by Shana Galen
I often joke with my friends who are writers that I’ll work on my next project idea in my free time—between two and four a.m. It’s only a little bit of an exaggeration. Anyone who works at home knows there’s no such thing as ever being “off,” especially when one also has a small child who needs a great deal of attention.
But a year or so ago I decided I had to do something for me or else I would have nothing to give back to my family or my writing. I made a conscious effort to return to some of the hobbies I enjoyed before I was so busy with contracts and my young daughter. After all, my husband could hold down the fort a few times a month, and I could refill my creative well, so to speak.
The first thing I did was to join a fitness boot camp. I’d gotten out of shape and didn’t seem capable of motivating myself to work out, or at least work out very hard. I would go to the gym, work out for an hour, and not even break a sweat. Clearly, I was not going to push myself. That’s the beauty of boot camp. It starts at the insane hour of 5 a.m., and I’m done at 6, which is before most people even get up. There are always two personal trainers who take the group through a series of exercises. We run, do push-ups, sit-ups, hold planks, and just about every other cardio move you can think of. Every time I go, the work out is different. And when I don’t feel like working hard, the trainers yell at—I mean, motivate me. I’ve also made some great friends, and now we meet at 5 to run a few miles on the days when there is no boot camp. Crazy, right? But it’s my time, and after a year, I’ve come to look forward to those quiet, sweaty, morning hours.
The next thing I did was to join a book club. I wish I could find a book club that reads romance, but I settled for one who doesn’t only read literary fiction. It’s been fun to talk to other women about books and read several novels that I wouldn’t have picked up otherwise.
Finally, I joined a band. I majored in opera in college, and I’ve always loved to sing. There’s a band that plays during the contemporary service at church, and I joined as one of the singers. I can’t sing every week, but I try to make it once a month. It’s fun to learn new songs and hear them come together with the other singers and the full band.
As an author, I’m constantly finding ways in which my real life seeps into my fiction. I definitely think my focus on leisure was part of the inspiration for my Jewels of the Ton series, a trilogy about three glamorous Regency courtesans who get mixed up with some dangerous diamonds and some equally dangerous men. Who has more leisure time than a courtesan? How exciting it must have been to go to all the balls and social events, to attend the theater, and to shop for sumptuous gowns and sparkling jewels. I had a lot of fun picturing all the beautiful clothing and hairstyles my heroine Juliette in When You Give a Duke a Diamond would wear.
But the book would have been all of about twenty pages if that was the whole story. Juliette has a few secrets, and she is unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. She desperately needs the help of the sixth Duke of Pelham, and he would rather stay far, far away from her.
When You Give a Duke a Diamond was a really fun book to write. It’s no wonder I have so little time for leisure when I enjoy writing so much.
What do you like to do for fun? Anything unusual?
He had a perfectly orderly life…
William, the sixth Duke of Pelham, enjoys his punctual. securely structured life. Orderly and predictable—that's the way he likes it. But he's in the public eye, and the scandal sheets will make up anything to sell papers. When the gossips link him to Juliette, one of the most beautiful and celebrated courtesans in London, chaos doesn't begin to describe what happens next...
Until She Came Along
Juliette is nicknamed the Duchess of Dalliance, and has the cream of the nobility at her beck and call. It's seriously disruptive to have the duke who's the biggest catch on the Marriage Mart scaring her other suitors away. Then she discovers William's darkest secret and decides what he needs in his life is the kind of excitement only she can provide...
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SHANA GALEN is the bestselling author of Regency historicals, including the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice for The Making of a Gentleman. A former English teacher in Houston’s inner city, Shana now writes full time. She is happily married, with one daughter and a spoiled cat. If You Give a Rake a Ruby, the next exciting book in the Jewels of the Ton Series, hits stores in March 2013. For more information please visit www.shanagalen.com, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter, @ShanaGalen.