Passages to the Past welcomes the lovely Catherine Delors!
Catherine is here today with a guest post in honor of the July 5th paperback release of her novel, For the King and thanks to Penguin Publishing, I have a 2 copy giveaway!
Take it away, Catherine...
FOR THE KING, or what’s in a title?
Some writers are blessed with the gift of finding titles easily. I am not one of those, and I sometimes feel that coming up with a title is the hardest part of bringing a novel to fruition.
For my debut novel, MISTRESS OF THE REVOLUTION, finding a title involved much brainstorming with my friends, my agent, Stephanie Cabot, and my publisher, Penguin. FOR THE KING, which was just released in paperback, likewise went through several names.
The first one that came to mind was CHRISTMAS EVE ASSASSINS. It was the most obviously descriptive: the novel tells the story of a group of men and women who conspire to detonate a bomb on the path of Napoléon’s carriage on Christmas Eve 1800. But the title lacked something, and had a rather unfortunate “Bad Santa” connotation.
I found NIVOSE very evocative: it is the name of the month in the revolutionary calendar that corresponds to the end of December and much of January. In the calendar used at the time of the plot, the attempt on Napoléon’s life took place on the 3rd of Nivose, Year Nine of the French Republic. The word Nivose itself is based on the Latin word for snow. The novel takes place over a few months, in the bitter cold of a Parisian winter. But, as my agent pointed out, how many readers would make the same connections as I to snow, cold, winter, post-revolutionary Paris? She had an excellent point. Exit NIVOSE.
I very much liked PAINTERS AND ASSASSINS as a title. As I was researching and writing the novel, I was amazed to discover many unexpected connections between the assassins and painters, famous and obscure, historical and fictional. From the great artist Jacques-Louis David to the killer Limoélan, painters kept cropping up at every turn of the plot. I also like the sound of PAINTERS AND ASSASSINS, the rhythm of it. But I seemed to be the only one taken by it.
So finally, FOR THE KING came to mind. For one thing, the assassins act “for the King” (Louis XVIII, younger brother of Louis XVI) or so they believe. Actually the result they achieved was to comfort Napoléon’s grip on power. But they were convinced that they were sacrificing their lives, and many others besides, for the King. There was another reason why FOR THE KING worked: in the novel, it is the code name of one of the assassins. Which one? I am not telling…
ABOUT THE BOOK
The Reign of Terror has ended six years earlier, and Napoléon Bonaparte has seized power, but shifting political loyalties still tear apart families and lovers.
On Christmas Eve 1800, a bomb explores along Bonaparte’s route, narrowly missing him but striking dozens of bystanders. Chief Inspector Roch Miquel, a young policeman with a bright future and a beautiful mistress, must arrest the assassins before they attack again. Complicating Miquel’s investigation are the maneuverings of his superior, the redoubtable Fouché, the indiscretions of his own father, a former Jacobin, and two intriguing women.
For The King takes readers through the dark alleys and glittering salons of post-revolutionary Paris. It is a romantic thriller, a tale of love, betrayal and redemption.
Catherine Delors was born and raised in France. She graduated from the University of Paris-Sorbonne School of Law and became the youngest member of the Bar of Paris at the age of twenty-one.
She later moved to the United States and passed the California Bar. She worked at a few large American law firms before setting up a solo practice following the birth of her son.
She now splits her time between London and Paris, while remaining a partner in an international law firm based in Los Angeles.
Catherine is the author of Mistress of the Revolution and For the King. Catherine is currently writing on a third novel, a prequel to Mistress of the Revolution. She is also researching a fourth one, which shall revolve about Jane Austen and her French connections.
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GOOD LUCK TO ALL!