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Thursday, 1 May 2014

Meet My Main Character Blog Tour

I was delighted to be asked by Ann Swinfen to join in this blog tour to talk about the heroine of my new novel, City of Dreams.
What’s the novel about? 
It’s about Anna, a Russian girl, who comes to Paris in the 1860’s with her new French husband, Emile Daubigny. Paris was at the time the most fashionable city in the world and Anna thinks all her dreams of love and an exciting life have come true. However her new husband is not all she hoped for and neither is Paris. 


 Tell us more about Anna. Is she a fictional or historical character? 
She’s seventeen years old and comes from a happy, close-knit family in St Petersburg. He father’s a furrier and the family are well-to-do. Anna hasn’t been used to having to fight for herself or go without anything she needs, but this very affluence and comfort has made her chafe at the lack of challenge and excitement in her life. She longs for something more than the comfortable life of a bourgeois wife and mother, which seems to be what her future holds. When Emile, this dashing Frenchman sweeps her off her feet and into a whirlwind marriage, she is deliriously happy, but what happens afterwards will test her mettle to the limit.
She is a fictional character.  

 What lessons does Anna have to learn in the novel?
She has to learn to stand on her own feet and cope with a very different life from the one she has previously experienced with her family in Russia, or expected from her marriage to Emile. She is forced to come to terms with both a dark world of poverty and hardship, and the higher echelons of Paris society, whose glittering inhabitants are frequently not what they seem. By the end of the novel, her journey to self-
knowledge, and understanding of the world, has
been a long, often painful one.

 What conflicts shape Anna’s story?
The main conflicts in Anna’s story are between her desire for independence and a life she can feel proud of, and her need for security and love. 
What’s the historical background to the story?
At the time, France was ruled by Emperor Napoleon III, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte. During his reign, money and show dominated high society while in other classes, many people lived desperate lives. In the world of art, great changes were afoot with the rise of the Impressionist movement. Through Anna’s story, the reader will experience the many contrasts in Parisian life as well as the drama of the Franco-Prussian war and the Siege of Paris, both of which play an important part in Anna’s, and my other characters’ lives.  
Where can we learn more about how the novel evolved?
I discuss the inspiration for the novel below in ‘Every Picture Tells a Story.’
When is the book to be published?
The book has just been published and is available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle.