Monday, May 7, 2018
Interview With Editor Deborah Santana
Women Write the World — Essays on
Equality, Justice and Freedom
1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book? I was alerted to the low statistics of women of color working in the publishing industry and wanted to promote change. My friend Christine Bronstein, founder of Nothing But The Truth Publishing, Inc. asked me to lead the editorial and creative aspects of the anthology. Every aspect of the book was created by women of color. The cover artwork by Favianna Rodriguez expressed the powerful theme, and we sent out a call for essays. As essays came in, I read with great interest the intersectionalities in the stories of all the women.
2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader? All the Women in My Family Sing is an anthology of 69 women of color who wrote essays about what it means to be a woman of color in the world today. The book is a tribute to the many voices of women in a chorus of cultural refrains. Each essay is a personal story about the victories and challenges women face each day as innovators, artists, CEOs, teachers and adventurers. All of the essays reveal how glorious it is to live authentically in our identities. The targeted reader is everyone who wants to expand their knowledge about women’s lives and to enhance understanding and sensibilities about others. We really want men to read the book as well.
3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down? That the inequalities forced on women of color, such as lower pay than white women, the lack of including different life views in media, not understanding the power in other languages and cultural traditions create a void in all lives. Although our identities, places of origin, hair texture, skin color, or religious views may differ, we are much more alike than we are different and we can learn valuable lessons and share rich relationships through learning about each other.
4. What should remain with them long after putting it down? The value of inclusion –noticing who is left out of access to education, corporate management, leadership training, directing, acting, and producing film and television, and who is not welcome in the world of publishing – and working to change the statistics.
5. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers? Writing is a practice. We must create the world we want on the page and dedicate ourselves to rewriting and editing until our project is complete. And we must not give up because we are not immediately successful. The writing in itself is a reward.
6. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? Writing writing is a practice. We must create the world we want on the page and dedicate ourselves to rewriting and editing until our project is complete. And we must not give up because we are not immediately successful. The writing in itself is a reward. Publishers Weekly wrote that “women are finding fulfilling careers running indie
publishers.” (Anisse Gross/April 28, 2017) Nothing But the Truth Publishing, LLC is an independent woman-owned company. As co-publisher with Christine Bronstein, I can attest that it is extremely validating and inspiring to publish women authors with meaningful stories that are not told by big publishing companies.
7. What great challenges did you have in writing your book? As editor, my greatest challenge was winnowing the essays from over 300 submissions we received to the 69 we published. With the help of two early readers and an editorial consultant, I carefully read, re-read, and chose the final essays with attention to the climate of our country and world, the human rights that are being challenged today and the sexual harassment and abuse of women (and men) being exposed and rebuked. Our essays cover a wide range of topics: segregation, racism, belonging to a mother’s group, a Cherokee response to the Dakota Access Pipeline, a transgender journey, missing family members who live in another country, a love letter to a granddaughter, being hired because you are Black, moving to Paris with children, hope, feminism and faith.
8. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours? Our anthology’s purpose is to bring healing to our world, to open dialogue between people who have not spoken to someone different than them, and to create solidarity between those who have suffered racism, exclusion, abuse or marginalization. It is time for a book that was created completely by women of color to be in the hands of people so they may be inspired and changed. We want healing, not division.
Editor Deborah Santana is an author, seeker and activist for peace and social justice. She is founder of Do A Little, a nonprofit that serves women and girls in the areas of health, education and happiness. In 2005, she published a memoir, "Space Between the Stars: My Journey to an Open Heart," and has produced five short documentary films. She is mother to three beloved adult children: Salvador, a songwriter and instrumental artist; Stella, a singer/songwriter; and Angelica, an archivist and film producer. She is a leadership donor to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. and has a master's degree in philosophy and religion, with a concentration in women's spirituality. For more info: www.allthewomeninmyfamilysing.com
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