Of all the countries I visited, France has always been my favorite, because of its rich culture and history, or maybe because I am fluent in French and have several friends living in Paris who always welcome me.
A few years ago, my husband rented a car and we toured the Loire Valley. I was impressed by the magnificence of the French chateaus. I visualized gallant aristocrats entertaining beautiful women in lavishly decorated galleries and plush gardens. Stories played in my mind. I don’t write historical romances but kept thinking about the settings.
A year later, while spending Christmas with my sister, my niece enthusiastically related her summer training in a French chateau. As an American student in Architecture from Harvard University, she was offered the unique opportunity to work on the restoration of a chapel in France.
When I asked with an ironic smile, “Was the owner a haughty old man?”
My niece answered: “He was a young, handsome count and the five girls in my team had a crush on him. He dated my friend.”
Oh, oh. Chateau. Handsome count. Training on a historical chapel. Maybe looking for a historical statue. I had an epiphany. Here was my story premise. When I pitched it to an agent at the RWA conference, she suggested I change the plot to make it a romantic suspense. I took her suggestion to heart and upped the stakes with a missing statue and the murder of a professor.
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HER FRENCH COUNT is also a part of the box set, Foreign Heroes