Free Book Giveaway: 3 Questions with Shana Galen

Special Instruction for the Drawing: We'll be choosing one lucky reader from among the commenters below to win a free, autographed copy of Shana Galen's wonderful new Lord & Lady Spy! We'll be announcing the winner on Wednesday at noon (Central Daylight Time.)


A couple of weeks ago, I was privileged to be part of a signing with historical romance author Shana Galen—and even more privileged to purchase and read her brand new release, Lord & Lady Spy.



And it was fun, readers, the most fun I've had with a historical romance in eons. Fresh and exciting, it had crisp repartee and a number of laugh out loud moments, but most of all, the story and the characters had heart.

So aside from recommending it like mad to everybody I know, I also asking Shana to stop by Boxing the Octopus for the traditional Three Questions.

BtO: Hello, Shana, and thanks for joining us. One of the things that stood out to me was your ability to blend seemingly modern plot elements (i.e. the Mr. and Mrs. Smith-like set-up, where each member of a pair of married spies knows nothing of the other's secret life) with a more traditional British setting. What gave you the idea to liven up the Regency romance with this idea? Could your secret past as a writer of contemporary chick lit have anything to do with it?

SG: Thank you so much for having me. I try to read the blog whenever I have a free moment and really enjoy it.

I don’t think my not-so-secret past as a contemporary author had as much to do with the idea for Lord and Lady Spy as did desperation for an idea for my next book. I was thinking and thinking and nothing was coming to me. One evening I was flipping channels and saw Mr. and Mrs. Smith on cable and started thinking, what if the year wasn’t 2005 but 1815? And what if the hero and heroine weren’t assassins but spies? Unemployed spies, since Napoleon was captured in 1815. I got chills and knew I finally had my next idea! Most of my books have a lot of action, and I’ve written heroes who were spies before, so that part wasn’t a huge leap. Writing a romance with a married couple was quite a challenge. I’ll get into that more below.

BtO: I recognized so many accurate historical details, I instinctively trusted that you'd done your homework. To what extent was the spy-related background really rooted in fact?

SG: There were actually spies during the Peninsular Wars, but they weren’t very well known. We tend to think of spying as dangerous and sexy. In the nineteenth century, spies were considered cowardly. A real man didn’t sneak around but fought in the open. So most of the spy-related parts of the novel were pure fiction. Two real people who did influence how I wrote the spy sections were George Scovill and Grace Dalrymple Elliott. Scovill cracked Napoleon’s Paris cipher for Wellington. His story is told in The Man Who Broke Napoleon’s Codes. Elliott was a British courtesan living in Paris during the French Revolution. She smuggled messages from Marie Antoinette to her sympathizers in Austria and saved several royalist sympathizers from being captured and imprisoned by the French Revolutionary government. A great book titled My Lady Scandalous tells her story.




BtO: For all the derring-do and funny moments (love your sense of humor!) what really made this novel stand out for me was the root cause of Sophie and Adrian's emotional estrangement, the heart-wrenching loss of three pregnancies to miscarriage. What made you decide to add such a serious issue to the story?

SG: I was struggling with the conflict between Adrian and Sophia for a long time, and I needed to come up with some reason they were estranged to make the book move forward. During this time, I suffered a miscarriage. It was my first pregnancy, and it completely devastated me. When I was able to get back to fiction writing, I started thinking about Sophia again, and I realized infertility/miscarriage could be one reason for a marital estrangement. Also, writing about miscarriage gave me a way to address a topic that isn’t covered in many romance novels. And yet it’s something many, many women deal with. I know so many friends who have suffered miscarriages. I thought my readers could relate to a woman who struggled with pregnancy loss.

I did face some initial reservations from publishing industry people because “miscarriage isn’t sexy.” But my response was that I thought readers could handle a more complex emotional subject without feeling it made the book less romantic or the sexual relationship between the hero and heroine less fulfilling.


BtO: I'm really sorry to hear of your personal loss, but I agree that readers will be very touched, as I was, by reading of an issue that impacts so many.

Is there anything else you'd like us to know about the book or future releases?

SG: I do have a book coming out in February. It’s the third in my Sons of the Revolution series. The first two were The Making of a Duchess and The Making of a Gentleman. We’ve been going back and forth about the title, so at this point, I’m not even sure what that’s going to be. It was The Making of a Rogue and then Once a Rogue and then The Dread Pirate’s Bride. It might be something else next week! But we’ll get it figured out soon.

Also, because of the great reader-feedback, my editor and I are discussing making Lord and Lady Spy a series. I’m currently contracted to write a new series, and the first book in that will be out in Fall 2012, but somewhere between books 2 and 3, there may be another Lord and Lady Spy book.

BtO: Yea! Glad to hear that! And I almost forgot the obligatory BtO bonus question. What are you reading and loving these days?

SG: I just turned a book in today, so I haven’t been doing much reading. I did finish Ashley March’s Romancing the Countess and really enjoyed it. Next up is Sophie Jordan’s Vanish, and I have your own Colleen Thompson’s Phantom of the French Quarter on my nightstand too. I am really looking forward to taking a week off and reading.

BtO: Thanks so much for visiting, Shana (and enjoy Phantom!) We're so glad to share Lord & Lady Spy with readers—who might be interested to know that the e-book version (the book is also available in paperback) is now on sale for the low price of $2.99. Score!

SG: Thank you for having me! I want to offer a signed copy of Lord and Lady Spy to one person who comments today. I’ll check in later today and reply to any comments or questions.

Comments

Hi!

I'd love to win this book!

If it's not international then don't include me. :(

I think you asked some very interesting questions and Shana gave some very nice answers! I really enjoyed reading this! :)

Thanks again for the giveaway!

Molly

chocoholicmol(at)hotmail(dot)com
Thanks, Molly! According to Shana, international entrants are welcome in the contest. Best of luck to you!
No problem :)

Thanks! :D
GzNKz4evr said…
Thanks so much for the giveaway! I really enjoyed reading the questions and responses.

Shana, I cannot tell you how badly I have been itching to get my hands on a copy of this book. We live in a small town - no book store - depressing. I might cave and buy the Kindle, but there is nothing like holding the book in your hand when reading.

Shana, I also want to thank you for going with your gut. I do not believe there is anything wring with including "real-life" in the story as long as the story is strong enough to support it. And, yes, sadly miscarriage is all too common. I never knew how common until I had my first one earlier in the year. Your gut was right. It sounds like you have done a terrific job of incorporating the issue into the story and I can't wait to read it! :)
Kendra
kendraedens@gmail.com
Jeanna Thornton said…
Love the fact that the idea for the story came from present time...that definitely gives a fresh twist to the period. Great interview and great blog today, Colleen and Shana!

Shana, you're next on my list to read...and I can't wait!!!
jink
GayleC said…
If you have a phone, or computer you can read kindle books without owning a kindle. On Amazon there is a tab under kindle that list all the Apps for different devices. Then you can read Lord and Lady Spy and other titles right on your phone or computer for the terrific low sale prices. Just an FYI as I live in an area without bookstores also.
Kay Hudson said…
Just stopping by to say Hi, Shana (and Colleen), as I already have a copy of Lord and Lady Spy (and I'm currently reading Phantom of the French Quarter).

Keep pushing those boundaries--that's what makes writing (and reading) fun!
Thanks so much to everyone who's stopped by so far.

And a special thanks to Kay Hudson. Hope you enjoy Phantom of the French Quarter and L&LS, too!
ShanaGalen said…
Hi Molly, thanks so much for your comment. This is an international giveaway. If you have an address, you're entered. :-)
ShanaGalen said…
Hi Kendra,

I don't have an e-reader either. I read on my iPhone. I'm probably going to get an e-reader just because my husband is complaining about too many books. Kendra, I'm so sorry about the miscarriage. I hope you're able to try again and are successful soon.
ShanaGalen said…
Thanks for the comment, Gayle. I think you're one of my biggest supporters. It's always nice to pop in on a blog and see you here.
ShanaGalen said…
Yay, Jink! I'm next!
ShanaGalen said…
Hi Kay!

Thank you for stopping by. Kay is very soon-to-be-published if her recent successes are any indication!
Pat Moore said…
Looking forward to reading your book. If Colleen recommended it it has to be good. Loved the Q&A and look forward to hearing more about your writing. Would love to win the book but will read anyway. God bless you & continue writing.
Pat Moore said…
Looking forward to reading your book. If Colleen recommended it it has to be good. Loved the Q&A and look forward to hearing more about your writing. Would love to win the book but will read anyway. God bless you & continue writing.
ShanaGalen said…
Hi Pat,

It sounds like you love Colleen's writing as much as I do. She's been very generous. Good luck!
Gail said…
Hi Ms.Galen,
I would love to win your book because I love to try new books and read new authors and you are at the top of my list.
Melanie said…
Shana,

HUGS to you <3

It's always great to read your work and all I have to say, your instincts didn't lead you astray. Your public 'can handle' the topics you decide to write about!

Would love to follow Lord and Lady Smythe's Adventures, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

As for the Rogue: Why, but oh why did they have to mess with PERFECTION of the title?! *that's a retorical question*

Regardless, it will be on my keeper shelf!

BTW: It is still surreal to me to be talking to my 'old' and 'new' authors LIVE! And while I LOVE the age I live in, I still DREAM of times you write about...

Melanie
LadyRed said…
Shana, I empathize with your pregnancy loss, it is a truly heart wrenching experience (I lost my first baby full term stillbirth and here almost 17 years later it still hurts). I truly enjoy your books and I agree that while miscarriage isn't a "sexy" topic, it is something that can either make or break a relationship. I look forward to many more of your books and your superb talent! greeneyesredhair(at)gmail(dot)com
Anonymous said…
Think this book sounds so grand. Think I'll be able to relate to the heroine, although never suffered a miscarriage, we had a hard time getting pregnant, which lead to some awful moments. Can't wait to read this one.

pennsdog@yahoo.com
Barbara said…
This book sounds great, the cover is fab too. I would LOVE an autographed copy...pick me, pick me! :)

barbbattaglia@yahoo.com
HI SHANA!!

Don't enter me in the contest, but I have to say this book IS AWESOME!!!!!
catslady said…
I've read so many great things about this book and hoping to come up a winner at one of these blogs :)

catslady5(at)aol.com
ShanaGalen said…
Thanks so much, Gail. Good luck!
ShanaGalen said…
Hi Melanie,

Did you see the Twitter poll? You can now vote for the title you like best for my February book.

I always think it's wild when I end up chatting with my favorite authors. A couple of weeks ago, Susan Elizabeth Phillips replied to a tweet from me. I am still excited1
ShanaGalen said…
Thanks so much, LadyRed. I am so sory about your stillbirth. I cannot think of anything worse. The pain from loss of a child does fade, but i don't think it ever goes away completely.
ShanaGalen said…
Pennsdog, thanks so much for your comment. I feel like everyone knows someone who has struggled with miscarriage/infertility. Even if we haven't experienced it personally, we can understand the issue.
ShanaGalen said…
Good luck, Barbara! And thank you for raising your hand :-)
ShanaGalen said…
Thank you, kissablysweet1/Melanie. So nice of you to drop by!
ShanaGalen said…
catslady, you have been working at this as hard as I have. Good luck! And thank you for all of your comments. I appreciate them.
Di said…
This book attracted my attention because:
- it has a great cover (that is the first thing we see)
- it looks like it's full of adventure
- it has an emotional story to go along with the adventure

sallans d at yahoo dot com
ShanaGalen said…
Thanks, Di!
Shan_Shan said…
I love your book(s)!! Keep up the good work, I can't wait to pickup your new one! <3
Aloke said…
Hi! I'd love to read the story and be submerged in the ambiance. I want to see how you deal with the issue of miscarriage-more so because I am a male person and saw it happened to my dearest one. If I win, it would be boon.
Thanks for the giveaway

Aloke
amaloke9@gmail.com
The first thing I thought about when I read the title was: Mr and Mrs Smith. Lol. That was a great interview and I'd really like to get a copy of this book!

CYP
Ora said…
I'm so excited about your new series. Will Blue get his own story?
Deeanne Gist said…
I've ordered it! Can't wait to read it. :)
Sharon said…
Thanks for this heartfelt interview.

I think it's terrific that you're talking about and dealing with this subject that deeply touches so many women. I don't know why there is such silence around it. If someone broke an arm, they would post about it on FB, and all their friends would embrace them and sympathize, but for something (a great deal more tragic), we often remain silent. I'm so sorry for what you went through, and the way it's handled in the book is so touching and real. I know it is going to help lots of women.

And on a lighter note, the book is great fun. I'm loving the characters. Thanks for the great read!
Pat O'Dea Rosen said…
Hi, Shana and Colleen,
I have my very own copy of Lord and Lady Spy but popped in to say I'm loving it.
Cheryl Bolen said…
I've got a paper copy of Lord and Lady Spy, but when its ebook went on sale for 99-cents I had to buy that, too. I'm currently reading it and highly recommend it.
ShanaGalen said…
Good luck in the contest, Aloke. I do deal with Adrian's feelings about Sophia's miscarriages. I hope i was true to how men feel when that happens to the woman they love.
ShanaGalen said…
CYP, the marketing department did their job if you thought of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Thanks for the comment!
ShanaGalen said…
Thanks so much, Shan_Shan!
ShanaGalen said…
Ora, I don't think Blue will get his own story. I don't see him as a hero, but he will definitely have a part in any new novel.
ShanaGalen said…
Thanks so much, Deeanne!
ShanaGalen said…
Thanks so much, Sharon. I completely agree that miscarriage shouldn't be such a secret. I don't know why we feel embarrassed or ashamed to talk about it. So glad you enjoyed the book. It really is a light, fun read.
ShanaGalen said…
Thanks so much, Pat! And thanks for coming to the book signing with Colleen and me.
ShanaGalen said…
Thanks so much, Cheryl. When it went to $0.79, I had to buy a copy. LOL!
We have a winner, folks! Congratulations, Pat Moore! Watch for a message from me via Facebook with info on how to claim your autographed copy of Lord and Lady Spy.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to leave a comment. And a special thanks to author Shana Galen for sharing details on a truly wonderful read!

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