Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Friday, September 2, 2011

Shana Galen Interview, Author of Lord and Lady Spy (GIVEAWAY!)


Welcome back guest author, Shana Galen, to History Undressed! Not only has she answered some of my questions, but she's giving away two copies of LORD AND LADY SPY to two lucky commenters! (US and Canada only).  Don't forget to leave your email address in your comment!


Eliza Knight: What was the idea behind Lord and Lady Spy? When I heard the title, saw the cover and read the blurb, I was immediately drawn in—thinking OMG, it’s like Mr. and Mrs. Smith Regency style!

SG: First of all, thank you so much for having me here today. I always enjoy visiting with History Undressed.



You are exactly right to think of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. In fact, the Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie movie is where I got the idea for the book. I was watching the movie on cable a few years ago and started thinking, what is the year wasn’t 2005 but 1815? And what if Mr. and Mrs. Smith were Lord and Lady Smythe? I made the characters spies rather than assassins and forced them to work together to find a murderer. In the book, Bonaparte has just been captured, so Adrian and Sophia are out of work spies. There’s one open position, and the spy who finds the person who murdered the prime minister’s brother first, wins the position.



Eliza Knight: Fascinating! I can't wait to read the book. It is in my queue to review :) What interesting/unique tidbit did you find out while doing research for the book?

SG: This is a fun, adventurous book, but I also deal with the more serious issue of infertility and miscarriage in it. I know this is something so many of my readers have been touched by in one way or another.



I did quite a bit of research on conceptions—or rather, misconceptions—about infertility and miscarriage throughout history. Not surprisingly, women were told ridiculous things like a foul mood causes miscarriage. What did surprise me was how many women died from miscarriages. This is all but unheard of today. I could not find exact numbers, but one of the main concerns with miscarriage at the time was the very real risk of death to the woman from blood loss and hemorrhaging.



Eliza Knight: Wow, I am really glad at the way medicine/thinking has changed, even in the last couple hundred years. I've heard some pretty crazy stories too... What do you think makes your books unique to readers? Any fun past reader comments you want to share?

SG: My books have a lot of adventure in them. A lot of historicals set in the Regency period focus on balls and rides in Hyde Park and the fun play of manners. I love reading these books, but I also like to read something with a faster pace and more action. I guess I like a little danger in my books from time to time. That’s what I write.




Recently a reviewer told me she was reading an advance copy of Lord and Lady Spy while on her way to work and ended up weeping so hard she had mascara running down her cheeks. I’m sure her fellow passengers wondered what was wrong. That’s not really a fun comment, but it always means a lot to me when I know that something I felt emotional about when writing it, touches a reader as well.



Eliza Knight: That is definitely a reason why I like your books--the action and fast pace, makes the book not only a love story, but an edge-of-your-seat story too. That is very touching to hear you had such an impact on your reader--means you did your job right? What sort or research did you do to learn about female spies in the Regency period?

SG: I read a book called The Man Who Broke Napoleon’s Codes by Mark Urban. Urban tells the story of George Scovall, an engraver’s apprentice who became the Duke of Wellington’s decoder. Scovall deciphered Napoleon’s Great Paris Cipher, which reportedly contained over 1,400 elements.



The other source I replied upon was My Lady Scandalous: The Amazing Life and Outrageous Times of Grace Dalrymple Elliott by Jo Manning. Grace was an Englishwoman and a courtesan in France at the time of the French Revolution. She was an ardent royalist. Details about her work as a spy are sketchy, but it is known that during 1790-1791, she traveled to Spa, Belgium, which was a European crossroads and a place where spies and couriers met and exchanged information. She acted as a courier for Queen Marie-Antoniette and the cousin of the King, the duc d’ Orleans, her former lover.



Eliza Knight: Ooh, that sounds like fun research! Anything else you'd like to share with readers?

SG: I’m sure authors say this all the time, but I know I’ve never said it before. Lord and Lady Spy is truly a book of my heart. It’s incredibly special to me, and I’m so honored and pleased it’s finally on sale. I hope readers enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it because it really was a lot of fun to write.



Eliza Knight: Any advice for aspiring authors?

SG: Winston Churchill said, “Never, never, never give up.” I think that’s good advice.


Eliza Knight: Great advice!!!  Thank you so much for being with us today, and for the giveaway! Readers, don't forget to leave a comment with your email address to win! Two winners (US and Canada only) will be drawn tomorrow.



LORD AND LADY SPY BY SHANA GALEN – IN STORES SEPTEMBER 2011


No man can outsmart him...

Lord Adrian Smythe may appear a perfectly boring gentleman, but he leads a thrilling life as one of England’s most preeminent spies, an identity so clandestine even his wife is unaware of it. But he isn’t the only one with secrets...



She’s been outsmarting him for years...

Now that the Napoleonic wars have come to an end, daring secret agent Lady Sophia Smythe can hardly bear the thought of returning home to her tedious husband. Until she discovers in the dark of night that he’s not who she thinks he is after all...



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shana Galen is the author of numerous fast-paced adventurous Regency historical romances, including the Rita-nominated Blackthorne’s Bride. Her books have been sold worldwide, including Japan, Brazil, Russia, Spain, Turkey, and the Netherlands, and have been featured in the Rhapsody and Doubleday Book Clubs. A former English teacher in Houston’s inner city, Shana now writes full time. She’s a wife, a mother, and an expert multi-tasker. She loves to hear from readers: visit her website at http://www.shanagalen.com/ or see what she’s up to daily on Facebook and Twitter.



58 comments:

sheila said...

Can't wait to read this, both having secret lives....

ShanaGalen said...

Thanks so much for having me today, Eliza. And thank you, Sheila. It was a challenge to write about a married couple with secret lives but so much fun when they discovered the truth.

Debra said...

comment went away, I will try again.
I enjoy reading your books, I also love your comments you post about baby Galen. I have a list of authors that are a must to buy..and as you guessed you are on that list. :-)
I enjoy a book that has added spice which I am sure is in this book.

kmannrn said...

I love your books and have been waiting on the release of this one.
kelly_mann@hotmail.com

Kim Warner Scott said...

This sounds fantastic! Can't wait to read it even if I buy it!

Eliza Knight said...

You're welcome! And thank you for visiting!!!

kimmyl said...

I love reading your books and can't wait to get this one.I love how your books captures the essense of the story and brings it to life.

klmc_37@yahoo.com

Betty Hamilton said...

I am looking forward to reading this. Historicals are my favorites and this one sounds like a book I would love!

Ann Stanley said...

I'm looking forward to reading one of your books, I haven't had the chance yet. I recently discovered you by way of fb and love historicals. I suggested you to a friend who has already given me great feedback about your books.

annstanley03@yahoo.com

Molly said...

When I first heard about Lord and Lady Spy being inspired by Mr. and Mrs. Smith, I was turned off, mainly because when I saw the film, I disliked it due to the violence between the spouses. I don't mind movies with violence, but between a couple? I couldn't enjoy, nor was I entertained by, a movie containing domestic abuse. Because of my negative reaction to the movie, I never watched it again. It was such a strong reaction, that six years later, it's made me hesitant to read a book with similarities.

That being said, the topic of infertility piques my interest. I doubt Lord and Lady Spy contains domestic violence... Perhaps the book is everything I had hoped the movie would be (but wasn't). Maybe reading the book will help me finally heal from the movie. Oh, the drama! ;)

Who knew comment boxes could be like a therapist's couch? Thanks for letting me air my feelings.

jacque said...

I'm so glad I saw this interview. What a great idea for a book..can't wait to read it Thank you!
jacque
twinmomx5@gmail.com

RebeLovesBooks said...

The idea behind this book cracks me up! I love how she doesn't want to go back to her boring husband. Too funny!

rwschwarz11ATgmailDOTcom

ShanaGalen said...

Thanks so much, Debra! Baby Galen is quite the character.

As to the added spice, I don't think LORD AND LADY SPY will disappoint.

ShanaGalen said...

Thanks, kmannrn. I'm so excited the book is finally here!

ShanaGalen said...

Aw, thank you, Kim. You are so sweet to say so!

ShanaGalen said...

Wow! That's a lovely compliment kimmyl. Thank you so much.

ShanaGalen said...

Thank you, Betty. It's so nice to know historicals are still popular with readers.

ShanaGalen said...

Wow, Ann! Thank you so much for your Facebook friendship and suggesting me to others. I have found so many great authors by way of friends' recommendations.

ShanaGalen said...

Hi Molly, I completely understand where you are coming from. Completely. Aside from a small tussle between Adrian and Sophia at the beginning of the book, when they don't know the other's identity, there is no violence between the spouses. in fact, I think it's a rather tender relationship. Adrian is quite protective of Sophia, which she thinks is ludicrous because she can take care of herself just fine, thank you very much. But over the course of the book, she comes to realize maybe she doesn't mind her husband's protectiveness so much... I hope you'll give it a chance. maybe you could read the excerpt on my website and see what you think.

ShanaGalen said...

Thanks, jacque! Usually I struggle with coming up with book ideas, so it was so nice when this one popped into my mind.

Julie said...

I LOVE the premise of this story. I was a huge fan of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, so I can't wait to see it played out, historical-style. :D

julieguan AT gmail DOT com

ShanaGalen said...

RebeLovesBooks, this book has a lot of humor. I've been so pleased with the comments I've gotten about how people laughed (and cried).

Vivian Davis said...

This sounds like a fascinating premise. Sexy cover too! :)

Rachel said...

Great interview! I love the title, and that it promises to make me cry...perfect (that is often my test of a good book, though obviously not every romance could or should or we'd all be weepy all the time!). Looking forward to checking it out. rachelkb at gmail.com

Jena Lang said...

I'm looking forward to reading this one! I love the title, cover, and premise for this book.

jenalang(at)live(dot)com

EmilyS88 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EmilyS88 said...

I'm super excited to read this book!! I've read all of her books and they never dissapoint!

email - emilyfaulk15@hotmail.com

Joya said...

Hi Eliza and Shana,
Great questions and fun answers. I'll definitely be checking this book out. Gorgeous cover, too!
:)

derekd said...

I saw this advertised recently RT Book Reviews maybe, and immediately made the Mr.& Mrs. Smith connection. Thought it was clever. Of course, I am a sucker for a good Regency romp.

After reading your interview, I am putting it on my TBR list. Good luck with the sales. shihanderek@yahoo.com

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Definitely a cover that stands out. How clever of you to pick the title you did. I look forward to reading this time period. So glad you have the book of your heart out for sale. It is such a rewarding experience.

Nice to get to know you today.
mlurso@comcast.net

Donna Cummings said...

This sounds like such a great read! I'm looking forward to it.

ShanaGalen said...

Thanks, Julie. I think you'll be pleased with the similarities between the book and the movie and all the differences.

ShanaGalen said...

Thank you, Vivian. I adore the cover. It's my favorite of all my books

ShanaGalen said...

That's a tough test, Rachel. I hope I pass! I think I'm better at making readers laugh.

ShanaGalen said...

Thank you, Jena!

ShanaGalen said...

EmilyS88, you've read all my books? Wow! Thank you

ShanaGalen said...

Thank you, Joya. I'm always excited to visit History Undressed.

ShanaGalen said...

Hi derekd. I'm glad you saw it advertized. I think the cover artists did a great job giving the book the look of Mr. and Mrs. Smith but the historical feel.

ShanaGalen said...

Thank you, Paisley. Actually my title was Lord and Lady Smythe, but my publisher changed it to Spy. I guess that better shows the flavor of the book.

ShanaGalen said...

Thank you, Donna!

April Dawn said...

I can't wait to read your book.

lirpacat1@hotmail.com

Na said...

A historical version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith sounds fantastic. I also like how you have balanced fun and seriousness in your story line. Those issues should evoke some emotions.

Cambonified (at) yahoo (dot) com

catslady said...

Historicals are my favorite and this sounds like an exciting read. I love learning about the past while enjoying a great story!

catslady5(at)aol.colm

ShanaGalen said...

Thanks so much, April!

ShanaGalen said...

Thanks, Na. I usually write lighter books, but lately I've been delving into some more emotional issues. But I'm aware most people are reading for fun and escape, so i want my books to provide that.

ShanaGalen said...

Hi catslady! That's one reason I enjoy historicals too.

MichelleKCanada said...

This sounds like a fabulous book! I would love to read an adventure story and that female protagonist sounds awesome.

MichelleKCanada @AnotherLookBook
another_look_book_reviews at hotmail dot ca

Sharyn L said...

The premise of this book sounds so interesting. I didn't realize the Lord and Lady of the title were married but kept their spying secret from each other. Sounds very intriguing!

shardan01 at AOL dot com

Robin said...

Your book looks so great!

Robin D
robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com

kissablesweet1 said...

This one is going to be so great...and I can't wait to dive in and read it. Thanks for sharing part of your day with us.

Macladie25 AT Yahoo Dot Com

ShanaGalen said...

Thanks, Michelle. Sophia is a great kick butt heroine.

ShanaGalen said...

Thank you so much, Robin.

ShanaGalen said...

Any time, kissablesweet1. It's so much fun to talk with readers.

Janie Mason said...

I too am getting a bit tired of balls and house parties but love historical romance. Lord and Lady Spy sounds like just the read for me.
Janie@JanieMason.com

Christine A. said...

I enjoy reading historical romance. I loved Mr. and Mrs. Smith and I can't wait to read this book. Thanks for writing it.

your1chef at aol dot com

kissablesweet1 said...

This is a book I'll read again and again. It's one I can't wait to get. I love the adventure and the idea a Regency lady can take care of herself the way she does in your book.

Thanks for sharing your time.

Macladie25 AT Yahoo Dot Com

Highland Lassie said...

This sounds like a FABULOUS read!!

Eliza Knight said...

And the winners are Rachel and DerekD!