Monday, November 7, 2016

Interview With Author Sarah Bates

The Lost Diaries of Elizabeth Cady Stanton

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 have always admired strong women and Elizabeth intrigued me. When I began to research her background I found lots of information about her contributions to women’s rights and the abolition of slavery. What I didn’t find was, “what motivated her to take on this monumental task?” She lived in an era when women had no voice. But she spoke up. I liked that, and that girl–that young woman who turned out to be the famous suffragette responsible for pushing for the 19th Amendment–became the protagonist for the novel. I had never written historical fiction, and probably won’t again, but this novel was a labor of love.

2. What is it about and whom do you believe us your targeted reader?
First, this story is about a real person who changed America. Second, women particularly, are interested in how another woman accomplishes a difficult task. Finally, women constitute the historical fiction fan base. I researched the demographics for historical novels before starting the marketing.

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?
When I tutored at Palomar College and young women learned I was a writer, they always asked, “What are you writing?” When I told them about this book, turns out none of them knew how Elizabeth Cady Stanton broke the ground for women like them. I hope everyone who reads this story finds the courage to act on his or her own convictions.

4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
Write your story. Learn the craft. Find peers who will evaluate your work with tact and honesty. Self edit until you are almost blind, then, pay to have the book professionally edited and take that person’s advice. Don’t give up. Read the writers who win awards. They are your mentors.

5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
Digital books changed publishing for good and for bad. The good is that terrific books are available without cutting down a tree. The bad is that amateurish writing is flooding the marketplace with cheap or free content. At some point bricks and mortar bookstores will accept self-published books because publishers will decide to take returns even if it means authors will be vetted, as artists are for shows.

6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book?
Research was the greatest challenge I faced. Making sure the facts I gleaned from Stanton’s memoir and Elisabeth Griffith’s biography, through which I wove the historical context, the settings, and the ambience of the era, became crucial. I worked as a journalist for a while and know how important accuracy is to a story. As a result I collected myriad maps, books, photos, drawings, recipes. I even traveled to her hometown, Johnstown, New York, to walk where she did, visit her church and the courthouse where her father tried cases.

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
On November 8, America might elect her first female President. Women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton made this event possible.

Sarah Bates’ short fiction has appeared in the Greenwich Village Literary Review, the literary magazine Bravura, and the San Diego North County Times (now the Union-Tribune). She is the author of Twenty-One Steps of Courage, a military action novel published in 2012 and co-author of the 2005 short story collection, Out of Our Minds, Wild Stories by Wild Women. Bates was an English Department writing tutor at Palomar College in San Marcos, California for ten years. She continues to privately tutor both creative and academic writing students and is working on a new novel. Sarah Bates lives in Fallbrook, California.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©.
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