Tuesday, March 6, 2018

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.



Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

My name is Diana Forbes. I am passionate about the Gilded Age, untold stories, and Old New York. Mistress Suffragette is my debut novel, and I am writing the sequel now. 

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Manhattan. So did my many of my ancestors. When I walk down the streets of Manhattan, I picture how it used to look during the late 1800’s—the sights, the sounds, the chocolate-dipped brownstones. Then, I try to capture that on the page.

What is your fondest childhood memory?

Probably when I asked by an English teacher to start the school newspaper. I was always a writer.

When did you begin writing?

I began writing when I was six years old. I wrote poems, diary entries (just like Harriet the Spy), restaurant reviews, and articles. When I was in high school, I wrote my first novella. I always knew that I would be a writer when I grew up. I was lucky because my parents encouraged me to do it.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

No. I believe that writing is a habit. The habit needs to be enforced. I write from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. or so every weekday. On Saturdays I take a break and write for only two hours. On Sunday, I frequently write for eight hours. In the afternoons, after I have written, I work on marketing my debut novel, Mistress Suffragette. I also like to read for about an hour every night.

What is this book about?

Mistress Suffragette is about a young woman who believes that she will get married and live a traditional life. Her young life is supremely comfortable. She’s not rich, but she has a great lifestyle. Due to an unforeseen circumstance, her lifestyle is whisked out from under her. Now she is distressed and searching for sanctuary. She ends up taking a paid job in the early women’s suffrage movement as a paid public speaker. Unfortunately elements from her past catch up to her, and her love life threatens to undo everything she’s fighting for.

What inspired you to write it?

I studied history and politics in college, and I thought the women’s suffrage movement wasn’t really taught correctly. I also felt that the way it was portrayed in movies was one-dimensional. I wanted to change that. I also am fortunate to possess a box of letters and photographs, passed down to me by my ancestors who were living in the U.S. dating back to before the Civil War. I had ancestors on both sides of the Civil War. Part of writing the novel was a journey for me as an author. I combed through their stories and tried to capture a tiny bit of what they went through.                                                                

Who is your biggest supporter?

I have had some wonderful writing teachers and mentors. I take two writing classes a week, every week.

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

I was a member of two writing groups, but I had to take a break from it when my debut novel, Mistress Suffragette, got published.

Who is your favorite author?

Edith Wharton is my favorite. I love Jane Austen as well.

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

I am agented.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

It is hard to get published today, no question. That said, each time I rewrote my story, I got to know my characters a little better. 

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

No. All you can do as a writer is keep at it. One page at a time, one day at a time.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Amazon (paperback and Kindle); Barnes and Noble, Apple iTunes, Kobo Books, Smashwords.

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book?  If yes, where can readers find it?

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Keep at it. Keep writing. And above all, believe in your project.

What is up next for you?

I am writing the sequel now.


pilch92 15andmeowing said...

Great interview. I love NYC, old and present day. This sounds like a great book.

Cheryl said...

Thanks, pilch. Glad to have you with us.