Thursday, February 22, 2018

Authors To Watch: Historical Fiction Author Diana Forbes @dianaforbes18 #historical #fiction

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.



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

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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We welcome you to My Bookish Pleasures! Can you tell us how you got started writing fiction?

Thank you. I am happy to be here! I started writing when I was six years old. My parents got divorced a year earlier and I had a lot of reflecting to do on that, I suppose. My writing took all different forms. I wrote poetry, diary entries, fiction for the school magazine, and articles for the school paper. I always knew that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.

Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?

I live and write in Manhattan, and I am fortunate to have an office that is 20 blocks from the apartment where I live. I roll into the office at 9 a.m. and leave at 7 p.m. from Mondays through Fridays. On Saturdays, I treat myself to a short writing day, and usually only write for 2 hours or so. Sundays are my very long writing days. I get in early and leave around 8:15 pm. I try to write for 5 or 6 good hours during the weekdays. The rest of the time is spent on marketing my debut novel.

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

My debut novel is titled Mistress Suffragette. I set out to write the novel I wanted to read. To me, that is, first and foremost, a story that whisks away the reader to a different time period. I am fascinated by the Gilded Age, and so I thought, what better place to set the story than in Gilded Age Newport, Rhode Island?

How did you get the idea for the book?

I have a box of letters and photographs, handed down to me by my ancestors. I have been to Newport and Boston about a million times each, and I live in Manhattan. So, I was able to actually travel to each location in my novel multiple times to make sure I was capturing the setting accurately. Some of the characters came to me fully formed, and others I worked on for years.

Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?

I love my protagonist, Penelope, the most. I find myself talking to her sometimes—as in, “Penelope, we are going to solve this. I promise you!” But I also love Edgar Daggers, the villain. I find myself talking to him a lot, too! I think it’s really important for a writer to love all of the major characters in her book, whether they are good or bad. Because unless the writer loves them, she won’t be able to understand them and have compassion for them.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

I had two major challenges. The first is that I take two writing classes a week, and I also had two writing critique groups. So, I had so much feedback on every single chapter. I had to sift through and make sense of the feedback, and revise and revise and revise. The second major challenge was that, very late in the process, I changed one of the key characters in the novel. I knew I had to do it, but I resisted doing it—because I already loved the other character I had created. “Kill your darlings” as they say. I did, but it was hard!

What projects are you currently working on?

I am writing the sequel to Mistress Suffragette. I also have ¾ of another novel that I wrote, which takes place in the present day.

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring fiction authors?

First, figure out when you are going to do your writing. Try to make it the same time every day. Think of it as a contract you are making with your characters You will be there for them at that particular time each day. Then, resolve to stick with the project until you get it published.

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