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.



About the Book:

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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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  When did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I have always been a huge lover of 19th century New York. Uncovering the many secrets of this ever-changing city has been a passion of mine since childhood.
I had the idea for Mistress Suffragette around seven years ago. I spent two years researching the time period, then a year studying artifacts from my family’s personal history, including letters and photographs. Then I dove in to write the novel. After I had written the first draft, I went on walking tours to every location in the novel. If the building still exists, I visited it, I took photographs and wrote notes on my observations. I also looked for menus, maps, and other ephemera so that the story would be accurate.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

I am a feedback junkie. I take two writing classes a week in Manhattan, and I run all of my chapters through those classes. This helps me learn what’s working for readers and what needs to be tweaked or adjusted. After that, I have five or six Beta readers read the whole book from beginning to end to catch any continuity issues.  If writers write about what they know or what they love, the journey is a little easier.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

Mistress Suffragette was published by Penmore Press in March 2017.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

As the saying goes, it was a journey. I redrafted the book many times on the quest for an agent. I thought the story was finished, but my agent convinced me that it should begin in a different spot from what I had originally intended. I will say this: all of the rewriting and redrafting really helped me to get to know my characters.

Q: What other books are you working on and when will they be published?

I am currently writing the sequel to Mistress Suffragette, using the same process. I am running chapters by two writing classes, and gathering the feedback from both the readers in the class as well as from Beta readers.

Q: What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

My novel, Mistress Suffragette, is about an offshoot of the woman’s suffrage movement called the Rational Dress Movement that is never taught or addressed in college classes.

Q: Finally, what message are you trying to get across with your book?

The search for independence and the search for love do not have to be mutually exclusive. So often, they are seen as opposites. My story challenges that viewpoint.

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