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Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Genesis of a Book - The Silk Romance by Helena Fairfax


Guest author Helena Fairfax shares the creative spark that inspired her novel: The Silk Romance.

When I was a student I spent an unforgettable few months working as an au pair in Lyon, France. It was one of the happiest and most romantic times of my life. How different this hot and vibrant city was to the bleak English town I came from. Everything seemed to me intensely colourful: the two rivers, the Rhône and the Saône, gliding through the city; the market stalls with their exotic fruits; the cypress trees; the street cafés and the night-life. It was an intense experience, which stayed with me long after I left France.

When I came to write my first novel, The Silk Romance, I knew Lyon had to be the setting. And it was easy to picture my French hero. As an au pair I lived with my family, in a centuries old stone building overlooking the old town. In the apartment above mine, on the top floor, lived the most gorgeous man ever. Tall, tanned, with piercing blue eyes, a devastating smile and a confident way of talking to me whenever we bumped into each other on the shadowy stone stairs. Sadly, my handsome crush was already engaged to be married, and so my teenage longing remained from afar! Years later I brought my romantic Frenchman to life in the form of Jean-Luc, the hero of The Silk Romance.

As for the glamorous silk industry, which also plays a large part in my story, many years after I left France I took a job in a woollen mill in northern England. The weaving industry once played a major role in both my home town and Lyon, but is now sadly a dying trade. I thought it would be wonderful to revive Lyon’s once thriving silk industry, and so I made my hero the owner of one of the city’s few remaining silk mills, producing fabulous textiles for opera houses, theatres and fashionable people around the world.

As for my heroine, Sophie is exactly the type of female character I like to write, and to read about. A young woman who is self-reliant, who has seen her share of tragedy in this life, who is compassionate, but not afraid of letting the hero know exactly what she thinks.

I wasn’t very confident when I released my first novel on the world, but reviews so far have been great, ranging from ‘charming romance, and utterly delightful’ to one I particularly loved, which read ‘a cross between Pride and Prejudice and Cinderella, which is awesome.’

I had a lot of fun recreating my romantic time in Lyon, and I was sorry to say au revoir to my characters when I put down my pen!

Blurb:
Sophie Challoner has made her mother a sacred promise, and not even Jean-Luc Olivier can prevent her keeping it. On the night Sophie’s French grandmother throws a glittering party for her in Paris, Jean-Luc sweeps her off her feet, momentarily making her forget the promise she has made. The night she spends with Jean-Luc seems to Sophie like a fairy tale – a glamorous story, without the happy ending. Like a modern-day Cinderella Sophie runs away in the morning, afraid of the hold the Frenchman has over her.

Safely back home with her father and brother in London, Sophie tries her best to forget the encounter, but fate and Jean-Luc have other plans. He organises a student placement Sophie can’t refuse, and so, unwillingly, she finds herself back in France, working for Jean-Luc in the silk mill he now owns.

Thrown together for a few short weeks in Lyon, the romantic city of silk, their mutual love begins to grow. But it seems the fates are conspiring against Sophie’s happiness. Jean-Luc has secrets of his own. Then, when disaster strikes at home in London, Sophie is faced with a choice—stay in this glamorous world with the man she loves, or return to her family to keep the sacred promise she made her mother.


Links:

Website www.helenafairfax.com

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/The-Silk-Romance-ebook/dp/B00CYHVI1W/

Kobo http://store.kobobooks.com/en-gb/books/The-Silk-Romance/uPFeJzgxPEeI3shyPI-Mlg

Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-silk-romance-helena-fairfax/1115399160

21 comments:

Jane Leopold Quinn said...

Hi Helena, your story sounds wonderful. I think having such a personal connection to your novel makes for the best kind of story. The most fun to write and the most fun to read. Keep 'em coming! ;0(

Helena Fairfax said...

Thanks Jane! You're right, it really was fun to write The Silk Romance - especially creating the hero :) Thanks for having me on your blog. I've loved reliving my time in France!

Jane Leopold Quinn said...

Just as I loved writing and reliving my time in Bath, England for my book. I try to have something personal in every book. It gives me writer satisfaction.

Rose Anderson said...

Fascinating, Helena. I love a strong heroine too. A review said it was a "a cross between Pride and Prejudice and Cinderella"? Now that's a good review! Best luck.

Missy Martine said...

Sounds like an exciting time in your life. It's amazing how our experiences can come back and inspire us so many years later. Enjoyed your post.

Helena Fairfax said...

Thanks Rose! This was my first novel, and as I wrote in my post, I wasn't very confident when it was released. To be honest, I was really, really nervous! To read a review like that meant so much to me, and spurred me on to continue writing. Thanks for your comment!

Helena Fairfax said...

Thanks very much, Missy. I think when we're younger - especially the teenage years - we feel everything so much more deeply. I enjoyed reliving that time, and recreating that intensity of emotion in my heroine. Thanks for your great comment!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Helena,

This sounds like a wonderful novel. Congrats and best wishes. Jane, thank you for bringing this novel to the attention of readers.

Jane Leopold Quinn said...

You're welcome, Jacqueline. I think that many readers want to know there's a life story behind some of our books. Everyone, writer or not, has a story to tell. Writers just actually do it! ;-)

Susan Bernhardt said...

Enjoyed your post, Helena. Interesting background to your novel. Many times, books are part memoirs. Mine is as well. Best wishes!

Susan Bernhardt
The Ginseng Conspiracy coming 1/14
www.susanbernhardt.com

Helena Fairfax said...

Thanks for your comment, Jacqueline, and for taking the time to read my post about The Silk Romance. I enjoyed writing this story. It brought back memories of a happy time in my life. Thanks for stopping by!

Helena Fairfax said...

Good to see you here, Susan, and thanks for coming by! We writers draw on our experiences, as Rose said, and I hope I used mine in a good way, to entertain readers! Thanks for your comment, and I'm looking forward to release of your novel

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Helena - you've reminded me why this is on my TBR list! Love hearing of the background and inspiration.

Heather Greenis said...

It's wonderful when something in life inspires a story. The Silk Romance is a great novel. I enjoyed it.
Heather G - Natasha's Dream
Natasha's Diary launching December 2013

Helena Fairfax said...

Thanks so much, Ros! I travelled back to Lyon just recently, and still love the city. And it's even easier for us now in the UK, since we have the Eurostar. It's a lovely journey by train. Thanks for coming by, and for your comment!

Helena Fairfax said...

Thanks so much for coming by, Heather. I really loved your review of The SIlk Romance. Thanks for taking the time to post it. Lovely to see you here!

Kaye Spencer said...

Another romance purchased for my TBR pile. ;-) The story sounds great. Thanks for sharing.

Helena Fairfax said...

Thanks so much, Kaye! I really hope you enjoy it. If you do, please come back and let me know. Thanks again for your great comment! :)

Barbara said...

This sounds just delightful. I'm looking forward to reading it. All best. Barb Bettis

helenafairfax.com said...

Hi Barb, thanks for your lovely comment! I hope you enjoy The Silk Romance. Thanks for taking the time to stop by. Best wishes!

E. Ayers said...

This sounds wonderful! Can't wait to read it.

Ah, yes, those wonderful men we knew back when. LOL