Exclusive: Author details ‘Encyclopedia of Women’s Wrestling’ as labor of love

Women’s professional wrestling is without a doubt the hottest it has ever been. Author LaToya Ferguson married her passion for wrestling and writing to create the ultimate guide to women’s professional wrestling. On May 7, “An Encyclopedia of Women’s Wrestling: 100 Profiles of the Strongest in the Sport”, was released.

LaToya has been writing since 2009, but was able to transition journalism to a full-time career, in 2014. Her resume contains an impressive list of media outlets, such as The A.V. Club, UPROXX, Entertainment Weekly, and Complex, among other publications.

Lauren Founds of Bell To Belles recently interviewed LaToya, who discussed how this project came to fruition, and the daunting process it was to take on.

“Well, I guess I have to thank the power of social media. I honestly can’t remember who it was, but there was a tweet looking for someone who’d be interested in (and would be the perfect fit for) writing a book on female professional wrestlers. A couple of my friends suggested me because of my wrestling writing for The A.V. Club at that time. The person who originally tweeted out the book was actually doing so on behalf of Kate Zimmerman–my editor at Sterling Publishing and an absolute blessing when I was at my most stressed moments while writing the book–who then emailed me about the project.

From there–after I said I was interested because of course I was interested in writing a book about wrestling–she had me write up a proposal for the book so she could pitch it. You know, basic format of the profiles, a sample profile, an initial–much longer–list of wrestlers, the reason why this book should even be written in the first place.”

An Encyclopedia of Women’s Wrestling: 100 Profiles of the Strongest in the Sport
Photo Credit: Amazon

The book took the Los Angeles based author over two years to complete and did not come without many obstacles along the way.

“A lot of sleepless nights, honestly. They don’t tell you it’s really hard to write a book when you’re already writing full-time. Especially when the book you’re writing is non-fiction and about a performance art where an integral part of the whole thing is that the performers lie.

I would read and watch a lot of interviews (presumably shoot) where wrestlers would say one thing, then in another (again, presumably shoot) say another. And it would be just so slightly different it would take me down wormholes trying to confirm. A lot of cross-referencing and a lot of removing things from the book that could be true but there were too many conflicting stories about.

Even something as simple as a wrestler’s first match. There was one interview I read where the wrestler said her first match was against a pretty big deal, but I could find no other interview or match record or video to corroborate that. It drove me slightly mad.”

“The other thing–that I actually note in the book–is that because of how fast-paced the wrestling world is and how quickly things can change, it was really tough to choose a cut-off date for the information. (Hopefully I get to work on a second edition.) Pretty much every entry in there is up-to-date for up to August 2018 and it’s stressed me out every day since to think about how much things had already changed like a month after that.”

An Encyclopedia of Women’s Wrestling: 100 Profiles of the Strongest in the Sport
Photo Credit: Amazon

LaToya has been a fan of professional wrestling all her life and it made perfect sense for her to make a career out of her two passions.

“I actually grew up watching wrestling. I like to say I’ve been watching wrestling since I was in the womb. It was something the whole family watched together, especially WWF. Didn’t really watch WCW all that much as a kid, but I have the strong memory of watching some WCW Thunder the rare times that my dad wasn’t also at work when my mom was. (So I’ve always hated Disco Inferno.)

“A Encyclopedia of Women’s Wrestling” is not LaToya’s first professional endeavor with sports entertainment. Besides writing articles on the subject for years now, since last August, she has been the managing editor of RondaRousey.com. When asked what it is like working for Rousey, she said, “It’s great. It’s a big undertaking because we still have so much we want to do for the site–we haven’t even scratched the surface, I think–but it’s exciting.”

Now that her love of labor has been completed, what is next for LaToya? When asked, she responded with, “I’m working on a really cool wrestling-related project I can’t talk about right now…”.

Looks like all of her readers will have to wait and see what is next in store for LaToya.

“An Encyclopedia of Women’s Wrestling: 100 Profiles of the Strongest in the Sport” can be purchased at Amazon.com.

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