Friday, May 24, 2013

Dear Reader, today my French romance is published!

by Helena Fairfax

Today is a most exciting day for me.  It’s the day my first novel, The Silk Romance, is published, here at MuseItUp.  Everything about my journey to this day has been as thrilling as a ride on a roller coaster.

Where to begin with my story?  First of all, I’m a British author, and a long time ago I studied French at a university in England.  To improve my French, I spent a couple of wonderful months working as an au pair in the beautiful French city of Lyon.  I remember the time I spent there as amongst the happiest and most romantic of my life.   
Romantic Lyon

How different this hot and vibrant city was from the bleak northern English town I lived in.  In the bright southern sunshine, everything seemed to me intensely colourful: the two rivers, the Rhône and the Saône, gliding through the city; the market stalls with their ripe fruits; the cypress trees; the street cafés and the night-life.  It was a unique experience which stayed with me long after I returned home.
The river Saône, and Lyon's old town

When I came to write my first romance novel, I knew Lyon had to be the setting.  And it was easy to picture my French hero.  As an au pair, I lived in with my family, in a centuries old stone building overlooking the river and the city’s old town.  In the apartment above mine, on the top floor, lived the most handsome young man I’d ever seen in my life.  Tall, tanned, with the most piercing blue eyes, a devastating smile and a confident way of talking to me whenever we bumped into each other on the shadowy stone stairs. Sadly, my handsome crush was engaged to be married, and so my teenage longing remained from afar!  But now I have brought my romantic Frenchman to life, and he has his own role in the form of Jean-Luc, the charming hero of my novel.

A woollen mill in Yorkshire
 As for the glamorous silk industry, which also plays a large part in my story, many years after I left university I took a job in a woollen mill in West Yorkshire, England.  The weaving industry once played a major role in both Yorkshire and Lyon, but is now sadly a dying trade.  I thought it would be wonderful to revive Lyon’s once thriving silk industry, and so I made my hero the owner of a silk mill, producing wonderful textiles for opera houses, theatres and fashionable people around the world.

So there we have the setting and the hero.  And my heroine?  Sophie is exactly the type of female character I like to write, and to read about.  A young woman who is self-reliant, who has seen her share of tragedy in this life, who is compassionate, but not afraid of letting the hero know exactly what she thinks.

Here is the blurb to The Silk Romance:

Jean-Luc Olivier is a devastatingly handsome racing-driver with the world before him.  Sophie Challoner is a penniless student, whose face is unknown beyond her own rundown estate in London.  The night they spend together in Paris seems to Sophie like a fairytale—a Cinderella story without the happy ending. She knows she has no part in Jean-Luc’s future.  She made her dying mother a promise to take care of her father and brother in London.   One night of happiness is all Sophie allows herself. She runs away from Jean-Luc and returns to England to keep her promise.

Safely back home with her father and brother, and immersed in her college work, Sophie tries her best to forget their encounter, but she reckons without Jean-Luc.  He is determined to find out why she left him, and intrigued to discover the real Sophie.  He engineers a student placement Sophie can’t refuse, and so, unwillingly, she finds herself back in France, working for Jean-Luc in the silk mill he now owns.

Thrown together for a few short weeks in Lyon, the romantic city of silk, their mutual love begins to grow.  But it seems the fates are conspiring against Sophie’s happiness.  Jean-Luc has secrets of his own.  Then, when disaster strikes at home in London, Sophie is faced with a choicestay in this glamorous world with the man she loves, or return to her family to keep the sacred promise she made her mother.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this picture I’ve painted.  The Silk Romance is available now, today - yay!, in the Muse Bookstore and from Amazon, Kobo, Nook and other major e-tailers.

If you’d like to know more about my writing and books I love to read, please drop in at my blog,, or visit my Facebook page.  You can also follow me on Twitter, @helenafairfax.  I always love to meet new people! :) 

Thanks for calling in on the Muse blog and sharing my exciting day!


J.Q. Rose said...

So looking forward to reading this oh so romantic story. I can believe the Frenchman is quite the romantic. Congrats on you new release!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comment, J.Q. Rose. Hope you enjoy The Silk Romance as much as I'm enjoying your novel, Coda to Murder! Have a great weekend

Marsha said...

Congrats, Helena! Happy for you. Think you've got a winner here.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for coming by, Marsha. Hope you have a lovely holiday weekend!

Leona~Author said...

Hi Helena,

Sorry I'm so late responding to your post. Eye problems(allergy) are slowing me down.

I enjoyed reading about your time as an au pair in France and how it impacted your writing. It is romantic to read that a teen age crush helped shape your handsome hero.

Best of luck with The Silk Romance. It sounds like a winner to me.

Helena Fairfax said...

Thanks for coming by, Leona. I hope your eye problems are not affecting your writing too much.