July 26, 2011

Welcome to the beginning of a marvelous journey, an excursion back in time to the glamorous, witty, and occasionally gritty world of eighteenth-century France, one of the most affordable vacations you will ever take, with no long lines at your favorite haunts, no hassles at the airport, and where the luxury goods are always duty-free!

When I wrote the proposal for BECOMING MARIE ANTOINETTE, I had always dreamed it would be the first novel in a trilogy; although the scope of the novel would only span the years before she became queen, I had researched Marie Antoinette’s entire life, and the more I read, the more I believed that her full, true story had never been told. I ached to write the rest of it.

So when Random House approached my agent with the question: “Would Juliet be interested in expanding this into a trilogy?” I knew my Marie Antoinette had found the right home. This is my dream job: to have the time and space required to tell her complete story, because, despite what all too many people believe, Marie Antoinette was not a bubbleheaded spendthrift who went from heedless to headless.

She was much maligned, a scapegoat not only for the French revolutionaries (which was to be expected), but (surprisingly) for their aristocracy, who didn’t take kindly to foreigners, especially those with no use for the rigid court etiquette that allowed them countless perquisites. From the start, arriving at Versailles as a bride of fourteen years old, Marie Antoinette preferred to surround herself with trusted friends who actually liked her—and who can blame her?

I fell in love with Marie Antoinette, and her equally maligned husband, the future Louis XVI (for starters, I realized he was sort of the proverbial fat kid in school who everyone unfairly picks on), when I was researching their marriage for a work of nonfiction; I knew I had to tell their story through the medium of historical fiction.  I read myriad biographies in which certain subjects were presented and then tabled, as if only one brocaded slipper had been dropped, leaving the other dangling tantalizingly from a silk-stockinged toe.  Perhaps the academics and historians hadn’t found the answers and didn’t want to hazard any guesses, conjecture often being beyond the purview of nonfiction.

Enter the novelist—moi. The more I read, the more I became something of a forensic psychologist-slash-method-actress, insinuating myself into their heads (and sometimes beds), imagining and envisioning what these historical figures experienced. And I became certain of some of the answers the biographers omitted.

You’ll discover what I believe really happened between the sheets—of my novels—beginning with BECOMING MARIE ANTOINETTE.  And on this site are all sorts of related fun and games to heighten the experience.

As the French say, Amusez vous bien! And as we say here in les Etats-Unis—Enjoy!

~Juliet Grey

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