Daisy Goodwin is the daughter of film producer Richard B. Goodwin (A Passage to India, Seven Years in Tibet) and writer/interior designer Jocasta Innes (Paint Magic), and the sister of the Edgar-winning writer Jason Goodwin (The Janissary Tree). She earned a B.A. with honors in history from Trinity College, Cambridge, followed by a Harkness Fellowship to Columbia University Film School; and now runs her own independent television company in the UK.
In addition to publishing eight poetry anthologies, she has presented award-winning television series on poetry and on the enduring appeal of romantic fiction, and is a commentator and columnist for the London Sunday Times. In 2010, she served as chair of the judging panel for the Orange Prize for the best novel written in English by a woman. Daisy lives in London with two daughters, three dogs, and a husband who is an executive for ABC News. The American Heiress is her first novel.
This biography was last updated on 03/09/2012.
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What was the inspiration for The American Heiress?
I was visiting Blenheim Palace and saw the portrait of Consuelo Vanderbilt, the American heiress who married the Duke of Marlborough. She was very beautiful, but she also looked spectacularly unhappy. When I read that she was basically blackmailed into marrying the Duke by her social-climbing mother, I thought about what a great setup this would be for a novel. American girls basically propped up the English aristocracy for a generation. In modern terms, Consuelo's dowry was about $100 million.
No wonder a quarter of the British nobility made transatlantic marriages!
I started writing this book at the height of the boom (remember the boom?), when I was fascinated by the parallels between all these new billionaires and the plutocrats of the Gilded Age. How does getting rich that fast affect you? It has to be said, though, that the rich today are small fry compared to the Vanderbilts and their ilk, whose idea of a party favor was a jewel-encrusted Fabergé egg, and who would offer their guests cigarettes rolled from hundred-dollar bills.
Was there anything you found especially surprising while researching The American Heiress?
While certain details in The American ...
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