The Lily Cafe is thrilled to welcome author Kerry Chaput! Her historical fiction novel Daughter of the King is set in 1660s France and Canada and offers a story of love and faith .
Title: Daughter of the King
Author: Kerry Chaput
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Publication date: December 16, 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction
La Rochelle, France, 1661. Fierce Protestant Isabelle is desperate to escape persecution by the Catholic King. Isabelle is tortured and harassed, her people forced to convert to the religion that rules the land. She risks her life by helping her fellow Protestants, which is forbidden by the powers of France. She accepts her fate – until she meets a handsome Catholic soldier who makes her question everything.
She fights off an attack by a nobleman, and the only way to save herself is to flee to the colony of Canada as a Daughter of the King. She can have money, protection, and a new life – if she adopts the religion she’s spent a lifetime fighting. She must leave her homeland and the promises of her past. In the wild land of Canada, Isabelle finds that her search for love and faith has just begun.
Praise for Daughter of the King
“Lovers of historical fiction are bound to enjoy this heartrending story of a determined young woman. This is not an HEA romance, but a gritty tough read, backed by a powerful message of determination and survival.”
-Jean M. Roberts, author of Weave a Web of Witchcraft
“I already can’t wait to read the next book in this series. Isabelle is a true heroine, facing unforgettable turmoil, tragedy and heartbreak in France because she is persecuted for being a Protestant. When she is accused of a crime and must flee, she is given the option to start over in New France (Quebec). Along with a ship load of other young women, she is sent to marry and bear children for the new colony. This is a fascinating time period that I did not know much about. I fell in love with Isabelle’s spirit and determination to be her own woman. Great read.”
-Sheila Myers, author of Durant Family Saga Series, Ephemeral Summer, and The Truth of Who You Are
Thank you so much, Kerry, for chatting with me about your novel!
Let’s start with what made you want to write Daughter of the King. Where did the idea come from?
It’s based on a true story I discovered while researching my husband’s French-Canadian ancestry. In the seventeenth century, the King of France sought out women in poverty and offered them an incredible new life in the colony of Canada. He provided them money, a dowry, passage, protection, the makings of a farm, and the opportunity to choose their husbands.
That’s fascinating! I’ve never heard of that before. Why did you choose to title your novel Daughter of the King?
Along with their material gifts, these young women were given an honorary title of “Daughter of the King,” which provided protection in their new Canadian lives.
Is there a message in your story? What inspired you to write it?
I think the message is finding bravery. Isabelle fights for a chance at freedom and must give up everything to have it. She discovers that the ultimate freedom is choosing love and faith on her own terms.
Which one of your characters is your favorite? Which character was the hardest to write?
Isabelle is such an incredible heroine. She is unwavering in her bravery, despite repeated hardships. She will always be one of my favorite characters. But Naira, the young Huron girl Isabelle learns from, was a complete joy to write. The hardest of the cast of characters was James. He went through many transformations throughout my drafts, and I needed him to be complex. He is a man of his time who wants to be good, which leads him astray at times.
Isabelle sounds like an incredibly brave woman. What drew you to writing historical fiction and what was your favorite part of writing Daughter of the King?
I have been an avid historical fiction reader for the last twenty years. Diving into a novel that takes me back in time is such a thrill. Growing up, my father taught US history and held his honors US history class in our living room every Thursday night. History came alive around me as I listened to their debates. I would hide behind the couch and listen, dreaming of all the amazing stories I overheard.
What an incredible experience to have while growing up! Since historical fiction usually calls for historical accuracy and a lot of research, what was your research process like and how much of what you learned ended up being incorporated into the story?
Daughter of the King was far and away the most challenging book I have had to research. Details about seventeenth century life are not exactly ubiquitous on the internet. It took several years, including many textbooks from college bookstores and libraries. I really needed to understand the climate in Europe during this time, the Wars of Religion, and the different philosophies of the Reformation. I probably only used about five percent of what I researched (if that). So much of research is teaching yourself the world of the time, but very little makes it to the story. Good historical fiction focuses on the human element, with historical details setting the scenery and the backstory.
What was your favorite part of doing the research for Daughter of the King?
I really enjoyed the ancestry portion. As the Daughters of the King are well documented, I was able to view marriage contracts from the time, family trees, and even anecdotes about the women and their lives. I discovered at least three dozen in my husband’s family line, as well as multiple early settlers and fascinating stories of life back in France.
Outside of historical fiction, how else would you best describe Daughter of the King?
It’s women’s fiction at its heart. The tale of a young woman fighting for her faith, struggling with love and family and devotion. Isabelle begins the story scared and questioning but finds herself along this incredible journey to Canada.
Daughter of the King sounds like a really incredible historical women’s fiction novel! Let’s turn to getting to know you a bit now. How have you done during the pandemic? Has it inspired any part of your writing?
Ironically, the pandemic didn’t change my life too much. I like to joke that I’m an introvert who doesn’t leave the house all that often, so the pandemic was not that different for me. I kept up a steady pace with my writing, and I think the time at home even fostered more of that.
Why do you write?
Women in history fascinate me. I have always wanted more stories of courageous, brave women from our past, and writing gives me a way into their lives. On a grander scale, writing for me is like a math problem, but with emotions instead of numbers. Every book teaches me something about myself or our world.
What do you love about writing?
I have often joked that it’s reading on steroids. That feeling of flying off to another world is exponentially larger when you write. I don’t plot my stories, so sitting down with a blank mind every morning takes me on such wild adventures as these stories unfold. It’s truly the most exhilarating process.
Sounds like a fun way to write! What’s your writing routine? How do you plan your stories? How long does it take you to write a novel?
I always finish a rough draft in four months. As I don’t plot, I let the story take me on a ride and at the end of those four months, I’m usually facing many, many, more of revising and editing. I often discover my characters through revisions, so it can take six months to a year to finalize and polish my stories, along with the help of critique partners and beta readers. I wouldn’t change it. My messy process works for me. I think that’s what writing is all about — honoring your unique process.
For some, taking the leap to publish is a huge one. Was that true of you?
Not really. The largest leap for me was the first one — saying the words, “I want to be a writer.” It took me a good fifteen years to admit that to myself. Once I announced it, I knew I would never look back. How my books get out in the world is secondary for me. It’s the love of the process that keeps me going.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I wish I knew! Ideas come to me every day. Some stick and wiggle their way in over time. Once a character grabs me, she doesn’t let go until I write her story.
Finally, which author or authors would you compare your novel or your writing to?
I write fairly fast paced action/adventure stories that I think can be similar to Kate Quinn. I also aspire to write with the emotional depth of Kristin Hannah.
Thank you so much, Kerry, for letting us get to know you and Daughter of the King a little more!
About Kerry Chaput
Born in California wine country, Kerry Chaput began writing shortly after earning her Doctorate degree. Her love of storytelling began with a food blog and developed over the years to writing historical fiction novels. Raised by a teacher of US history, she has always been fascinated by tales from our past and is forever intrigued by the untold stories of brave women. She lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon with her husband, two daughters, and two rescue pups. She can often be found on hiking trails or in coffee shops. To learn more, connect with her at www.kerrywrites.com or Twitter @ChaputKerry.
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Thank you so much, Kerry!
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