Her Own Revolution: Château de Verzat Series
by Debra Borchert
I am delighted to welcome Debra Borchert
to Escape With Dollycas today!
Incorporating Mystery in a Romance
by Debra Borchert
I didn’t start out writing a romance, but when Geneviève, my heroine, removes the name of Louis LaGarde, a man she thought she hated, from the list of people sentenced to the guillotine, I wondered why on earth she would do such a thing. While impersonating her older brother to attend University, Geneviève embarrassed LaGarde before the entire class. Later, he exposed her as a woman with the blade of his sword and called her a salope (basically a whore).
Geneviève really didn’t know why she was risking her life to save his, but she visited him in prison to tell him the good news.
LaGarde rebuffs her, claiming that a quick death is preferrable to rotting in prison and if she doesn’t get him out of prison, hell report her, and she’ll beat him to the guillotine.
Geneviève deeply regrets her actions. The mystery of why she bothered with this bully stumped her and me. And when LaGarde admits to being an arrogant bully and asks why she was helping him, she must give an answer.
When writing, we often make things difficult for our characters to create conflict and action. But what happens when the character doesn’t know why she did what she did?
Like a detective, I searched for clues to solve the mystery. I discovered Geneviève longs to have the same rights as a man, and therefore dresses and acts as one. I also learned Geneviève is a caring and loving half-sister to her baby brother and makes sacrifices for him, demonstrating nurturing maternal instincts.
Geneviève believes in and supports the Revolution, but she doesn’t believe that a person deserves to die just for being born a noble. Replacing LaGarde’s name with one already dead undermines the very government she supports. Nonetheless, LaGarde had been cruel to her, and anyone would understand her not wanting to help him. But she does. Why?
I examined the image that inspired me to create Louis LaGarde.
A handsome, masculine devil of noble bearing. Yet, something in his eyes made me feel he was tender, caring, and honorable. Might Geneviève be attracted to him?
I received an immediate denial, which is the first step in a romance novel.
I reviewed the scene in which LaGarde discovers she is a woman and saw that the only means Geneviève possessed to defend herself was her words. She threatened LaGarde with her father’s name. For everyone in Paris knew the man, Antoine Fouquier-Tinville, sent hundreds to the guillotine, often after the prisoner endured hours of torture performed by the executioner.
Geneviève realizes that although she dressed as a man, she hadn’t acted as one. And she appreciates LaGarde treated her as he would any other man who was beneath his social station, and for that she is grateful. But she did not fight fairly. She used her father’s name.
Although not known to her at the time she substituted another’s name for LaGarde’s, she came to understand she felt guilty for not playing fair. And saving his life was her way of making up for her transgression. She admits to not being fair and apologizes to LaGarde.
Was the mystery solved? No. Authors must make more difficulties and mysteries for their characters or the book ends with the solution.
LaGarde demands one more favor. He promises he will go to the guillotine instead of his mistress, Magdeleine, if Geneviève can save her, for she, too, is imprisoned awaiting execution until she gives birth to their child.
Geneviève finds herself facing another insurmountable hurdle, despite being the daughter of the only man in France with the power to release Magdeleine. Strangely, Geneviève is touched by LaGarde’s sacrifice and his obvious love for his mistress and their child. A seed of fondness is planted, another emotion for Geneviève to wrestle.
By solving the mysteries of my characters’ actions, I was able to create a journey that not only inspired, but also entertained me, and hopefully my readers. I couldn’t wait to solve the next one.
I could not understand why, after Geneviève broke LaGarde out of prison, he refuses to help her. She despises him for his selfishness, another great stepping stone in a romance. And poor Geneviève must endure her warring emotions until she herself, is sentenced to the guillotine. I’ll let the readers of Her Own Revolution solve that mystery.
Thank you, Debra, for visiting today.
Now, keep reading for more info about Debra’s new book.
About Her Own Revolution
Her Own Revolution: Château de Verzat Series
2nd in Series
Setting – Paris and a Loire Valley vineyard during the French Revolution
Le Vin Press (July 14, 2023)
Paperback : 422 pages
ISBN-10 : 0989454576
ISBN-13 : 978-0989454575
Digital Print length : 364 pages
ASIN : B0BYKFQGLG
A Woman Forges a Treacherous Path to Save Hundreds from the Guillotine
If Geneviève Fouquier-Tinville had the same rights as a man, she wouldn’t have to dress like one, which she does to attend University—forbidden to women. By swearing her commitment to the revolution, she succeeds in convincing her father, the Public Prosecutor who condemns thousands to the guillotine, to hire her as a court clerk. But she intends to earn passage to join her lover, Henri, in America.
Tasked with copying lists of names scheduled for execution, she reads Louis LaGarde, a fallen noble whom she despises for having exposed her as a woman when they both attended University. Believing him innocent, she replaces his name with one already dead, saving his life. But she realizes that unless she forges a treacherous path, hundreds more will perish at her father’s hands.
When a Revolutionary hunts her down, she must accept LaGarde’s help, yet she denies her attraction to him out of loyalty to Henri. She fights for her life and the lives of those she’s come to love, but she must face the truth of her own heart.
About Debra Borchert
Debra’s debut novel, Her Own Legacy, is the first in a series that follows headstrong and independent women and the four-hundred loyal families who protect a Loire Valley château and vineyard, and its legacy of producing the finest wines in France during the French Revolution. Her Own Revolution is the second book in the Château de Verzat series. A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, she weaves her knowledge of textiles and clothing design throughout her historical French fiction. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family and standard poodle who is named after a fine French Champagne.
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