21 November 2010

Guest Author: Kate Allan

This week at Unusual Historicals we're featuring author Kate Allan, who Regency romance, KRAKOW WALTZ is partly set in Poland. It's Regency elegance with an exotic locale!

The Honorable Miss Annabel Wells needs to marry to save her reputation. Yet even in her dire straits she cannot bring herself to accept Mr. Henry Champion, an ordinary English gentleman without property or pedigree, no matter what she feels about him. She marries a Polish count but when her husband is killed in a duel and Henry comes all the way across Europe to her rescue, can there be a second chance for love? Leaving behind the drawing rooms of High Society London where he's feted as a Waterloo hero, Henry Champion finds more danger lurking in the dark streets of the city of Krakow than he bargained for.


"KRAKOW WALTZ is a tender love story with an engaging hero and heroine and a diversity of secondary characters. It has an intriguing plot with some delightful touches of humor, and Ms Allan's choice of setting in Krakow provides a refreshingly different background for her story." ~ CarolAnn, The Romance Reviews

"An intriguing plot, a wonderful atmosphere and some lovely touches of humour." New York Times bestselling author Nicola Cornick


Your book, KRAKOW WALTZ, is set mostly in Poland. Why write an historical romance set in Poland?

My family on one side are Polish so I have always had an interest and affinity with Poland and wanted to learn more about Polish culture and history. I was intrigued when I read that following Napoleon's defeat in 1815 the city of Krakow was actually designated as a self-governing free city. As the rest of Poland was under the control of Russia, Prussia and Austria, Krakow became the harbour for a growing national identity movement. This shapes some of the background and attitudes to the Polish characters in the story but at its heart Krakow Waltz is a romance. Regency readers will discover that much of Regency fashion and culture were similar across Europe but the Polish background also provides castles, old medieval streets and buildings, beautiful churches, forests, wolves, wild boar hunts and hunters' breakfasts!

Tell us a bit about the hero and heroine.

Henry Champion is a hero of Waterloo: he's brave, selfless but as an only child he finds himself alone in the world after his parents die and foolishly falls into some of the typical pursuits of a young man about town including gambling loses his fortune. But he has good friends who are willing to help because he's always been a good friend.

Annabel Wells, the heroine, is somewhat of a typical flighty English debutante and spurns Henry because he's not an aristocrat and marries a Polish Count but he is the wrong man for her. Should she pay for that mistake for the rest of her life? I believe in second chances and so Annabel and Henry get their second chance when they meet again nine years later.

KRAKOW WALTZ is your sixth novel. Tell us about you previous novels.

My previous novels are all historical novels set in the Regency period, mostly in England, but I liked to include unusual period details when I can. In FATEFUL DECEPTION, Lucinda, the heroine, travels by canal barge after I discovered that passenger packet services were actually run on canals. In THE SMUGGLER RETURNS, which is set at the very end of the 18th century in Cornwall, the real historical background to smuggling in the period was vital to the story: indeed Jane, the heroine, "invests" the small sum of money she has in smuggling hoping to save her family from ruin.

THE LADY SOLDIER, which was co-written with Michelle Styles, is about to be re-released early in 2011 by Embrace Books. It has the unusual setting of Spain and Portugal and the unusual subject matter of a lady who joins the British Army dressed as a man and manages to get away with it... until she meets the hero.

What's the best bit about writing a novel and what's the worst bit?

The most enjoyable is when you know your characters so well and you're completely involved in the story that the writing becomes as addictive as watching the next episode of your favourite TV drama. The worst bits actually when you have the story developing in your head but you don't have time to write it down! I have a small son whom I've love dearly but finding time for writing has been a bit of a challenge since he's been born!


Thanks for stopping by today, Kate! Readers, are you interested in Regency-era books with locales other than England? Why or why not? We'd love to hear your opinions. Leave a comment or question for Kate and you'll be entered for a free copy of KRAKOW WALTZ. I'll draw the winner at random next Sunday. Best of luck!


MiaMarlowe said...

I love reading stories set in unusual settings and time periods. Poland is a new one for me, though. Congratulations on such a fresh venue. A "second chance" story is always high on my list!

Beth Elliott said...

I have been to Krakow [long years ago], and in the museum there someone pointed out a jacket that had belonged to Napoleon. I also love the Regency period and enjoy stories set in that time. I look forward to reading 'The Krakow Waltz'.

JenM said...

I'm definitely interested in Regencies set in places other than England. Social customs in the aristocracy were somewhat similar all over Europe at that time, but there were enough differences that it gives you a fresh take on the whole time period.

Kate Allan said...

Hi Mia and JenM - nice to meet you. Thanks for dropping by.

Beth - interesting about Napoleon's jacket. I will have to look out for it next time I am in Krakow. It could be the Czartoryski Museum. This was founded in 1796 by Princess Isabela Czartoryski and is a very interesting collection of various household objects, furniture and works of art. Well worth a visit for anyone visiting Krakow.

monica fairview said...

Enjoyed the interview, Kate. I love the different setting. I had a friend who was a member of the aristocracy and she was always talking about the "good old days". She looked like a fairy princess, too -- long flowing gold hair. Consequently, I always thought Krakow would be a perfect setting for a romance. Good for you!

Maureen said...

I do like Regency era romances set outside England. I enjoy the familiar Regency clothes and time period but moving the people out of London adds some adventure to the story.

Kate Allan said...

Hi Monica - yes Krakow is a great setting for an historical romance. I love the fact you can still walk in the same streets in the old town today.

Hi Maureen - They say "write what you want to read" and as I really enjoy reading Regency romances set elsewhere in Europe too I found I had to write one! There aren't enough but maybe Krakow Waltz will inspire some other writers?

Teresa Thomas Bohannon said...

I love Regency Romances and the familiarity of it all...however, one of the things I miss most about the epic historical romance genre is the exotic locales and the many unique plots twists they provide.

Polish history is actually quite fascinating and this book certainly sounds like an enjoyable read.

Kate Allan said...

Teresa - yes I did read a Regency romance set in Vienna a few years ago. Can't remember the name unfortunately but it was a great location.

Carrie Lofty said...

Our winner is Teresa Thomas Bohannon. You can check out the details here:


Congrats! And thanks to everyone else who stopped by :)