Beverley Adam’s debut book, The Rebel Suffragette: The Life of Edith Rigby, was published by Pen & Sword Books on 23 September 2021.
Beverley kindly answered a few of my questions.
1. Tell us a little about The Rebel Suffragette.
The Rebel Suffragette is about the life of Edith Rigby, she was passionate about fighting for the rights of women, she campaigned for better working conditions, better rights for unmarried women and of course the fight for the vote as part of the Suffragette’s campaign.
2. What inspired the book?
Edith is from my hometown of Preston, and I have always been passionate about my local history and taken an interest in the suffragette’s cause. When I first learnt about Edith and how involved she was in the campaign I wanted to bring her story to life. The Pankhurst name is synonymous with the suffragette’s cause, and rightly so, but I wanted to highlight that there were lots of other women, like Edith, who put their lives on the line for the cause but perhaps aren’t as well known.
3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you?
I think I am a bit of both. I like the idea of having a plan and I do always write one out, but I don’t always stick to it! Because I write non-fiction, I do like to plan out my research but when it comes to sitting down and writing I see where the words take me.
4. Having been through the publishing process, is there anything about the process of creating a book that surprised you?
Yes, the length of time it takes from sending in the manuscript to getting it out in the world as a finished book. The editing process was much longer than I expected, there are many rounds of edits that need to be gone through to get the final manuscript into the best shape possible. I went through this process during Covid and I am sure that played a part in it taking maybe longer than normal.
5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
I like to read, especially crime thrillers and historical fiction, I like to watch England and Lancashire in the cricket and I also support Preston North End and go to watch them as often as I can. To relax I do Tai Chi once a week and have reiki and reflexology as much as I can.
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
Oh, this is such a difficult question to answer! I would probably choose Middlemarch by George Eliot. To me it is the finest example of the English novel, it is also very lengthy, and I do love a hefty read!
7. I like to end my Q&As with the same question so here we go. During all the Q&As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
As my interviews have all been based on The Rebel Suffragette no one has yet asked me if I would have been a suffragette had I been alive at the time. My answer would be I hope so. I hope I would have had the courage they did to fight for their rights. I would like to think that I would have been brave enough to go through what they did for the greater good of women’s rights.
About the Book
The suffragette movement swept the country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Led by the Pankhursts, the focus of the movement was in London with demonstrations and rallies taking place across the capital. But this was a nationwide movement with a strong northern influence with Edith Rigby being an ardent supporter. Edith was a controversial figure, not only was she was the first woman to own and ride a bicycle in her home town but she was founder of a school for girls and young women. Edith followed the example of Emmeline Pankhurst and her supporters and founded the Preston branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union. She was found guilty of arson and an attempted bomb attack in Liverpool following which she was incarcerated and endured hunger strike forming part of the ‘Cat and Mouse’ system with the government. During a political rally with Winston Churchill Edith threw a black pudding at a MP.
There are many tales to tell in the life of Edith Rigby, she was charismatic, passionate, ruthless and thoroughly unpredictable. She was someone who rejected the accepted notion of what a woman of her class should be the way she dressed and the way she ran her household but she was independent in mind and spirit and always had courage in her own convictions. As a suffragette, she was just as effective and brave as the Pankhurst women. This is the story of a life of a lesser known suffragette. This is Edith’s story.
About the Author
Beverley Adams was born and raised in Preston, Lancashire. She gained her BA (Hons) in English Literature and her MA in English with The Open University. Her interests include history, in particular local history, reading, travel and following Preston North End Football Club. She works in the Private Sector and this is her first book.