We are very happy to welcome to Book Lovers Inc. today historical romance author Shana Galen, who is celebrating the release of If You Give a Rake a Ruby, the 2nd book in her Jewels of the Ton Regency romance series (with Alisha we very much enjoyed the 1st book When You Give a Duke a Diamond, check out our dual review here). Please give Shana a warm welcome and read on, you could even win a copy of her book!
Stella: Hi Shana, welcome to Book Lovers Inc! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Shana: Thanks for having me. I’m a mom, a wife, and an author. I live in Houston, Texas and drive my red VW Beetle to Starbucks and three-year-old soccer games. If You Give a Rake a Ruby is my thirteenth book.
Stella: Are you a planner or pantser? Can you tell us a bit about your writing process? How do your novels come to life?
Shana: I’m a total pantser. I pretty much sit down at the computer and start making stuff up. Sometimes I have an idea of how I want to start, which makes the first chapters go a lot faster, but just as often, I have no idea other than the book is due on such and such date and I promised it would be about a courtesan. As I write, I do get to know the characters. I usually have to go back and add layers to the beginning of the book, and even change much of the middle when I realize the character I’ve written wouldn’t have said or done things I had him or her do initially. You would think this is easier if you’re writing a book with characters you’ve already introduced, if only tangentially, in other books. But that often makes it harder because I forget what I said about them in the other books, and I have to go back and re-read.
Stella: Your latest novel, If You Give a Rake a Ruby is the second book in your Jewels of the Ton historical romance trilogy featuring three unique and unusual heroines. How did the idea for the series come to you, what inspired you the three Jewels?
Shana: The idea came when I was reading a biography of Grace Dalrymple Elliott, who was a real life courtesan and spy during the Georgian and Regency periods. I wanted to write about women who were glamorous and fashionable and also independent enough to have some secrets and the freedom to pursue unconventional paths.
Stella: If You Give a Rake a Ruby was released on March 5th, congratulations! Can you tell our readers what they can expect of it?
Shana: They can expect romance, adventure, and a lot of fun! Here’s a little snippet.
“I found the records room, and if you will hold the candle for me, I’ll pick the lock and we can search the insurance policies.”
Fallon raised her brows. “That sounds tedious.”
He took her hand and led her down the corridor. “One can’t be abducted or involved in a carriage chase every night.” He retrieved his tinderbox, lit the candle, and handed it to her. Then she watched as he opened a small leather case and took out what appeared to be professional lock-picking tools. This was why she loved him. How could she love a man who didn’t have some useful skills?
Stella: Could you introduce Warrick Fitzhugh and Fallon, hero and heroine of If You Give a Rake a Ruby to us?
Shana: Of course! Here’s how they meet.
“Get the hell out of my bed,” she said in a velvet voice that only made him desire her more.
Warrick didn’t even sit. “I have a few questions for you.”
“Get out or I’ll call my butler and have you thrown out.”
“I don’t think so.” He put his hands behind his head and leaned back on her prodigious pile of pillows. They were satin and velvet, arrayed in every jewel tone he could imagine. The mountain was quite comfortable except for the occasional beaded pillow whose ornamentation dug into one’s skin.
“Oh, really? I’ve already thrown one man out tonight. I can do so again.” She started for the door with a fast, purposeful stride he had not seen before, but before she could reach for the handle he spoke.
“I would not do that, Margaret. Or should I call you Maggie?”
Stella: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read If You Give a Rake a Ruby?
1. It’s more fun than doing dishes.
2. Everyone else is reading it.
3. Come on, you don’t need to sleep to function in the morning.
Stella: Could you please summarize If You Give a Rake a Ruby for us Twitter-style (in 140 characters or less)?
Shana: Kick ass courtesan meets her match—a sexy spy with a price on his head. Fast-paced adventurous romance with plenty of humor.
Stella: The three heroines in your Jewels of the Ton series are very different, how would you describe/categorize their three stories?
Shana: Juliette is impulsive and fun. Her story is about redefining yourself. Fallon is much tougher and more cautious. Her story is about learning to forgive. Lily is charming and a fashionista, but her outward façade masks and inner sadness. All three books are about learning to love oneself, no matter who you are or what you’ve done.
Stella: What is your favourite jewel, precious stone?
Shana: I love amethysts. Purple is my favourite colour.
Stella: What is your favourite part of a romance novel to read or write? The beginning, the first meeting, first kiss, getting to know each other, first love scene, big fight, HEA, or something else?
Shana: The first meeting is always fun. I think it sets the tone of the entire novel. Is it a funny meet? A harrowing meet? A tension-filled meet? There are so many ways to introduce the hero and heroine!
Stella: You write historical romances. I wonder, is it the romance sub-genre you prefer reading as well? What made you choose to write HR?
Shana: I do enjoy reading historical romance. I decided to write it because I enjoyed “living” in that time. When you write a book, you’re in that story in your mind a lot. I don’t want to be somewhere I don’t enjoy. I like to think about balls and carriages and sexy dukes all day. That said, I have written contemporaries and would love to write more. My first love is always historical, though.
Stella: Any interesting/funny/weird tidbit you could share with us you learned while doing research for a story?
Shana: I just don’t think most of my research is all that interesting to anyone but me. I’ve certainly never been raided by the FBI or anything. Recently, though I was looking for a regency term for oral sex. Two of my friends texted me about what they were up to—playing Legos with kids or writing a contract for work. So I texted that I was researching oral sex terms. That was not what they were expecting. And then we proceeded to have a lengthy text discussion as to whether people really did that “back then.” I assured them that we in the twenty-first century, did not invent it.
Stella: LOL, I can so picture the face of the receipient of that text! Any other sub-genre you’d like to try your hand at some day?
Shana: I like to read YA and taught middle and high school for years. I love to write one. In fact, I have written a few proposals I have yet to sell to a publisher.
Stella: What is next on your schedule? Any future plans you’d like to share with us?
Shana: My next Lord and Lady Spy book, True Spies, is out in September, followed by a Lord and Lady Spy novella in January 2014. And then in March 2014 the last Jewels book, Sapphires Are an Earl’s Best Friend out.
Stella: Could you share with us something, a trivia that not many people know about you?
Shana: I go to fitness boot camp three days a week at 5 a.m. I think having a boot camp instructor yell at me is probably the only way to get me to keep exercising.
Stella: Wow, I am amazed! Don’t think I would be able to get up at 5am three times a week to work out, so RESPECT Shana!
Shana Galen is the bestselling author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice Winner The Making of a Gentleman and the RT-nominated When You Give a Duke a Diamond. Her books are published all over the world and have been featured in the Rhapsody and Doubleday Book Clubs. She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston’s inner city. Now she writes full time. She’s happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making. Shana loves to hear from readers: visit her website or blog, and see what she’s up to daily on Facebook and Twitter.
If You Give a Rake a Ruby by Shana Galen
Book #2 in the Jewels of the Ton series
Her Mysterious Past is the Best Revenge…
Fallon, the Marchioness of Mystery, is a celebrated courtesan with her finger on the pulse of high society. She’s adored by men, hated by their wives. No one knows anything about her past, and she plans to keep it that way.
Only He Can Offer Her a Dazzling Future…
Warrick Fitzhugh will do anything to protect his compatriots in the Foreign Office, including seduce Fallon, who he thinks can lead him to the deadliest crime lord in London. He knows he’s putting his life on the line…
To Warrick’s shock, Fallon is not who he thinks she is, and the secrets she’s keeping are exactly what makes her his heart’s desire…
Sourcebooks has generously offered a paperback copy of If You Give a Duke a Diamond, Book #1 in the Jewels of the Ton series to one lucky US/CAN commenter, and BLI would like to offer a copy to an international commenter!
All you have to do is tell us: What is your favourite jewel/precious stone?
(You can read our full giveaway policy here)
Please be sure to include a valid email address in the comment form (need not be in the actual body of the comment).
This giveaway is open to everyone!
Giveaway ends on 23 March 2013 and we will announce the winner on Sunday.