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In this Interview, Diana Forbes talks about her award winning book Mistress Suffragette



Diana Forbes is a ninth generation American, with ancestors on both sides of the Civil War. Diana Forbes lives and writes in Manhattan. and loves to explore the buildings where her nineteenth Century American ancestors lived, loved, survived and thrived. Diana Forbes is the author of New York Gilded Age historical fiction.

Her debut novel Mistress Suffragette is set in the Gilded Age of late nineteenth-century New England, when women were bound by strict rules of conduct and conformity. In this book, modern readers gain insight into the early fight for women’s rights. Mistress Suffragette is a bestselling book and has won first prize in Women’s Fiction at the Missouri Romance Writers of America (RWA) “Gateway to the Best” contest in Women’s Fiction. Mistress Suffragette has also won first place in the Chanticleer Chatelaine award for Historical Romance and was shortlisted for the Somerset award for Literary Fiction. The book was recently awarded the “2017 Silver North American History Book Awards”.

We recently interviewed Diana Forbes to know more about her bestselling work.

What is it about the plight of woman’s suffering and abuse at the hands of society and wealthy men that interested you?

This type of horrific behavior happened all the time during the nineteenth century—partly because married women were viewed as second-class citizens during the time period. Women couldn’t vote, and many job opportunities were closed to women. My heroine was in the Movement that fought for women by giving women a voice and empowering them. The early Women’s Suffrage Movement sought to change the unfair laws. But, as a woman during the time period, Penelope was still personally exposed to some bad behavior. We see today that, even with all of the progress — the new laws and the empowerment of women, there are still examples of this behavior as revealed by the #MeToo Movement.

diana forbes Mistress Suffragette

Mistress Suffragette

Do you want the reader to feel that Penelope triumphed in the end?

Penelope becomes empowered throughout the course of the story. At the start of the novel, she anticipates that she will lead a traditional life. But that does not end up happening for her, and her failure to hew to what’s expected of her is the very thing that pushes her to explore a different career other than marriage. That said, what’s bred in the bone runs deep, and she is very much looking for love. Without giving any spoilers, I do feel that she triumphs. She triumphs over adversity, over her parents, and over several other characters in the novel.

Is the suffrage movement in New York a theme that will continue for you in future books?

Thank you for asking me this wonderful question! Yes. I am very passionate about the suffrage movement and see this as a trilogy. I am working hard on the sequel, and have mapped out future books beyond the sequel, as well. The Movement lasted for seventy years, and I learn more about it every single day!

Where do you get your inspiration on the marvelous descriptions of era- appropriate places and clothing used in Mistress Suffragette?

If the place still exists, I personally visited it. I wanted to be swept away by the grandeur of the era, and then impart that to my readers. Sometimes I would want to set a scene in a particular house or room, and then through my research, realize that I couldn’t, for some reason. I wanted to be authentic to the time period and just believe that there is no substitute for first-hand research. For clothing, there are costume exhibits I visited and photographs I had from my own family. Beyond that, I searched for ephemera – posters, postcards, ads, newspaper clippings, and the like, so that –- without the novel turning into a history project—I could help readers feel, see, and be a part of the setting.

Do your Civil War ancestors play into the passion you have about this particular era?

I was fortunate to inherit a box of letters and photographs, handed down to me from my ancestors who lived during the time period. Beyond that, I have heard and read their stories. This type of living history is often not passed down, but as a writer, I feel the desire to pass it on. I also challenged myself to make it relevant. One needs no familiarity with the time period to simply pick up my novel and get swept away.

Talk to us about your Audio Book, who is the narrator and was the experience thrilling to get your book not only in words but also in sound for all to hear? 

Brittany Presley does an absolutely amazing job of narrating my novel, Mistress Suffragette. It’s such a fun listen! I am so grateful that Brittany really embraced the project – you can hear her enthusiasm in her narration. She has the perfect voice for it!

What’s next on the writing front for you?

I am both writing the sequel and collecting stories and inspiration for the book after the sequel. The characters are all so much a part of my life now that I really just want to spend time with them and write about them. Thank you so very much for interviewing me, and please stay tuned!


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An Interview with Actor & Musician Carrel Lasso



Carell Lasso is a Colombian actor and musician. He is well known for his role in La Esclava Blanca (The White Slave) which is available on Netflix. Carrel is also one of the actors of the new HBO show “One thousand fangs” or “Mil Colmillos” .

Carell, thank you for talking with us. To be a part of the first HBO series in your home country must have felt great. How was the experience like?

Thank you for having me. For me it was a wonderful experience, to be part of the first HBO Series produced in my home country.

I met very talented people. The shooting days were extensive and 70% of the filming was at night in difficult conditions due to the weather and the jungle, but at the end of the day, it was a blessing and a great pleasure to be part of this awesome crew .

Tell us more about your character Barakus.

My character is called Alfredo Barranco aka Barakus. He is a corporal in the army’s special forces, and embarks on a mission where unexpected things happen
By the way, I had to gain 10 kilos of weight to play this character and had to go through a difficult military training and extensive gym workouts.

You have been a part of several awesome projects. Which project is really close to you?

La Esclava Blanca (The White Slave) has been a project that meant a lot to me due to the conditions and the circumstances that I was going through in my life at that time. It was also the production with which I obtained international recognition for my work, since it was sold to more than 280 countries in the 5 continents and was dubbed in many languages. You can watch this awesome show on Netflix.

 What suggestion would you give to actors who are struggling to get their first break?

My suggestion is to prepare, to work hard and to have their minds focused on what they want no matter what others say.  People who are not capable, are always going to want you to be like them, so through criticism and ridicule they will  want to discourage you, but you must be patient and persistent and trust the talent and the desire that is in you. The best things come from heaven when you least expect them.

How are you helping young actors achieve their goals?

Since last year I have been collaborating with NYC Latin Media preparing their new talent for  productions.  Through live acting workshops and now via Zoom I serve as an acting coach, teaching different techniques and methodologies of acting and hoping to instill my passion for acting to the next generation of actors. 

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An Interview with Russell Jack, Southland-based Yogapreneur and Mindfulness Teacher



Russell Herbert Jack is a yoga and mindfulness teacher from Southland, New Zealand. He specializes in Vinyasa Yoga, Qigong, and guided meditations, helping clients achieve harmony of body, mind, and soul. Russell is passionate about animal rights, regularly volunteering with the World Animal Protection Organization and donating to protect endangered species in New Zealand.

Russel, thank you for talking with us. Even the best of Mindfulness experts and life coaches have their own ups and downs. Tell me about your best days at work and also about days when you feel low.

Thank you for having me. You are right when you say that it doesn’t necessarily mean that people who are life coaches and who teach mindfulness are immune from their own life challenges. The thing is, they know how to deal with such situations better than most of the people out there.

For me, the best days are whenever I can be at the beach. I love teaching outdoors, and the days when I get to teach by the ocean are the best. There are so many distractions in our life that can bring us down, and being out in nature walking, running, doing yoga, or simply observing is so therapeutic. I also feel down sometimes. Those are the days when I get bad news. I am very close to my clients and I am an empathetic person, so I take their problems too close to my heart.

What are the projects that you most enjoy working on?

I enjoy teaching, reading, and writing. I recently started a blog to practice writing and share my thoughts with the world. My primary focus is teaching though. I teach yoga, mindfulness, and Qigong, and I love walking my clients through the processes and seeing their results improve.

What was your biggest ‘a-ha’ moment?

Well, my biggest “a-ha” moment happened when I tried eating meat after a long break. My parents are vegan, so I was used to a meatless diet for the longest time. But during my late teenage years, you know, everyone rebels, and I decided to try a steak while I was away from home. I didn’t like it though.

What has been the most important part of your professional journey?

Dropping out of college when I felt like pursuing teaching as my life calling. There are many societal and parental pressures nowadays. My parents really wanted me to go to school and get educated, but I chose to educate myself. It’s my path. If I didn’t leave college, I would probably just hang out with my friends now, instead of building my teaching business and helping people connect with themselves through yoga and mindfulness.

The ongoing Pandemic has impacted businesses in so many ways. What risks is your company facing?

Well, COVID-19 has impacted many businesses, but luckily for New Zealand, we didn’t get hit as hard as the rest of the world. I am still able to teach and continue my practice. But I know that there are many people around the world who have lost their jobs and companies who didn’t survive the pandemic and subsequent closures. My heart goes to those.

What would you do with unlimited resources?

I would invest them in protecting animals around the world. There are many people who are conscious of the harm we create in the animal world, but there is not enough funding to make a big difference, I believe.

Being a Yoga practitioner gives you the necessary skills to immerse yourself in whatever you do. Still, When was the last time you totally lost yourself in doing something?

I lose myself when I teach. I turn into a vessel of knowledge and try to help my students connect with themselves through my teaching.

What do you do when you’re not at work?

I love traveling and being in nature, writing and learning, listening to music, and talking to my loved ones.

How do you feel you make a difference in the world?

My impact is not as big as I would like it to be, but I still think that by volunteering, teaching, and leading by example, I do contribute to the betterment of the world.

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CEO of VEDOC Talks About the Initiatives taken by the company During the Ongoing Pandemic



In a previous Interview with Times of Startups, Yoguef Sanchez-Jarquin, the founder of VEDOC talked about how VEDOC or Vehicle Doctor helps users connect with vetted vehicle service providers with a few screen taps. We recently caught up with Yoguef Sanchez to know more about where his company is heading owing to the unexpected situation we are witnessing because of Covid-19.

Yoguef, It’s great to have you back. Since we last talked, how has been the growth story of Vedoc so far?

Thank you for having me again. Vedoc has grown significantly in the past few months, We are starting to expand and introduce our platform in places such as New Jersey, Chicago, and Detroit. Our goal is to create awareness in major cities and gradually work our way into smaller towns.

What has been the impact of Covid-19 on your organization and Vehicle service providers in general?

Thankfully the Automotive industry has not had any real setbacks overall. As an organization we have adapted well and we are continuing to grow as a team

Tell us more about your recent program in which your company will provide service attendants to gas stations in cities that have seen a massive surge in Covid-19 cases?

We have plans to roll out the program for the remainder of the year upon launching. We are currently seeking to onboard as many fuel stations in the most affected areas. Our goal is to reduce contact between people and provide additional income for locals who are struggling during this current crisis.

Social distancing is one of the tools which can help reduce the spread of Coronavirus. How can fuel stations and car service providers facilitate contactless service for their customers?

Vedoc app was developed with the idea of making the way you service your vehicle convenient which results in being able to contact service providers through the app, chat , schedule and pay and we are also now on-boarding mobile service providers which has become a trend in growing cities.

We genuinely believe that it will complement the concept of contactless service by maintaining people safe at at their homes. On the other hand, some gas stations can see up to 100 vehicles per day so imagine how the amount of germs are transmitted through people.

Through our recent initiative, our service attendants will reduce the risk by keeping you safe in your car while your vehicle is being fueled and providing safe paying methods.

At its core, Vedoc is known for connecting car users to service providers. However, several businesses have evolved in the last few months owing to the ongoing pandemic. Are their any significant changes in your organization in the recent past?

We have made minor modifications and improvements to our organization. However, the core operation has continued to run smoothly without significant setbacks. In that sense, we can consider ourselves fortunate. Overall, we believe this to be perfect timing to introduce a new, convenient and honest way to service your vehicle while contributing our 2 cents to the current crisis.

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