The lovely Diane Haeger joins us today for her #WomensHistoryReads interview, and you'll enjoy how she approaches the question of who has inspired her, and why she loves to write fiction about real people. And the last book that blew her away is one of my all-time favorites. Great reading below!
Greer: Tell us about a woman from the past who has inspired your writing.
Diane: I have always been a great fan of Edith Wharton. The first time I read The Age of Innocence in high school I was completely bowled over by her powerful prose. For me, she was, and still is, the epitome of a woman writer. Not that I could ever write like her, but I hope that the same strength and commitment shows in my books. That at least has always been the goal.
Greer: What’s the last book that blew you away?
Diane: Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible. I loved everything about that novel, so unique and wonderfully written.
Greer: One of my five favorites of all time. Last question: How would you describe what you write?
Diane: My agent used to call them ‘sexy love affairs from history’ and I think that was true for how I began my career 25 years ago. Now what draws me are stories about misunderstood, or little known, characters from history. They don’t necessarily have to be about a love affair. I’ve always loved the idea of writing about real people because I get to learn so much right along with readers. Also, what they say is so often true, that truth really is stranger than fiction. I love that.
Diane: For you: What is the thing that has surprised you most about this writer’s life as an actual career?
Greer: Two things come to mind, if that's not too much of a cheat! As a career, it blows me away how much it keeps changing. When I first started trying to get published, query letters sent through the mail with self-addressed stamped envelopes were the only way to approach agents. My first agent didn't believe in e-mail. And now there's social media, self-publishing, all these aspects that have revolutionized how writers approach their careers, for better or worse. The other thing is unquestionably positive: what a warm, supportive, enthusiastic community exists among published writers. I have been constantly blown away by how kind everyone has been to me along the way. I do my best to pay it forward to other writers, to build on that community in any way I can.