Why were you asked to write Diplomatic
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
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
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
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
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.
Gail Scott 2003. All Rights Reserved.
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