Great Neck native Reyna Marder Gentin recently published her debut novel, Unreasonable Doubts, a legal thriller and love story that follows protagonist Liana Cohen on a
journey of faith, love and justice. For Marder Gentin, who practiced as a lawyer for more than two decades, becoming a writer meant diverging from the beaten path
and following her passion.
The author got her start at Great Neck North High School, which she graduated from in 1984.
“It was a competitive school, but I always felt that my biggest goal was to do well on my own terms and not in comparison to anyone else,” said Marder Gentin, reflecting on her time at GNN. “Perhaps even more than the classes or teachers, I made lifelong friends in high school. We still get together regularly, and those friends have been some of my biggest cheerleaders as I began this adventure of becoming a writer. Most importantly, I met my husband, Pierre Gentin, at Great Neck North. We’ve been married for 27 years and have two wonderful children.”
During her Great Neck days, Marder Gentin also spent time at the library’s Levels program and in her synagogue, Temple Israel.
“I was influenced by all these institutions,” she said of her schools, library and synagogue, “and of course by my family, to take all my endeavors seriously, but also to find the meaning and the fun in life. I think these aspects of a happy childhood in a safe, beautiful town are reflected in my writing.”
Marder Gentin went to college and law school at Yale, after which she practiced public-
interest law for two decades. Though she still practices law on a volunteer basis, she is now focused on writing. Unreasonable Doubts is very much inspired by her background in law, particularly by working in a public defender’s office.
“Don’t be afraid to give writing your all, even if you can’t always see the success down the road,” Marder Gentin advises aspiring Great Neck authors. “Writing can be such a satisfying outlet in itself, and it can also be a way for you to meet other like-minded people and to connect with readers. Look around your community for ways to get involved in writing programs and learn both the craft and the business of writing.”