Thursday, March 22, 2018

An Interview with Diana Forbes, Author of 'Mistress Suffragette'



Diana Forbes is a 9th generation American, with ancestors on both sides of the Civil War. Diana Forbes lives and writes in Manhattan. When she is not cribbing chapters, Diana Forbes loves to explore the buildings where her 19th Century American ancestors lived, loved, survived and thrived. Prior to publication, Diana Forbes’s debut won 1st place in the Missouri Romance Writers of America (RWA) Gateway to the Best Contest for Women’s Fiction. A selection from the novel was a finalist in the Wisconsin RWA “Fab Five” Contest for Women’s Fiction. Mistress Suffragette won 1st place in the Chanticleer Chatelaine Award’s Romance and Sensual category, and was shortlisted for the Somerset Award in Literary Fiction. Mistress Suffragette won Silver in the North American Book Awards and was a Winner of the Book Excellence Awards for Romance. Mistress Suffragette was also a Kirkus Best Indies Book of 2017. The author is passionate about vintage clothing, antique furniture, ancestry, and vows to master the quadrille in her lifetime. Diana Forbes is the author of New York Gilded Age historical fiction.

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About the Book:

Title: MISTRESS SUFFRAGETTE
Author: Diana Forbes
Publisher: Penmore Press
Pages: 392
Genre: Romance/Historical Fiction/Victorian/Political/NY Gilded Age Fiction

BOOK BLURB:

A young woman without prospects at a ball in Gilded Age Newport, Rhode Island is a target for a certain kind of “suitor.” At the Memorial Day Ball during the Panic of 1893, impoverished but feisty Penelope Stanton quickly draws the unwanted advances of a villainous millionaire banker who preys on distressed women—the incorrigible Mr. Daggers. Better known as the philandering husband of the stunning socialite, Evelyn Daggers, Edgar stalks Penelope.

Skilled in the art of flirtation, Edgar is not without his charms, and Penelope is attracted to him against her better judgment. Meanwhile a special talent of Penelope’s makes her the ideal candidate for a paying job in the Suffrage Movement.

In a Movement whose leaders are supposed to lead spotless lives, Penelope’s torrid affair with Mr. Daggers is a distraction and early suffragist Amy Adams Buchanan Van Buren, herself the victim of a faithless spouse, urges Penelope to put an end to it. But can she?

Searching for sanctuary in three cities, Penelope will need to discover her hidden reserves of courage and tenacity. During a glittering age where a woman’s reputation is her most valuable possession, Penelope must decide whether to compromise her principles for love.

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It’s a pleasure to have you here today, Diana. Can you tell us what your new book is about?


My debut novel, Mistress Suffragette, is about a young woman growing up in Gilded Age Newport, Rhode Island who believes that she is on the traditional path to marriage. Suddenly, her prospects are pulled out from under her as her father tries to cope with some unforeseen bumps due to the Panic of 1893. Distressed, she flees to Boston where she, almost by accident, gets drafted into the early women’s suffrage movement. Unfortunately, her love life shadows her, threatening to unravel everything she is fighting for.


Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?


My main character, Penelope Stanton, is seventeen years old. She thinks that she will marry, stay in Newport, Rhode Island, and have children. None of that happens. She has to reach down deep inside of her and find out what she’s made of—find her hidden reserves of tenacity that will pull her through. Penelope faces many obstacles. One of them is a man named Edgar Daggers.


Your book is set in Newport, Rhode Island.  Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?


I wanted to start my novel in Gilded Age, Newport Rhode Island, but at the tail end of the Gilded Age. I absolutely love Newport, and I wanted to write the story of someone living there who wasn’t rich.


Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?


On page 69 my protagonist, Penelope Stanton, decides to flee Newport, Rhode Island.


What has been the most pivotal point of your writing life?


Writing this story and getting it published were two pivotal points in my writing career. Writing Mistress Suffragette took me five years, partly because I ran every chapter by two writing classes, two writing groups, and BETA readers. I met the editor of my novel in Oxford, England. The story resonated with her. I also want to say that I am writing the sequel now, which is very exciting for me. I see the story as a trilogy.


What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?


Write what you love. A lot of people say, “Write what you know.” I think that is a great starting point. But writing is also an opportunity to write what you love. I love stories that whisk me away, so that’s what I set out to write. I also think it’s hugely helpful to sit down at the same time every day and write. I am a “morning writer.” I like to start at
9 a.m. and treat writing like a job. I know other writers who carve out a few hours after dinner. It doesn’t matter what time you write, but starting a habit of writing, I feel, helps.


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