Monday, July 25, 2011

For you Historical fans (of which I'm one)

I am so thrilled to have a guest blogger here today. I met Michelle Diener at the Orlando RWA conference. This woman impressed me. She was so refined and so elegant and so funny. Okay, maybe I hated her. Just kidding. She has this fabulous accent--because I'm an American; I'm sure to her ears, I was the one with the accent. And she writes historicals. You know, the meaty kind. So when I found out her book was coming out August 9, I knew I had to have her come by. Please welcome Michelle Diener.


Thank you so much to Gabi for inviting me to visit today.

My debut historical novel, IN A TREACHEROUS COURT, is due out on August 9th, and it is set in Tudor London, in the pre-Anne Boleyn days of Henry's reign. My series was really driven by my interest in Susanna Horenbout, the heroine of the book, who was a real person, an artist from Ghent (which is in current day Belgium), who was acclaimed by some of the most famous artists of her day as exceptional. Unfortunately, no work remains today that can be attributed to her, except for a brass plaque, and even that isn't definite. She was obviously talented, and her father sent her across to England to work in the court of Henry VIII as an illuminator and painter.

I was fascinated by the idea of a woman who was so accomplished, working in a field which was almost entirely dominated by men, and the problems and trials she must have faced. Because I'm mean that way, I've also thrown her into dangerous court intrigue as well, and given her a dangerous (but delicious!) courtier to deal with. Lucky for me, she really did marry him in real life, so I could include a romance between her and Parker, the courtier Henry asks to look after her, with a clear conscience on the historical accuracy front.

But because this is a mainstream novel, and the elements of romance do not drive the plot, I build their growing awareness for each other in whispers, rather than bold shouts. I have always loved the more subtle approach to a growing relationship in novels, my tastes being defined early on by masters of understated but strong sexual tension like Mary Stewart. I hope Susanna and Parker's growing passion shines like a bright thread of gold through the book, in much the way Susanna would work gold leaf through the border of an illumination. It doesn't overwhelm the story, but the book would be the lesser for it if it wasn't there.

But I'm interested, do you love an over-the-top passion in your books, or the silent, simmering awareness like I have in In A TREACHEROUS COURT? Or are you happy with either? I've got a copy of IN A TREACHEROUS COURT to give away to a lucky commenter. (US residents only, unfortunately!)

Michelle Diener lives in Australia with her husband and two children. She's worked as an editor, a publisher, managed a small IT business, and now writes full time. Her debut historical novel, IN A TREACHEROUS COURT, is due out with Simon & Schuster's Gallery Books on August 9th, and the second book in the series, KEEPER OF THE KING'S SECRETS, is due for an early 2012 release. You can find out more about her at her website (, her group blog ( or follow her on twitter or Facebook

Thanks for coming by, Michelle. Can't wait to get my hands on this one.

Make sure you leave a way to reach you in your comment. The giveaway will run for a week (until Aug 2) , and then I'll pick a winner.

Books I'm reading now:
Killing Me Softly by Maggie Shayne
Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen by JK Rowling (Yes, in German)


  1. I like both but since I have to choose, I prefer the subtle romance. I guess it's a little bit refreshing since I read mostly romance novels. Your book sounds fantastic (I love stuff from the Tudors.)and regardless of if I win or lose I plan to pick up a copy. :) Best of luck with your books! :)

  2. Thanks so much Holly! For the good wishes and the compliments.

  3. Oh, this sounds fantastic!!! Personally, I'm happy with either. I love it all.

    Best wishes, Michelle!

  4. I love both kinds, too! Sounds like great stuff, Michelle!

  5. Thank you so much, Darynda. I love both too, I just seem to write one type better :).

  6. I like both they both suck me in to reading the book , no matter what. So I don't mine which one, either way I'll be happy.
    Best wishes ^0^

  7. Natalia, I agree! As long as I'm hooked, I'm happy :). Thanks for the good wishes.

  8. I am all about the simmer because when the romance does start to boil it usually is the point in the book where I cannot put it down because I spent all this time waiting and watching it grow. That being said, I do not turn down a book just because there is over the top passion it just is a little harder for me to think it believable. Love does not usually come and slap you in the face or at least if it did that sounds painful.

    Michelle (@OBoyledBooks)

    OBoyledBooks [at] gmail [dot] com

  9. Thanks for stopping by, Michelle. That is so true. The lead-up lets us buy into the 'rightness' of the relationship when they do get together.

  10. Depending on my mood, I enjoy either, but I tend to prefer the meatier historicals in which the romance can be more subtle and grow more slowly, and I *love* court intrigue. One of my favorite authors is Philippa Gregory, and I have fond childhood memories of Eleanor Hibbert's books under the pseudonyms of Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt and Philippa Carr. I've done some calligraphy, and I've studied illuminated manuscripts, so your book sounds like it might be just my thing. :) Gotta thank Gabi for introducing me to a new author. Best of luck with your book.

    kelley [at]

  11. I like both, depending on the book, but I think I prefer the simmering romance. It just seems more real and like it would be a romance that lasts. Can't wait to check out your book!

  12. picked 12. Laura that's you. I'll be contacting you for your info. Congrats.