Please help me welcoming multi-published Regency author, Shana Galen who is joining me to discuss historical writing and her newest novel When You Give a Duke a Diamond. Shana will give a signed copy to one lucky commenter. (applause)
Ella: Shana, thanks so much for being here today. Tell us a bit about yourself and what made you decide actually put pen to paper?
Shana: Thanks for having me! I’m a wife and a mom to a 3-year-old romance heroine in the making. I’m not much different than most of you—I do laundry, dishes, take my daughter to gymnastics and swimming, and tolerate way too much football on TV from my husband. I also write historical romances. I started writing almost thirteen years ago, in January 2000. I’d always had stories in my head, and I wanted to tell them. I had some extra time (I wasn’t married or a mom then) and thought it would be fun to write a book. It was!
Ella: You started out writing contemporaries. What drew you to Regencies?
Shana: The first book I wrote was actually a Regency, When Dashing Met Danger. I wrote three Regencies before I sold that one, and at that point I was also trying my hand at chick lits, which were popular in 2003-2005. I happened to sell When Dashing Met Danger and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Men I’ve Dated at the same time, and they were both published in May 2005.
I think, like any writer, I like to shake things up once in a while. It’s fun to write in a different voice or about different characters. I will always come back to historicals, but I’m not ruling out more contemporary projects.
Ella: What are you working on now?
Shana: I have just begun the third Jewels of the Ton novel, Sapphires Are an Earl’s Best Friend. It will be out in spring 2014. I should be getting editorial revisions on my second Lord and Lady Spy book, which will be out in September, and in March If You Give a Rake a Ruby (second in the Jewels of the Ton series) is out. I get a little confused sometimes with all the series!
Ella: Since you’re promoting your newest book, When You Give a Duke a Diamond, which I understand to be the first in a new series, tell us your inspiration or first thing that came to you about the book.
Shana: The first thing that came to me was actually the little series “prologue.” I’m a very linear writer, so anyone who knows me won’t be surprised by this. I had an idea for a series about courtesans because I’d read a non-fiction biography of a courtesan who had also been a spy. I write fast-paced, adventurous historicals, so the combination of courtesan and spy was perfect!
Oh, and here’s a snippet of that prologue…
Rumor held that the Prince Regent himself gave The Three Diamonds their sobriquets. Every gallant in London claimed to have been present when the three were knighted. One or two might have even been telling the truth. But no one, not even the scandal rags, who preferred to bestow their own nicknames, could argue with the prince’s choices.
London’s most sought after Cyprians were, in effect, treated like nobility. It was fitting that these diamonds of the first water be given titles reflecting their status among the demimonde.
Praise for Shana Galen:
“Galen pulls out all the stops…will leave readers breathless and highly satisfied.” —RT Book Reviews
He had a perfectly orderly life…
William, the sixth Duke of Pelham, enjoys his punctual. securely structured life. Orderly and predictable—that’s the way he likes it. But he’s in the public eye, and the scandal sheets will make up anything to sell papers. When the gossips link him to Juliette, one of the most beautiful and celebrated courtesans in London, chaos doesn’t begin to describe what happens next…
Until She Came Along
Juliette is nicknamed the Duchess of Dalliance, and has the cream of the nobility at her beck and call. It’s seriously disruptive to have the duke who’s the biggest catch on the Marriage Mart scaring her other suitors away. Then she discovers William’s darkest secret and decides what he needs in his life is the kind of excitement only she can provide…
“So this business in the papers with the Duchess,” Darlington said. Pelham lowered his fork again, but not before noting Fitzhugh’s brows rose with interest.
“It’s utter rot,” Darlington continued. “Correct?” Darlington would one day be the Duke of Ravenscroft, but Pelham thought he had a lot to learn about stoicism before he claimed the title. Pelham’s father had drilled him in the tenets of his duty since birth. A duke was never uncertain, never faltered, never showed emotion. And a duke was most certainly never late. He resisted the urge to check his pocket watch again.
Pelham set his knife on the table and looked at Fitzhugh. “What the devil is he going on about? What duchess? What paper?”
Fitzhugh’s face remained impassive, but Pelham could have sworn he was enjoying the moment. “You’ve been mentioned in the Cytherian Intelligence column of late. The writers of the Morning Chronicle have you paired with the Duchess of Dalliance.”
“Don’t pretend you don’t know who she is,” Darlington said, sipping his sherry. “Even a country bumpkin like you has heard of The Three Diamonds.”
“Are you speaking of courtesans?” He should have known. Darlington was always chasing after some woman or other.
“Now you’re following,” Darlington said, raising his glass.
“Then why do you keep calling her Duchess?”
Fitzhugh raised a hand before Darlington could speak again. Thank God. “The Prince Regent dubbed Juliette the Duchess of Dalliance. That’s the one you’re rumored to be madly in love with.”
Pelham stared absently at the fireplace blazing behind Fitzhugh. On the mantle, an ancient clocked ticked away the hours. Above it, a painting of a hunting scene in greens and browns dominated the dark-paneled wall. He thought he vaguely remembered glimpses of these Three Diamonds from afar. He tried to picture this Juliette. “She’s the dark one?” he asked.
“No. That’s the Marchioness of Mystery,” Darlington informed him.
Pelham shook his head. Had the Prince nothing better to do than invent titles? “Then she’s the pale one?”
“Right,” Fitzhugh said.
“I’d hardly call her pale,” Darlington corrected. “She’s blond, but her complexion has quite the pinkish quality. Most fetching.”
“Perhaps the papers should pair her with you,” Pelham said, lifting his spoon and tasting his soup.
“He’d like nothing better,” Fitzhugh said, swirling his port. “But the Duchess won’t have him.”
Darlington scowled at Fitzhugh, and Pelham paused in dipping his spoon in the soup. Now this was interesting. He couldn’t remember ever seeing Darlington scowl.
“Why won’t she have you?” Pelham said, tasting the soup again. “She’s a courtesan. I didn’t realize they were overly choosy.”
Darlington shook his head. “She’s one of The Three Diamonds, Pelham. She picks her own lovers, and she’s extremely choosy.”
“And why don’t you make the cut? Not rich enough?”
“No.” Darlington looked away.
“Too ugly?” Fitzhugh asked with a laugh.
“Not compared to some,” Darlington said with a pointed look at Fitzhugh, who shrugged.
“I’m not the one who can’t get a woman.”
“I will have her,” Darlington protested a bit too loudly. “I simply need to prove that…” He mumbled the last.
“Say again?” Pelham asked.
“That I don’t need a nursemaid.”
Pelham lifted his napkin, covering his smile. Fitzhugh wasn’t so kind. He laughed loudly. “Is that what she said?”
“Oh, stubble it.”
“Listen, Darlington,” Pelham said. “I have no designs on your pale duchess. I’d venture to say, she planted those stories in the Morning Chronicle herself.”
“She’s not like that,” Darlington protested.
Pelham almost felt sorry for the man, besotted as he was. “Of course she is. Probably needs to be set in her place.”
“I like her place,” Darlington grumbled.
“Find someone else,” Pelham suggested.
Darlington gave him a look of incomprehension. “I can’t simply forget her. I’m in love with her.”
“Oh, good God.” Fitzhugh rolled his eyes and finished his port.
“I don’t expect you two to understand. You have hearts of stone.”
“That’s not true,” Pelham argued. “In fact, I have reason to celebrate tonight. I’m about to sign betrothal papers. In a few short months, I will have my own duchess.”
“Lady Elizabeth accepted your suit?” Fitzhugh asked.
Pelham lifted his port and toasted.
“Lady Elizabeth.” Darlington snorted. “You’re not in love with Lady Elizabeth.”
“You know my rule,” Pelham told him.
“Ah, yes, Pelham’s Cardinal Rule. Never fall in love. It’s complete rubbish.”
“It’s sensible. Men and women in love make poor decisions and act like fools.” He gave Darlington a pointed look. “It serves no purpose.”
“But how can you marry a woman you do not love?” Darlington asked.
“I feel quite warmly toward her.”
“You feel warmly toward the estate offered in her dowry. It borders one of yours in Yorkshire.”
“That does add to her appeal,” Pelham conceded, unabashed. After all, what was marriage but a business arrangement? One might as well make the most advantageous arrangement one could. He had not become the wealthy, influential fifth Duke of Pelham because his ancestors went about marrying commoners or—God forbid—courtesans. Lady Elizabeth was the daughter of a marquess. She was accomplished, intelligent, and dowered with a critical piece of land. She was not overly pretty, but she had a pleasing aspect. More importantly, they agreed on essential matters. They both liked routine. They liked to live quietly and with dignity. They avoided the theatrics and goings-on of the beau monde Darlington and his ilk so relished. Marrying Lady Elizabeth would guarantee Pelham a staid, settled, stately future.
And that was exactly what he wanted. And exactly what he would have once he took care of one small, distasteful detail.
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/11iBb32
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SHANA GALEN is the bestselling author of Regency historicals, including the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice for The Making of a Gentleman. A former English teacher in Houston’s inner city, Shana now writes full time. She is happily married, with one daughter and a spoiled cat. If You Give a Rake a Ruby, the next exciting book in the Jewels of the Ton Series, hits stores in March 2013. For more information please visit www.shanagalen.com, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter, @ShanaGalen.