Today I am super happy to welcome back one of my favorite authors, Shana Galen. Shana is gearing up for her newest release When You Give a Duke a Diamond, (out Sept. 1) and has stopped by to chat. I hope you all will give her a very warm welcome.
Shana Galen is the national bestselling author of numerous fast-paced, adventurous Regency historical romances, including the Rita-nominated Blackthorne's Bride. 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 to an incredibly supportive man she calls Ultimate Sportsfan, and she has a beautiful little girl she calls Little Galen.
Places to find Shana:
When the Heroine is Not a Virgin
by Shana Galen
If there’s one staple in romance novels, it’s the experienced hero and the inexperienced or virginal heroine. I’ve written it a dozen (okay, well, ten) times. My ninth book, The Making of a Gentleman, had a virgin hero and my twelfth book, which releases September 1st features a heroine who is a courtesan.
I got the idea for the Jewels of the Ton series, a trilogy about glamorous courtesans—the celebrities of their day—after reading a book called My Lady Scandalous, about the life of a real courtesan, Grace Dalrymple Elliott.
The idea excited me because I could foresee writing about sumptuous evening gowns, romantic balls, and, of course, danger and intrigue. There was only one problem: I knew my editor wasn’t going to like a heroine who was a courtesan. I was trying to think of how to make her palatable to my editor (and now I’m thinking how to write this without any spoilers for you, dear reader), when we met up at the RT Convention in Los Angeles. I promise you, I went into that meeting with absolutely no intention of pitching this series to her.
But she has this way of making you pitch without it seeming like you are really pitching…
And, to my surprise, instead of saying, “That’s never going to work!” she said, “What if…?” And my series was born.
It’s interesting, though, that readers prefer virginal or inexperienced heroines paired with experienced heroes. I have heard readers remark that too much experience in a hero is a turn-off, and I have to agree. If a guy has been with dozens of women, there’s a certain ick-factor that creeps in. Especially if we’re talking historical heroes. There were a lot of diseases without cures in the early 1800s. Chances are he would have picked one up.
As a reader myself, I have to admit, I prefer virginal heroines. There’s something about the first time that is special and sweet. First times can also be humorous. I remember reading Lisa Kleypas’s Love in the Afternoon and laughing for a good ten minutes when Beatrix and Christopher first find themselves in an intimate position and Beatrix assumes she knows more than she really does (if you’ve read it, you know the part I mean, right?).
But maybe the virginal heroine is just a hold-over from pre-feminism male chauvinistic attitudes and double standards. As a romance writer, I worry about that too. I don’t want to perpetuate negative attitudes, which is another reason I chose to write about a courtesan in When You Give a Duke a Diamond. Juliette’s position may give her fame, but it causes her plenty of heartache and difficulty too.
What do you think? Do you prefer the virginal heroine or do you like reading about heroines with experience? Why?
First in the Jewels of the Ton series
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 gossip papers 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 disruptive to have the duke who is 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...
Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Indiebound |
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- Please leave a comment answering Shana's question: What do you think? Do you prefer the virginal heroine or do you like reading about heroines with experience? Why?
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