Author Interview: D’yan Forest

Well, here’s something fun!
Meet D’yan Forest and get to know a bit about in her memoir I Did It My Ways: An 86-Year-Old Standup Comedian’s Lifelong Journey from Prudish Bostonian to Scandalous Parisienne, and Beyond….

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your published book (s).
I’m an 86-year-old stand-up comedian, cabaret artist and singer. Prior to COVID, I worked as an entertainer in Paris and New York City. My book, I DID IT MY WAYS, is an autobiography that covers my life from age 0 to 86. It’s a fun book and quick read. The book description sums up the book pretty well.

“This joyful and humorous memoir is one nice Jewish girl’s journey from innocent music student to educated, bilingual, worldly entertainer. As a child in Boston during World War 2, she grew a victory garden while also witnessing American antisemitism of the forties and fifties. Shortly after graduating from college, she discovered she wasn’t “wife” material. Unfortunately, she was married when she made the discovery. She moved on and like her mostly male counterparts in 1960, she set out to see the world and that’s exactly what she did. And we get to go along. There’s nothing like finding out what you like by trying everything! Pack light and enjoy the trip!”

Tell us about the genre you like to write, and how is it similar / different from other women fiction genres?
My memoir is different because it’s funny and tragic at the same time. Also, a lot of the stories come from my stand-up and one woman shows. This book is also incredibly truthful. No holds barred. I figure I’m 86 so I might as well put it all out there and everyone I was afraid to tell is already dead. Age does have it perks.

Given the ongoing popularity of chick lit, where do you see hen lit ten years from now?
I’m thrilled that it’s growing and growing, and I think it will continue to gain more interest and popularity. We’re in a different world then I was in my youth where women’s stories weren’t championed and published regularly.

When did it dawn on you that you wanted to be a writer?
In the 1960’s when I had moved to Paris from Boston after a divorce and ostensibly to study opera and pantomime. What I really did was enjoy the wild bohemian party side of Paris. It was so much fun I never wanted to go back to Boston. It was such a crazy life, I thought it would make a good book.

Do you have a day job other than being a writer?
I’ve had numerous jobs during my 60 working years including teaching sex ed to boys in the 1960’s, every summer I was a swimming instructor, I coached girls’ sports which I knew nothing about, and when I ended up in New York, I taught English as a second language. As far as performing goes, I made a living as an international singer singing in 9 languages. After 9/11 when I was in my 60’s, I started doing stand-up because I wanted to bring more laughter to the world.

What are some things that inspire you to write?
At the end of my one woman shows, young people to old people come up to me and say, “I wish I could be like you.” I like inspiring people to live life to the fullest and not to be afraid to try new things at any age.

What is your typical writing routine like?
My collaborator, Stephen Clarke, yells at me to write more stories so then I sit down and begrudgingly write.

What kind of message do your book (s) convey to readers?
I want people to realize that you can discover new things and have adventures at any time and not be stuck in a mold. You can break the mold.

Does your book (s) incorporate certain aspects of your own life (and / or that of others)?
Yes! Every part of it! My book has all different aspects of my life and includes my friends and family.

Who are some of your favorite authors and why?
I’m drawn to writers who write about antisemitism through the centuries, and the holocaust. I also love biographies about strong women such as May West, Joan Rivers, Eleonor Roosevelt and Sophie Tucker.

Any advice you’d like to give for aspiring writers at this stage in life?
If you feel like it, do it!!! I’m amazed at what people are finding interesting in my memoir. I’m 86 and just wrote my first book so never let age or subject matter deter you.

Learn more about D’yan here:




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