Thursday, June 10, 2010

Heroes: British? French? Maybe a Little of Both?

Today I am delighted to host fellow Regency author, Shana Galen. Sourcebooks will release her latest book, The Making of a Duchess, this month. Today she talks about Regency heroes. Why are they all British? Not hers.

Sourcebooks will give away two copies of The Making of a Duchess. Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win one. Shana will select the lucky winners, and I will contact them by email. Check the comments to see who won. The winners are Lin and StephB. Lin, please contact me at linda@lindabanche.com to claim your prize. If you do not contact me by June 18, I will award your prize to an alternate. Steph, I already have your address. If I cannot contact the winners with a week of their announcement, I will award the books to alternates. Note that Sourcebooks can mail only to addresses in the USA and Canada.

Welcome, Shana!

I know what you’re thinking: a French hero in a Regency romance? I didn’t think you were supposed to do that.

Even my mom, who hasn’t read any romance novels but mine, said, “Didn’t an editor tell you too much of that one book was set in France?”

And the idea that a novel set partly in France with a French hero might not appeal to Regency readers, who tend to prefer English and Scottish settings, did occur to me. It was just that by then I’d already written about 60 pages of The Making of a Duchess, and I couldn’t let the story or my hero Julien go.

Julien Harcourt, duc de Valére is forced to flee France at the age of 13 when his family’s chateau is attacked by peasants during the French Revolution. He flees to England, but he never forgets where he came from or who he left behind. During the attack, Julien tries to save his younger twin brothers, but he’s forced to leave them behind. Everyone assumes the twins are dead, but Julien never stops searching for them.

Of course, this requires frequent trips to France, and when France and England go to war, the British Foreign Office takes an active interest in Julien’s forays abroad.

Until now all of my heroes have been dyed-in-the-wool British gentlemen. Having done my research, I feel I have a sense of how the British gentleman speaks, thinks, and behaves. But what did I know about Frenchmen? How do they speak? How do they think? How do they behave?

So, I admit, I cheated a bit. Julien’s mother is English, and she takes him to London after the attack. Growing up in London, Julien is really half-English. He’s a deposed duc and quite wealthy, which means he’s accepted by England’s ton, or aristocracy.

But as I said before, Julien never forgets where he came from. He’s not English, and in the novel, I try to highlight this in subtle ways. For example, Julien is Catholic, he still prefers to speak French, and he wants retribution for the loss and harm done to his family. Even if he can never regain his title or lands, he feels that by marrying a French comtesse and producing heirs, he thumbs his nose in a small way at those who perpetuated the Revolution. Unfortunately, the French comtesse he plans to wed isn’t exactly who she claims…

I think in some ways Julien is sexier than any of my previous English heroes. What’s more arousing than a hero whispering French endearments while he slowly and delicately kisses the heroine’s neck in that one spot just behind the ear…

But I digress.

So what do you think? Could a French hero ever compete with those sexy Englishmen? I’ll be checking in later to read your answers.

I hope you’ll pick up a copy of The Making of a Duchess. Check out the excerpt on my website at www.shanagalen.com.

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.

19 comments:

Linda Banche said...

Welcome Shana. Oh, yes, Julien is a hero to die for. Sarah is one lucky woman!

Lin said...

It sounds like a wonderful read. i would love to win a copy.

Lilly Gayle said...

I'm an eclectic reader. I love romance novels whether they're paranormal or Regency. And I absolutely think a Regency hero can be French! I also love Victorian era heroes who are not British. Don't get me wrong, I love those novels set in Britain. But--a change of scenery and a hero of a different nationality--American even!--really piques my interest.

I love different, new, and exciting and your book sounds like all of these things!

ShanaGalen said...

Thanks for having me, Linda!

I'm glad so many readers are open to French heroes. Good luck in the contest!

Celia Yeary said...

Interesting! I don't really follow Regencies much at all,but I did think they were British only! Excellent idea and the novel sounds very good. The cover is gorgeous.Congratulations on your release. Celia

StephB said...

Shana, heck yes, a Regency hero can be French! Bring 'em on! hehe.

I think it's very novel, considering the upheveal that was going on in France at the time, their revolution, then Napeleon, but the French, up until this time had a very strong nobility class. In a way, it's sad to have it ended like it did.

I've always loved the idea of hero being of foreign nobility. I'm particularly attracted to Russian, German, and Hungarian nobility.

I hope you don't mind my asking, but what inspired you to make the hero French in your story?


It sounds like a great book, one I would love to read.
Smiles
Steph

Julia Barrett said...

I have no problem with a French Regency hero. I think it's a nice shift - besides, he's half-English! Sounds like a refreshing new take on the genre.

rgn said...

Somehow I am happier when the Frenchman is the villain!

ShanaGalen said...

Thanks, Celia!

StephB, I was inspired by A Tale of Two Cities. Remember Charles Darnay? I liked to think of Julien as an edgier Charles Darnay.

That's right, Julia, Julien is half-English. (half-English, rgn...)

Karen H in NC said...

Hi Shana,

Yes, I like the idea of a French hero in an English Regency setting and I like the sort of Spy vs Spy thing you have going on here...sounds like a whole lot of fun! I am so looking forward to reading this book.

kkhaas at bellsouth dot net

catslady said...

Oh, sounds good to me. I love variety so that's different. Also wanted to say how much I enjoyed Blackthorne’s Bride.

ShanaGalen said...

Thanks, Karen H and catslady! I recognize you two!

Mary Ricksen said...

I'd love a French hero. Sounds like a fantastic read.
I wish you the best in sales and a big smile with the luck!!
Regency with a French twist!

Sandra Sookoo said...

Nice blog post! I'm so glad you've done something different than all the sameness in this sub-genre. :-) You're a writer after my own heart. I'm thinking about writing one with an American hero.

ShanaGalen said...

Thanks, Mary!

Go for it, Sandra! My book ride and Petticoats had an American heroine.

ShanaGalen said...

Thanks for having me today, Linda. I enjoyed it.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Shana,
A French Regency hero, why not? Julien sounds wonderful.

Regards

Margaret

ShanaGalen said...

I used a random number generator to select winners from everyone who commented yesterday (except Linda and I). Lin and StephB won copies of THE MAKING OF A DUCHESS. Thanks for all the comments!

josema said...
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