Who loved the movie The Man in the Iron Mask and Alexandre Dumas’s The Three Musketeers? Historical romance author, Sandra Kyle, was strongly influenced by the drama and swashbuckling romance of these stories when she crafted her own tale of King Louis XIV’s love for his favourite mistress. Today I’m talking to her about her new release, The Sun King, a lush, lyrical romance incorporating the intrigue and drama that surrounded France’s charismatic and longest reigning monarch.
It’s a story of passion and conflict with a most surprising but satisfying ending and I was delighted she took the time to answer a few questions.
Beverley: Congratulations, Sandra, on your new release, The Sun King! Getting a book published is a long and involved process and every writer’s journey is different. We’d love a glimpse at the behind-the-scenes process which saw you present this sumptuously detailed, unusual romance to the world.
Sandra: Thank you. I wrote The Sun King over sixteen years ago. It was mainly something for my own entertainment. I tend to daydream quite a bit. Storylines, plots, characters – they are always running around in my head. I got back into writing a year or so ago, finding it a great release. It became therapy and an escape from the unpredictable struggles life seemed to be throwing at me and my loved ones at a rather incessant pace. I dusted The Sun King off, fell back in love, and decided to try and share him with the world. I feel very lucky that Hartwood Publishing took a chance on it. It is not your typical HEA, but it is an erotic, historical romance.
Beverley: Please give us an insight into what piqued your fascination for the court of Louis IX and how you went about researching it?
Sandra: I watch a lot of movies. Period films always captivated me, especially anything with musketeers. I had seen the film The Man in the Iron Mask and then read the classic novel by Alexandre Dumas. That led me to begin researching Louis XIV. He is a fascinating historical character. His love of art, drama, theatre, fashion, and architecture had a significant cultural effect that still resonates today. I have to thank Jean Cooper, my editor over at Hartwood, with a lot of the research and getting things right. She took my story and helped me create the backbone it needed to be much more historically accurate to the time period.
Beverley: What were some of the surprises and snippets of fascinating history you’d like to tell us about?
Sandra: Louis XIV absolutely LOVED women, countless women, all hours of the day and night from what I researched. Not surprising when you think about men in power, but many just know King Louis from portraits of him in powdered wigs, looking fancy in his robes and pointy shoes. Learning about someone’s youth gives you a new perspective on what may have motivated them. Being called “God’s Gift” can definitely give someone a big head, and I’m sure Louis was no exception. But, he also became a very clever ruler. When there was concern that members of his court were getting too many ideas that might disrupt his reign, what did he do? Kept them all occupied and busy with mundane activities at Versailles, where he could keep an eye on them 24/7.
Beverley: I believe you’re toying with the idea of writing a prequel or expanding on certain characters in the book. We’d love a bit of a taster on whose story and what to expect.
Sandra: Well, for whoever may want to read the book, I don’t want to give too much away. But, The Sun King isn’t a book that I feel I could write a sequel for – I wouldn’t be happy with whatever finality I’d have to come up with for The Sun King and his treasure, Cecilia. Because The Sun King is written solely from Cecilia’s perspective, I’ve been wanting to get into the head of Louis. That would be a challenge. There are also two other ladies in Louis’s court that we met or heard about only briefly in The Sun King. I’ve been developing more of their backstory in my head and think they would make fascinating main characters.
Beverley: All right, so apart from your love of writing, what else occupies your time?
Sandra: Writing, reading, all kinds of movies. I wish I had the money and means to travel more, so maybe that will be my primary hobby in a few years once my career as an author takes off <grin>.
Beverley: And finally, Sandra, what’s next for you?
Sandra: I’ve just finished a contemporary romance, A Building Passion. Hope to have that published soon. And, of course, more writing.
Beverley: Many thanks for taking time to talk to us today, Sandra, and all the very best with A Building Passion and future books in the pipeline.
About the Author
Born to Italian parents, Sandra is a “first generation” American. Her parents came to America in search of a better life. Along with their dreams, they brought with them wonderful tales that Sandra recalls told time and time again around the kitchen table.
Though not sure where her love of writing originated, she can admit to having penned stories (i.e., fanfic) about New Kids on the Block back in the late 80s—scribbling pages and pages in notebooks shared before school by lockers and passed in between classes. It was fiction that included classmates and heartbreaking romance only a teenage girl filled with unbearable angst could summon.
An avid moviephile and introvert, Sandra reads anything from Austen to King. She is an east coast gal and currently resides (when not immersed in the fictional worlds that occupy her headspace) with her husband and bipolar feline.”