It’s Tuesday, which here on the Tall Poppy Blog means it’s time to celebrate awesome books and their fantastic authors! This week we cheer loudly for Aimie K. Runyan’s gorgeous debut! Here’s a bit more about it.

Runyan Promised to the Crown CoverIn her illuminating debut novel, Aimie Runyan masterfully blends fact and fiction to explore the founding of New France through the experiences of three young women who, in 1667, answer Louis XIV’s call and journey to the Canadian colony.

They are known as the filles du roi, or “King’s Daughters”—young women who leave prosperous France for an uncertain future across the Atlantic. Their duty is to marry and bring forth a new generation of loyal citizens. Each prospective bride has her reason for leaving—poverty, family rejection, a broken engagement. Despite their different backgrounds, Rose, Nicole, and Elisabeth all believe that marriage to a stranger is their best, perhaps only, chance of happiness.

Once in Quebec, Elisabeth quickly accepts baker Gilbert Beaumont, who wants a business partner as well as a wife. Nicole, a farmer’s daughter from Rouen, marries a charming officer who promises comfort and security. Scarred by her traumatic past, Rose decides to take holy vows rather than marry. Yet no matter how carefully she chooses, each will be tested by hardship and heartbreaking loss—and sustained by the strength found in their uncommon friendship, and the precarious freedom offered by their new home.

Sounds amazing, right? To properly celebrate, Aimie took the Tall Poppy Q & A!

Where do you love to be? The beach, preferably in the Caribbean. I have only been on a real beach vacation once in my life and I loved it so much. I have a really hard time relaxing, but the waves and the aqua blue water put me at ease unlike anything else. I would happily spend the rest of my life on St. Martin, Barbados, or Martinique, or better still, sailing from island to island sipping ridiculous pink frothy drinks laced with top shelf rum.

If you were a drink, what would you be and why? I’m a good Canadian Cider. Unlike the syrupy American versions of the drink, Quebecois cider is light and crisp. It has a delicate flavor, more reminiscent of Champagne than most hard ciders. I suppose that’s how I think of myself. Bubbly and fun, but not too sweet. More down-to-earth than Champagne, but a heck of a lot of fun at parties.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

  • Stop aspiring and start writing: Write regularly. Schedule it like an appointment and keep it.
  • Realize that writing is a very different proposition than being a famous author: Success does not happen overnight, even when it looks like it does. And it’s a LOT of work.
  • Find your tribe: Go to a few conferences, join writer groups, get some critique partners. Writing is a lonely business, but it doesn’t have to be. Networking is the easiest way to learn this crazy business. And it’s fun.
  • All work needs editing, usually extensive editing. Even yours. Once your first draft is done, it’s no longer your baby—it’s a business. Treat your book as such and you’ll have a lot more success with it.
  • Collaboration beats competition every time. Writers are a helpful lot, and paying it forward is the single best way to get a good reputation in this (surprisingly small) community.

What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had? My first job was selling Christmas Trees at a tree farm on the weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas when I was in High School. I got to sit in the barn and read Christmas romance anthologies while I was waiting for customers. I used the money to buy my mother some dining room chairs and for college application fees. It was a fantastic job!

What’s your next big thing? If you love the characters in PROMISED TO THE CROWN (and I hope you do!) the next installment of the Daughters of New France series, DUTY TO THE CROWN, is coming in November from Kensington Books. It follows the lives of three of the younger characters—Manon, Claudine, and Gabrielle, as they find their places in the growing Quebec colony. Toward the end of writing the first draft of PROMISED, I felt a true feeling of depression at letting these characters go. When I was off on one of my daily hikes with my babies in their massive stroller, I began to think of the lives my snarky young characters would lead, and four miles later, I had the plot firmly entrenched in my head.

Aimie Runyan PortraitAimie K. Runyan is an author of historical fiction that celebrates history’s unsung heroines. Her debut novel, PROMISED TO THE CROWN, is the story of three women sent by Louis XIV as mail order brides to help colonize his Quebec colony. The continuing story, DUTY TO THE CROWN, releases in lNovember, 2016 from Kensington Books. She has also published a short work of science fiction in the BRAVE NEW GIRLS anthology, which features strong young women saving the day with science (all proceeds go to the Women in Engineering Scholarship Fund). She loves to bake and hike, but has precious little time for either. She lives outside Denver with her loving husband and two adorable children.