Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan: Diary of a Mad Club Girl

Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan: Diary of a Mad Club Girl - Iris Dorbian

There are times in life when you experience a time in your life when your body seems to make decisions without your heart or your head being involved - almost like an out of body experience. That's how reading Love, Loss, and Longing. . . felt to me. I felt as if I was experiencing everything the MC had, but was in no way in control of the choices I was making. 

I chalk that up to the excellent writing and detailed descriptions in this, well, almost coming of age, type story. I was looking for a little more of a conclusion or finale, but often life doesn't give us that. So it seems all too realistic. 

This book felt very real to me - leaving me with the feeling that I'd experience all the MC had, instead of simply reading about it. 

Very well written. Highly recommended. 

Some Bio Information

Iris Dorbian is a former actress turned business journalist/blogger. Her articles have appeared in a wide number of outlets that include the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Venture Capital Journal, DMNews,, Playbill, Backstage, Theatermania, Live Design, Media Industry Newsletter and PR News. From 1999 to 2007, Iris was the editor-in-chief of Stage Directions.

She is the author of Great Producers: Visionaries of the American Theater, which was published by Allworth Press in August 2008. Her personal essays have been published in Blue Lyra Review, B O D Y, Embodied Effigies, Jewish Literary Journal, Skirt!, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Adanna Literary Journal and Gothesque Magazine. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.


1. What inspired you to write this book?

 I had been wanting to write a fictionalized book inspired by my experiences attending college in New York City in the early 1980s for some time. It was an insane and chaotic time, very turbulent but also very exciting, at least for this sheltered girl from the ‘burbs.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process? 

When I'm working on a long-form narrative, I will try to outline beforehand the beats I want to hit in the initial draft. At the same time, I don't want to impose too much structure or order for fear I might squelch a genuinely good idea in the making. Then after I'm through with the first draft, I'll go back and revise, revise and revise. What doesn't work, I'll cut; and what does work, I'll keep in, of course, and maybe expand upon. 

3. Describe your favorite scene in this book. 

If I had to reflect upon which part of the book was the most entertaining for me to write about, it would have to be the chapter devoted to Edie's job as a cocktail waitress at the downtown New York City rock club The Ritz (now known as Webster Hall). This section is completely inspired on my own experience working as a waitress at the club during my junior year in college while juggling a full-time course-load. But as fun as it was to write, it was also the most demanding and labor-intensive thanks to the the sheer volume of detail I tried to recall and evoke--from the club decor and music to the other waitresses and cast of characters who used to hang out at the club. 

Although I've never disguised the fact that this novel is a roman a clef, I've also never backed down from admitting that many of the conversations, characters and events depicted in Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan are fictionalized. For instance, I NEVER got accosted by a madam of a call girl agency in the bathroom at the club. That entire exchange never happened. But it was a lot of fun to write. 

4. What does the perfect writing environment look like to you?

Quiet, calm and well illuminated!  

5. How would you describe your writing style? 

Sardonic, methodical, observant and precise. 

6. What would you like readers to take away from your book? 

It's better to be honest with yourself and follow your heart rather than lose your soul by emulating a constricting or socially prescribed ideal of cool. 

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal?

I'd like to write a best-seller. Why not?

Show Me Colour

Show Me Colour - Rosalind Gibb

I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose someone you loved so early in life. Rosalind Gibb does an amazing job of chronicling this process of navigating grief and other emotions as she experiences them herself.

Whether completely factual or creative nonfiction, the emotions come through quite clearly in this work. It is well written and would definitely act as a great companion piece to someone who was going through a similar  situation. 

It's a difficult journey to navigate and therefore not the easiest book to read, but the process is one of healing and learning to continue on with life, taking what you can from the experience. That is a lesson that everyone can learn from. 

Some Bio Information

Born and bred in Scotland, Rosalind Gibb has lived and worked in Cumbria, London and Italy doing various jobs including feature writing for newspapers, silver service waitressing, and harvesting oranges. Now a freelance writer and editor, she is based in Edinburgh but is currently on a three month road trip in the USA, collecting material for her second book. Her website is


1. What inspired you to write this book?

Show Me Colour: Notes on love, loss, grief and renewal is based on real-life events: the sudden death of my boyfriend in 2010 and, after a time, learning to live life again during a trip through Italy. At the time I was working as a journalist – a features writer – and it simply made sense to write about this life-changing event and to share my experience with others. I felt I had plenty of material for a book, particularly after the Italy trip, when the ‘renewal’ stage was so powerful. I was also interested in helping to start more conversations about bereavement and grief, and raising money through sales for a charity in the UK, Cruse Bereavement Care, which proved to be a lifeline for me.  

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?

When it comes to creative writing I am not one for routine – I start typing or writing when the mood takes me! It might be at home, at a café, or while out for a walk. I take a notebook everywhere, just in case. Coffee or a glass of wine usually figure. I write for as long as possible, and worry about the editing stage later. This was my first book and I gave myself a deadline (by arranging the book launch, so there was no way out!).

I definitely need a deadline. 

3. What is your least favorite part of the writing process? 

It’s solitary and can be all-consuming. I don’t think I was much fun at social gatherings when I was in the final stages of the book; it’s all I had on my mind. The editing stage takes much longer than expected and can get frustrating.

4. How would you describe the perfect writing environment? 

Being in the moment, wherever that might be. 

5. What can readers expect from you in the future? 

I am currently travelling in the east USA, from New England to Key West, recording material for the next book. As with Show Me Colour, it will be narrative non-fiction.

6. How would you describe your writing style? 

First and foremost, it’s from the heart. Beyond that I think different readers will get different things from it.

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal? 

Apart from coming up with the next worldwide bestseller? Isn’t that every writer’s honest aim?! But seriously, getting feedback from people in different parts of the world, about how Show Me Colour has had an impact on them, or inspired them, has been hugely satisfying.

Metro Diaries

Metro Diaries - Namrata

This is an enchanting series of blogs that have been put together in book form. They flow together smoothly, their common themes helping to connect them as you're reading. It reminded me of some of my own experiences. They are well written and a nice departure from reality. 

Every once in a while I find myself witnessing a situation out in public that makes me wonder what that person or people are going through in life. What are they experiencing? What emotions are flowing through them? What would it be like to live a day in their shoes? 

Metro Diaries gives us a chance to live a different life in each short story included. Some are happy and some are not, but they each give us a unique perspective, reminding us that everyone is going through something unique. 

Some Bio Information

Namrata heads the editorial and marketing team for Bloody Good Book Publishing House. She is a prolific blogger known by the name Privy Trifles in the blogosphere who romances life through her writings and aspires to make love the universal language. She dons various hats between that of a contributing author to 8 anthologies, a reviewer for leading publishing houses an editor to various books and a columnist. Apart from that she is also the editor for an online magazine called Writer's Ezine. Having mastered the nuances of finance till recently she also held the title of an investment banker closely to let it go to embrace her love for writing fully.


1. What inspired you to write this book? 

Metro Diaries is a series on my blog. It began when I started travelling frequently due to work. Everywhere I went I saw stories and this seemed to be the best way to capture them.

After almost a year and a half of it running on my blog some of the ardent readers suggested it takes the form of a book as they would love to have it as a keepsake. A reminder that love still exists around us waiting to be found. And that is how this book was born.

Their love and faith in me and my writing inspired me to write this book. 

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?

I am usually a night person. Most of my stories are born in the darkness of the night. I like scribbling them in bits and pieces ... Mulling over them before finally giving them the shape of a story.

3. How long did it take you to write this book?

It took me  8 months to write this book. 

4. Do you think a person can truly appreciate love without having experience in understanding lost love? 

Like it is said in life to understand pain you need to know what joy is. Likewise losing love is a part of the process of understanding love better. We meet people for a reason and it is that reason which stays with us forever. 

5. How would you describe your writing style? 

I have a very easy going style of writing which connects with a reader instantly. I rely more on emotions than drastic twists in my story. 

6. What would you like readers to take away from your book?

I would like them to take away some hope and love. I want them to remember no bend is the end of the world and there is nothing that doesn't have a solution. 

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal? 

I want to make a difference. I want to touch hearts. Leave a smile. Even if it's to just one person. But the fact that I did it would be enough for me.