Author Jody Hadlock joins The Spotlight today to discuss The Lives of Diamond Bessie
Author Name: Jody Hadlock
Book Title: The Lives of Diamond Bessie
Book Genre: Historical fiction/mystery with paranormal elements
Release Date: April 5, 2022
Welcome, Jody! Please tell us about The Lives of Diamond Bessie.
The Lovely Bones meets the Wild, Wild West in a haunting tale of betrayal, revenge, and redemption inspired by a true story.
What sparked the idea for this book?
When my husband and I were dating, we went to his hometown in East Texas to meet his parents and while we were there, we drove over to Jefferson. We both love history and visited the town’s historical museum, where there was a full-page article on display about Diamond Bessie, published by a Dallas newspaper in the 1930s. I was immediately intrigued, partly because of the time period—I’ve always been fascinated by the 19th century—and I thought, “Why was this paper interested in a story that happened sixty years earlier in a tiny town three hours away?” I had another question too, but I don’t want to give away the plot!
How long did it take for you to write it? What was the research like?
When I first started my research, I was naïve about how long it would take. When you’re writing about a different time period than the one you live in, there’s a lot of research involved. Fortunately, I quickly realized that I love doing research and so I didn’t mind the amount of time and effort it took. Even when I started writing, I found that I still needed to do more research. After a few fitful starts, I got into the swing of things and wrote the first draft in seven months. It was an awful first draft. The story evolved in ways I hadn’t imagined, all good ways, and I went through multiple drafts. All in all, the research, writing, and editing took eight years. I hope I’m faster with my second novel!
What drew you to historical fiction?
I’ve always loved history and am especially drawn to the 19th century. I love reading historical novels (of course!) and historical nonfiction. I especially like historical fiction based on real people and true events. I find the true stories just as fascinating, if not more, than something that is entirely fictional.
What about the writing/editing/publishing process has been the most surprising to you so far?
Definitely the most surprising thing is how much rewriting is involved in getting a book to publishable quality. I knew the saying that “the art of writing is rewriting,” but I had no idea the extent that would entail.
Any words of wisdom you give your pre-published writer self (or to a new writer)?
Be patient and kind to yourself. It’s a long process with a lot of rejection, but worth it in the end.
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
I do yoga and Pilates. They keep me sane!
Are you working on a new project? Please tell us about it.
My second novel will also be historical and based on real people and true events. It’s something I learned about while researching for The Lives of Diamond Bessie. I don’t want to give away too much, but this one will be set in Russia and the US from the late 1850s to 1880s.
Where can readers find you?
In celebration of the publication of my novel, I’m doing a few giveaways, including one for a pair of diamond earrings! Here’s a link to more info about it: https://www.subscribepage.com/blue-nile-giveaway.
Thank you, Jody! The Lives of Diamond Bessie is out TODAY!
Pregnant out of wedlock, sixteen-year-old Annie Moore is sent to live at a convent for fallen women. When the nuns take her baby, Annie escapes, determined to find a way to be reunited with her daughter. But few rights or opportunities are available to a woman in the 1860s, and after failing to find a respectable job, Annie resorts to prostitution in order to survive.
As a highly sought-after demi-mondaine, Annie—now Bessie—garners many expensive gifts from her admirers, and eventually meets and marries the son of a wealthy jeweler. With her marriage, she believes her dream of returning to proper society has finally come true. She’s proven wrong when she suffers the ultimate betrayal at the hands of the man she thought would be her salvation. But Bessie doesn’t let her story end there.
Inspired by a true story and set amid the burgeoning women’s rights movement, The Lives of Diamond Bessie is a haunting tale of betrayal and redemption that explores whether seeking revenge is worth the price you might pay.
Jody Hadlock’s love of history goes all the way back to junior high, when she was a member of the Junior Historians of Texas—so it’s no surprise her first novel is historical. She studied journalism at Texas A&M University and worked as a broadcast journalist and then in nonprofit public relations before turning her focus to fiction. She also writes screenplays and won the 2020 Dallas International Film Festival’s screenplay contest. She lives in Colleyville, TX.