Louise captured my interest because of her horsemanship, and the romance of her relationship to the Sun King. She was unsophisticated, a tomboy, from the lower nobility—an unlikely young woman to capture the heart of a powerful and charismatic man like the Sun King (the rock star of kings).
How did this come about?
Most of all, I wondered how a young woman at that time would acquire such a high level of skill riding horses. Today she would be considered at an Olympic level of accomplishment.
There were so many unanswered questions. She is described as timid, something of a wall flower; yet how did does jive with her prowess on horseback? She was a daring horsewoman, a mistress to the Sun King, a Carmelite nun. The combination of these qualities intrigued me.
When did you first learn of Louise de la Vallière?
I became interested in Louise de la Vallière while doing research on Josephine Bonaparte. There was a biography of Louise published at that time. I was curious, so I looked into it. As with Josephine, I was swept away.
Initially, I wrote a short story about her, and then I decided that it had to be a novel. I began that novel after finishing The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B., but put it aside about six months later when I was offered the contract for the Josephine B. Trilogy.
I put all my notes, my initial drafts, into a box to be opened when I finished The Last Great Dance on Earth. Little did I know that it would be almost six years later.