Today, let’s welcome author Shana Galen here at my blog…I had the opportunity to interview Ms. Galen , before her book “The Making of a Duchess” hits the stores this month.
Thanks to Danielle@Sourcebooks for arranging this interview and of course a bunch of thanks to Ms. Galen for making time to do this from her busy schedule.
ME: Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Shana: First of all, thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here and to talk about my new book! I’m a stay-at-home-mom.My daughter is almost 8 months old. I have been married for over four years to a wonderful man I call Ultimate Sportsfan for obvious reasons. We live in Houston,Texas. Before my daughter was born I taught English in public schools. I’ve taught 6th,7th,8th and 10th graders. I’ve also published 7 books, 5 Regency historical, and 2 Chick lits under the name Shane Bolks.
ME:What influenced you to become a writer?How did you come to write romance novel?
SHANA:I always loved writing, and as a child I had stories floating in my head. they were mostly romantic stories, but I didn’t read romance until I was in college. I just didn’t know anyone who read romance and it wasn’t presented to me as a literary option when I was growing up.
But when i started reading Romance in college I felt like I had come home. I knew I was meant to write stories like those I read by Julie Garwood and Amanda Quick and Marsha Canham. All I needed was courage.
ME:How did you come up with “Sarah Smith”? What prompted you to choose a woman as a spy, instead of a man?
SHANA:I love writing fish-out-of-water stories. I thought it would be fun to take a governess, some one who wasn’t part of the aristocracy and who knew nothing about spying, and giving her the dual challenges of playing the part of an aristocrat and spying.
Sarah is also an orphan. Many time orphans were given the surname “Smith” as their true surname was unknown. Her first name is important, but I can’t tell you why because I would give too much away. She is chosen by England’s Foreign Office to spy on the Duc De Valere , who is suspected of treason , because the spy who was supposed to do so was injured. They need a woman because the spy is pretending to be a long-lost friend of the family and is visiting on the pretense of making a match with the duc.
ME:Do you plot your stories to let your character lead you?
SHANA: I am a total punster. I don’t plot at all. I just come up with a situation, like a governess who has to spy on a powerful French Duc , and go from there. I feel bad for my editor because I turn in a synopsis when I sell a proposal, and the book is always completely different. I haven’t had any complaints yet, so I must be doing okay!
ME:Of all your characters, do you have a favourite and why?
SHANA:My favorites are Freddie and Charlotte from Pride and petticoats . Freddie is my favorite character of all. He’s a dandy and a spy. He dresses outlandishly and uses all the Regency slang. He was so much fun to write – funny but also sexy. I miss him!
ME:What is the best thing about your job as an author and what is the hardest thing?
SHANA:The best thing is finishing a novel because I finally see all my ideas come to fruition. They’re no longer just in my head anymore; they’re a concrete story. I feel a sense of accomplishment whether the novel is published or I’m the only reader.
The hardest thing is finding time to write now that I have an 8-month old. When I’m not able to write consistently I find myself feeling distanced from the story and it takes longer to get back into it.
ME:How long have you been writing? What was your call story?
SHANA:I’ve been writing since January of 2000. I got th call on two books, actually. One was, when Dashing Met Danger and the other was a chick lit The Good, The Bad and The ugly Men I’ve Dated. The editor at Avon wanted to buy both. That was in 2004.
ME:Describe a day in Shana Galen’s life?
SHANA:I’m up at 6a.m. because that’s when my daughter is up. I feed her and play with her then sit down to check email and work on my work in progress when she takes her first nap. Then she’s up, eats again, and we play more or run errands or go the park . Then I’m back to working again while she naps. If I need to get more done, I work after she goes to sleep at night, bit I’m pretty exhausted by then and mu husband liked to see me a little bit ! I’m lucky I’m a fast writer and can write 3-4 pages while she naps.
ME:What is something you definitely want your readers to know about you?
SHANA:I love to hear from them. Writing is a solitary pursuit. It’s me and the computer or me inside my head. I love to know their reactions to a books and try to answer every reader email.
ME:When the time comes for you to retire from writing ,what would you like your readers to remember the most about you and your writing?
SHANA:My stories were fun and funny, full of adventure and emotion . Mostly I’d like my readers to escape reality(dirty diapers,laundry,dishes) for a little while when reading my books.
ME:What do you have in your bookshelf?
SHANA:Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Nora Roberts, Marsha Canham, Anne Rice, Jane Austen, Shakespeare and a ton of research books.
ME:What comes next?
SHANA:The Making of a Duchess is the first in a series about three brothers who are separated as children by an attack during the French Revolution. The second book The Making of a Gentleman , will be out ion October.
ME:Before I let you go is there anything I forgot to ask that you want the readers and fans to know ?
SHANA:They can check out my website www.shanagalen.com for contests and excerpts. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter, so they can see what I’m up to daily.
The Making of a Duchess by Shana Galen in stores June 2010 –
A very dangerous attraction…..
Julien Harcourt, duc de Valere, 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 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 5 Regency historical , including the Rita-nominated Blackthorne’s Bride . Her books have been sold in Brazil,Russia, and the Netherlands and featured in the Rhapsody 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 love to hear from readers:: visit her website at www.shanagalen.com