Jeanne: Interview with Diana Munoz Stewart

Diana and I met back in 2015, when we were both finalists for RWA’s® Golden Heart® award for IamJustice_selectunpublished romance fiction. Last summer, I got to sit beside her at our annual meet-up and was thrilled to learn she’d received a three-book contract from Sourcebooks.

Question 1: Your debut novel, I Am Justice, releases on May 1st. (squee!) Tell us about it.

The novel is about a secret group of female vigilantes that attempt to take out a sex-trafficking ring in the Middle East. More specifically, it’s about one of the members of this vigilante group, Justice Parish. I love this description:

She’s ready to start a war…

Justice Parish was rescued from a brutal childhood and adopted into a loving family and their not-so-loving covert sisterhood of vigilantes. Trained as a skilled assassin, Justice vows to protect and avenge others who haven’t escaped the cruel hands of injustice. Her next target: a sex-trafficking ring in the war-torn Middle East. She just needs the perfect cover to get close and take them down.

He just wants peace…

After years of witnessing the destructive nature of war, Sandesh Ross leaves the Special Forces and puts his heart and soul into founding a humanitarian group. Saving the world isn’t cheap, and when Justice walks through his door, claiming to be a PR agent who can help with donors, he thinks his prayers are answered. They’re both too busy saving the world to get involved with each other. But they might not be able to help themselves…

Question 2: You chose to go the traditional publishing route. What made you choose that over self-publishing?

I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do all of the legwork involved with self-publishing. And now that I’ve been through the process—editing, production, marketing, design—I’m even more convinced it was the right choice for me. I’m incredibly happy with the team at SourcebooksCasa.

The crew at Sourcebooks has been professional, responsive, kind, and informative. They’ve gotten the word out about my novel. I’ve feel blessed by and blown away by the marketing. I also couldn’t have asked for a better editor than Cat Clyne. She did an incredible job. It was an absolute pleasure to work with her. As it was with my copy editors and production editors.

Honestly, I’m not sure how anyone organizes all of this on their own. Those writers are superheroes! Of course, I’m not ruling out anything for the future, but I’m more than satisfied with how everything has worked out so far.

Question 3: You have seven kids. How has the experience of raising a large family played into your fiction writing?

The novel is about a large family of covert vigilantes, so some things are definitely different. But my experience with a large family has definitely played a part. I think that one of the most interesting parts of having a big family is group dynamics. And I’m lucky, not only do I have a big family, but I also have a large extended family. And this group—somewhere around 34 of us–travel together at least once a year. This year we’re going to Montana. Last year we went to Colorado. All of those personalities are sure to make for memorable experiences. I guess it helps that I not only love them but that I also like them.

Another family that I really love is my romance writing family! I am inspired and buoyed by them in so many ways. From the moment I stepped into my first RWA convention, I was changed by the professional, talented, ambitious group of women I found. And kind. I can’t forget kind. My sisters in writing have taught supported and nurtured me and made me feel welcome. So thank you, Eight Ladies, for your incredible work educating and entertaining and granting opportunities like this interview to all of your fellow writers!

Diana Munoz Stewart

Diana Muñoz Stewart is the award-winning, romantic suspense author of the Band of Sisters series, which includes I Am Justice and I Am Grace and I Am Honor (Sourcebooks Publishing). She lives in eastern Pennsylvania in an often chaotic and always welcoming home that—depending on the day—can include husband, kids, extended family, friends, and a canine or two.

When not writing, Diana can be found kayaking, doing sprints up her long driveway—harder than it sounds–practicing yoga on her deck, or hiking with the man who’s had her heart since they were teens.

Hobbies and Interests: Writing, Reading, Hiking, Kayaking, Weight Lifting, Flying, Running, Gluten-Free Cooking, Traveling

Diana is represented by the wonderful Michelle Grajkowski of Three Seas Literary Agency.

6 thoughts on “Jeanne: Interview with Diana Munoz Stewart

  1. Aw! This is great! I love the international scope of this, and the diversity I see in the descriptions!

    I’m curious about some of the mechanics of having a large family and finding time to write. There are about seven people in my family (although the kids are mostly out of the house, and I’ve got elders who can mostly take care of themselves, although I help out a little).How do you carve out time?

    Very glad to have you here with us at Eight Ladies!

    • Although my kids are older now, definitely not babies, I have been writing for a while and finding time to write can be an issue–even with a supportive family and husband. Recently, with all the book release things going on, I’ve been getting up earlier–usually around 5 or 5:30. I wish I had a better answer. Maybe you should tell me how you do it! Haha! Thanks for letting me hang out on your blog!

      • (-: Well, I do think your method would work for me, too . . . except I start to get nosebleeds when I’m sleep deprived. Not really dangerous, just dramatic as all-get-out, and I scare myself. And the people around me. And I’m not really the kind of writer who takes inspiration from that sort of thing — oh, if only I were! What stories I could tell! (Stephen King would have to hide his crown, lol.)

        The only thing that really works for me is getting into writing a good story, and wanting to see the outcome. As soon as I start to bore myself, I’m done. Although, I will say that accountability to others and pride in maintaining a streak will help when I’m only borderline-boring.

        You can see why I want a different method! I don’t get a lot done.

        • Haha! I know that too tired to write feeling. And that sense of working in bunches–getting things done here and there. I’m always surprised when things work out and I end up with a finished product!

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