Today is International Women’s Day, and we wanted to take a few minutes to celebrate by sharing a special Q&A session with WNBA-LA’s new president, Diana Giovinazzo!
Q: Tell us more about yourself and your upcoming book.
A: The Woman in Red is the inspiring story of Anita Garibaldi. She was the wife of Giuseppe Garibaldi who was one of the men who made Italy what it is today. Anita was a fierce woman. We start with her childhood as a gaucho in Brazil, she becomes a freedom fighter in Brazil and Uruguay. When unification starts to take shape in Italy she goes there and helps with the cause. Often times she fought while pregnant. She really is an unknown feminist icon.
Q: As a writer, what are your major influences?
A: I love women’s history. There are so many stories of women who did amazing and at times outlandish things. Their stories inspire me and make me want to keep writing.
I am also very inspired by my Italian heritage. A lot of the history that I look at comes from the simple question “Where did I come from?” And knowing these events are something that my ancestors lived through fascinates me.
Q: How did you discover historical fiction?
A: I have always been a fan of historical fiction. When the Other Boleyn Girl came out, I became obsessed with all of her books. But it really wasn’t until I started writing The Woman in Red that something clicked, and I found myself saying “This is the genre for me.”
Q: How did you come to be a part of WNBA?
A: I became a part of WNBA in 2017. Right before Natalie became president. There was a facebook ad for the short story contest. I submitted a story but didn’t win. Because of that I got curious and joined the board shortly thereafter.
Q: How has WNBA helped you in your writing journey?
A: Natalie organized a pitch and query workshop led by Marilyn Atlas when I was submitting the Woman in Red to various agents (and getting no where I might add). That night after the workshop I went home and reworked my query letter. Less than a month later I had my agent and a little over a month after that I signed my first contract with Grand Central Publishing.
Q: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
A: The first and most obvious one is READ. And when I say read, I mean read everything from the back of shampoo bottles to the classics.
The other piece of advice that I don’t think gets talked about enough is find your tribe. Writing can be a solitary thing, we hide away at our desks or in bed and scribble out some sentences on a page. But having that tribe of friends that you can rely on is so vital to the writing process. You need people that will cheer you on when things get hard, who can mentor you and to even share books with you (bringing it full circle to my first point: read!)
Q: What are some authors that you can’t get enough of?
A: I am a proud member of the Elena Ferrante fan club. I find her books to be brilliant and beautifully poignant. I am also first in line to buy anything written by Gwendolyn Womack, Greer Macallister, Kate Quinn or Heather Webb.
Q: What are you currently reading?
A: I am currently reading The Borgias Confessions by Alyssa Palombo. She is another author that I just love. Her latest book is scandalous in all the right ways.
Q: Who inspires you?
A: In writing Anita Garibaldi she became my personal heroine. Who she was and what she did was so inspiring that I wanted to be like her in so many ways.
Q: What hobbies do you have outside of writing?
A: If I am not writing you can usually find me at Disneyland to be quite honest. Though I have been known to go there with a book in hand, those lines get long! I’m also a knitter and an animal lover.
Q: If you could go to any place in the world, where would you go and why?
A: This summer my husband and I are planning a trip to Rome. Anita Garibaldi is buried at the base of her statue. When I was writing this book, I made a promise that if I were to ever get it published I would go there to pay my respects.
Want to hear more great things from Diana? Join us at the WNBA-LA Meet & Greet on March 21st at Toolbox LA, 1-3pm.