Interview with Gaelen Foley (2012); english
Gaelen Foley has been an integral part of the romance sector for the past few years. Her historicals have captured readers’ hearts and minds and brought with them laughter and fun. (Photo: Copyright Gaelen Foley)
Thank you for taking the time for this interview.
Thank you for the opportunity! I’m very happy to join you today.
For your “Ascension”-trilogy playing in the invented kingdom Amanthea you set the plot in a European country. Is it easier for you to think of royals in Europe because you don’t have any in America? What is the appeal of that?
I think in America we really enjoy the pageantry of the Old World and love the fairytale feeling of bygone days, but only in our entertainment—books and movies, etc. In the real world, any American would be offended at the idea that a certain class of people are better than us just by virtue of their birth. Noooo way. LOL.
Artistically, however, I see another dimension to all this. To me, I’ve always felt that royal or aristocratic characters appeal to us so much in stories because they are actually serving as a metaphor for the self—the individual. Every little girl sees herself as a princess, for example, and deep in that part of our hearts that works of fantasy and imagination speak to, we retain our childlike sense of possibility.
While the adult world may slowly grind us down over the years, stories with royal or aristocratic protagonists refresh that part of us that still believes we’re a princess in our own way, still believes in our own uniqueness and the unlimited potential we have inside. That’s how I see it, anyway.
Your novels mostly play in regency England. What about the time and place fascinates you?
It’s interesting, in some ways the Regency holds up a mirror to our time, while in others, it’s the opposite of our time. Either way, there’s a lot of richness there for a writer to draw from. I see the Regency as the quintessential romantic period. It was a time of war, and a time of change in so many areas of life. In the public arena, the industrial revolution was gathering steam (pun intended, ha ha), while in private life, people were starting for the first time to demand marriages based on love instead of just practical or dynastic reasons.
It was also a golden age of arts and letters, from Beethoven’s “Eroica” to Jane Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice,” from Canova’s sculptures to Turner’s paintings, to the grand architectural heritage of so many of England’s country houses. It was also a time of chivalry and beautiful manners, which is something that I think many of us pine for in our often-rude world—a little elegance and gentility. Wouldn’t it be nice to bring back a little of that civility? I certainly think so!
You already have very many novels and thus characters in families with their ties. How do you keep track of them?
I keep pretty good notes for each book and try to stay organized as I work. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way early in my career. I was always the artsy, creative type, but very unorganized—creative chaos! Well, I ended up wasting a lot of time having to stop and go back and hunt down the scrap of information from a previous story that I needed to use in the sequel. I also was terrible at keeping my historical research organized, but that’s another whole matter!
Now I know that I have to be creative AND efficient. So now I keep previous books in the series close at hand with Post It Notes in them bookmarking passages with important information, such as descriptions of characters or the layout of houses, or key plot points, so that I can refer back to them quickly and easily and keep the series accurate. I don’t want anyone’s eyes changing color halfway through the series or forget a major plot twists that need to be addressed from a previous book! It can definitely be confusing and there’s so much information to keep track of that it can quickly spiral out of control if you don’t manage it as you write, file things correctly, track ideas in one place, etc.
Has it become easier to write novels in the regency period since you already wrote so much playing there?
Very much so. Now I don’t have to look up every little thing. It also helps me judge which story ideas would even work in the period or which would be impossible given the strictures of the period. Frankly, it’s a relief to be able to focus more on the storytelling without taking all the breaks to hunt for research. I’m very glad I took the time to build a base of knowledge over the years.
Many authors switch to young adult or paranormal novels. You co-write with your husband under the name E.G. Foley literature for children/middle graders. “The Lost Heir” is the first in The Gryphon Chronicles. What is it about and would it be exciting for your romance readers, too?
Well, here’s how The Reading Café described it: “THE LOST HEIR is a wonderful novel in the same vein as Harry Potter …A magical storyline with non-stop action and fairy-tale creatures blended with the reality that was Queen Victoria’s England.”
So it’s in the “Harry Potter” genre – magical boy adventures for the whole family.
It’s got fairies and ghosts and water nymphs, a talking spider, a couple of witches and their spells. It’s so much fun! Here’s the back cover blurb:
Jake is a scrappy orphaned pickpocket living by his wits on the streets of Victorian London. Lately he’s started seeing ghosts, and discovers he can move solid objects with his mind! He has no idea why. Next thing he knows, a Sinister Gentleman and his minions come hunting him. On the run for his life, Jake is plunged headlong into a mysterious world full of magic and deadly peril. A world that holds the secret to who he really is: the long-lost heir of an aristocratic family—with magical powers!
But with treacherous enemies closing in, it will take all of his wily street instincts and the help of his friends—both human and magical— to solve the mystery of what happened to his parents, and defeat the foes who never wanted the Lost Heir of Griffon to be found . . .
I’ve heard from a lot of my romance fans who have read it and enjoyed it even though they are adult women! Then they pass it on to their kids, and the kids love it, too. We just really wanted to create something that was “good clean fun” for all ages. It’s got appeal for both boys and girls. The only thing is, it’s not translated into German at this time, unfortunately. That may be possible in the future. For now, it’s only in English. If you’d like to learn more about it or read sample chapters, visit www.EGFoley.com.
How was it to work with your husband?
Pure joy! Writing together has made the whole creative process even more fun for me—and has brought Eric and me even closer together in our relationship. He is a teacher, so he has learned over the years how to keep kids entertained and engaged. Combined with my experience as a writer, I think we bring both of our strengths and put them together and come out with something that is greater than the sum of its parts!
Which of your characters has been your favorite? And with whom would you like to spend some time chatting?
Oh, that’s a hard one! I think it would be fun to go on an adventure with any of my Inferno Club heroes. Especially if they weren’t wearing a shirt, ha, ha.
It would also be fun to spend some time chatting with one of the stars of my children’s book—Gladwin, the feisty royal garden fairy.
Your novel “Mein verwegener Duke” (My Dangerous Duke) includes pieces of the fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast”. Was that planned from the beginning and can we look forward to more fairy tale-inspired romances?
Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairytales, since it’s all about the healing power of love—my favorite theme. So, yes, it was on purpose to play with that theme. I think bits of fairytales show up in a lot of my books whether I plan it or not, to tell you the truth! They just come out of my subconscious, I guess!
Thank you again! I look forward to the next novel from the “The Inferno Club”-series.
Thank you so much for having me! This was fun. The next Inferno Club book will be Jordan’s story. I don’t have a release date for it at this time, but it will be coming. I also am not sure what the title will be in German, but in English, it’s called My Irresistible Earl. Hope you’ll look for it, and thank you again!
Best wishes to you all, and have a happy holiday season.