Welcome back to History Undressed, guest author Shana Galen! She previously visited us in May of this year, with her release of THE MAKING OF A DUCHESS, and blogged about treason during the Regency era. Today she's back with a new release, THE MAKING OF A GENTLEMAN, and talking with us about research and assistants. Thanks for being here with us today!
Who Needs a Research Assistant?
by Shana Galen
|Author, Shana Galen|
As an aspiring author, I found this amazing. As a published author, it makes complete sense. If I had as much money as Nora Roberts, I could certainly assign someone else to read history books, journals, and letters from the Regency period for me, but that person isn’t writing my books. I’m the author, and I have to find the words and phrases to depict the time period and give the reader the feeling she has stepped back in time.
Another invaluable benefit of doing one’s own research is the interesting little tidbits one finds. I was researching the Bastille for my new novel The Making of a Gentleman. The novel is the story of the comte de Valére, Armand Harcout, who as a young French aristocrat must flee his family’s chateau when peasants attack at the start of the French Revolution. He hides in Paris, where he falls under the protection of two men with a secret. When he inadvertently learns the secret, he’s imprisoned for twelve long years.
Most of the book takes place in London after Armand is rescued from prison. It’s a book about resurrecting the human spirit, but I needed to know what life would have been like for Armand during those long years. Since the Bastille is such a famous prison, I started with it. I’d always read that the Fall of the Bastille was more symbolic than anything else, but I didn’t realize that when it fell it only housed seven prisoners. Not everything I read agreed as to the prisoners’ offences, but most agreed there were seven in total. Four were forgers, two lunatics, and one was a nobleman. The nobleman was imprisoned by his own family and accused of incest.
Even though the Bastille held so few prisoners, it was a symbol of power and fear for the French people. It had been the prison of Voltaire and the Marquis de Sade. Prisoners were released only if they agreed never to speak of what they had seen or what happened inside the prison. The revolutionaries might have been surprised to learn that meals were plentiful and the prisoners were allowed to walk freely and converse with the officers guarding the prison. Some prisoners were even granted parole into Paris.
This was not the sort of prison I wanted for Armand. The secret he holds is far too dangerous to allow him such freedom. The Bastille, of course, was not the only prison. Other prisons were far more conventional and far less desirable for incarceration. I invented my own prison, based on the research I did, and had Armand imprisoned in the garret, alone, for twelve years.
I don’t think I could have captured the feel of Armand’s prison without doing my own research, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t appreciate an assistant. I could definitely use someone to do laundry and wash dishes while I dive into research books or the internet.
What about you? Could you use an assistant?
I hope you’ll pick up The Making of a Gentleman. Visit my website at www.shanagalen.com for excerpts and contests.
Two lucky commenters will win a copy of THE MAKING OF A GENTLEMAN. Winners will be posted in the winners cube. (US and Canada only)
THE MAKING OF A GENTLEMAN BY SHANA GALEN—IN STORES OCTOBER 2010
—RT Book Reviews
“Lively dialogue, breakneck pace and a great sense of fun.”
Twelve years in prison has stripped him of his humanity…
Armand, Comte de Valère has lost the ability to interact with polite society, until his family hires him a beautiful tutor, and he starts to come alive again…
Saving him is her only chance to escape a terrible fate…
Felicity Bennett vows she’ll do whatever it takes to help Armand fight back the demons that have held him captive for so long…
With Felicity’s help, Armand begins to heal, until a buried secret threatens to destroy their growing passion…
Click here for History Undressed's review of this book.
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. Shana is a happily married wife and mother of a daughter and a spoiled cat and lives in Houston, Texas where she is working on the final book in the Brothers of the Revolution series, The Making of a Rogue, which will be in stores in 2011. She loves to hear from readers: visit her website at www.shanagalen.com.