The Making of a Gentleman. 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 a man she calls Ultimate Sportsfan and has a daughter, Princess Galen, who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making. Shana loves to hear from readers: visit her website at www.shanagalen.com, download her free author app for exclusive content and first looks, or see what she’s up to daily on Facebook and Twitter.
I Heart Flynn
Once in a while a secondary character leaps off the page and begs, seriously begs, for his own story. It would be lovely if I could predict when this would happen and even which secondary characters might make good spin-off characters. Unfortunately, this rarely happens.
With the first sentence I ever wrote about Flynn in Sapphires Are an Earl’s Best Friend, I knew he was going to feature in another story. First of all, I named him Flynn. I don’t know if this was intentional or some part of my unconscious trying to clue me in, but Flynn is not a name for a throwaway character. Not to mention, my love for Flynn Rider from Disney’s Tangled is well documented. So maybe I should have known when I named my secondary character Flynn.
Here’s how I introduce Flynn in Sapphires Are an Earl’s Best Friend.
Flynn was not dressed in evening clothes, but he still looked the nobleman—the debauched nobleman. His coat was soiled, his hair had come loose from its queue, and his cravat spilled down his linen shirt. He had a drink before him and several empty cups on the table in front of him.
A debauched nobleman. What could be more delicious? And he’s drinking. Why is he drinking in a ramshackle public house in one of London’s rookeries? You can see why he intrigued me from the start. I had to know more about him.
Flynn never talked when he drank. Andrew knew almost nothing about the man except that he was heir to a title and he had done something horrible and did not deserve it. Andrew had thought about telling the man that if titles were deserved, rather than inherited, his father would not be the Duke of Ravenscroft. But the man seemed content to wallow in drink and a Byron-esque malaise.
There is something about a tormented hero that appeals to me, and to many readers, I think. In Sapphires Are an Earl’s Best Friend, I leave Flynn’s inner conflict unexplored. After all, he’s not the main character. It’s Lily and Andrew we’re concerned about. But Flynn’s dark past didn’t go unexplored in my thoughts. I wondered what he had done. What could be so terrible? Had he killed someone? Flynn didn’t seem like a murderer to me. He seemed like a perfectly nice fellow who was perhaps beating himself up over nothing.
Of course, later I came to learn that Flynn’s crime was not so minor. But that story will come in January when Flynn’s story, The Viscount of Vice, is released. In the meantime, he’s a wonderful foil for Andrew, the Earl of Darlington. In the scene where Darlington meets with Flynn, Darlington is particularly depressed because his attempts to persuade Lily, a notorious courtesan, to refrain from pursuing Darlington’s recently widowed father are all for naught. Lily doesn’t listen to Darlington, and he doesn’t understand why. She was always charming to him in the past, but suddenly she won’t listen to reason—what Andrew considers reason, at any rate. Flynn has some advice for Darlington. Unfortunately, it’s nothing our hero Andrew wants to hear.
Andrew slammed his glass on the table. “Stop questioning me.”
“Questioning you? Why, I believe every word you’ve spoken, old boy.”
“No you don’t.”
Flynn drained his own glass. “You’re right. I think you are lying through your teeth.”
Andrew would have thrown his gin in Flynn’s face, if he’d had any remaining.
“Don’t look so Friday-faced, Darlington. I want to believe you. Trouble is, you’re not all that convincing.”
“You can go to hell.”
“Oh, I will. No doubt on that score. But since I am already damned, let me offer you some advice.”
“You are going to offer me advice?”
Flynn nodded and signaled for another round. “I understand completely if you do not take it to heart.”
I love a man who doesn’t take himself too seriously, a man who can laugh at himself, even when the whole world seems to be crashing in on him. That’s why I love Flynn Rider (Eugene) in Tangled, and that’s why I love my Flynn too.
Who’s your favorite Disney hero? Do you think he’d make a good character in a novel?
Send your proof of preorder before February 28th!
Series: Jewels of the Ton #3
Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (March 4, 2014)
She Wants Him...She Wants Him Not...
Lily Dawson, dubbed the Countess of Charm by the Prince Regent himself, plays the role of the courtesan flawlessly while her real purpose is spying in the service of the Crown. Her mission now is to seduce a duke to test his true loyalties. She'll do it, even though the man she really wants is Andrew Booth-Payne, Earl of Darlington—the duke's son.
Andrew is furious when he finds himself rivaling his father for Lily's attention. When he uncovers Lily's mission, Andrew is faced with impossible choices. It seems he is destined to betray either his family, his country, or the longings of his own heart...
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Follow along on the Jewels of the Ton Pre-Publication Tour—with chances to win books and jewelry at each stop!
2/17 Cocktails and Books — Diamond
2/18 SOS Aloha – Amethyst
2/19 Romancing Rakes for the Love of Romance – Citrine
2/20 Romance Bandits – Rose Quartz
2/21 Reading Between the Wines – Ruby
2/24 Ramblings From This Chick – Pink Sapphire
2/25 Stitch-Read-Cook – Garnet
2/26 Dashing Duchesses – Blue Topaz
2/27 Romancing the Book – Smoky Quartz
2/28 Books-N-Kisses – Sapphire