Today the spotlight shines on...................Madeleine Clavell
Golden Keyes Parson's In the Shadow of the Sun King received rave reviews and was a finalist in ACFW's Debut Book of the Year category. Golden's stories are set in one of my favourite historical periods and having studied the period extensively in both my secondary and tertiary education, it is dear to my heart! I can't wait to delve into her books.
Enjoy this look behind the scenes of the sequel, A Prisoner of Versailles - over to you, Golden:~
Brief physical description
Average height and weight, angular face with strong chin and high cheekbones, dark hair with titian highlights, blue-green eyes, olive skin.
The model on the cover of "Prisoner" is a pretty accurate depiction. Actors that I envision in the role are Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jacqueline Bissett, Julia Ormond or Sandra Bullock.
Strengths and weaknesses
Courage, strong will, love of family and strong faith
Stubborn, control issues, self-centered and manipulative
Quirk (if any)
I can't really think of any "quirk" that Madeleine has.
Your inspiration for the character
The inspiration for the character was my French Huguenot ancestor whose family, the Clavells, had to flee the Catholic persecution in France. However, my actual ancestor was born after the family fled France, but she was a strong woman of faith who eventually came to America as a widow with her children. The storyline between Madeleine and King Louis XIV is purely fictitious, but the history of the period is based on fact.
Background to the story
The Clavells were Huguenots (French Protestants) from southern France, and had served in King Louis' court when Madeleine was young. She and the king were childhood playmates, and as they grew into young teen-agers fell in love. When Madeleine's parents saw what was evolving between the two, they left court and settled into their estate in southern France. Madeleine met a young fellow Huguenot soon after that and they married, having a child quickly after their marriage.
The Edict of Nantes offered protection to the Huguenots from the Catholic government of France, but it had begun to wear thin. Louis started sending out dragoons to "convert" the Huguenots and if they refused, their children were taken from them and put into convents and monasteries to be "educated," and many of the men were sent to the galleys. Madeleine's friendship with Louis had offered her family protection, until now. Her husband, Francois, is sentenced to the galleys, Their daughter is kidnapped and taken to a convent, but her sons successfully escape under the care of her brother-in-law. Madeleine appeals to the king for leniency based on their past relationship to no avail, and the family escapes to Switzerland.
It is at this point that "Prisoner of Versailles" begins. Louis, having sent spies into Switzerland to ferret out the fleeing Huguenots (which he actually did), kidnaps Madeleine and her oldest son, Philippe, and brings them back to Versailles. He suspects Philippe is his son, and he attempts to persuade Madeleine to become one of his official mistresses.
Thanks Golden - what a fascinating story behind your characters and book!
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