The Mistress of Pennington's Tour

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Welcome historical romance author, Jeanette Watts...

1.)            What did you want to be when you grew up?

I actually did want to be a writer when I grew up!  I went through a brief time when I wanted to be an actress, but I could tell from watching Hollywood movies I’d never make it.  I’m not skinny enough.  I will always carry every spare ounce in my thighs, and that just doesn’t work in Hollywood.  So I gave up the idea. 

2.)            Coffee, tea or hot chocolate?

What’s this “or” stuff?  Coffee AND hot chocolate makes mocha!!  I do also drink a lot of tea.  I’ve had to switch to decaf, so I’ve got a big shelf full of teas.  My favorite tea, though, is Russian Caravan, which is fully caffeinated.  And delicious with honey.

3.)            What genre do you typically read? Why?

This is probably a funny thing for a historic fiction writer to say, but I love biographies!  I almost never read fiction for pleasure.  I just finished reading Amelia Bloomer’s biography.  Before that I was reading Shelby Foote’s history of the Civil War.  Three volumes of about a thousand pages each.  And it’s fantastic!  I could go back to the beginning and read it all again.  But I’ve got General Grant’s biography on the top of my stack, along with a few others that are about people that are more pertinent to the time period I’m writing about (the Industrial Revolution).

4.)            Share a favourite childhood memory.

My best friend in elementary school and junior high school and I were huge Star Wars fans.  When Empire Strikes Back came out, we would go to see it over and over and over.  That summer, we would finish our chores, look at our watches.  We had memorized the schedule for when the movie was playing, and we knew precisely how long it took for us to get on our bicycles and get to the movie theatre.  One time we were three minutes late.  And the movie theatre held off starting the movie until we got there.  It’s like they knew we were coming or something…

5.)            Do you have any shameless addictions? ie. Tea, Books, Shoes, Clothes?

Playing dressup.  I guess we call it cosplay these days?  I’m a dancer, so I have full wardrobes of historic costumes for the historic dancing, belly dance costumes for the belly dancing, and Cancan costumes for my cancan troupe.  As if that doesn’t turn my life into ENOUGH of a costume party, I’ve also started a club called the Genteel Outing and Expedition Society (GOES).  Once a month we dress up in Victorian clothing and go do something.  Kite flying, ice skating, archery lesson, mini golf, theatre or opera, museum exhibit, it varies.  This month we’re thinking of going on safari at a big game zoo called The Wilds.  As if that isn’t enough dressup, I have also sewn a vast collection of Elizabethan and Henrician garb for going to Renaissance Festivals.

6.)            What do you think is the biggest challenge of writing a new book?
Finding the time to write between all the dancing and sewing projects.

7.)            Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages a day?

While I was writing Wealth and Privilege, I promised myself one page a day.  Now I’m less structured than that.  I put more time in, generally speaking, but some days I don’t write at all, and other times I will arrange a retreat for myself and spend a few days or a week with nothing but my laptop.  In my daily home routine I will write until I get dragged away by another commitment, or because it’s three in the morning and I really ought to get to bed.

8.)            What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

Well, the sequel to Wealth and Privilege is going to be called Brains and Beauty.  I don’t think there’s going to be a third book in that series.  But some of the other things I have in progress that may lend themselves better to a more complete series.  One thing at a time, though. 

Wealth and Privilege
by Jeanette Watts



Money. Family. Love. Hate. Obsession. Duty. Politics. Religion - or the lack thereof. Sex -- or, once again, the lack thereof.

Thomas Baldwin finds himself married to a woman he can’t stand, while head-over heels in love with another woman he can’t have. Talk about bad planning. He feels like a kite, buffeted by circumstances which blow him not only through personal crises, but also through some of the most significant events in Pittsburgh during the late 1800s, including the railroad riots of 1877, the creation of the Homestead Steel Works, the assassination of President Garfield, and the Johnstown Flood. Over time, and with the help of his muse, who dances maddeningly just beyond his reach, he takes control of his life, wresting it from the winds attempting to control him.

A carefully-researched historical novel about life among the privileged class of Pittsburgh during the Industrial Revolution.



The troops had achieved their objective.  The tracks at the crossing were clear.  They stood in formation, at attention, their arms at their sides, guarding the tracks.  Their faces were impassive, and not one of them looked down.

The dead and dying lay scattered about the rail yard.  There were men, women, even children lying face down in the dirt.  A young man in the uniform of the 14th National Guards, one of the Pittsburgh regiments, was crawling away from the scene, his right arm and leg both covered in blood.

From his elevated viewpoint, Thomas could see movements beyond the rail yard, as people half-dragged, half-carried dead and wounded away from the crossing.  He could see the shock on people’s faces – he could also feel the anger.  It was a burning, deadly anger.  These Philadelphians shot down protesters in cold blood.  By God, this wasn’t over yet.

Thomas and Regina both sat down on the hard metal deck of the water tower.  They sat in silence, too appalled by the scene below to say anything.

“They could have shot over people’s heads, and probably had the same effect without killing anybody,” Regina said eventually.

“Could be,” Thomas answered, only half paying attention.  He’d seen movement on the streets below.  Yes, indeed:  the protesters were returning.  He nudged Regina – easy to do, since she’d been leaning against him - and pointed.  She looked, and a grim, glad smile reached her lips, if not her eyes.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Jeanette Watts has written television commercials, marketing newspapers, stage melodramas, four screenplays, three novels, and a textbook on waltzing.

When she isn’t writing, she teaches social ballroom dances, refinishes various parts of her house, and sews historical costumes and dance costumes for her Cancan troupe.


Jeanette will be awarding a Victorian cameo to a randomly drawn winner (International) via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.

Please use this rafflecopter code on your post:

Comments?? Questions?? 


  1. Good morning, and thank you for having me!

  2. I enjoyed reading the interview and learning more about you. That was funny about being late for the movie.

  3. I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

    1. I hope you get a chance to read the whole thing!

  4. I really enjoyed your interview~thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks! I learned things about myself that I didn't even know. Funny what you can learn from a few good questions.