To Tame The Wind (Agents of the Crown Prequel) by Regan Walker-Review and Guest Post
About the book: Release Date May 9, 2015
France 1782…AN INNOCENT IS TAKEN
All Claire Donet knew was the world inside the convent walls in Saint-Denis. She had no idea her beloved papa was a pirate. But when he seized Simon Powell’s schooner, the English privateer decided to take the thing his enemy held most dear…her.
A BATTLE IS JOINED
The waters between France and England roil with the clashes of Claire’s father and her captor as the last year of the American Revolution rages on the sea, spies lurk in Paris and Claire’s passion for the English captain rises.
To Tame the Wind begins with Claire having sneaked out the convent in order to see for herself the masquerade ball that she’s heard so much about, only to discover that her young and frail friend, Elise, had followed her into the night. Even though Claire tries to convince Elise that she needs to return home, her young friend will not hear of it. Claire relents and allows Elise to tag along. Once the two girls near the grand estate where the ball is being held, the music floats through the air and Claire is immediately drawn in. She tells Elise to stay put as she seeks a spot closer in order to see the party for herself. Claire climbs a tree and the sight before her has her completely enthralled. She sees gloriously dressed men and women dancing and longs to maybe someday be a part of such a scene.
It’s not long before a man with golden hair, and a woman dressed as a hussar walk out into the night, and end up at the tree where Claire is perched. Things turn a bit amorous between the wayward partygoers and Claire can’t believe her eyes, nor the feelings that stir within her. Suddenly, a streak of lightning lights up the sky and things go a little haywire for Claire as she falls out of the tree and is discovered by the handsome Englishman with the golden hair and the amber eyes, who initially mistakes her for a party guest, but soon realizes she’s an innocent young woman and sends her on her way. As she and Elise frantically make their way back home, they are completely drenched by the storm. Little does she know how much her life will change due to her decisions made that night.
The story then fast forwards two years and finds Claire still in the convent. She has made the decision to take a vow to become a member of the Order, only to find out that her papa has arranged her marriage. The Reverend Mother doesn’t think that Claire is wanting to take her vows for the right reasons, and also doesn’t think that her papa will allow it, but she leaves it up to Claire to convince her papa. But, that convincing will never get the chance to come to fruition as Claire is awakened in the middle of the night and kidnapped from the convent. Once she sees her captor, she almost can’t believe her own eyes, because before her is the ever handsome golden haired Englishman that had unknowingly set her heart aflutter so long ago. Unfortunately, he tells her things that she just cannot believe. Her beloved papa was not a pirate, but a “man of business”. But, Captain Simon Powell assures her that there are things in motion that her beloved papa will have to address if she is to be freed. It doesn’t take Simon long to realize that Claire is not as meek as she first seemed, but more like a wild wind blowing through and determined to make her own place in the world. Claire soon realizes that Captain Simon Powell is a man of his word and realizes that he would never harm her. Along with the new found knowledge that privateers, pirates and spies abound, will Claire be able to resist the noble Captain who only wants to get his ship and his men back safely? And, will Simon be able to tame the wind? Well, my friends, you’ll have to read to find out. And, oh, what a read it is!
Regan Walker has once again written a wonderful story that will have you hooked from the first page. Claire Donet is such a wonderfully written character. She is kind and compassionate, as well as fiercely loyal and loving. I love the rebellious streak that we are privy to, as does Simon. The chemistry between these two is palpable. He is just as loyal and compassionate and loving as Claire, but will move heaven and earth to make things right. And, once he decides on all of the things that need to be righted, nothing will stop him. I’d love to say more about what transpires between them, but do not want to spoil what is a great story.
I’ve told you before, but I feel I need to tell you again. No one writes like Regan Walker. She effortlessly weaves historical facts into her fictional stories so well that you will find yourself questioning your own history lessons. You can absolutely feel her passion for her craft as she tells her tales, whether on the high seas of the English Channel, or on the cobble stone streets of London or Paris. And, I don’t just mean her passion for writing a story. I mean her passion for making sure that her stories ring true, whether it’s the sound of the ocean, the smells in the air or the character’s feelings. Her world building is phenomenal. There is political intrigue and a bit of mystery and a beautifully developed romance, but I’ve come to expect nothing less from Regan Walker. The only problem I have with her stories is that I have to wait for the next one! I have it on good authority that the next installment will be Claire’s beloved papa, Jean Donet’s story. If you’re a fan of this genre, you are sorely missing out if you’ve not read any of Ms. Walker’s books. Well done, Regan Walker! Very very very very well done!!
Copy supplied by the author
Reviewed by Vickie M
Making Characters Endearing and Believable by Regan Walker
Vickie asked me to share how I develop my characters. And I will. But first, I thought to share what some reviewers have said about them:
For Racing with the Wind:
26 reviewers “I loved the characters and story.”
23 reviewers: “This author has researched and presented an historically accurate world for the actions of her characters.”
And from my first medieval, The Red Wolf’s Prize:
25 reviewers: “The plot was interesting, and the characters well written.”
And “very endearing characters.”
Vickie’s own review:
“Serena is absolutely my favorite heroine dreamed up by Regan Walker to date! Her loyalty, her fierceness and her heart will endear her to everyone who reads this story. Her understanding of what her people want and need is so touching. She is truly a force to be reckoned with. Renaud is a perfect match for her. He is as loyal and fierce as she is, and their chemistry is palpable. The cast of supporting characters is terrific in their own right.”
To me this just proves how important characters are to readers. They want to fall in love with the heroine as well as the hero. If you have endearing secondary characters, so much the better. I know that’s what I look for in a romance. Since I was a reader before an author, that is also how I think about my characters.
How do I do make my characters believable and endearing? For me, it’s all about the story. First I research the historical setting. Then I come up with the idea of the hero or heroine, sometimes both at once. I look for traits that would make them endearing in that time in history. All of my heroines are strong and the heroes who win them are stronger still. I let the history lead me to who they are. Would he be a British lord masquerading as a gallant spy on Napoleon like Lord Ormond in Racing with the Wind? Or, might he be a jaded sea captain sailing off to investigate a pirate for the Prince Regent as Captain Nick Powell in Wind Raven? Or, perhaps the hero might be a privateer spy for the Crown wrestling with a French pirate, and resisting the charms of the innocent heroine as in my latest work, To Tame the Wind?
Once I have my history and the lead characters I begin to write the opening scenes. Then, other characters come to me, companions and acquaintances of the hero and heroine. I move into their environment in my imagination, whether it’s a mansion, a schooner or a medieval castle. I get a feel for it visually, the daily life and who’s doing what. Since The Red Wolf’s Prize, I now use Pinterest for my image research for my characters and setting. Once I light on an image, I write to it.
When I found this image, I knew I’d found Elijah, the wizened old bosun on the Fairwinds in To Tame the Wind:
When I first conceived of Elijah he didn’t wear a knit cap or smoke a pipe. But once this image was in my head, ever thereafter he did. I could see him using his pipe to gesture and his hair blowing around his face when the wind captured a few strands. Being able to visually conceive of your characters adds details you might have overlooked otherwise. And it helps you make characters distinctive and endearing. Of course, I have always done this, even before I began using Pinterest.
Lord Ormond, the hero in Racing with the Wind looked like a young Clark Gable to me:
And he acted just like him, arrogant and sure of himself and what he wanted, including Lady Mary Campbell. So it was no surprise to me when he began ordering her around or when she informed him she would not do as he asked.
Once I have my main characters, it’s like watching a movie in my head. I put them int he setting and watch them interact. I learn about them as people. That’s how I knew that Claire Donet, the heroine in To Tame the Wind, would be a constant trial to the nuns in her convent school in France. It was no surprise to me when she snuck out to watch a masquerade ball. And I knew, notwithstanding her rebellious nature, she’d have a soft heart that would break more than once during the story.
I force my characters to act consistently. If my heroine would rebel but never whine, then she never whines. If my hero would not apologize, then he never does, at least not until something happens that changes him.
To me, my characters are real. Oh I don’t mean they are real people—though some are real historic figures—but my image of them is so real I see them as people I could have known if I’d lived in that time in history. I imagine some of them as friends, and some as evil miscreants. When I finish writing a book, I experience a sense of loss. It feels like a friend has moved away. I miss the world I’ve created and the characters in it. I can’t wait to dive into the next book and meet a whole slew of new characters. See if you don’t agree when you read my books!
I didn’t start out as a writer of romance, oh no. Although I loved to write stories as a child, by the time I got to college, more serious pursuits were encouraged. So, naturally, I became a lawyer. Who needs adverbs as a lawyer? But after years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government, I decided it was time for a change. My work had given me a love of international travel (I’ve been to over 40 countries…) and a feel for the demands of the “Crown” on its subjects. Hence, my first novels are all about a demanding Prince Regent who thinks of his subjects as his private talent pool.
I promise my novels will always sweep you away to another time and another place. I want you to experience adventure as well as love.
I live in San Diego with my wonderful Golden Retriever “Link.” I have one son who is a young entrepreneur and, though he looks like a Highlander of old, he would never read a romance novel. So like a man, no?