Catherine Delors Interview
July 9, 2010
the author of For the King
It was great to have Catherine Delors visit the blog on July 9, 2010, to talk about her novel, For the King, set in Paris during the rise of Napeolon.
After writing about an aristocratic woman in Mistress of the Revolution, what led you to write about a man from a lower-class background in For the King?
I wanted this new novel to have a different feel while remaining in the same historical context. Gabrielle, the heroine of Mistress of the Revolution, was a noblewoman. In many ways she had a stake, albeit a shaky one, in the Old Regime. On the contrary, Roch (pronounced rock) the protagonist of For the King, owes everything to the Revolution. He has reached, in his early twenties, a high position in the police, all through his wits and also sheer luck. Not bad for the son of a tavern keeper.
It was also a fascinating challenge to write from a male point of view this time. Several male friends kindly agreed to be my beta readers to ensure that the dialog between Roch “felt” right and was not simply a female point of view tacked onto a male character.
Roch's father remains a passionate supporter of the Revolution even after Robespierre fell because of his bloody excesses. Did many Parisians share his views?
Yes, in 1800 the supporters of the Revolution remained a major force in Paris. The fall of Robespierre six years earlier had heralded the end of the Reign of Terror, but also brought about a profoundly corrupt regime, the abolition of universal suffrage for men, the rollback of women’s rights, and runaway inflation that put food beyond the means of many in the lower classes. Those were not enthusiastic either about the Bonaparte option: law and order within the framework of a militaristic dictatorship.
As for the bloodshed of the Reign of Terror, terrible as it was, it remains minuscule, in terms of casualties, when compared with the death toll of the Napoleonic wars.
Both Mistress of the Revolution and For the King include some pretty gory scenes - do your friends ever tease you about being bloodthirsty?
I see violence as part of history, of life, of human nature. Particularly in times of social upheaval and war, such as the French Revolution, violence permeates everything. I am not bloodthirsty, I simply strive to bring the past to life. Which does not prevent some of my friends from teasing me. But this is what friends are for, isn’t it?
Review of For the King by Catherine Delors
See listing of For the King at Powell's Books
See listing of For the King at Amazon.com
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