Diana M. Raab – Author Interview

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

Healing With Words: A writer’s cancer journey is a memoir and self-help book highlighting my cancer journey. The book also includes prose, journal entries, poetry, blank journaling pages, writing prompts and extensive appendices to support the reader through their own journey. The foreword is written by Dr. Mel Silverstein, Director of the Breast Program at Hoag Memorial Hospital. In lieu of allowing cancer to destroy and take over my life, I embraced the experience and view it as a positive turning point in my life. My book highlights the importance of writing for healing.

Tell us something about yourself.

I was born and raised in New York and now live in Southern California. I have been writing since the age of 10 when my mother gave me my first journal to help me cope with the loss of my grandmother.

I am the author of eight award-winning books of memoir and poetry. I am also editor of an anthology entitled, Writers and Their Notebooks (University of South Carolina Press, 2010) which is a collection of 25 essays sharing how their notebooks have influenced their writing life. The foreword is written by the renowned essayist, Phillip Lopate.

My first memoir, Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal (Beaufort Books, 2007) won the 2008 National Indie Excellence Award for Memoir and the 2009 Mom’s Choice Award for Adult Nonfiction.

I am the recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Book award for best health and wellness book for, Getting Pregnant and Staying Pregnant: Overcoming Infertility and High Risk Pregnancy. It has been translated into French and Spanish. In 2009 the book was updated and released in its 20th anniversary edition, under the title, Your High Risk Pregnancy: A Practical and Supportive Guide in collaboration with Dr. Errol Norwitz of Yale School of Medicine.

What inspired you to write this book?

My experience with breast cancer and wanting to help others undergoing the same experience.

How did you publish this book? Why did you decide on that publisher?

Loving Healing Press. The subject fit in with the other books they published plus they were enthusiastic about this book project.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

Receiving my first journal set the platform for my career as a writer. Since then, writing has always brought me solace times. I live to write. I am happiest when writing.

What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?

Being consistent in your writing practice and persistent in sending work out.

How do you do research for your books?

The internet, books and personal interviews.

Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?

How much I enjoy my role of journaling advocate and reminding others of the importance of expressing feelings on the page. I also realized that I don’t like dwelling on my illness but prefer focus on wellness and productivity which is why I encourage people to write.

What are you reading now?

Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?

Typically, I love biographies. I gravitate to authors who get down to their emotional truth about what they are feeling. I like reading first person dialogue. My list of favorite authors is really quite long. I love reading the work of Anais Nin, Tobias Wolf, Frank McCourt, J.D. Sallinger, Jeannette Walls, Gustave Flaubert, Pablo Neruda, William Carlos Williams and the list goes on.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

It’s a poetry book with photos about a recent trip to Africa.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Be persistent. Believe in your work. Never give up.

What are you doing to promote your latest book?

Many a la carte services on the internet. Lots of blog tours. Sending books out for review. Grassroots marketing and connecting directly with the book reviewers and others interested in the subject matter.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

My website, http://www.dianaraab.com.