This week, I’m happy to hand you over to Helena to tell us about her novel The Silk Romance, which is now FREE on Amazon until 27th August 2015. I’ve been fortunate to meet Helena a few times – she’s a lovely lady and a great author! I read her romance A Way from Heart to Heart a few months ago and just couldn’t put it down, so it’s great to hear more about the inspiration behind another of her books. Over to you, Helena . . .
Helena Fairfax: The Silk Romance
Bonjour Helen, and thank you so much for having me on your blog!
You must be wondering why I’m greeting a fellow Yorkshire lass in French. When I was a student – many years ago now! – I spent a few months working as an au pair in Lyon. This beautiful Renaissance city made a deep impression on me, so much so that I used it as the setting for my first novel, The Silk Romance.
What was it about this city that I loved so much? As an au pair I lived with my family in the most romantic location, right on the banks of the river Saône, overlooking Lyon’s old town. Right beneath my window was a large, colourful market, full of beautiful fruits, and bustling with sounds and smells.
You can imagine the contrast for a young girl, coming from a bleak, grey town in England, to this wonderful, bright, sun-filled and vibrant city. Everywhere there are cafés and people spilling out into the streets, and the night-life is wonderful.
The evenings are warm and it is possible to sit outside the bars and restaurants and relax with a glass of wine with friends, in a way which is rarely possible in my chilly part of the world.
So you can understand that when it came to writing my first novel, I wanted this beautiful city to be the setting. I also had another interest in Lyon. Some time after I left university, I started work at a woollen mill in Yorkshire. Yorkshire is famous for its woollen weaving industry, in the same way that Lyon is famous for its silk-weaving. My home town of Saltaire – a former Victorian mill town – and the silk-weaving district in Lyon (the Croix-Rousse) are now both UNESCO preserved world heritage sites.
Silk-weaving is literally built into the fabric of Lyon. All through the city you will find little covered stone alleyways, called traboules. These shadowy alleyways were used by the silk-workers, so that their rolls of cloth were protected from the rain. You can walk through many of the traboules today, and they are a fascinating reminder of Lyon’s past.
In the words of Jean-Luc Olivier, the dynamic French hero of The Silk Romance:
‘We have a saying that there are three rivers at the heart of Lyon. There’s the river Rhône, the river Saône and there’s the river of tears left by the silk workers.’
My novel is set in a silk-weaving mill – a mill which is owned by Jean-Luc. And if you’d like to know more about silk-weaving in Lyon, there is a post on this fascinating industry here on my blog: http://helenafairfax.com/2012/12/04/silk-weaving-in-the-historic-city-of-lyon/
And if you’d like to find out more about Jean-Luc, and my charming heroine Sophie, here is the blurb to The Silk Romance – which is FREE to download for the next five days!
Sophie Challoner is sensible and hard-working, and a devoted carer of her father. When her grandmother throws a romantic ball for her in Paris, for one wonderful night Sophie forgets her promise to her family and does something reckless she will never forget.
Years later, Sophie is reunited with the man she left behind her that evening, and she finds Jean-Luc Olivier is not the glamorous socialite she thought. Jean-Luc is a force to be reckoned with…
A feel-good and uplifting modern-day Cinderella romance.
The Silk Romance is available to download FREE on Amazon until 27th August 2015 at these links:
If you’re interested in finding out more about The Silk Romance or my other books, please drop in on my blog: www.helenafairfax.com or my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HelenaFairfax or you can see lots of photos of Lyon and the other settings for my novels on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/helenafairfax/the-silk-romance/
Merci beaucoup, Helen! Thanks very much for inviting me to your blog. It’s been great to meet you here, amongst so many reminders of my happy time in Lyon.
Thanks for visiting, Helena – it’s always interesting to see and hear about somewhere new, and why that place inspired a novel!