Bestselling Author


Antoinette’s Sister by Diana Giovinazzo

As Marie Antoinette took her last breath as Queen of France in Paris, another formidable monarch—Antoinette’s dearly beloved sister, Charlotte—was hundreds of miles away, in Naples, fighting desperately to secure her release from the revolutionaries who would take her life. Little did Charlotte know, however, that her sister’s execution would change the course of history—and bring about the end of her own empire.

Diana Giovinazzo

Diana lives in the Greater Los Angeles area with her husband and a small menagerie. A writer and reader of historical fiction, while Diana’s first book is forthcoming, you can find out more on her website. Diana is also a board member with the Women’s National Book Association, Los Angeles Chapter. In those rare moments when her nose is not in a book, she enjoys traveling and exploring tiki bars with her tikiphile husband. She loves books with strong female leads, foreign and independent films, and Star Wars.

In this episode of Historical Happy Hour, Diana Giovinazzo discusses her historical novel “Antoinette’s Sister,” focusing on Maria Carolina, Marie Antoinette’s sister, and her rule in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The conversation covers Giovinazzo’s research process, including consulting historians and incorporating historical letters into the narrative. The author shares her writing journey, from drafting to editing, and the decision to write in the first person to give Maria Carolina a voice. The podcast also touches on the challenges of organizing research and the use of technology like Scrivener. Additionally, Giovinazzo talks about her podcast, “Wine Women and Words,” and her love for historical fiction.

Here’s what we covered:

  • [00:00:00] Introduction to Diana Giovinazzo and her novel “Antoinette’s Sister.”
  • [00:02:18] Inspiration behind Maria Carolina’s story.
  • [00:07:24] The role of Empress Maria Teresa in European politics.
  • [00:10:17] The research process and challenges.
  • [00:17:24] Writing in the first person and the use of letters in the narrative.
  • [00:23:37] Discussion on the book cover and the possibility of traveling to Italy.
  • [00:25:39] About “Wine Women and Words” podcast and staying in touch with Giovinazzo.


[00:00:00] Jane: Okay, everybody, we have Diana Giovinazzo here. I’m so excited to have her to celebrate Antoinette’s sister, which she has a beautiful poster of it behind her.

And I have my shiny grubby copy that I’ve had my hands all over. This is so fun. I’m gonna do a little intro and then I have some questions and those of you who’ve been here before you know I have, I’ll take questions at the end. So Diana Giovinazzo is the co creator of Wine, Women, and Words, a weekly literary podcast which I love and I have been on, featuring interviews with authors over a glass of wine.

Cheers, by the way. Cheers. Diana is active within her local literary community as the president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Women’s National Book Association. For more information, her website is dianajimenasso. com and her first novel was The Women in Red, which was hailed as an epic tale of one woman’s fight to create the life of her dreams.

It’s a sweeping novel, but it was a sweeping novel based on Anita Garibaldi, a 19th century Brazilian revolutionary who loved as and that blurb is from Adriana Trugiani, who’s amazing. So that’s a pretty amazing blurb. Antoinette’s Sister. This book has, I loved it, and I just want to read a couple of the glowing reviews that you received from, that was a starred review on Publishers


I know!

[00:01:25] Diana: It’s so exciting!

[00:01:27] Jane: Yeah, it offers an exceptional portrait of 18th century Austria’s Habsburg royal dynasty. This sprawling tale of power Intrigue and Ambition is a winner. And then the other one from Booklist, also great review Philippa Gregory fans, and I thought, I immediately thought of Philippa Gregory when I started reading it will love the story’s mix of real history and drama, made personal with the strong and relatable voice of the Queen of Naples and Sicily.

And I couldn’t agree more with that one. Welcome. Thank you for coming. Thank you.

[00:01:59] Diana: Hey, I love that. It’s a couple people brought up Philippa Gregory and it was a surreal moment because I’ve read almost all her books and so many of us have. Yes. So to have that comparison within the story, I was just like, Yeah.

[00:02:15] Jane: Amazing.

[00:02:16] Diana: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:02:18] Jane: Oh, totally. I think that a lot of authors of historical fiction like us, like Philippa Gregory is one of these ones that we’re like, Ooh, and grew up reading and it’s all of that. So what, what a great comparison. So tell us. about Maria Carolina Charlotte, sister of Marie Antoinette, and how you were inspired to write her story.

[00:02:39] Diana: Maria Carolina Charlotte, obviously, as the name says, she was Marie Antoinette’s sister. She was one of 16 children. And It is. It is ridiculously so many children. As somebody who wrote the book, I can attest to the fact that there’s a lot. Yes. And they were, the two sisters were extremely close.

And by happenstance and fate, what have you. She becomes the queen of the two Sicilies, which was a kingdom that ranges just north of Naples, and then went all the way down to what’s now Sicily. And she had to take over control of the country and become, she was one of the, one of three women to actually stand up to Napoleon and fight for her country.

And deal with the loss of her sister.

[00:03:31] Jane: Yeah, just unbelievable. And it’s one of these lesser known stories of women in history that I love that, you just mind. And also I love it because it was refreshing for me because I’ve been reading, I write World War II lately and I’ve been reading a lot of 20th century.

So to go back and read about this portion of history was so great. And I have to, I want to talk first a little bit about her mother. Who was a force Maria Carolina Charlotte. No, that is one of Maria Teresa’s daughters ninth daughter, and 16th child of Empress Maria Teresa of Austria that was Antoinette, that was Maria Antoinette’s and re Charlotte’s sister, mother.

Mother. Yeah. Yeah,

[00:04:12] Diana: there’s a reason why we have a family chart in the beginning of the book.

[00:04:15] Jane: Exactly. I kept looking back. So Maria Teresa, Empress Maria Teresa of Austria was a force of nature. And I just have to read this reviewer excuse my language because I thought it was so great. One reviewer said, Maria Teresa.

Was the OG momager of Europe. Kris Jenner wishes she was this much of a conniving power, massing power, amassing bitch. My dudes, she married all her children into powerful positions, maneuvering them across Europe, like living chess pieces. And I was like, that’s so perfect.

[00:04:46] Diana: So I love that review. Oh my God.

This there’s been some amazing reviews that come out that I’ve seen that are just. Fantastic. And I feel like that’s one of my favorites

[00:04:57] Jane: now. Yeah. So talk to me about the mom because she was like such a force. She was.

[00:05:03] Diana: So prior to her coming in, there weren’t really these massive families. There was like maybe one or two kids and they would die off.

In her case there were I don’t even I’m trying to remember, but I don’t even think there were sons. If I’m not mistaken, they were only daughters. In her case, and they didn’t have the laws like you have in England where a woman can actually succeed, but the problem and all that. So the king had to go and get a letter or a decree from another country.

To be able to say that this woman rule, and he only had three daughters, Maria Teresa being the oldest, and so he had to get support from a neighbor neighboring area to be able to say that she could rule. And when she did, she was in a time during her time, as I mentioned with just so many few kids.

That’s why we had a lot of these wars of course obsession because there was nobody left and everybody was coming in to fight for this territory. And with her husband, they end up having 16 children, and she deliberately strategically places them in various points of power throughout Europe and I just that alone was fascinating to me.

And. Prior to her coming into power, her father had lost the rule of the kingdom of the two Sicily, the kingdom of two Sicily. It was, there was Sicily, which was the northern part, which, I say northern, it’s the Naples area, which consider Naples to Calabria. And then there was Sicily, the island.

And then when they came into power under him, they just called it the two Sicily. or the kingdom of the two Sicilies. So he controlled that along with Austria and so many other areas. And when he started losing all of that, she started using her children as literally as pawns. There’s no shine around it.

She had a child in Parma, she had a child in Milan, in Tuscany, and then the kingdom of the two Sicilies, she had children there, she put some of it, northern area, around Prussia. And then she also then It was very important to her that she also have a child within the French royal line.

[00:07:24] Jane: Yes. Yeah. And you could almost do a prequel about her just because there’s so much, there’s so much there. It’s amazing. Yeah. So that, as you’re talking about this, I’m like, Oh my God, so much research. And so talk to me about, you have a list on Goodreads of some of the books you use for the research.

I’d love to hear about your process, the research process, how much you did. Do you do it all up front? Do you do it as you go? Tell me about that.

[00:07:51] Diana: This is the kind of book where you had to go do it as we went along. I felt like there was just so much. And with the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, it’s it was really complicated there.

Everything politically and historically. Just had to be really, you had to go, step by step with it almost grains of rice from the sand because there was just so much and to be able to put that into a historical narrative. But like one of the things I had to do was oh, I, there’s so many characters.

I’m constantly forget about that one. There’s a The guy who’s also her, he’s a physician and he is a minister, the minister of war, the head military guy, and he’s these two people historically, he was actually he was the, her, her physician, but he had somebody else in power for the military, but he, the physician was acting through him.

And so he had the influence on it. For the story, I was like, this is too good not to, do. And so instead of breaking it off into two people and having all this other stuff, I had to go ahead and just combine it into one character because he was basically doing all of that.

Doing the job. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So there’s a lot of it. So I started off, as I always do, I start off with the biography, a biography about the person specifically. And the one that I had that I started off with was by a Mary Bairn, which she’s done a number of books about women in general. I believe she did a Maria from that one.

There are a number of them. But the key thing is that she was writing these. in 1911. And this one was that I did was in published in 1911. And then I, there was a woman by the name of Chintzia Vrekia, who is a foremost expert on Maria Carolina Charlotte. So there were, she had books about her and, all these articles about her and her life and court and and the actual comparison between the two sisters.

And so I use, I looked at her stuff. Yeah. And then Mandela, who’s on the list of my website. He was so helpful when it came to just getting into the politics of the two Sicilies.

[00:10:17] Jane: Yes. Yeah, because all yeah, very elaborate. So I, I loved your author’s note at the end, and I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but how you talk about how after Antoinette died and was eviscerated by the French, by French writers, then they did the same thing to Charlotte.

And she had all these incredible accomplishments. And they, and she was her husband was given credit for pretty much everything like small ones, like bringing coffee to Naples, building palaces and theaters, like so much, and they just, yeah, and just completely ignored by history, which is what happens with men, women often, but but yeah, tell me a little bit about that.

[00:10:56] Diana: So some of the interesting things that happened, they were, and this is one of the things where I just, I love Mary’s. Because she was just like, they went out of their way to say that he was doing this stuff when it came to the universities and things of that nature. Other things, interestingly, it was she was doing the letters because the letters are very important to her.

But when she was doing letters and doing decrees, she wasn’t sending them under her name. She was sending them under his name. And so what she would do is she’d have him come in. And he’d come by and they’d sit at her desk and she, everything would be what she wanted and she’d just sign them and she’d hand them over to him and he’d just sign them and then go on his merry way.

So a lot of the stuff that she was doing was giving credit to him. And there were some other things like the one that I put in the author’s note. Whatever. I just call him Marat. I don’t like him. In general, it’s funny when you’re writing historical fiction, I don’t know if you do this, but you have these very visceral reactions to these people in history.

Especially when you’re doing a specific character or person or character because you see it through their eyes. Marat. One of the things is that he always gets the credit for burial practices, when in turn, it was Carolina. And I can go on and on with Abby. So much. Yeah, the olives were a big thing, which I just.

I got so into that. I even consulted, we’re talking about historical research here. I got, I consulted a volcanologist on this from my alma mater, Cal State Fullerton.

[00:12:36] Jane: It’s so funny how you go down rabbit holes and you’re like, you just have to know, even if it doesn’t end up in the book, you just have to know for yourself sometimes, I think.

Yeah. So I’m really interested to about you wrote this in the first person and she was like this feisty headstrong personality. And what made you decide first person, I love, I personally love first person because I feel like it really puts you in. The story in a way that other points of view don’t sorry, that’s my dog barking at the door.

But so what my first person.

[00:13:11] Diana: I’m the same as you or I like having it the view from her perspective, and I think this is her story was one where others like Nita Garibaldi like I wrote written about. She didn’t really get to have her say too much. Everything’s been written about you know what there is about her which is amazing because Having a queen, this is something that Philippa Gregory had talked about, where with a queen you can say exactly what she wore that day.

I could look up for Marie Antoinette and see what she wore on any particular day. Just like a face of the moon. And for her, but with all of that, with Maria Carolina, where you could see her daily schedule, where you could see what she was doing, you couldn’t actually see her side of things. And I really wanted to see her side of things, especially given the fact that Even though she was Marie Antoinette’s most favorite sister, she still gets shot under the rug.

There are still books on the Habsburg that, the Habsburgs that I read. that didn’t even mention her. Really? Oh, that’s amazing. And they brush it off too. And it was just really frustrating. So I really wanted her to be able to, or at least have her have some sort of say in this.

Which is as I say that it feels a little Oh, how do I put it? Egotistical, let’s say that she wants to have this say, even though I’m the author of putting this together, but just getting an insight into what her viewpoints were on these things.

[00:14:44] Jane: Yeah, and I and the voice is so fun.

It’s so it’s so strong and she was so ahead of her time and her personality was so strong that must have been really fun for you

[00:14:55] Diana: to write. It was, especially when she was younger. Because she still had that child ish about her because she was 16 years old when she got married and she ends up coming into her own and power by the time she’s 20 years old.

So just having that sense of character aging and whatnot was just so much fun to delve into. Yeah. I love all the characters. I love creating all of them.

[00:15:17] Jane: Oh, that’s so great. I let I want to talk to you too. I like your I liked your use of letters to move the narrative forward. I know I do that too sometimes.

And and so two questions. This is two part question. How did you make the decision to do that? And are they based on real historical letters? Or did you just make them up from scratch?

[00:15:38] Diana: So the letters themselves were based on letters that they were sending. So when I started doing the research. I was very early on, I could see she was sending letters, Maria Theresa was sending her letters, there were all these letters going back and forth.

And so I really wanted those letters to be a part of it. I was like, wow, these letters are really important to her, and I want to try to integrate them in some way, but As much as I love episcolatory novels, I believe I said that

[00:16:06] Jane: I know I didn’t say it because I always spit it out wrong.

That’s close enough.

[00:16:12] Diana: Okay, we’ll go with that. My own flair on it. I love these letters in the novels and those, the ones that just are all letters. And I wanted to have that touch of that and the story itself because they were important for that I wanted to have, and I also wanted to have the family’s influence.

That was really important to me too, because even though they’re in other countries, there’s still a huge influence on her. And the only way during this time period I could do that was through letters.

[00:16:43] Jane: And it also, you’re telling it in the first person, but then it gives other perspectives and points of view in a kind of great way.

Like it works really well. So that was cool.

[00:16:52] Diana: Yeah, I thought it was pretty fun when having that letter from Leopold to Joseph and Leopold’s I don’t think this is going to actually come out. We better be prepared. That was an actual letter that he sent to him.

[00:17:04] Jane: Oh, I love stuff like that. I just love it.

[00:17:06] Diana: Yeah. These history things, the whole You know, Maria Theresa scolding her, you say your prayers like a fly. You don’t have the attention span and it’s that was a letter she actually sent to her daughter. They live in the same palace and she sends her this letter.

Amazing. It was like, they have to be a part of it.

[00:17:24] Jane: Yeah, so great. So in terms of your writing, I ask every writer comes on this question because I’m always interested. Are you a plotter? Do you plot things out? Or are you a pantser? Do you write by the seat of your pants? Like how, what’s your process?

I’m a pantster. Oh, you’re in between.

[00:17:41] Diana: I’m in between. So I, so my co host Michelle and I, we laugh about this all the time because she’s very, it’s because she looks everything a certain way. Everything’s all. Just so with her home, and she just flies by the seat of her pants. She’s very much a pantster.

I’m the complete opposite. You have this lovely background before me, but you don’t see the rest of my office, which is just covered in papers and stuff because it’s been a messy few weeks. And so in my real life, I am very much just plans to fly by the seat of my pants. But when it comes to my books, I have this guideline and I treat it much like the Pirates of the Caribbean.

I Where there, it’s a, the outline is like a guideline that I stray from that because the story needs me to, then so be it. But I have this solid place where I can always go back to. That’s why I say that I’m a planster, because I allow myself to deviate from that thought if I have to.

[00:18:37] Jane: Yeah, that makes total sense.

Do you can I ask you to do Microsoft Word, are you a Scrivener girl, like what do you like to use? I’m a Scrivener girl.

[00:18:45] Diana: Me too! Yay! I’m still learning the intricacies of Scrivener. Me too. But this book, I don’t think I could have done Antoinette’s A Story About Scrivener if that’s, too much of a commercial.

[00:18:57] Jane: I completely agree. And just to explain what Scribner is it’s, I made myself with my second novel, You Use Scribner, because I was such a mess with the first one with research and I, it, Scribner is a word processing program for long documents, whether it’s like thesis papers or books or novels, and it allows you to organize the manuscript.

And the research in a, in one place. And that’s what I love about it. I know it is a Scrivener commercial, basically, but it’s pretty cheap too, which is amazing.

[00:19:25] Diana: So they can just start paying you for it now. I know. They can also do that with the podcast. So I think that would be a really, if there are any of them listening, you need to do this.

You get the podcast and then you get the writers. Do you know that you can highlight? Your stuff on the side on the left side panel. There’s like a way that you could highlight so you could base it on like the locations or on like names or what

[00:19:45] Jane: have you.

See, I feel like I use 10 percent of the capabilities.

[00:19:49] Diana: Same. Kate Quinn posted about that on social media and I was like, Oh my god, this is like game changing. Oh, I need to look that up.

[00:19:57] Jane: Okay, yeah.

[00:19:58] Diana: Yeah, you need to look it up. It’s really cool. Yeah, but with the letters, it was. I had the letters and I had them plotted out as to where I wanted them, but there are a few that moved around and just having that ability to have, where you’ve got the story and then you, and then I had the letter underneath.

I could pull that story and or that letter and put it into another part of the story. So the main things are really easy for me to do as opposed to Word. Where you have to go and pick it up and put it in, copy paste and things get crazy.

[00:20:30] Jane: So much. Yeah, or you lose stuff and yeah, nightmare.

[00:20:33] Diana: Though I have a tendency once.

Once I have a good working draft, then I’ll pull it from Scrivener and I’ll put it into to Microsoft Word, especially because the publishing industry prefers everything in Microsoft Word.

[00:20:43] Jane: Yeah, same here. Yeah, I dump it in towards, when I’m close enough to do that. But but yeah, in terms of the writing process too, so is there a part, is there a part you absolutely love, and is there a part you absolutely dread?

What’s your favorite and what’s the one part that you like the least? I love the editing.

[00:21:03] Diana: Me too.

That’s when you get to, I already have something in the works. Yes. I can play with, I’ve got my stuff and I can just go ahead and play with it. And create the story. And so I love it. That’ll come back. Okay. And so I love that. I love having that, that play that I can work with. Drafting, I think, is possibly my least favorite because you’re at the start of that, you’re at the bottom of the hill, gotta get up over that hill, and you just gotta just dump everything out, and it’s not as pretty as you want it to be, and it’s just On the page.

Yeah. And so you, but you creating that play that you can go ahead and make something pretty with. Yeah,

[00:21:49] Jane: I, I, that’s, I am the exact same. Some, I know some writers love that part, like the drafting part for, but for me, that’s the hardest. And also that kind of like self-critic on my shoulder the whole time makes it harder to like just get it down, yeah. So I’m working on that, but yeah.

[00:22:04] Diana: Yeah I push through it. That’s one of the things I try to drop as quickly as possible. This one. I drafted super quickly. I started it in March of 2020, and I finished in August of 2020. That is just drafting. This is the drafting part, just the drafting.

[00:22:20] Jane: But seriously, like with all the research and everything, like that’s super fast. Good for you.

[00:22:26] Diana: It is where I was still on the phone. I was still reading the biography when my auntie called and we were discussing what to do. And I pitched it to her before I’d even finished Maria Carolina’s biography.

And that’s where okay, yes, this is the book we need. And so that’s when I started to get into it. Yeah. And it was literally quite literally two weeks before the

[00:22:48] Jane: world lockdown. Yeah, I was editing during that time and I talked to writers who had to write drafts from scratch during that time and I don’t know how you did it.

I really don’t, I’m not sure I could have had found the headspace to do that. So that was, that’s really

[00:23:02] Diana: impressive too. This room helped a lot. I live in this room a lot. I I just closed off the doors and I have no tv in here. It’s just me, my computer. and music. And that’s just what I did for four months straight was just being in here with my books in this world while the rest of the world was

[00:23:21] Jane: burning.

Yeah. Yeah. That’s what you have to do though. And especially, yeah, good. That’s a lot of perseverance. Do you the cover is gorgeous and it’s right behind you and I have this. This early copy here. Do you have say in covers? People always ask about covers. Do you have say?

[00:23:37] Diana: Yes. And no grand central has a wonderful art department. I will see how pretty isn’t put in a commercial for them as well. And for this one, they gave me for the woman in red, they just handed me. This just sent it to me and it was just perfect. It didn’t even need to make any changes or anything. And this time they gave me about, I want to say eight.

Options. And this was the first one. And yeah, it’s right off the bat. I just nailed it.

[00:24:07] Jane: Yeah. It’s so funny that happens sometimes. I love it. Yeah. Beautiful. And so I have a couple more questions and then if anyone has questions, please put them in the chat or put them in the Q and A and I will check. Do you have plans to travel to Italy anytime soon now?

[00:24:23] Diana: Yes, I’m hoping for, we’re Still keeping an eye on the whole world stuff. Yeah, unfortunately, damn Putin making it’s, just when everything’s opening up and there’s this war that breaks out and it’s okay, do we want to travel? We’re hoping now that we can go this year, we’ve had to, we had a trip plan for 2020, but as you can guess, it got.

And then last year with the variants and Italy had I want to say it’s crazy. They had the, almost like the way they did in Hawaii, with how to be able to get there. Oh, yeah. Deal with it. That my husband and I were like, you know what, we’re going to just wait a little bit longer and not go, which is nice because we got to take a trip back east and visit with family.

So we’re hoping for this year, we’re going to wait for a few things but we’re hoping that this year will finally be the year I can go back to Italy. I’ve been to Italy. too. Yeah. Yes. Everybody’s putting their fingers in. Cross your fingers for me. Fingers and toes. Knock on all the wood.

[00:25:25] Jane: Honestly so yeah, so tell readers listeners rather about wine, women and words, your podcast, because it’s so great. And I just want to give that a plug too. And and talk about like how often you do it and all that.

[00:25:39] Diana: Oh, thank you. I’m glad that you also Michelle, that you also think that it’s great.

I this was a labor of love Michelle and I got it started. Michelle is. My co host I have mentioned previously. She and I have been friends for almost 20 years now. We worked together and at this terrible travel agency. We would trade books back and forth. And about almost six years ago now, she messaged me and said, Hey, I’ve got this project that I’ve got to do for my journalism program.

And it’s going to be a podcast. And the name of the podcast, by the way, is Wine, Women, and Words. Yes. Yes, and that’s what she was like, this is what it’s going to be called. And I was like, that sounds great. I have no idea how to do a podcast. And she was like, oh, neither do I. This is going to be fun. And so here we are six years later.

We got that first year we took our, got our bearings and we just had, just have so much fun. As you can tell, which I love with yours, you got the happy hour thing going. Obviously I had to have my cocktail. Nice. Yeah. And we just, we drink it. We’re the anti NPR office. We’re the opposite of that.

We drink wine and we talk books. If we can get an author drinking with us, Jane we’ll get some really funny stories out of them too. So it’s just, it’s a lot of ways. It’s also like a master class for writers because we like to get into how you did things and you can tell how, where we are with our current works or okay, so how did you do this?

The multiple perspectives. How does that go?

[00:27:19] Jane: Cool. Yeah, all of that stuff. Yeah. Yeah, no, I highly recommend it, Wine, Women, and Words, and it’s anywhere. You can download it Apple, anywhere, pretty much. Anywhere, yeah. And then my other question, before I take questions, is how best to get, keep in touch with you on social media?

What do you prefer? And also, do you use Zoom book clubs?

[00:27:40] Diana: Yes, I do Zoom book clubs. I will do any book club that wants to have me. I will be more than happy to join in. I am a delight. Yeah. Social media. I my handles are easy. I prefer Instagram and Twitter. And that’s Diana G author, make it simple because of this enormous last name.

And then I also have my newsletter which you can go to my website.

[00:28:05] Jane: Awesome. Okay. So we have a couple questions. Mary Witherington asks, what one thing did you learn about Charlotte through your research that shocked or surprised you the most? That’s an excellent question.

[00:28:19] Diana: Taking a drink because I’m thinking about what shocked me the most about her how much to try to get her sister to her. That was something where I never stopped to consider that the fact that it, that really. Devastated her what her sister was going through and you’ve got to consider the fact that they also had divine right was very much a thing.

And so she was taught that you, this is a very big thing, and God given right that she had. And they were, what was happening with her sister just devastated her and she tried everything to get her sister to go with her to Italy, where she wanted Marie Antoinette there with her. And that almost happened, but she wouldn’t leave her family.

And that was another thing that surprised me with Marie Antoinette is how much she was, she went, they all, it was all of them. And I think that had a hand in how things played out. And then after the fact before her son died, she was petitioning to have her son be sent to the kingdom of the Sicilies to be a ward under Maria Carolina.

And then that really just took me back to how much she was involved in trying to save her sister.

[00:29:36] Jane: Yeah, that’s amazing. And imagine, like, how history would have changed if any of that had happened, it’s really interesting to me, those kind of twists of fate and things like that. Adam, Autumn Shaw has a question.

Hi, Autumn. How do you organize your research time periods, articles, internet, books, etc. And do you talk to historians or any experts to check your research? I know from your notes that some of this, but

[00:30:00] Diana: Yeah. So I’ll talk to the historians if I have questions. And like Lou was such a wonderful person.

I was able to email with him if I had any questions or anything like that. I had already read his books when I was put in touch with him, introduced. And so he’s wonderful. I highly recommend all of his books as well. If you want that nonfiction take on the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. And yeah, I would just talk.

And then there were some people who are. I was about to say experts in the culture of the Naples because, with Italy, it’s one of those things is not. Like the United States where you have each area has their own players, their own food and their own culture, and it’s very prominent and strong there, so I would talk to some people within the Neapolitan culture about certain things, and so that we would be able to talk to them about that, so that was something that was so beneficial for me especially when it came to the food and the culture in general stuff, like their version of Carnival, which yesterday was Fat Tuesday, so Carnival season would be happening, yeah.

It happened right now for them. So that was something that was very intricate to it. And for organizing again, I am chaos in my home. So I’d like, I use a cross between, I have the physical books and I will highlight and tab everything that is prominent for me. But I also like using ebooks. For my research is with my ebooks.

I can actually I have the highlights there. So I can just go back to the highlights and see the highlights really easily. That’s been really helpful as well. But for my research I Not too much organization, unfortunately I feel like I fail on that.

[00:31:43] Jane: Do you dump a bunch of that into Scribner or not so much?

[00:31:45] Diana: I will, I’ll put I’ll put it in the notes with the outlines, but I go back to the books themselves with the highlights of it. Yeah, okay. And I’ll put in and then the outline I’ll put C page. 58 of this book for yeah, I’ll do that.

[00:32:03] Jane: Remember that part yet? Autumn Shaw says, Oh, I never thought of using ebooks that way.

And that’s true. Like I’ve used that ebooks that way sometimes, but not as much. That’s a good, that’s a good suggestion.

[00:32:13] Diana: And there’s a few like with the, one of the big books for Maria Carolina there was one that was, I have only, I had to buy it a rent as a rental because it was just so expensive.

And and I only needed one chapter. And it was like it was like $400. And I just needed just the one chapter. And so I rented it just, and just for that one chapter . So I was able to keep that just the highlights of that portion of this book, and I was able to do that. Oh, that’s perfect.

Yeah. That’s great. Great idea. Sometimes, yeah, the cost of the books, you’ve gotta, the eBooks will help you. That’s right. In that regards. Yeah.

[00:32:46] Jane: Yeah. Yeah. Other questions. What are you reading right now?

[00:32:52] Diana: I am listening to The Reading List. Okay. It’s this lovely book. It’s it’s nice, fluffy. I don’t want to say, I want to say fluffy.

It’s fluffy. It’s a story about love and loss and just, and the love of reading and the connection that books can bring to you. Oh, who’s that by? Oh gosh, I don’t, let me see if I can pull it up real fast. Oh, without it. Sorry. It is by

It’s not coming up for that. I want to see. It’s Sarah, Nisha Adams, Michelle Keller. Her just said that.

[00:33:30] Jane: Yes. Thank you. Yeah. Sarah Nisha Adams. The reading list. Yes. Okay. Thank you. Thank you, Michelle. I am currently reading. I’m actually listening on audio because I’m in the midst Of deadline time and I, I don’t have a lot of ti free time to read and so I’m listening to David Grohl, the storyteller, the head.

Oh, I love that one. Yeah. The head of the Foo Fighters and it’s so it’s perfect for what I need right now on audiobook. It’s like he just tells stories of his life and Nirvana and his life in the Foo Fighters and, . It’s great. It’s really good.

[00:34:01] Diana: Yeah. Yeah. Sometimes you just need that.

It’s just something different, something totally different. Sometimes you just need that audio book. Yeah. Cause sometimes sitting down with a book can be even for authors can be just too much. I like today I sat down with a book for maybe five minutes before I was getting messages and stuff pulling me away from the book.

So sometimes just having that audio book.

[00:34:25] Jane: Exactly. Go run or walk or whatever in the car. It’s so great. And and I love reading historical fiction and I love reading yours because it wasn’t 20th century. I have a hard time reading World War II or 20th century when I’m writing it because I don’t like it.

I don’t like anything to bleed into My stuff. You don’t want any yeah. So I like reading other genres or other eras because it’s too close in terms of what I’m working on. And then, oh, that, that leads me to another question. Did you ever think about writing outside of historical fiction genre?

Or are you going to like stay, stick with this?

[00:34:58] Diana: I plan on sticking with historical fiction. I’ve My everything seems to flow better for me with historical fiction. That’s I love reading it. Historical fiction is my jam. Yeah, this is what I want to do. And so I want to stick to it. Maybe sometime I might do a contemporary novel maybe someday.

But, because that’s the other genre I have the tendency to read is contemporary, obviously. But I think, primarily, I’m going to stick with historical fiction.

[00:35:24] Jane: Yes, same here. Yeah, I, and I look like the history as a jumping off point for it just to have that kind of base for the story.

Yeah. This was lovely. Thank you very much for your time. It was so great. And thank you everyone for coming. There’s all. Mandy, thank you, Mandy Eisenbaum says, Hi again, thanks for another lovely chat. Italy is one of my favorite places and I’m excited to read this historical book. Oh, and Mindy Elwick’s here too.

Oh, had to go, but thank you for such an interesting discussion. I look forward to reading Diana’s book. Thank you everyone. Thank you, Diana. This is so great. Keep in touch. Cheers. Cheers, everyone.

[00:36:01] Diana: Thank you. Thank you.

[00:36:02] Jane: Thank you, byebye.


Hosted by Jane Healey, Historical Happy Hour is a live interview and podcast featuring premiere historical fiction authors and their latest novels.

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