Monday, February 12, 2018


New York Is A Character l Diana Forbes @dianaforbes18 #NewYork #writing #historical #fiction

Diana Forbes’s debut, Mistress Suffragette (Penmore Press, 2017), was inspired by Diana’s passion for old New York, ancestry, and untold stories. Here she explains how New York is not merely a setting for her, but a character.

 New York Is A Character

Readers always tell me that “New York is a character” in my novel, Mistress Suffragette. When I walk through the streets today, I imagine how it was back in the nineteenth century. The smell of horses sweltering on a humid summer day. The splinters of sawdust jettisoned in the air from the constant construction. I can almost hear the pigs running through the gutters. (These animals substituted for city services since pigs are remarkably clean.)

I retrace my protagonist’s footsteps whenever possible, and I have her walk a lot in my novel. As a stranger, she acutely feels the cold shoulder the city casts on outsiders. Missing for my heroine are many of the social introductions that would make old New York accord her more respect. For her, New York offers up steaming sidewalks and screaming barkers. She sees the seamy underbelly of the city stripped of any gilded lining.

She moves to New York because she has to, in order to achieve her career aspirations, and stays in spite of the city’s haughty snobbishness, not because of it.
She has difficulty acclimating to its congestion, strange rhythms, myriad neighborhoods, and lack of trees. Looking out at the walls of linens drying in the courtyard makes her miss her childhood home; and yet once she’s situated in New York she can never return home. Not really.

To her, New York is too brash and too expensive. At best, the bond she forges with the city verges on love-hate. My heroine also has the chance to experience how cruel New York can be during a hurricane, shattering glass and ravaging lives.

But, like a character, New York has layers. She is complex, ever evolving, and a bit secretive about her past. She has stories to tell if one will only stay long enough to listen. And over time, it is impossible for any resident, my heroine included, not to occasionally be caught off-guard by the city’s grandeur or at least charmed by its quirky residents.

As a writer, I am an archaeologist, and it is my task to dig out New York’s past and reveal it in a way that is true to her identity. 
About the Author

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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