Author Interview with Karleen Koen + 2 Copy Giveaway of Before Versailles: A Novel of Louis XIV

I've been a huge fan of author Karleen Koen's ever since reading Through A Glass Darkly and Now Face to Face and now she is back with a new novel titled Before Versailles: A Novel of Louis XIV that is out in stores today!  I recently had the pleasure of reading Before Versailles and it was unputdownable!

Today I am thrilled to bring you an interview with Karleen Koen and with thanks to Random House I have 2 copies of Before Versailles to give away.  It was a treat and a pleasure to have the opportunity to interview one of my idols and I hope you enjoy it.

Now, on to the interview....

I see that you dedicated Before Versailles to X and Louise de Vailliere. Is it safe to assume that X is for the Man in the Iron Mask and what made you decide to dedicate this novel to Louise de Valliere?

X isn't for the man in the iron mask, but I love the idea, so now, thanks to you, the man in the iron mask is part of X. I think Louise de la Valliere was so important to Louis XIV's growth as a king. She was the "wing beneath his wings." And she is underrated by history because she was kind, tender hearted, secretly ashamed to be a married man's lover and so not grasping the mistress en titre's power. The nobles were like wolves, waiting for her to fall from the mountaintop, nipping at her, ready to devour. They despised her not being willing to step into the spotlight. They couldn't understand gentleness. Louis XIV was shy, too. The sweetness in their love affair touched me as I did research.

Louis XIV took the unusual approach of governing France as an absolute monarch, unlike his father who relied heavily on his councilors to run the country. Why do you think Louis decided on this course and how did it affect his reign?

He was guided in his formative years by an able politician, Cardinal Mazarin, who asked that a young Louis sit in on council meetings. And Louis was the child of both civil war and war with Spain. I think he grasped early on human nature and of the corruption of power. I think Mazarin saw his potential and did whatever possible for it to bloom in its time. The combination of Louis's stamina, intelligence and determination was formidable. And don't forget, he was helped by the extraordinary Colbert. Colbert must not be underrated in the creation of an absolute monarchy.

Did you travel to research Before Versailles? If so, what place was the most inspiring that you visited and why?

I've been to Versailles before, but since this novel isn't set there, I went, instead, to the palace of Fontainebleau because that's where Before Versailles takes place, where the actual historical events took place. The king spent the summer at Fontainebleau in 1661.

You've stated that the idea for Before Versailles was in your head for quite some time before you actually wrote it, what was it that made you decide to finally put idea to paper?

When I gave up on writing a Louis XIV (actually a story about the women) and let Alice and Richard have Dark Angels, I took a piece of history, Madame and the treaty of 1670, and used it for the plot in Dark Angels. When Dark Angels was finished, I realized that the reason I couldn't write the Louis XIV/women in his life story was that it was too large. I had to break it in pieces. I had broken a piece off for Dark Angels, which is, oddly enough, the sequel to Before Versailles, only it was written first!

Once I understood pieces, I had my story.

This may be too soon to ask, but what is the next project you are working on? Will it be a sequel to Before Versailles?

Well, as I said above, I have really already written the sequel. But there is more to the story. I think I'm working on another Alice and Richard story set in the 1670s. I don't know how much Louis XIV will be in it, but some because it's set in France. At least, right now, it is.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Read Dwight Swain's Techniques of the Selling Writer. It's the best, most practical writing technique book out there. Remember a draft is exploration. Embolden your imagination. Take chances.

What book would you like to re-read for the first time again?

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Who are your writing influences?

Louisa May Alcott, Mary Stewart, Winston Graham, Daphne du Maurier, Georgette Heyer.

Can you tell us something about yourself that may surprise people?

I'd love to be a florist. 

Thanks to Karleen for spending time with us on Passages to the Past!

For more information please visit Karleen Koen's WEBSITE.



Louis XIV is one of the best-known monarchs ever to grace the French throne. But what was he like as a young man—the man before Versailles?

After the death of his prime minister, Cardinal Mazarin, twenty-two-year-old Louis steps into governing France. He’s still a young man, but one who, as king, willfully takes everything he can get—including his brother’s wife. As the love affair between Louis and Princess Henriette burns, it sets the kingdom on the road toward unmistakable scandal and conflict with the Vatican. Every woman wants him. He must face what he is willing to sacrifice for love.

But there are other problems lurking outside the chateau of Fontainebleau: a boy in an iron mask has been seen in the woods, and the king’s finance minister, Nicolas Fouquet, has proven to be more powerful than Louis ever thought—a man who could make a great ally or become a dangerous foe . . .

Meticulously researched and vividly brought to life by the gorgeous prose of Karleen Koen, Before Versailles dares to explore the forces that shaped an iconic king and determined the fate of an empire.


- To enter, please leave a comment below and include your email address (only comments with email addresses will be entered in the giveaway).
- Giveaway is open to US and CANADA entries ONLY!
- For +5 additional entries become a follower of Passages to the Past. If you are already a follower you will automatically receive the bonus entries.
- For +1 additional entry each, please help spread the word by blogging, posting on sidebar, tweeting or posting this giveaway on Facebook.  You can use the SHARE buttons below.
- Giveaway ends on July 10th.




  1. Would love to win!

    Old Follower on GFC

    littleone AT shaw DOT ca

  2. I'd love to win this one!!

  3. Fantastic giveaway! I am already a follower:)

  4. Fantastic Giveaway! I am already a follower :)


  5. Loiuse sounds so out of place in the French Court. I follow you and I shared on my blog,


  6. This book looks so good! I am already a follower.

  7. Like you, I loved Through a Glass Darkly, and her other books in that series. I'd love to read this latest novel. Thanks for the giveaway.

  8. I've been waiting for this one- thanks for the giveaway!

    I'm a follower!

  9. I'm dying to read this! Through a Glass Darkly is one of my all-time faves! Please enter me:

  10. I've wanted to read Karleen Koen for ages! I'm a follower, and my email is

  11. Thanks for the interview and giveaway! I've had my eye on this one for a while. :)

    I'm an old GFC follower.


    susanna DOT pyatt AT student DOT rcsnc DOT org

  12. I don't need to enter as I am about to pick this one up. I can't wait to read it!

  13. Great giveaway.

    I am a new follower (found you through goodreads).

    Just so you know it is your fault my tbr pile has grown in leaps and bounds the past few days :)

  14. Great interview! I'm so excited about the release of this book!

    Thank you for the entry!



    Old follower via GFC


  15. Ahhh! Includes Canada! yeah! I literally danced in my chair! I really want this one! Thanks! I'm a follower!


  16. My favorite part of Dumas' The Vimcomte of Braggelone was Louise and Louis romance :) I'd love to read this




  17. Sounds like a great read.
    I am a follower on GFC +5
    melanieinoh2003 at yahoo dot come

  18. I'd love the opportunity to win this novel. Thanks!

    I'm already a follower.


  19. Ooohhh I would LOVE to win this book! Thanks so much for the awesome giveaway!

    I am a follower. :-)

    tiger_fan_1997 AT yahoo DOT com

  20. I had an opportunity to visit Fontainebleu when I lived in Paris and I loved it. I can't wait to read a story set there.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    I am a GFC follower.

  21. I cannot wait to read this book! Thanks, as always, for the opportunity to win a copy (my husband and our bank account thanks you :)).

  22. I shared on Facebook (Colleen Turner).

  23. I would love to read this book.

  24. What an amazing giveaway Amy! I would so love to get my hands on this one!

    Long time follower on GFC

  25. Thanks for this great interview and the giveaway! I have been waiting for this title to come out, looking forward to reading it! Emma @ Words And Peace

  26. This looks like a great read!
    Long time GFC follower.


  27. I tweeted the giveaway!


  28. I'm writing about Fontainebleau myself, so I'd love to read this one! Thanks, Amy. I'm a follower.

    juliannedouglas05 AT sbcglobal DOT net

  29. Am now following your awesome blog. :) Thanks for the chance to win this great would be read by me, my 15 and 21 year old daughters. We love to read and stay outside on the front porch at night engrossed in good books. :) Nothing better than summer reading!!!!

  30. Can't wait to read this book!

    Lauren.Minton AT

  31. I love Karleen Koen's books and will always remember "Through a Glass Darkly" as one of my very favorite reads. Having lived in Paris for many years, I had the opportunity to visit both Versailles and Fountainebleau numerous times. Thus, I became quite
    fascinated with French history. I would so much love to be the winner of this terrific book.

    Connie Fischer

  32. I would love to read this, it sounds really good.

    I am a old gfc follower.

  33. I would love to read this book. I love history. Please enter me in contest.

  34. Great interview! I read Through a Glass Darkly and loved it! Poor Barbara, my heart went out to her.
    Thanks for the contest!

    +5 old skool follower :)

  35. I quite enjoyed the interview, and thanks for offerring this giveaway.

    I am a follower.

    valleau suddenlink "dot" net

  36. This sounds like a book I would really enjoy! Thank you for the giveaway!
    I follow on GFC
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  37. I have been following your blog since the Stone Age (it was painted on the cave wall!) I have read all of Ms. Koen's books annd love her. I tweeted (@SoftFuzzySweater) Facebooked (Anne Harder Fescharek) and GFCed again!


  38. Oh, I would love to read this book! Thanks for the giveaway!

  39. Please enter me.
    +5, I'm a GFC follower.

    niteofblu at gmail dot com

  40. When I commented yesterday I failed to mention that I am a Google Reader follower, and I'd like the 5 extra chances to win this book. Thanks.

  41. Loved Through A Glass Darkly, can't wait to read Before Versailles

  42. I LOVE Karleen Koen -- thanks for the chance to win a copy of her latest! I really want to read Before Versailles.

    I'm an old GFC follower (as Jessica M.).

    And I tweeted:!/crazylilcuban/status/86140698172194816

    jmartinez0415 [at] gmail [dot] com

  43. Discovered a new author day :) Sounds like a fascinating read, full of history, culture and sacrifices.


  44. I want to read this book so very much. I can't imagine not wanting to read it!

    old GFC follower


  45. I've never understood how I can become a follower! Can someone explain it, I've looked everywhere for a button saying "follow Passages to the Past" and can't find one anywhere.

  46. I shared this giveway on Twitter. My Twitter name is Carolee888. Giveaway of 'Before Versailles A Novel on Louis XIV'


  47. Hi Beth - you can become a follower by going to the upper right hand corner of the sidebar and where it says "Fabulous Followers" and underneath that is a FOLLOW button. Just click on that and follow the prompts and POOF you are an official follower of PTTP! Thank you so much for your interest and for following PTTP!

  48. This sounds like a great read. I am a follower of your blog via GFC & Google Reader.

  49. I shared on my profile page of Facebook:!/profile.php?id=1802916392


  50. This sounds like a great book! Thanks for the giveaway and for listing it on Goodreads so I could discover this wonderful site!

    New GFC follower :)

    jwitt33 at live dot com

  51. Thanks for the chance to win.

    mkbrow AT sbcglobal DOT net

  52. mmm, yes, rebecca is worth a re-read!
    would love to read this book too!
    vvb32 at

  53. I loved this interview -- esp since Koen wants to reread Rebecca -- that's a desert island favorite of mine!!

  54. I want in!!

    + 5 - for being a follower

    +1 - blog

    + 1 - Twitter!/ninoskasua/status/86273692463665153

    +1 - Facebook!!!/ninoskasuarez


  55. Rena

    I devoured Dark Angles and I'm so intrigued by Karleen's new novel about Louis XIV and his early life before the building of the great palace and later reign. I'm a long time follower of this blog and shared on my facebook wall about this fantastic giveaway.

  56. Would love to read this book. Sounds like alot of fun!

    Whitby1734 at aol dot com

    +5 follower

  57. I love her books!

    Shared on Twitter.
    Shared on Facebook.
    Following this blog!


  58. I would love to win this one! Please enter me :)

    I became a follower
    Shared on Twitter
    Shared on Facebook



  59. Thank you for a very exciting giveaway! I've been a fan of hers since Through a Glass Darkly. I am a follower through your RSS feed.

  60. +1 Thanks for the giveaway! I would love to read this.
    +5 I already follow via gfc as mamabunny13
    +1 I shared this giveaway on fb-mamabunny shelor

    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  61. Thanks for helping me, Amy! Please enter me, as you know I can provide a US address!

    beth-martin AT live DOT com

    +1 I Tweeted... but I lost the individual tweet page - it always closes itself before I can click "view it here"! :( How do I link you to an individual tweet cause I'm on my twitter home page and trying to figure this out!

    +5 I became a Follower! :) I used my twitter profile to follow as I don't use facebook a lot and I'm not on Yahoo or Google.

  62. I'm just starting to read more historical fiction set in France, and this one in particular sounds fascinating! Thanks for all these giveaways! :~)

  63. Fantastic giveaway!


    Old follower!

  64. I would love to have a copy of Before Versailles! I treasure my hardback copies of Through a Glass Darkly, Now Face to Face, and Dark Angel! They are on my "keeper" shelves!

  65. Email: vivelaqueen[at]

    I'm following the blog, and I've posted about the giveaway here!

    Thanks for hosting a giveaway! :)

  66. Old GFC follower.

    This sounds like a fascinating book. I recently read a book about Louis and would love to learn more .

    onebookshy at yahoo dot com

  67. I'm always interested in the writing process even though I will never be a writer. I find it very interesting that the sequel was written first. =)
    I'm a follower.
    tiredwkids at live dot com

  68. I just become a follower, love this blog!

  69. would love a chance to win! thx for entering me!

    sensitivemuse at gmail dot com

  70. Sounds like an awesome book! :D

  71. Looks like I got back from vacation just in time ;) Great post and this book sounds wonderful and another must read to go on my never-ending list! To think I actually got 4 books read on vacation and then I come back and find another 4 (or more ;) to Thanks Amy and Karleen for another intriguing post/book to read. Fondly, Roberta

  72. Yes I'm already a follower of PthP.

  73. Just shared this giveaway on Facebook and Twitter.

  74. Just posted this giveaway on my blog's sidebar:


  75. I love anything having to do with the French Revolution. I would love to win this book.

  76. Loved Through a Glass Darkly. This one looks even better.

    booknutsreadingclub @

  77. I love reading historical books and would love to win this giveaway.

    I am a new follower to your blog.

  78. I'm currently reading Through a Glass Darkly and would love to read this one as well. Please count me in for the giveaway, thanks.

    +5 I'm also a follower


    Nunezbella at hotmail dotcom

  79. I'd love to read this! I follow on Facebook, and I follow your page...

    teabird17 atyahoodotcom

  80. This is definitely been a book I've been wanting to read. And I just became a follower!

  81. This looks like a marvelous book to read. Please enter me.

    I am already a follower-judy



Related Posts with Thumbnails

Passages to the Past
All rights reserved © 2013

Custom Blog Design by Blogger Boutique

Blogger Boutique