Frequently Asked Questions

Why were you asked to write Diplomatic Dance?

I am a Washington native who has been intrigued with diplomacy since I was a young schoolgirl. As a professional writer and broadcaster, I have covered The White House and Congress and have been observing the passing show on Embassy Row for over four decades.

How long did you spend writing Diplomatic Dance?

More than four years. After Fulcrum Publishing asked me to write this book, I began extensive research. After all, I was selecting 25-30 single embassies from over 170 to tell the story of "The New Diplomacy in America."

How did you decide which ambassadors and which countries to include?

Frankly, it wasn't easy to choose because of the nature of diplomacy: ambassadors constantly coming and leaving. I soon learned I was covering a "moving target." My list kept changing until we went to press because I wanted my book to be as up-to-date as possible. One time I wrote all night to meet a chapter deadline only to have that ambassador tell me the very next day that he had just heard he was leaving early for a new assignment!

But in the end, I like to say, "the book wrote itself" and "The ambassadors 'chose' themselves by drawing such fascinating and compelling accounts. I remember getting tears in my eyes when the Latvian ambassador told me his personal story and knowing I was "touching history" when I shook hands with the top Russian diplomat who served during The Cold War.

What did you do first?

I sent a letter to every ambassador and then I went shopping. I created a closet of "embassy uniforms" that I could don instantly for an interview or a long evening working in "Black Tie."

How did you get all these ambassadors to agree to interviews?

It wasn't easy. I "courted" the Spanish ambassador for 2 1/2 years before his wife agreed that they should both be interviewed. "It sounds like fun, Antonio," she said, "Plus, I don't want you to be left out!" After the British, Israeli, Italian and German ambassadors had all been interviewed, it was much easier to get the rest.

How did you get each ambassador to "open up" and trust you?

That was even harder. But I always do my "homework," learn about each ambassador, their country and their issues beforehand. The ambassadors respected me for that. My research assistants from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service were often from these countries, spoke the language and, among us, we charmed the ambassadors' "gatekeepers" to not just arrange the interviews but convince the ambassador "to dance with me:" trust me and tell me enough of the "inside story" to be intriguing.

Did you divulge any embassy secrets?

Sure, but none that would cause an international scandal. The ambassadors knew I wouldn't quit until I had something new, interesting, even intimate but that I was not doing a "gossip" book and I was not out to embarrass them.


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