We are excited to welcome Shana to our site today. Shana is a new to us author, and I have to say that after reading her book Lord and Lady Spy in one sitting she has landed on my keeper shelf.
SG: Thanks so much, and thank you for having me here today!
TBRG: It is our pleasure…we can’t wait to get you know you better.
TBRG: Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
SG: I would have to say Marsha Canham. I don’t know her personally, but I’ve read every one of her books, and many of them more than once. I love her style, her characters, her plots. She’s just awesome. I also like Julie Garwood’s humor. She was one of the first authors I read who made me want to become a writer. Marsha Canham’s writing intimidates me, but Garwood makes it seem so easy.
TBRG: What is the one thing your readers would be the most surprised to know about you?
SG: People are always surprised when they learn I don’t have an English degree. I majored in Voice, then Psychology, then got a Master’s in Education. I never even thought of being a writer. I didn’t realize it was a career (not that it feels like much of one sometimes!).
TBRG: Where is the one place you have always wanted to go, a place on your bucket list?
SG: Hawaii. It seems like a great place to relax and sip fruity drinks.
TBRG: Who are some of your go to authors, and what are you reading right now?
SG: I like Ashley March, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, Tera Lynn Childs, Vicky Dreiling, Eloisa James, Julia Quinn, Nora Roberts, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Diana Gabaldon, Anna Campbell, Joanna Bourne, Robyn DeHart, Vanessa Kelly, and more! Right now I’m reading Romancing the Countess by Ashley March, Salvation in Death by JD Robb, and The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. I rarely read one book at a time.
TBRG: If you weren’t writing and keeping us in books (thanks for that by the way), what would you be doing?
SG: Probably teaching. That’s what I did for eleven years before I became a work-at-home mom. But I’d like to keep writing full-ish time and not go back to teaching, if possible.
TBRG: Who is on your playlist when you are writing?
SG: I don’t usually listen to music when I write, but funny you should ask that because I have been listening to a playlist the last few days. It has some Erasure (“Breathe”), some Michael Buble (“I’ve Got You Under My Skin”), The Corrs (“Breathless”), and ABBA (“Mamma Mia”). An eclectic playlist, huh?
TBRG: What is your guilty pleasure?
SG: Cookies! I love cookies, which is why I’m in fitness boot camp three days a week at 5 a.m.
TBRG: Where do your ideas/characters come from?
SG: From writing. I don’t always have a character fleshed out when I start a book, but as I write about them, I get to know them, and they become real to me. I’m firmly with E.M. Forster, who said, “How can I know what I think till I see what I say?” Characters come alive on the page for me.
TBRG: Are you a planner or a fly by the seat author?
SG: In real life I am the planner of all planners. I have lists and more lists. I have lists of lists I need to make. But in my writing life, I am a total pantser. I rarely even look at the synopsis after I give it to my editor. I always have to rewrite it when I finish the book because it’s never what I actually wrote. Fortunately, I have always had editors who either didn’t read the synopses or liked the finished product better than what I said I would write.
TBRG: Tell us about the new book?
SG: Lord and Lady Spy is a fast-paced, adventurous Regency romance that’s based on the same premise as the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith (husband and wife with secret identities). My hero and heroine are out of work spies who have to compete against one another and work together for a chance to become a spy again. It’s funny, poignant, and has lots of action.
TBRG: This isn’t your typical regency historical romance, where did the idea for this book come from?
SG: I was watching Mr. and Mrs. Smith a few years ago and started thinking, what if this story took place in the Regency period? And what if the couple wasn’t trying to kill one another but was forced to work together to get what they want? It really intrigued me, and writing about a married couple was a new challenge.
TBRG: What do you want us to know about Adrian and Sophia?
SG: They’re not cardboard characters. I think sometimes readers think, Spies. Oh, the heroine will be kick ass, and the hero will be all macho. But these are characters with real problems—the same kind of issues many of us or people we know deal with. The characters also happen to be spies, which makes it more fun to read about them.
TBRG: Using 3-5 adjectives describe Adrian and Sophia.
SG: Adrian—strategist, planner, confident, thorough, dedicated
Sophia—impulsive, intuitive, confident, devastated, smart
TBRG: How much fun did you have writing this book? I know that when I was reading there were times where I had to laugh out loud!
SG: I had a lot of fun writing this book. Well, not initially. Initially, I couldn’t make it work and had to shelve it for a couple of years. But once I figured it out, it just poured out of me. I love books like that. I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
*** We have two copies of Shana’s book Lord and Lady Spy to giveaway. Just tell us who your favorite spy hero/heroine or couple is? Or ask Shana a question. Contest rules apply, follow both us and Shana on twitter, and like us both on FB. Open to US and Canada only***
No man can outsmart him…
Lord Adrian Smythe may appear a perfectly boring gentleman, but he leads a thrilling life as one of England’s most preeminent spies, an identity so clandestine even his wife is unaware of it. But he isn’t the only one with secrets…
She’s been outsmarting him for years…
Now that the Napoleonic wars have come to an end, daring secret agent Lady Sophia Smythe can hardly bear the thought of returning home to her tedious husband. Until she discovers in the dark of night that he’s not who she thinks he is after all…
Shana Galen is the author of numerous fast-paced adventurous Regency historical romances, including the Rita-nominated Blackthorne’s Bride. Her books have been sold worldwide, including Japan, Brazil, Russia, Spain, Turkey, and the Netherlands, and have been featured in the Rhapsody and Doubleday Book Clubs. A former English teacher in Houston’s inner city, Shana now writes full time. She’s a wife, a mother, and an expert multi-tasker. She loves to hear from readers: visit her website at www.shanagalen.com or see what she’s up to daily on Facebook and Twitter.