We're excited to welcome the author of The Sisters of Versailles, Sally Christie, to Reading Lark today.
Andrea @ Reading Lark: Why is French royalty and scandal so fascinating to read and write about?
Sally: I think in general monarchs and the people around them hold a lot of fascination for readers. Power and the funny (and not so funny) things it does to people is always interesting, and of course they are also the group of people about which we have the most information.
I especially like Louis XV’s reign: there is so little in English written about him and yet he was party to so many scandals and bizarre situations. He’s definitely under the shadow of his more famous great-grandfather, Louis XIV, aka The Sun King, and his sad grandson Louis XVI, but he reigned for a good chunk of the 18th century (1715 – 1774) and was very influential (not in a positive sense) on the Revolution that started 15 years after his death.
Andrea @ Reading Lark: What is your research process when writing a historical fiction novel?
Sally: I read as much as I can from secondary sources then go back to available primary sources. Google Books is simply amazing – they have a goal to digitize every book every published, and they have done an awesome job on obscure 18th century French memoires. I also try to read a lot about the period in a general sense – non-fiction accounts of a narrow area, or general texts – you never know what interesting nuggets you are going to pick up.
Visiting the places that are important to the story is also key. You can get a good sense of a lot of locations online – tons of videos and photos out there – but nothing replaces actually walking, sitting, thinking, where your characters were. The sensory detail you can pick up is key to making the story come alive. I was able to visit the sisters’ childhood home in Paris, and also go behind the scenes at Versailles and see some of the rooms where Marie Anne and Louise lived – mind blowing!
Andrea @ Reading Lark: Which sister is most like you?
Sally: I think I’m most like Marie Anne, but not because I like torturing fluffy animals. It’s a bit hard to explain why I feel that affinity with her, but I’ll say I most admire Pauline – she has that total confidence that I think most of us wish we had.
Andrea @ Reading Lark: If this novel were a cupcake, what kind would it be?
Sally: Ha! That’s a great question. It would be plain white vanilla with masses of pink fluffy frosting, hiding a core of dark chocolate melted with bacon bits thrown in, topped with a squiggly piece of licorice: The Sisters of Versailles has a frothy outside, hiding a surprisingly dark and meaty inside, topped with some humor.
Andrea @ Reading Lark: It's a tradition to ask - What is your favorite bird?
Sally: Budgies! We had some lovely ones when I was growing up. With enough time and patience they make great pets with their own personalities and interests, and can even be let outside.
The Sisters of Versailles (Mistresses of Versailles, Book One) by Sally Christie
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Atria Books/Simon & Schuster
Formats: Ebook, Paperback
Pages: 432 ISBN-10: 1501102966
Genre: Historical Fiction
A sumptuous and sensual tale of power, romance, family, and betrayal centered around four sisters and one King. Carefully researched and ornately detailed, The Sisters of Versailles is the first book in an exciting new historical fiction trilogy about King Louis XV, France's most "well-beloved" monarch, and the women who shared his heart and his bed.
Goodness, but sisters are a thing to fear.
Set against the lavish backdrop of the French Court in the early years of the 18th century, The Sisters of Versailles is the extraordinary tale of the five Nesle sisters: Louise, Pauline, Diane, Hortense, and Marie-Anne, four of whom became mistresses to King Louis XV. Their scandalous story is stranger than fiction but true in every shocking, amusing, and heartbreaking detail.
Court intriguers are beginning to sense that young King Louis XV, after seven years of marriage, is tiring of his Polish wife. The race is on to find a mistress for the royal bed as various factions put their best foot - and women - forward. The King's scheming ministers push Louise, the eldest of the aristocratic Nesle sisters, into the arms of the King. Over the following decade, the four sisters:sweet, naive Louise; ambitious Pauline; complacent Diane, and cunning Marie Anne, will conspire, betray, suffer, and triumph in a desperate fight for both love and power.
In the tradition of The Other Boleyn Girl, The Sisters of Versailles is a clever, intelligent, and absorbing novel that historical fiction fans will devour. Based on meticulous research on a group of women never before written about in English, Sally Christie's stunning debut is a complex exploration of power and sisterhood; of the admiration, competition, and even hatred that can coexist within a family when the stakes are high enough.
"A stunning breadth of period detail, offered in a fresh, contemporary voice." Juliet Grey, author of the acclaimed Marie Antoinette trilogy
"Sally Christie's The Sisters of Versailles is an intriguing romp through Louis XV's France. Filled with lush backdrops, rich detail, and colorful characters, fans of historical fiction will enjoy this glimpse into the lost golden era of the French monarchy." Allison Pataki, author of The Accidental Empress
AMAZON US | AMAZON CAN | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOKS-A-MILLION | CHAPTERS | ITUNES | INDIEBOUND | KOBO
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I'm a life-long history buff - and I mean life-long. One of the first adult books I read was Antonia Fraser's masterful Mary, Queen of Scots. Wow! That book just blew my little ten year old mind: something about the way it brought the past right back to life, made it live again on the page. I date my obsession with history to that time, but I'd been writing ("writing") ever since I was able to hold a pencil.
If you'd told my 12-year old self that I'd not be a writer when I grew up, I would have laughed you out of the tree house. With a few detours along the way, to work overseas in consulting and development, as well as to go to business school, I've finally come full circle to where I think I should be.
I currently live in Toronto and when I'm not writing, I'm playing lots of tennis; doing random historical research (old census records are my favorite); playing Scrabble, and squirrel-watching (the room where I write has French doors leading out to a deck; I avidly follow, and feed, a scruffy gang).
For more information please visit Sally Christie's website. You can also find her on Goodreads and Pinterest.
BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE
Monday, September 14
Review at Reading the Past
Tuesday, September 15
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Interview & Giveaway at Mina's Bookshelf
Wednesday, September 16
Review at Bookish
Thursday, September 17
Review at The Book Binder's Daughter
Friday, September 18
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective
Saturday, September 19
Spotlight at Romantic Historical Reviews
Monday, September 21
Review at Leeanna.me
Tuesday, September 22
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection
Wednesday, September 23
Review & Giveaway at History Undressed
Thursday, September 24
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Friday, September 25
Spotlight at Historical Readings & Views
Monday, September 28
Review & Giveaway at View From the Birdhouse
Tuesday, September 29
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Thursday, October 1
Review at Genre Queen
Review at book ramblings
Friday, October 2
Review at Curling Up By the Fire
Monday, October 5
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Tuesday, October 6
Review at Just One More Chapter
Wednesday, October 7
Review at The Lit Bitch
Thursday, October 8
Interview & Giveaway at Reading Lark
Friday, October 9
Review & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession
We have one paperback copy of The Sisters of Versailles to give away to our readers. This giveaway is open to residents of the US. You must be 18+ years of age to win. Reading Lark is not responsible for lost or damaged packages.
The giveaway runs from October 8-15. Winner will be notified via email on October 16.