‘Hi there, Dudes, I am honoured and excited to be here.’
Kate. Well, BB, you know I go weak at the knees at the sight of that handsome phizog of yours.
and the infamous green hat. I used to hate green, my least favourite colour, it reminded me of school cabbage. But now it reminds me of your dashing self and I insist on wearing nothing but green these days. You are of course my fave dude but don’t tell Silv, will you? She’s a touchy little madam.
Kate. Elope? What happened to the big fancy wedding you promised to that Russian wench? Olga or Polga or Smolga or some such. And the gingerbread house? I must have a beautiful gingerbread house, you know. A fancy one. No skinflint stuff, my Bobbikins.
Kate. You are as sharp as a tack, BB. You got it in one! I just love that enchanting city. If it’s Paris you are planning on eloping to, then that’s a whole different ballgame. I am packing my bag as we speak. It’s true I have a huge fondness for Italy – and for Italian signori – and have set two of my books there, but Paris is the place I would choose for romance every time. It is the beautiful City of Love. La Ville de l’Amour.
Kate. Well now, that depends on how much time we have, mon ami,
but here are some must-sees. First, Montmartre. It’s my fave place in all Paris, the old artists’ arrondissement. With narrow cobbled streets climbing up to the breathtaking icing-sugar (frosting) white Basilica of Sacré Coeur,
which always puts me in mind of the Taj Mahal. And not far down the hill lies the ooh-là-là notoriously naughty Moulin Rouge cabaret on Boulevard de Clichy.
The dancing galz and their feathers are going to knock your little green socks off, BB.
Then we’ll head south to the stunning rose windows of Notre Dame Cathedral and the Impressionist Musée D’Orsay. And after an amble along the romantic quais, we can take a trip by moonlight on the Bateau Mouche on the Seine or head over for French 75 cocktails à deux at Le Fouquet’s on the Champs Elysées. I tell you, Bobby Bub, this is the start of a beautiful friendship.
Kate. My new book is called The Betrayal and it does what it says on the tin. Two sisters. Conspirators. Murderers. Betrayers.
But … are they? There are so many twists and turns, and nothing is what it seems. The action takes place against the gorgeous backdrop of Paris 1938 with the nightclubs playing crazy jazz and the drums of war sounding in the distance.
Even the real-life shocking danceuse, Josephine Baker, puts in an appearance.
The city is on edge, a wildness is in the air. My story is of twin sisters, Romy and Florence, who are hiding a terrible secret that tears them apart. My desire to write about this subject came from the fact that I am a twin myself and wanted to explore how that incredibly intense relationship can draw two people together against their will, bound by blood, even when they are driven apart by violent events.
Being a twin is strange. It creates a bubble around the two of you and isolates you from the rest of the world. Yet I know from my own experience of being a twin how different your ideas and ambitions can be despite the closeness. Romaine and Florence come at the world from opposing viewpoints, just as my sister and I did. At times this creates distance between them. But always the bond holds firm and the love – that is as much a part of them as the colour of their eyes – never falters. But the terrible secret about their father’s murder stretches their loyalty to breaking point.
I have to say here and now that it was seeing all the shenanigans that go on around your gingerbread house week after week that inspired me for much of the mayhem that takes place in The Betrayal.
Broken limbs, a fire, damaged documents and even an attempt at world domination. Exactly like Dudeland. Okay, no moss monster but there’s a really nasty character who comes close. Tragically, no hamsters. They’d soon be gobbled up by the rats that creep up from the Paris sewers at night.
Kate. Romy and Florence are very different. Romy is a daredevil, a reckless pilot who flies aircraft to the left-wing Republicans in the Spanish civil war. She fights against Fascism, but she leads a dissolute life, using drink, gambling and men to help her forget the day that she woke up in her father’s study with him dead at her feet and his blood on her hands.
She has no memory of what happened that day. In contrast, her twin sister Florence is an elegant socialite in a position of power and privilege. She is married to a diplomat who works with the Germans to destroy the very people whom Romy is fighting to help. To save Romy’s slender neck from the guillotine, the sisters put the blame for their father’s murder on an innocent gardener, but their lies come back to haunt them.
Kate. My nice French recipe is to get you in the mood. It’s for a Soixante Quinze! A French 75! This lemon-hued cocktail is insanely good and was very fashionable in the 1920s. So grab your shaker. It is named ‘French 75’ because taking a sip of it feels like getting shelled by a French 75mm field gun. Aah, la vie est belle!
½ oz lemon juice
2 dashes simple syrup
Add gin, champagne and syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shaking as hot-hot-hot as Tom Cruise to combine. Strain into an iced champagne glass. Top with more chilled champagne and a twist of lemon. Voilà!
Kate. My next book is The Truth. It is about lies. The lies people tell and the truth that is hidden in the dark places behind them. I am very excited about this one. This time I’m in Germany 1945. What a terrible chaotic period that was. The war was over and the Allies were trying to put the country back together again. A time of desperation but also of huge hope for the future. My character Klara is trapped with her young daughter in one of the Displaced Persons camps. Needless to say, danger stalks the camp and …. My lips are sealed!
Thank you for having me, Bobby Bub. It’s been a blast. I’ve got our Eurostar tickets to Paris in my hot little hand …..
Kate Furnivall had the shock proof of her life when she learned just over a decade ago that she was part Russian. Not a demure all-English rose after all then. It changed her life. Triggered those Russian genes into action. Inspired by her grandmother’s dramatic St Petersburg life-story at the time of the Soviet Revolution, Kate wrote her first historical novel, The Russian Concubine, which hit the New York Times Bestseller list and was sold in 25 countries.It hooked Kate into the thrill of setting powerful emotional stories in dramatic far-off locations. She took to travelling with a vengeance – Russia, China, Malaya, Egypt, Bahamas, Italy, France. All became backdrops for her sweeping tales set in the first half of the 20th century when the world was in turmoil.
Research trips were riddled with wonderful adventures and weird discoveries that enrich her books. She delves into dark themes as well as intense love stories, and strips her characters to the bare bones in times of crisis to see what they are made of. Her books are full of tension, twists and thrills, atmosphere and romance.
Kate was raised in Wales, went to London Uni and worked in advertising in London. She now lives in blissful Devon with her husband, snuggled up close to Agatha Christie’s house for inspiration. She has two sons and a manky cat.
Kate has written ten historical novels, two of which have been shortlisted for the RNA Historical Novel of the Year Award.
Could you kill someone? Someone you love?
Paris, 1938. Twin sisters are divided by fierce loyalties and by a terrible secret. The drums of war are beating and France is poised, ready to fall. One sister is an aviatrix, the other is a socialite and they both have something to prove and something to hide.
The Betrayal is an unforgettably powerful, epic story of love, loss and the long shadow of war.