Yes, it’s here!
And I’m SO DAMN EXCITED. Like, run around the house doing a Kermit flail excited with added French champagne to make things even more fizzy and fun.
Have you seen The French Prize in the shops? Let me know if you have or, even better, take a happy snap and share it with me on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter via @CathrynHein so we can giggle over it together.
Speaking of giggles, to celebrate this most fantabulous of adventure romances hitting the shelves, I’ve compiled, just for you…
TEN SECRET THINGS ABOUT THE FRENCH PRIZE
1/. The original title of The French Prize was…
I know, I know.
So after ‘that’ book’s release it earned itself the prefix The Unfortunately Titled which kept me in laughs while I went through the agonising process of trying to think up a new name. It was then called Legacy, and about thirty other things, until we settled on The French Prize.
2/. The ruined chateau, where Olivia discovers La Tasse du Chevalier Gris, was inspired by ones I visited around Provence during our time there, including those at Les Beaux and Vaison la Romaine. Olivia’s, though, is perched even higher and on a sheerer outcrop for added danger.
3/. Raimund was chosen as the hero’s name because it means protector. Very fitting on several levels, which you’ll understand when you read the book.
4/. The image in my mind of Olivia came from a photo I saw back in the 80s in a horse book called Bruce Davidson, World Champion of Eventing by Sally O’Connor. The photo was of his Olympic teammate Torrance Fleischmann in profile, staring coolly into the distance. For some reason the image stuck with me through the years until she gained life in Olivia.
Weird, but true.
5/. The opening five pages of The French Prize (then called Shades of Grey), won the Romance Writers of New Zealand Meet the Editor competition back in 2008. Which was wonderful. Except that the judging editor wanted to see the full manuscript and all I had was five pages!
I still have the winning rosette in my collection.
6/. Christiane and Edouard Rosec, who are Raimund’s godparents in The French Prize, share the first names of my neighbours when we lived in France. Gorgeous people too.
7/. Raimund’s (rather sexy) looks were inspired by French actor Grégory Fitoussi. I was watching the first series of the French television show Spiral (Engrenages) at the time of writing and had a bit of a crush on him, as you do.
Fitoussi also played the C130 pilot that carted Brad Pitt around in World War Z.
8/. The Rosec’s house at Rognes is based on a friend’s who lived in the village. The cellars were amazing, although not quite as amazing as those in The French Prize.
9/. I listened a lot to the Scissor Sisters’ song Return To Oz while writing. I have no idea why… It’s hardly French!
But I ADORE the Scissor Sisters and own every album. They’re great fun.
10/. The French Prize was initially going to be a Harlequin romance for their Intrigue line. But deep down I knew that was never going to work (writing Harlequin/Mills & Boon category romances is BLOODY HARD, and don’t let anyone ever tell you any different). I gave up on the idea at the end of the first chapter.
What makes me smile about this now is that The French Prize turned out to be published by Harlequin anyway, but through MIRA, their mainstream women’s fiction imprint.
And here’s a bonus number eleven because I can’t help but talk about food.
11/. All the meals that Christiane cooks for Raimund are some of my French favourites, from salade de chevre chaud to petit farcis, moules and hachis parmentier.
Read ‘em and drool!
I hope you had fun with my eleven secret things. And I hope you have even more fun with The French Prize.
Itching to buy it now? Then get clicking! I will love you forever…
Wishing you an adventurous time!