Formal Bio

Marjetta Geerling is the author of Fancy White Trash (Viking Children’s Books, 2008).Fancy White Trash was selected as an American Library Association’s 2009 Best Books for Young Adults and for the 2009 Rainbow List.

Marjetta grew up in Southern California and attended the Johnston Center for Integrated Studies at the University of Redlands. She has been an elementary school teacher and holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Spalding University. 

Marjetta lives in Hollywood, FL and is an Assistant Professor of English at Broward College. 

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Pronunciation of Marjetta Geerling


I have worked with Marjetta in many ways. I met her first as a promising student in one of my writing workshops and helped mentor her to her first publication, Fancy White Trash. Then I found she had a great love of teaching and mentoring like I do, and since, we have taught many workshops and seminars together. Marjetta is living proof that ‘those who CAN, teach.’ I was a Beta-reader on her newest novel, Reality Check, and I think it showcases everything Marjetta excels at: entertaining the reader with a funny, vulnerable protagonist, keeping them guessing with lots of romance and suspense and in the end, touching them deeply with fully realized emotions.

Joyce SweeneyAuthor of WAKE UP

If you get a chance to take a workshop with Marjetta, do it. She's an outstanding teacher. Her presentations are funny, engaging, content-rich, and impeccably organized. She strives to bring her own insights on the writing process into the classroom. As a result, it's not just the same ol', same ol' that you've heard a million times at workshops and conferences. Her work is truly original, entertaining, and worthwhile.

Dr. Trinna S. Frever

“Marjetta’s manuscript critiques are always right on the money. I’ve been in her weekly writers’ group for several years now, and her suggestions are unfailingly what I knew in my heart were necessary, but didn’t have the gumption to try. Either that, or I simply lacked the insight to improve the manuscript. She has an uncanny way of knowing what you were trying to say even before you said it. Highly recommended for writers in need of story direction and emotional depth.”

Barbara Dinerman

If it weren’t for Marjetta, I’d have never completed my manuscript. Not only has she mastered the art of articulating exactly what a draft needs, but she also possesses a generosity of spirit. She talked me back from the ledge multiple times during the writing process and continues to both guide and cheer me on. My great good luck was finding Marjetta as I was just beginning my project.


Marjetta has a winning format for the workshops that includes “what’s working” as well as “suggestions for improvement.” She writes comments on our manuscripts during the workshop and takes notes of the other workshop members comments so that we have them to consider during our revision process.

Sara Lee

Author Q&A

My Writing ProcessMy Writing Process

Recognition for Fancy White Trash

American Library Association’s 2009 Best Books for Young Adults list 2009 Rainbow List

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What kind of name is Marjetta?

Marjetta is a family name. I’m named after my grandmother’s sister, Audrey Marjetta, who was named after the first Marjetta. The first Marjetta’s mom made up the name. It’s a combination of Marjorie and Etta. You can listen to the pronunciation here.

What kind of name is Geerling?

Geerling is Dutch. My grandparents immigrated to the United States from the Netherlands.

How long does it take to write a book?

It took me about six weeks to write the first draft of Fancy White Trash, but it was far from finished. During the editing process, it got about 90 pages longer! From writing the book until it was done with the editing process took about fourteen months.

Isn’t “white trash” racist and offensive?

A: As with any ethnic slur, it all depends on context. Jeff Foxworthy opened the door to poke fun at low income, white culture with his popular “You know you’re a redneck when…” routine.  There are a number of country-western songs that celebrate white trash and redneck roots. White trash cookbooks are out, teaching how to make everything from Frito pie to red velvet cake. I feel that in our current culture, white trash is not at all racist or offensive.

In my book Fancy White Trash, I’m actually trying to make the point that there is more to white trash culture than the stereotype. Abby’s family occupies the no-man’s land between white trash and middle class. The land I found myself in when applying to college at the age of seventeen––not rich enough to pay for it myself, not poor enough to qualify for aid.

As a white girl growing up in Southern California, I thought I had no cultural heritage unless you count being a mall rat. I’ve learned since then that thinking your own upbringing is the norm and everyone else is ethnic is just another form of racism. InFancy White Trash, I wanted to use humor to show that normal is whatever you grow up with, however abnormal it may appear to others.
I firmly believe that if you actually read Fancy White Trash, there’s no way you can walk away from it thinking that the title is offensive.

Are you working on a new book?

A: Always.

Is it a sequel to Fancy White Trash?

A: No. I feel like Abby’s story is done. She figured out what she needed to, and now the rest of her life is up to her.