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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As a book bloggin’ and book luvin’ Princess, I’m always curious to find out how authors got the ideas for their books. How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I had the idea for my book seven years ago, but I knew that I needed to do research on the time period. So, first I wrote down a detailed outline. Then I put that away for two years while I read actually happens in Mistress Suffragette. Then I visited every location in the novel and made numerous adjustments. While I was looking for an agent, the plot for the sequel came to me, and now I am happily writing that.
Can you tell us what your book is about?
Mistress Suffragette is about a feisty young woman named Penelope Stanton growing up in Gilded Age Newport, Rhode Island. Penelope expects to grow up and get married to a young man whom her parents have chosen for her through an arranged marriage. But her father experiences terrible financial stress, and Penelope’s plans are catapulted. She ends up running away to Boston, where by necessity she joins the early women’s suffrage movement—almost by accident. Gradually she grows in the Movement. But her tortured love life threatens to unravel everything she’s fighting for.
Can you tell us a little about the main characters of your book?
Penelope Stanton is a young, charismatic speaker in the early women’s movement. Verdana Jones is her outrageous, funny, bisexual sidekick.
Penelope has several male romantic interests, including the irrepressible Edgar Daggers, who is not a good person.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would that be?
Just keep writing. The form will come. The voice will come. The plot will come. But you have to be willing to pay your writing dues. Write every day for as long as you possibly can.
What would you say is one of your interesting writing quirks?
I eat the same thing for lunch every day: 2 Zone bars and about 10 cough drops. I also have an iced coffee drink or two.
Do you hear from your readers? What do they say?
Yes. They say they really like the main character, Penelope. They also appreciate all of the research that went into the book. They also say it’s a fun read, which was my intention.
What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
I take two writing classes a week, which is my way of making sure my novels stay on point. If an early reader has a question, I revise and revise until I answer the concern.
What has been your best accomplishment?
Probably getting Mistress Suffragette published.
Do you Google yourself?
No. I just try to keep writing and having fun with it.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
1 unpublished novel; 1 unproduced play; 2 unproduced screenplays; and ¾ of a novel that I will return to after I finish the Mistress Suffragette trilogy.
Fun question – if you were princess or prince, what’s one thing you would do to make your kingdom a better place?
I would have a lot of costume balls and invite everyone in the kingdom so that we could all meet each other and dance the quadrille!
Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?
I really hope you enjoy Mistress Suffragette. I wanted the novel to be fun and easy—the kind of book I like to read.