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Friday, April 21, 2017
Interview with author Angela P. Dodson
REMEMBER THE LADIES:
Celebrating Those Who Fought for 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? An editor suggested I do something in anticipation of the suffrage anniversaries on the horizon, especially the centennial of women in New York and other states winning the vote in 1917, which set the stage for the national victory in 1920. I did some preliminary research to see if there really was “a story” there, as journalists say, and really became hooked on the people, ideas and images associated with the suffrage movement. I then wrote a proposal outlining how I would approach the topic. I have long been a history buff and have often reviewed books on history, and I have identified as a feminist all my adult life, so it was a labor of love for me.
2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader? The book is about the full sweep of the women’s rights movement and the history of American women beginning in colonial times. It traces the shaping of the movement from about the 1830s — before suffrage was even the main goal — and the long battle to win voting rights, then discusses women’s political gains up to Hillary Clinton’s narrow and brutal loss in the 2016 presidential race. My book also places the woman suffrage movement in context with other movements, abolitionism, temperance, Reconstruction, “free love,” and labor rights, for instance, and deals with the intersectionality of these issues. The targeted reader is probably a woman like me who had never been taught much formally about the individuals and the issues involved in the woman suffrage movement. Women like us would consider ourselves otherwise highly educated. That includes young women and more mature women. I think men too will find it of interest, especially those who are fascinated by politics. The book gives credit to men who helped in the movement, and I don’t think it villainizes men as a group.
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? I hope that people will understand that it took a lot of people, women and men, of varying religions, races, politics and talents, working together, to win the ultimate victory. Little was accomplished for decades when the movement was split into factions, neither of them well organized. Once the leaders could put aside differences, unite and strategize, progress was made. In the end, it took a kind of “good cop-bad cop” approach to get it done though — with new factions taking radically different approaches before working together for the final victory. I also hope this book will be a “conversation starter” for a broader discussion of what it is going to take for our nation to elect a woman president.
4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers? I would just urge them to persist in perfecting their craft and pushing to get someone to listen to their ideas. I also think writers should be open to taking the challenge to pursue an editor’s idea. As an editor myself, I know I have valued writers who can do that.
5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? I see greater diversification of voices and topics. I think that will continue because people want more diversity in the content of books. Overall, despite all the talk that people aren’t reading or are only reading e-books, the sale of print books has been increasing, up 3.3 percent in 2016 over 2015, the third straight year of growth, according to Publishers Weekly, and the increase has been most pronounced for nonfiction.
6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book? The biggest challenge was the research because women’s stories have so often been neglected in the past. I often had to dig for answers to questions that seemed simple at first, and I often found conflicting or erroneous “facts” that I had to try to unravel. The woman suffrage story seems particularly riddled with myths and misinformation. I also had a relatively short time to research and write about a long and complicated struggle with many participants and issues.
7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours? Because it will inform and inspire them, and most importantly, their daughters and granddaughters. When we realize what little rights women had and what it took for them to speak out and stand up collectively against thousands of years of tradition really, we can draw strength and courage to fuel our lives today.
Angela P. Dodson is CEO of Editorsoncall LLC. and a contributing editor/writer for Diverse: Issues In Higher Education. She has served as senior editor for The New York Times and executive editor of Black Issues Book Review. She has been a writer and editor for newspapers, magazines, websites and book publishers. She is married to Michael I. Days, editor/reader engagement and vice president for the Philadelphia Media Network, and lives in New Jersey. For more info, please see: https://www.amazon.com/Remember-Ladies-Celebrating-Fought-Freedom/dp/1455570931/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492114587&sr=8-1&keywords=remember+the+ladies+dodson
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blog