The Orchid Affair comes out in paperback one week from today!
In honor of Orchid‘s upcoming paperback publication, here are some Fun Facts about The Orchid Affair.
— The Orchid Affair was inspired by a Susan Isaacs novel called Shining Through. Okay, if I’m being honest, it was inspired by the moviebased on the novel (oh, the shame!). I’d just finished writing The Temptation of the Night Jasmine and was vegging and channel-flipping when I stumbled upon Melanie Griffith undercover in the household of Nazi bigwig Liam Neeson. It seemed like a horrible waste of a Liam Neeson. What if he weren’t a Nazi? What if he were in Napoleonic France? What if…. You get the idea.
— Speaking of inspiration…. The Orchid Affair also owes a great deal to Raphael Sabatini’s Scaramouche(trust me, go with the book, not the movie!). Like my Andre Jaouen, the hero of Sabatini’s novel is a young lawyer with a sympathy for the principles of the Revolution. It was also from Sabatini that I stole– I mean, borrowed– the idea of using a traveling commedia dell’arte troupe as cover for a quick getaway.
— I began writing The Orchid Affair before The Mischief of the Mistletoe. I was a hundred pages into Orchid when I realized– in the middle of giving a talk about writing a series!– that I was writing the wrong book, not that it was wrong in the abstract (at least, I hope you don’t think it is), but that it was the wrong book for that point in the series. Penelope’s book, The Betrayal of the Blood Lily, had been heavy and dark and Orchid also tended towards the darker. I needed something light, to go in the middle. Something that tasted like Turnip. I went home, stopped off for a grande mocha frappuccino (it was the first warm day of May) and began work on Mistletoe, putting Orchid on hold for about six months.
On the plus side, that six month hiatus also gave me time to take a much needed research trip to Paris, where I changed a number of locations and plot points.
— In the final stretch of writing The Orchid Affair, in the spring of 2010, I listened over and over and over again to Abbie Barrett’s album, Dying Day. It was what got me through the last ten chapters. That, and lots of coffee. And brie and crackers. And the occasional gin and tonic.
— The writing of Orchid Affair also happened to coincide, almost exactly, with the class I taught at Yale (along with fellow Yalie Cara Elliott) on the origin and development of the Regency romance novel. I would hold office hours and teach on Mondays and then scurry back home to write for the rest of the week.
— My favorite description of Orchid Affair was “Jane Eyre meets James Bond”. This one is definitely more Jane Eyre than Jane Austen.
For more Fun Facts about Orchid, check out the Readers’ Guide at the back of the book. (For those who have the hardcover, I’ll post the Readers’ Guide Q&A here on Orchid Paperback Publication Day, so you don’t miss out!)