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Monday, June 14, 2010

Guest Shana Galen: Pushing the Envelope in THE MAKING OF A DUCHESS

Linda Banche here. Today I welcome Shana Galen and her latest Regency historical, The Making of a Duchess. Now, Duchess is not your ordinary Regency, and Shana will tell you why.

Leave a comment for a chance to win one of the two copies of The Making of a Duchess which Sourcebooks has generously provided. Shana will select the winners. Check the comments to see who won, and how to contact me to claim your book. If I cannot contact the winners within a week of their selection, I will award the books to alternates. Note, Sourcebooks can mail to USA and Canada addresses only.

The winners are Miss Quoted and Lois. I've sent you both emails, so look for them. Lois, I have your address. If I do not hear from you by June 22, I will award your prize to an alternate.

Welcome Shana!

Thanks so much for having me at Historical Hussies. I’ve enjoyed the blog for quite some time, and it’s an honor to be here discussing my new novel, The Making of a Duchess. I love history, especially the Regency period, but when I began writing The Making of a Duchess I decided to push the envelope just a bit.

I think there are times in our lives when we have nothing to lose. I was between publishing contracts when I started Duchess and didn’t know if anyone but me would ever read the novel. So why not write something a bit unconventional?

Or maybe even a lot unconventional. I have a French hero, a heroine who’s a governess, and part of the book is set in France—not your typical Regency romance. But it’s my heroine Sarah Smith who pushed the envelope the most.

Sarah is a governess for the children of a powerful man in England’s Foreign Office. She’s perfectly content in her position. An orphan who was raised by one of the numerous benevolent societies of the time, Sarah is happy to have such an important position, and she doesn’t understand what her employer is about when he calls her to his library and asks her to spy on Julien Harcourt, the influential duc de Valére. The duc is suspected of treason and considered a very real threat to England’s sovereignty.

But Sarah’s not a spy. She’s a governess and doesn’t know the first thing about spying. And, she argues, she’s a terrible actress. There’s no way she can pretend to be a French comtesse. She’s a lowly governess!

But the Foreign Office won’t take no for an answer. The spy they intended to send has been wounded, and their only option is Sarah. Why Sarah? She has no family, no connections, she’s a virtual unknown. She works with children, which requires patience and tenacity. And she lives among the aristocracy, which means she knows how they behave. Why not Sarah?

One of my favorite themes is the fish-out-of-water. In my novel Pride and Petticoats, Charlotte, an American, tries to fit in with the British ton. In No Man’s Bride, shy, reclusive Catie must become a political wife and hostess. In The Making of a Duchess, I gave Sarah the biggest challenge of all—she must pretend to be a French comtesse. And while she plays the comtesse, she must also play the spy. A single misstep could expose her to one of the most dangerous traitors in all of England.

What’s your favorite romance novel theme? Marriage of convenience? Secret baby? Enemies who fall in love? Fish-out-of-water? I’ll be checking in later to read your answers.


THE MAKING OF A DUCHESS by SHANA GALEN—IN STORES JUNE 2010

A very dangerous attraction…
Julien Harcourt, duc de Valère, is more than willing to marry the lovely young lady his mother has chosen. Little does he know, she’s been sent to prove him a spy and a traitor…

And an even more dangerous secret…
Sarah Smith’s mission is to find out whether the Duc’s trips to the Continent are as innocent as he claims, but the way he looks at her is far from innocent…

Their risky game of cat and mouse propels them from the ballrooms of London to the prisons of Paris, and into a fragile love that may not survive their deceptions…

About the Author
Shana Galen is the author of five Regency historicals, including the Rita-nominated Blackthorne’s Bride. Her books have been sold in Brazil, Russia, and the Netherlands and featured in the Rhapsody and Doubleday Book Clubs. A former English teacher in Houston’s inner city, Shana now writes full time. She is a happily married wife and mother of one daughter and two spoiled cats. She loves to hear from readers: visit her website at www.shanagalen.com.

16 comments:

Miss Quoted said...

This sounds like a page turner ... consider me in for the contest1

Linda Banche said...

Hi Shana, and welcome to Historical Hussies.

As for the kind of stories I like, I like unconventional heroines. Sarah fits the bill because, unprepared as she is, she rises to the occasion.

Sandra Sookoo said...

Your book sounds fantastic!

I like a good fish out of water tale or when enemies fall in love. Or knowing me, a blend of the two LOL

Best wishes!

sandra.sookoo@comcast.net

Jules said...

Other than my beloved m/m romances, I love regencies the best - this sounds like a great one! Count me in for the contest!

She said...

Sounds like a good tale. I like the fish out of water or enemies falling in love. Never did like the secret baby because the baby becomes a pawn between the two.

ShanaGalen said...

You're in the contest, Miss Quoted and Jules! I am going to choose the winners using a computer program that generates random numbers, so everyone who comments has an equal chance.

Thanks again for having me, Linda.

Sandra, I like your idea of blending the two--that's Duchess!

You know, She, I've never read a secret baby book. Hard to believe, yet true...

Lynne Connolly said...

Very brave, venturing into French aristocracy! Is he Pen or Sword?

ShanaGalen said...

I think sword, Lynne.

peggy said...

Hi Shana, yor book sounds wonderful I like the sound of the story line it brings something new to historical.peg360@hotmail.com

catslady said...

I've been hearing good things about this book and loving variety, I very much like the idea of reading about France and England - an added bonus of 2 in l lol. I don't know if I have a favorite but fish out of water and marriage of convenience and enemies who fall in love and cinderella stories are all good ones. And wanted to add how much I enjoyed Blackthorne’s Bride!

Lois said...

Ooh, definitely like spies or people trying to be spy-like; and hey, one of the great things about Regencies is you can include lots of stuff about France since it's such a big part of the surrounding time. . . so a French hero doesn't seem all that unusual to me. :) Other ones. . . friends to lovers, a titled person (usually the hero) having to play a butler or such for the heroine for some reason. Read a couple of those, and just love that! LOL Not very big on secret babies/amnesia but have certain read plenty that I liked. LOL In the end, there are no real themes that I 1000% love/hate, because I've read plenty of various plot lines that I have loved and then the ones I hated. It comes down to how they are written. :)

Lois
OV_099@yahoo.com

Rachel Lynne said...

Hi Shana,
I cut my teeth on Regencies and though I'm currently writing Contemporary Romantic Suspense I'm always jotting down new ideas for Regency stories. Once a Regency lover, always a Regency lover!
I'm definitely going to read Duchess and I'd have to say Georgette Heyer's comedy of manners and misunderstandings are my favorite themes, which is funny because that isn't what I write :)
Good Luck with Duchess,
Rachel Lynne

ShanaGalen said...

Thanks, Peggy!

Thanks, catslady. Blackthorne's Bride is my best book (I think).

Oh, Lois, love the idea of a titled person playing the help! That sounds fun.

Thanks, Rachel. I love Heyer as well.

Jason and Emily said...

I like seeing a heroine fighting against all odds, the bleaker the better, right? I think my favorite is H/H in conflict, but I always like a good fish-out-of-water story. Count me in for this contest to win a copy!

ShanaGalen said...

And the randomly selected winners are Miss Quoted and Lois! Congrats and enjoy the book!

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