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Ladies: A Conjecture of Personalities
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Title: Ladies: A Conjecture of Personalities
Author: Feather Schwartz Foster
Publisher: PublishAmerica; (October 2003)
Genre: Historical
Paperback: 255 pages
ISBN: 1592863612

Rating: Recommended


I have always been interested in American history; especially stories of women in history. Having read stories of many of the American presidents and their families, I learned new facts that I didn't know.

One can see the author did extensive research before writing this informative book. I was impressed with the volume of information included for the reader while not being bored or sounding like a lecture. "Ladies: A Conjecture of Personalities," is humorous and entertaining.

The side boxes distracted me from the main page somewhat but I solved the problem by reading the page through; then going back to the comments in the boxes. Not a perfect way but this method allowed me to enjoy the book without losing my concentration on the main section. I enjoyed reading this book. Very good work. A wonderful painless way to learn more about America.

An Interview with Feather Schwartz Foster



To start this off, why don't you give an idea of what the book is about?


"LADIES:  A Conjecture of Personalities" allows First Ladies between Martha Washington and Mamie Eisenhower to "write their own chapters" while everyone, including the modern Ladies, chimes in.



Where did you grow up and was reading and writing a part of your life?


Born and raised in Jersey City, NJ, yes & yes.



Who were your earliest influences and why?


I am first and always, a song-writer, so music and lyrics was my earliest influence. The theatre-kind of song-writing. The literate and clever kind. I loved it because it was literate and clever.



How long have you been writing and in what capacities?


I've been writing in some capacity (mostly songs) since I've been 12, so that must be 300 or so years. I've done a gazillion children's shows, which have been produced all around NJ over the years. And of course, other kinds of songs as well.  "LADIES" is my first book.



Has there ever been a time when you wanted to throw in the towel and give up? And if so, how did you defeat those instincts?


Yes. Actually the "Ladies" wouldn't let me give up. (Ask any theatre writer their characters talk to them!) Besides, what would I do with myself?



What is the hardest part about being a writer?


Discipline. It's also the second hardest, the third hardest, etc., thing. I am very poor at it. I wish I was better.



Do you have any hobbies? What are they? How do they enhance your writing?


Good question!  I have been an amateur presidential historian for more than 30 years, and have a nifty personal library more than 1000 volumes on the Presidents and another couple of hundred on "ancillary" subjects, like First Ladies, elections, the White House, etc. I turned my "hobby" into my book, and plan to continue. People usually say you should "write what you know," and I know a lot about Presidents.



What question do you get asked more than any other?


About my name. It's Feather. It's on my birth certificate.



What has been your feedback from readers? What do they say to you about their interpretations of your book?


Most of my readers seem to have enjoyed the book. I realize that it's not for everyone, and people have different and varying interests in what they like to read. I am very picky myself, so I understand it in others. I find, however, that the people who know  a lot about First Ladies or American History, for that matter seem to enjoy it the most.



If one were looking to start his/her own career as a writer, what would you suggest his/her first step to be?


Determine whether or not you can make a living at it.



What kind of movies do you enjoy?


Good plots, good characters, literate, entertaining and not geared to an 11 year old mind. I dont especially care for sci-fi and the shoot-em-ups. It must be part of being more than 300 years old.



What is your favorite city to visit, but one that you wouldnt want to live in?


London. Although I wouldn't mind living there for a while. But I prefer the good old USA.



Whats the best part of being a writer?


That you can make words come to life and paint a picture with them. To elaborate a bit more... I've been doing a good deal of speaking about First Ladies, and about my book, which I really enjoy. My audience (and readers) have frequently mentioned that I make the old gals come to life, which is EXACTLY what I had hoped to do.



What's next?


A non-fiction about the death of President Garfield in Long Branch, NJ. I'm about 75% done with the first draft and then I will need to put it together better. Again it will not be a book for everyone. After that, I may do a fiction of Lucy Hayes' Civil War Diary.


Thanks for letting me do the interview!



No. We'd like thank you Feather for giving of your time and wish you much success with "Ladies," and all future works.