. And they’re all because I am a mom,” Anna declares.
Her heritage is also a big help. “My Filipino heritage has always been the catalyst for my stories. I was born and raised and even had two of my children in Manila. I speak the language, I cook the food. My culture and my beliefs—those are ingrained in the stories that I tell. My characters are multicultural. They are parts of me at different stages of my life.”
And although her books Moments Like This, and My Goodbye Girl received awards, Anna said she also had her fair share of challenges, including gathering the confidence to use her name.
“I did change my name to use a pen name, first for privacy reasons, but mostly because I didn’t think I would make any progress without a Caucasian-sounding name,” she admits. “I’ve since then switched back to my real name—it took a few years to gain self-confidence and to find my voice both in my career and in the diversity platform I now strongly advocate.”
Bracing for the Next Moments
Anna Gomez’s book Moments Like This is set to be adapted to the small screen soon via Hallmark. On top of that, she finished writing a new story inspired by her journey. “[It’s] particularly about my life growing up in Manila. Our life growing up couldn’t be more different than the life we are living here in the US,” she shares.
She is also looking forward to a new project for Rakuten Kobo. “It’s supposed to be released in September 2024. In addition to that, my co-author, Kristoffer Polaha, and I, still have two more books to finish in our five-book series, From Kona with Love. I think I’ve got my work cut out for me. I can’t tell you what I’m writing about but I’m hoping you stick around long enough to find out!”
With a thriving career in publishing and family by her side, proud Filipina Anna Gomez, is proof that with perseverance, patience, and staying true to yourself, you can have it all!
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