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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Interview and Giveaway with Shana Galen, author of The Making of a Duchess

Please give a warm welcome to Shana Galen, author of The Making of a Duchess.  You can read my review here. 

Hi Shana!

Hope this finds you well. Thank you very much for taking time to answer some questions for my readers. Hopefully you haven't been asked these questions before, or at least not all of them :-)

Let's get started,

You have written both Regency and contemporary romance novels. Do you prefer one over the other? If so, why?

First of all, Jenny, thanks for having me!

I have written Regencies and chick lits, but I can’t say I have a preference for one over the other. It was nice to write in different genres because I use different parts of my brain for each. When I was writing a contemporary, the part of my brain that operates in the Regency period was resting and daydreaming. When I was writing historicals, the part of my brain that operates in the present was percolating. Now that I focus on historicals, I do miss contemporaries, and I still have story ideas for them. I just don’t have time to write them!

Is there a particular time period or theme you would like to write about or have your story set in? Why?

I would love to set a story during the World War II era. I love 30s and 40s-era fashion, music, and culture. There was something romantic about that period of our history—men going off to war, more women entering the work force. It was a time of change and that draws me. As a writer, I always look for a big backdrop to surround my story—the glittering ballrooms of England’s ton, the Napoleonic wars. What could be bigger than the tragedies of the Holocaust or the triumphs of the Allies against Hitler? But I wonder how romantic a concentration camp love story could be…I’m not sure any editor would go for it. Not sure readers would either. But it’s in the back of my mind.

Have you ever considered writing a different genre of book, like general fiction or maybe a science fiction/fantasy? (I noticed your Star Wars inspired story.)

Yes, I have. I actually wrote an American-set historical inspirational. It wasn’t well-received and will probably never be published. But I enjoyed trying something new. Right now I have an idea for a science fiction young adult novel. When I get time I’ll work on it and see where it goes.

Is there anything about you, your readers would be surprised to learn? Perhaps something quirky or odd?

I majored in opera my first semester in college. I wanted to be the next Cecilia Bartoli or Joan Sutherland. But after my first semester, I realized I just wasn’t good enough and changed my major to psychology. My crush on my Psych 101 prof, Dr. Lewis, had nothing to do with it!

You have said, “You can't be a writer if you don't read.” So, what books are you currently reading?

I just finished Sophie Jordan’s In Scandal They Wed then I picked up Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani. Next on my pile is Divorced, Desperate and Deceived by Christie Craig. I read everything.

Do you have any hobbies that may distract you from reading and writing?

I have an 8-month old daughter. She can be very distracting!

Lets talk about your latest release, The Making of a Duchess. What was your inspiration for the spy theme?

As I said, I like big backdrops for my novels. Wars are big. Revolutions are big. These are times when countries are in turmoil. Napoleon was a very real threat to English sovereignty. It’s an intriguing time to write about. There were spies. There were traitors. There were deceptions, treason, the selling of secrets. But above all, I think spies are sexy. If you’ve read my other novels, you know a lot of my heroes are spies. This time I thought, what if I turn the tables and write a heroine who’s a spy?

Both your characters deal with issues of wanting to belong, to feel safe and loved, and of feeling totally alone in this world. This brings them together in the end. Do you flesh out your characters first and then build the story around them, or does it come to you as you write the story? (I apologize for this convoluted question.)

That’s a great question. The issues you highlighted are issues that seem to pop up in many of my novels. I don’t know why I keep coming back to those themes except it’s human nature to want to belong and to feel safe and loved. It must be something my unconscious needs to deal with (there’s the Psychology major talking!).

That said, I don’t think about characters or themes as I begin a novel. I just write and try to get to know my characters as I write their stories. I know the bare bones of my plot and the skeleton of my characters, but writing the words—putting the story on the page—is what adds flesh and sinew and, hopefully, muscle.

Sarah starts out timid but learns quickly to stand her ground and becomes quite the strong person, all things considered. Do you prefer strong heroines who match up well with their heroes?

I do. Sometimes I like heroines who can go toe-to-toe with a hero from page 1, but there’s also something endearing about a heroine who needs a little push to achieve her full potential. I like writing heroes who bring out the best in a heroine and vice-versa.

There is quite a bit of adventure and even a little bit of fairy tale woven into this story, especially with Sarah being a governess. Does this mean you have an adventurous side that you inject into your writing? What is your favorite fairy tale?

I definitely like adventure in my romance. Spies, kidnappings, secret treasures, harrowing escapes—I love those aspects of my novels and future novels will have even more adventure. In real life I don’t like adventure. I like my life routine and predictable. No drama! I get thrown by too much change. I would make a very boring heroine!

I’m so glad you picked up on the fairy tale in the book. Do you know I didn’t plan the twist at the end? In fact, the first version of the book had no twist, but when I started revising, I got an idea for a fairy tale twist and went for it. My favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast. I enjoy any story where a character is not what he or she seems.

And finally, what can we expect to see from you in the future? Is there a book with Captain Cutlass in the works?

The Making of a Duchess is the first in a series of books about three brothers separated as boys during the French Revolution. The second book, The Making of a Gentleman, will be out in October. And yes, there is a story with the dashing Captain Cutlass. It’s called The Making of a Rogue, and it will be out in early 2011.

Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to reading more of your work!

Thank you for having me!

For more information about Shana Galen and her previously published works, please stop by her website:


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...


Would you like to have your very own copy of The Making of a Duchess?  Thanks to Danielle from Sourcebooks, I have 2 copies to giveaway.

Here are the rules:

*Open to U.S. and Canada only. No P.O. Boxes please.

*To enter leave a comment with your email address.

*For an extra entry, post about this on your sidebar and leave me a link.

*Deadline for entries is midnight Saturday, June 19th.

Good luck everyone!


I am an Amazon Associate.


karenk said...

a wonderful posting...thanks for the chance to read this novel :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Shana said...

Good luck, karenk

Linda said...

Sounds like an enjoyable novel set in an era I'm interested in. Thanks for the giveaway.

Shana said...

Thanks again for having me, Jenny!

Jenny Girl said...

Shana, thanks so much for the interview. Reading your answers felt like we were chatting over coffee or something :)

Anonymous said...

Great interview - and review- I'd love to read this one!

Julie said...

Great post!!


Tales of Whimsy said...

Awesome interview :)
(not an entry)

Staci said...

How fun was that? I love it when authors are so real and down-to-earth makes me want to read her book!!

Michelle Santiago said...

hi jenny and shana. great interview! shana, you're a new to me author so it was great getting to "know" you. off to read jenny's review of the book...

The Bookworm said...

Great post, its always interesting to hear about the author behind the book. The Making of a Duchess sounds very good. please enter me :) thank you!

Anita Yancey said...

Sounds like a wonderful historical romance novel, and one I would very much enjoy reading. Please enter me. Thanks!


The Bumbles said...

Now THAT was a terrific interview! Well researched, obvious interest and the result was informative answers. I love learning about an author's process. Thanks for getting her to share it with us.

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