Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Author Interview: Dale Stanten - The Hooker’s Daughter

A surprising title with a more surprising story between the covers. Definitely something worth reading & much fuel for thought.

The Hooker’s Daughter- A Boston Family’s Saga
Memoir by Dale Stanten

My name is Dale Stanten and do I have a story for you! 

In 1950s Jewish Boston, my mother established a home-based business as a prostitute to remedy her husband’s inability to provide for his family. At age six, I was answering the front door for johns. Neighbor children were forbidden to play with me and even the Girl Scouts asked me to leave. What a terrible irony, in a family with so many strange and twisted realities, my gay sister, “coming out” at age 16, was the only thing my parents focused on as contemptible.

My memoir, The Hooker’s Daughter – A Boston Family’s Saga, is a story of survival, driven by a strong will and an ability to extract positive qualities from a dysfunctional life, punctuated by immoral and illegal behaviors. I was able to reconcile the reality of my environment with what I wished it to be. My resulting tenacity enabled me to cope with my terminally ill husband and widowhood at age 37. My unconditional love for my mother challenges the reader to examine beyond that which is socially acceptable and identify that which is universal.

This memoir could have been a dark book, “A Mommy Dearest.” But, instead of condemnation, this is a story of love, forgiveness, and triumph over one’s demons. To paraphrase the German philosopher, Nietzsche “What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.” 

I grew up in Mattapan, a Boston suburb, which was a highly Jewish populated neighborhood. Like other first and second generation immigrant families, we clustered together embracing our way of life. There were the comforting landmarks and events:  lots of synagogues, kosher butchers, delis, bakeries, and holiday celebrations on Rosh Hashana and Passover. Yiddish was spoken on the streets and in homes. However, I felt terribly isolated, a misfit and without a support system

The Torah parsha, "Lech Lecha", (Genesis) commands us to transcend ourselves to experience our “real self.” As I matured, the time came to “cut the psychological umbilical cord,” in order to discover what I was capable of.

One day, I read there was a writing group meeting in a back room of Panera’s bakery and decided to go. At first, I wrote the assignments that the leader gave the ten of us, but eventually I asked if I could write my own pieces instead. They were struck with my story and encouraged me to consider it as a serious endeavor to be shared with others. 

I could have put my writings in the drawer but there was something more gnawing at me! I felt that I could offer something to people who are suffering and struggling.  I wanted to show that it is possible to overcome dire circumstances and inspire people not to be victims. As the Torah says: “If you save one person, you save the world.”

Many people have asked me about the process of getting my book published. My experience has been very positive and I had a great story to tell. It took me a number of drafts to understand that a memoir need not be a chronological listing. Instead it should absorb the reader like a good novel while maintaining the truth.

I had many discussions with my husband about what should or should not be in the book.  He said, “There is too much in there. No one will believe it. Decide what is important to make a point and leave the rest out.” But I said “It happened to me. I am telling the story.” Well, it is very hard for an author, especially a memoir writer, to leave anything out. The final product left out a lot.

The growth of E-books and self publishing has significantly changed the publishing industry. Today, a traditional publishing house requires the author to do the majority of the marketing and publicity. Unless you have a platform and your name is Clinton or Bush, it is difficult to obtain any assistance. Ultimately, I decided to self-publish. This gave me more control of the process.

Writing the book is only the beginning. Marketing can absorb a great deal of time and effort. I love marketing! I built my original business from nothing and understand that personal contact and follow thru is very important. What I didn’t know was that it should start at least 6 months prior to publication.

If you get published, I assure you, you will enjoy the journey. The activity will bring you rewards that you never anticipated.

Print copies of my memoir are available on my web site,, from the publisher Infinity Publishing, and from, Ebooks are also available for Kindle, Nook, iBook from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes and vendors such as Smashwords and Goodreads. I can be contacted by Email at or on Facebook. 

Books by Ted William Gross

If you wish to purchase the books at Smashwords click here.

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