Diana and I met back in 2015, when we were both finalists for RWA’s® Golden Heart® award for unpublished romance fiction.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, released on Tuesday, 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 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.