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Extras for Secrets and Vows series
Listen to some "behind the scenes" audio
or read the transcripts below.
Enjoy my essay "Why I Love the Middle Ages."




cover of Compromised cover of On Her Warrior's Secret Mission
"Historical Rules for Heroines"
Transcript
"The Evolution of Characters"
Transcript ~ SPOILERS
cover of The Knight who Loved Me cover of The Bodyguard Who Came in from the Cold
"Choosing Titles"
Transcript
"The Trials of Being" a Heroine"
Transcript ~ SPOILERS

   

Audio Transcript for "Historical Rules for Heroines"

Hi, I’m Gayle Callen, author of Compromised, and over forty other romances. I thought I’d tell you a little bit about what it was like to be a noblewoman in England, and how that led to Elizabeth and John being forced to marry. Remember, at that time, aristocratic daughters were important to cement alliances with other peers. Marriage contracts were negotiated by lawyers for each family. Women received a dower settlement, often some of the land they brought to the marriage, so they’d be supported if their husband died. All important was the dowry, of course, given to the husband to help support his new wife and enrich his family’s coffers. Since so much money was on the line, it was important that a young woman remain virginal and untouched (heaven forbid she be pregnant and bring another man’s DNA into her new husband’s family). The conduct of young women was scrutinized, and although constant chaperones reached their zenith in the 19th century, even in the late middle ages women looking to marry had to behave themselves in public. It was terribly scandalous to be alone with a man—who knew what he could do? Sneaking a kiss was fraught with danger, and for our heroine Elizabeth to go alone into a garden with a man, a stranger, could lead to the worst outcome. And you’re thinking murder, right? Well, a blackened reputation was probably worse to some people. Elizabeth allowed herself to be in a compromising situation. If John hadn’t been honorable, he could have gone on his merry way, leaving her, and her reputation in the dust. No man of substance would have wanted to marry her then. But of course John is honorable—he’s our hero!

I hope you enjoyed Compromised. If you like communicating with other readers, please leave a review either where you bought the book or on Goodreads. Authors really appreciate that, because it helps us find new readers. If you want to sign up for my newsletter or discover more about my books, go to www.GayleCallen.com. Thanks for reading!

Audio Transcript for "The Evolution of Characters"

SPOILERS

Hi, I’m Gayle Callen, author of On Her Warrior’s Secret Mission and over forty other romances. I thought I’d tell you a story about the creation of this book and the next. You make plans, but the characters can come to life in your head and change everything. So, you remember the villain, James, right? Well, that’s my husband’s name (though he goes by Jim). I wrote this book long before I had a publishing contract for it, and it was a private joke between my sweet, wonderful husband and me that I named the villain after him. But you see, the character of James started to grow on me. I began to see things from his side, how he thought he was protecting the future of the family by siding with Henry Tudor, who was favored to defeat Richard III. James got Katherine out of the way, but hadn’t meant to hurt her. And then I wondered what happened to him next, with all that dowry money, but his family furious with him. And what was with his preoccupation with extravagant clothing? Suddenly, I knew I wanted to do his story. The next book of the series, The Knight Who Loved Me, was born. Was that because I named him after my husband? Who knows? I had to give him a heroine who would stand up to him. And since everyone was already against him, I made Isabel against him, too, a sword-wielding woman with vengeance on her mind. It’s a fun story!

I hope you enjoyed On Her Warrior’s Secret Mission. If you have anything you’d like to say about the book, please leave a review either where you bought it, or on Goodreads. Authors really appreciate that, because it helps us find new readers. If you want to sign up for my newsletter or discover more about my books, go to www.GayleCallen.com. Thanks for reading!


Audio Transcript for "Choosing Titles"

Hi, I’m Gayle Callen, author of The Knight Who Loved Me and over forty other romances. Let’s talk about titles. Sometimes it feels like one of our hardest jobs is to come up with a title that captures the feeling of the book in just a few words and intrigues a reader enough to make her choose to buy it. Over the years I’ve come up with about 50% of my titles, while my editors brainstormed the rest. I’ve had some I liked, some I loved, some I settled for—you just never know. For this series, I was intrigued by the concept of the quirky title, the kind that remind you of something else. Except for the first book, Compromised, the rest of the titles are take-offs on spy novels. On Her Warrior’s Secret Mission was taken from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, a James Bond book by Ian Fleming. I tweaked the words to work with my plot, of course. The Knight Who Loved Me was based on The Spy Who Loved Me, another Bond title. The Bodyguard Who Came in from the Cold is from the Le Carre book The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. Was there a reason for these twisted titles? It was a lot of fun for me to come up with them, and make them work for my plots. I like to think you read the titles curiously and then chuckled. If so, I did my job!

I hope you enjoyed The Knight Who Loved Me. If you like communicating with other readers, please leave a review either where you bought the book or on Goodreads. Authors really appreciate that, because it helps us find new readers. If you want to

 
Audio Transcript for "The Trials of Being a Heroine"

SPOILERS

Hi, I’m Gayle Callen, author of The Bodyguard Who Came in from the Cold and over forty other romances. Let’s talk about characters. You might have noticed all my books are grouped into trilogies or series. If I’m going to figure out a whole world for a couple characters, I like to use that world and those characters a few more times. I’m a reader, too, and I love to revisit with characters I enjoyed from previous books. So I usually find a way to connect the major characters. Sometimes they’re all friends, sometimes they’re relatives, or a mix of both, like the Secrets and Vows series. We have Elizabeth in the first book, her friend Katherine in the second, then the Katherine’s ex-fiance and future brother-in-law James as the main character of the third book, and then James’s and Reynold’s sister Margery as the heroine of the fourth book. So that’s how the books are related. But let’s take a closer look at the heroines. You might have noticed that in the first three books, all the heroines could not make their own choices: Elizabeth was forced to marry because of a mistake, Katherine was forced into close contact with Reynold because she needed to be rescued, and Isabel was ordered to marry James by the king. It was pretty common in the middle ages for women to have no choices. So I decided to give my fourth heroine Margery, ALL the choices. She was granted money and castles and her own decision on who to marry. You’d think it was all lovely, wouldn’t you? But of course there had to be conflict, or you wouldn’t have a book! I hope you liked the complications brought on by Gareth and his visions in The Bodyguard Who Came in from the Cold.

If you like communicating with other readers, please leave a review either where you bought the book or on Goodreads. Authors really appreciate that, because it helps us find new readers. If you want to sign up for my newsletter or read more about my books, go to www.GayleCallen.com. Thanks for reading!


Essay on "Why I Love the Middle Ages"

Hello, readers! I have always been fascinated by the middle ages. In my youth I read many books on King Arthur, and was drawn to Mary Stewart’s very different version of Merlin in her Arthurian saga that began with The Crystal Cave. But it wasn’t until I started reading historical romance, specifically Kathleen E. Woodiwiss’s The Wolf and the Dove, that I was hooked on the English medieval era.

I do a lot of research to make my books historically accurate, and often it inspires story ideas. I set the “Secrets and Vows” series in the 1480s after I first heard about the mystery of the lost Princes in the Tower. King Richard III was only supposed to be the Protector and guardian for his young twelve-year-old nephew, the new King Edward V. But the king and his nine-year-old brother disappeared in the Tower of London. Their bodies were never found, so Richard became king. There were many theories about who killed them or if they escaped; pretenders to the throne appeared for decades claiming to be one of them and the rightful king of England. If Richard had killed his nephew, he only reaped the rewards for two years before being defeated by Henry VII in the final battle of the Wars of the Roses. I found all the research fascinating!

When I heard that several of Richard’s trusted noblemen secretly betrayed him, the idea for On Her Warrior’s Secret Mission, the second book in the “Secrets and Vows” series, was born. My heroine Katharine overhears these traitors plotting. When she tries to warn King Richard, she’s kidnapped and imprisoned in a broken down monastery where Reynold, a novice monk not yet ordained, has to rescue her.

Here’s a list of the books and how the characters are related:

Compromised
(Elizabeth and John)

On Her Warrior’s Secret Mission
(Elizabeth’s friend Katherine and Reynold)

The Knight Who Loved Me
(Reynold’s brother James and Isabel)

The Bodyguard Who Came in from the Cold
(Reynold and James’s sister Margery and Gareth)



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