Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Promised to the Crown (Daughters of New France, Book One) by Aimie K. Runyan/ Interview and Review

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Promised to the Crown (Daughters of New France, Book One) by Aimie K. Runyan

Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Kensington
Paperback & eBook; 352 Pages

Series: Daughters of New France
Genre: Historical Fiction

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Bound for a new continent, and a new beginning.

In her illuminating debut novel, Aimie K. Runyan masterfully blends fact and fiction to explore the founding of New France through the experiences of three young women who, in 1667, answer Louis XIV’s call and journey to the Canadian colony.

They are known as the filles du roi, or “King’s Daughters”—young women who leave prosperous France for an uncertain future across the Atlantic. Their duty is to marry and bring forth a new generation of loyal citizens. Each prospective bride has her reason for leaving—poverty, family rejection, a broken engagement. Despite their different backgrounds, Rose, Nicole, and Elisabeth all believe that marriage to a stranger is their best, perhaps only, chance of happiness.

Once in Quebec, Elisabeth quickly accepts baker Gilbert Beaumont, who wants a business partner as well as a wife. Nicole, a farmer’s daughter from Rouen, marries a charming officer who promises comfort and security. Scarred by her traumatic past, Rose decides to take holy vows rather than marry. Yet no matter how carefully she chooses, each will be tested by hardship and heartbreaking loss—and sustained by the strength found in their uncommon friendship, and the precarious freedom offered by their new home.

An engaging, engrossing debut.”—Greer Macallister, USA Today bestselling author of The Magician’s Lie

An absorbing adventure with heart.”—Jennifer Laam, author of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

About the Author

03_Aimie K. RunyanAimie K. Runyan, member of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Women's Fiction Writers Association, has been an avid student of French and Francophone Studies for more than fifteen years. While working on her Master's thesis on the brave women who helped found French Canada, she was fortunate enough to win a generous grant from the Quebec government to study onsite for three months which enabled the detailed research necessary for her work. Aimie lives in Colorado with her husband and two children.

For more information please visit Aimie's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, April 26
Review at Historical Fiction Addicts

Wednesday, April 27
Review at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, April 28
Interview at Book Nerd
Interview at Books and Benches

Friday, April 29
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Saturday, April 30
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, May 2
Review at A Book Drunkard

Tuesday, May 3
Review at Seize the Words: Books in Review

Wednesday, May 4
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Interview at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, May 5
Review at Reading Is My SuperPower

Friday, May 6
Review at Puddletown Reviews

Monday, May 9
Review at Cynthia Robertson, writer

Tuesday, May 10
Review at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, May 11
Review at Creating Herstory

Thursday, May 12
Interview at Creating Herstory
Interview at Author Dianne Ascroft's Blog

Monday, May 16
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog

Tuesday, May 17
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Thursday, May 19
Interview at The Book Connection

Monday, May 23
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, May 24
Review at A Holland Reads

Wednesday, May 25
Review at Curling up by the Fire

Thursday, May 26
Review at Just One More Chapter

Friday, May 27
Review at Bookramblings

Monday, May 30
Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, May 31
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Giveaway

Two copies of Promised to the Crown by Aimie K. Runyan are up for grabs! To enter, please use the GLEAM form below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on May 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Promised to the Crown
Interview
Aimie, welcome to my humble little blog.  It’s a pleasure to have you here!

It’s my pleasure, Diana! I’ve been a fan for a long time!
1)      How does it feel to hear the words “author” and “published” as descriptions about you?
·       Amazing! It all felt surreal for a very long time. I started using the term “author” when I landed my agent, the amazing Melissa Jeglinski, and it felt okay… but “published” didn’t become a reality for me until I held my first ARC in my hand. It was an ink and paper dream come true. I cried. Not dignified, calm movie tears. I ugly cried in my kitchen over the box (sorry to anyone who got a soggy copy!) I have to say it feels very comfortable, and the writing world won’t be getting rid of me for a long while yet!

2)      Can you tell us a little bit about how you came up with this idea?
·       I was in grad school, taking a class in Canadian Civilization and another course in Creative Writing, among other things. Taking a writing class has the wonderful effect of putting you into story hunting mode, and when the Canadian Civ professor mentioned the brave women who went to help found the French Canadian colony now known as Quebec, I knew I had a story. I wrote a short story, shelved it, and then ten years later, decided the rest of the story needed to be told!

3)      You present three different lead characters, and you give us insight into each one’s life.  It seems like quite a challenge, how were you able to stay “in character” for Elizabeth, Rose and Nicole?
·       It wasn’t always easy, but I tried to do myself some favors. I made them very different women with different backgrounds, interests and desires. They were so distinct from each other in my mind it helped keep them distinct on the page. That’s not to say it didn’t take a lot of work to make it come together. Elisabeth really was the character that came about in revision, while Rose was fairly strong early on.

4)      Without giving too much away, Elizabeth, Rose and Nicole need a new start.  Ultimately, I thought that this was a book about triumphant, what was your intention in creating these three very different women?
·       What I didn’t want to do was dive into the archives, find letters and journals, and tell one woman’s story. I wanted to show the experience of being a ‘King’s Daughter’ with a wider lens. The women were usually poor, but not always. They were usually orphaned, or at least fatherless. Two-thirds of them came from Paris, but the women from the countryside who had experience running farms were the most coveted brides. Ultimately, I wanted to show a cross-section of the women who decided to make the journey and the various options that awaited them in the colony.

5)      Through the circumstances they encounter, Elizabeth, Rose and Nicole, are bonded us a family.  Did you find that those sent by the crown had a difficult time adjusting to life in Canada?
·       I can only imagine it was dreadful for the women from Paris, young and unfamiliar with farm life, to adjust to the isolation of life on a homestead. It was a hard life under the best of circumstances. If a woman chose her husband poorly, it could mean her very life was at risk. Surviving a Canadian winter in a cabin with no neighbors for miles was not an endeavor a woman would want to undertake without a hard working and industrious husband!

6)      There is a theme of duty in your story. Duty to the crown and even their own religion, how did you find that this was both stifling and liberating for not only your characters but also other filles du roi?
·       Funny you mention that, since my next book is entitled Duty to the Crown (more on that later). I think it was absolutely a challenge for these women. In the 21st century, we have the luxury of considering our own needs first (if not always, at least often). In the 17th century, family, Church, and Crown came before everything. The decision to marry or bear children wasn’t a question of ensuring personal happiness (unless a person were exceedingly lucky—and even then, love matches were mocked). At the same time, I expect a lot of women jumped at the chance to go to Canada because there were a lot more freedoms. Women had a huge selection of suitors and could choose without their family’s interference. The nuns certainly advised the ladies on their choice, but it was their choice in the end. Social ranks, while still preserved, became fuzzier than in France, and a woman could ascend ranks with more ease than in her mother country.

7)      Manon was such a great addition to the three women the book centers around, did you have her character planned from the beginning?
·       No! She was a happy surprise! She began as a vessel to convey some information (I won’t tell you what—spoiler!) and to introduce the Native American population who lived very near the Quebec colony. I loved her from the get-go and Nicole did too, so we both adopted her J
)       What do your readers have to look forward to after “ Promised to the Crown”? 
·       The second book in the Daughters of New France series is called Duty to the Crown and will be coming out from Kensington Publishing on October 25th of this year. It takes place about five years after the conclusion of Promised to the Crown it follows the lives of my dear, dear Manon and two other friends you will meet in Promised—Claudine Deschamps and Gabrielle Giroux as they grow into young womanhood and continue on Rose, Elisabeth, and Nicole’s path in establishing the fledgling colony.

My Review:
Five Stars
Copy received from author and publisher for an honest review

"Promised to the Crown" by Aimie K. Runyan was a refreshing historical read.  Runyan takes us to Quebec during the 17the Century. First, I loved learning about this time period that I knew so little about! Second, I had no idea that french women, mostly women who were either orphans or in nunneries were called on by the king of France to settle into the new colony in Quebec.  Runyan takes us on this intense journey from France to Quebec with Rose, Nicole and Elizabeth.  Through the eyes of these three women, we experience their personal struggles and catch a glimpse of what life was like during these very extreme times!  Runyan is able to master three very distinct voices.  I never felt like the characters were the same and each one had her own very personal story. I can't help but say that Roses story was so heartbreaking for me.  I don't want to give too much away, but she had many obstacles to overcome.  Despite all the hardship that these three women encounter prior to traveling to Canada  and even after, the story felt like a story about survival and hope.  I hope that this is a time period that gets more attention because there were so many issues touched about: loyalty to the crown, a woman's place in french society and then in the colonies, the obstacles of establishing life in a new frontier.  Finally, and definitely not least,   I want to credit Runyan for introducing Manon. She gives us insight into the indigenous of this area and I cannot wait to see what she has in store for her! Next book is out in October 2016, "Duty to the Crown."


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