Friday, September 14, 2012
Interview with Karleen Koen (author of Before Versailles) and Giveaway!
Without further ado . . . an interview with Karleen Koen.
LAG: I love your wonderful, descriptive historical fiction novels. What first drew you to writing in general and writing historical fiction specifically?
KK: My invalid grandfather was a reader of historical fiction: specifically Frank Yerby, Frank Slaughter, and Zane Gray, and I started reading them when I was a little girl. I never questioned or did any market research when I decided to write. I knew it would be historical fiction. I started writing fiction to see if I could, to fill some time once I'd left a job I had. I have quit fiction before, between the novels Now Face to Face and Dark Angels. The solitude and the living through rough drafts are difficult for me.
LAG: You write fantastic characters in your novels, is that was first drew you to the story of Louis XIV and his many loves?
KK: Actually, Louis doesn't have as many lovers as other kings. I particularly contrast him to Charles II, who was his cousin and contemporary. And the intricacy of his lovers, often friends with one another, is interesting to me. Court is like a small town, where everyone knows everyone and is likely distantly related. I didn't know I was going to write a story about him. I thought I was going to write about Princess Henriette or Louise de la Valliere. That's one of the very intriguing things about fiction.....that it has its own destiny, and you, the writer, have to stay open to discover it.
LAG: Louis and Henrietta . . . what do you think family relations were like after Louis fell for his sister-in-law?
KK: Well, since he fell for her, but then fell for someone else, not great....right? His brother had to be furious but somehow placated, and so did she. Interestingly enough, Louise and Henriette became dear and deep friends afterwards, which says something interesting about both of them. The one who bore the brunt of ill feeling was Louise. Henriette hated her and plotted against her with Olympe de Soissons for a long time. But, before Henriette died so tragically, she and Louise were friends.
LAG: Did you visit Fontainebleau while you were researching this novel?
KK: I did. I went with a French translator and had a interview with some of the folks who run the museum. It's a charming and lovely palace about an hour's train ride from Paris.
LAG: What do you think first drew Louis to Louise?
KK: What did I use in Before Versailles......her innocence, her lack of ambition, her crush on him, and I'll bet she was very pretty. I think he needed someone he could protect. I think he was very much a fairy tale prince when he was 22.......yummy.
LAG: Will you ever revisit the characters from the Through the Glass Darkly series?
KK: I plan to when i finish two more novels involving Alice, the Duchess of Tamworth and Barbara's grandmother.
LAG: What are you currently writing?
KK: A novel about Alice and Richard and Louis XIV, set in 1673.
Thank-you for the interview Karleen Koen!
More about Before Versailles (from Goodreads):
Louis XIV is one of the best-known monarchs ever to grace the French throne. But what was he like as a young man—the man before Versailles?
After the death of his prime minister, Cardinal Mazarin, twenty-two-year-old Louis steps into governing France. He’s still a young man, but one who, as king, willfully takes everything he can get—including his brother’s wife. As the love affair between Louis and Princess Henriette burns, it sets the kingdom on the road toward unmistakable scandal and conflict with the Vatican. Every woman wants him. He must face what he is willing to sacrifice for love.
But there are other problems lurking outside the chateau of Fontainebleau: a boy in an iron mask has been seen in the woods, and the king’s finance minister, Nicolas Fouquet, has proven to be more powerful than Louis ever thought—a man who could make a great ally or become a dangerous foe . . .
Meticulously researched and vividly brought to life by the gorgeous prose of Karleen Koen, Before Versailles dares to explore the forces that shaped an iconic king and determined the fate of an empire.
Sourcebooks has graciously offered a giveaway of one copy of Before Versailles by Karleen Koen.
If you would like to win a copy of this book please leave a comment about what intrigues you about the this book or this interview.
As part of your comment, you must include an email address. If I can't find a way to contact you I will draw another winner.
For an additional entry, blog about this giveaway or post it on your sidebar. Provide a link to this post in your comment.
I will be using random.org (or a monte carlo simulation in excel) to pick the winners from the comments.
This contest is only open to US and Canadian residents (Sorry!).
No P.O. Boxes.
The deadline for entry is midnight on Friday September 21, 2012.
Please make sure to check the last week of September to see if you are a winner. I send emails to the winner but lately I have been put in their "junk mail" folder instead of their inbox.