In today’s guest spot we have Jan Selbourne, a fellow Black Velvet Seductions author from Melbourne, Australia, talking about her novel, Behind the Clouds. I hope you all enjoy the interview!
Could you give us an outline of the plot for Behind the Clouds?
Adrian Bryce is ordered by the British Government to accompany his estranged wife Gabrielle to Belgium. Its imperative he confirm Gabrielle’s uncle is supporting the German Empire’s push for European domination. Gabrielle’s decided to end her cold empty marriage as soon as she returns to England. Adrian can’t wait to get back to his mistress. Europe is on edge, a treaty is broken, the First World War begins on Belgium’s doorstep and Adrian and Gabrielle’s world of wealth and privilege disappears into a nightmare of betrayal, lies and treachery. Not knowing who to trust they flee for their lives with the brutal German forces hot on their heels, determined not to let them escape. Forced to rely on each other for survival, they endure injury, hunger, gut wrenching fear and privation. They steal farmers’ clothing, food and a horse and buggy. They join the long lines of frightened Belgians fleeing the invasion. They witness shocking atrocities and they find inner strengths. When they reach safety they are two very different people who have found deep love. However, the treachery has spread its tentacles to England. Waiting for them are charges of treason, more lies and a woman who’ll stop at nothing to see Adrian dead. Adrian and Gabrielle face enormous hurdles before they can trust and love again.
What was the inspiration for the story?
The impact of World War One was enormous. Empires collapsed, countries were abolished, new countries formed. It’s been said almost every family was affected in some way. It was supposed to be over by Christmas 1914, when it finished in 1918, 17 million people had died and 20 million had been wounded. Belgium suffered badly. Two of my ancestors were in Belgium during WW1 and their letters home and later anecdotes gave me the first idea. An article on how people change when forced to fight for survival put my characters into Belgium. The story took shape after that.
Do you like all the characters in your book?
Nearly all of them. I like Adrian and Gabrielle, of course. Underneath Adrian’s insufferable attitude is a decent man waiting to be found. It takes a war and profound shock for the repressed Gabrielle to find her incredible guts and initiative. The only character who isn’t likeable is sleazy traitorous Henri de Meyvier. Unfortunately there are a lot of his type in our world. Maryanne was his pawn. And, Plough Boy, who wouldn’t love him?
Is there any character that you have particularly grown to love or hate?
Meyvier was always a despicable character.
Is there a certain message you want readers to take from reading your book?
Probably that women are capable of incredible inner strength and courage in the face adversity.
If you could tell your readers anything, what would it be?
We haven’t learnt one thing from world wars.
I’ve been enjoying some of the latest books by Australian authors such as Lianne Moriarty and Graeme Simsion. Do you have any favorite Australian authors?
Yes, Bryce Courtney and Judy Nunn and Neville Shute. My real favourite from childhood is A.B. (Banjo) Paterson.
Where do you stand on the whole Harry Potter phenomenon? Love it or hate it?
In awe. Love the Harry Potter phenomenon. It encouraged a whole generation of children to read. My family harboured a nest of Harry Potter devotees.
Where can we buy your book?
Thank you so much for your interest..
Thank you, Jan! It’s been a great interview!