Aimie K. Runyan

Author of Promised to the Crown

Please join me in welcoming historical fiction author Aimie K. Runyan to Books & Benches for a 5 Question Q&A.


“An engaging, engrossing debut.”

—Greer Macallister, USA Today bestselling author of The Magician’s Lie

What can you tell us about your newest release?

Promised to the Crown is the story of three, quite disparate, women who find themselves under hard circumstances for various reasons. The three women, Rose, Nicole, and Elisabeth find the same solution to their woes—accepting Louis XIV’s call to go to his colony in Canada. The Crown needs marriageable women to help populate the fledgling colony to keep is secure from the menace of the British, and there were more than a few women willing to give up their lives in France for the promise of a brighter future in the new world. The three main characters forge a strong bond on their voyage from France to Canada, and despite differences in status that would have kept them from forming friendships in France, maintain that camaraderie long after their arrival. Once in the colony, the women must choose husbands and build lives. They face love, heartbreak, triumph, and despair as they find their places in the new world, and it is the bond of their friendship that helps them endure. 


What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“It is no use saying, 'We are doing our best.' You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.” ~Winston Churchill.


I think this is a vital thing to keep in mind in the writing business. No one will do the work for you. No one will show you the easy way. The only way to be successful in this crazy business is to make sure your best is actually good enough. It takes a lot of hard work and there are no short cuts to learning the craft. You have to sit and write—every day. Even when every word is puce-scented torture. Keep going.


Do you consider your books plot-driven or character-driven? Is that how you naturally write, or do is there a purpose for what you chose?

Everything I have written to date (and hope to ever write) begins with a three-dimensional character (or characters in the case of Promised) and a compelling situation. The plot, or more accurately--the story--evolves organically from there. That was a huge stumbling block for me when I first started writing Promised. I had my characters and a great scenario, but no idea where to take them. Researching the life and times of the French-Canadian settlers helped spark an image in my mind of the hardships they might have endured, and I was able to piece together a story from there.


Do you have to be alone or have quiet to write?

I wish that were an option! I have two small children, so the bulk of my writing time is crammed into two hours spent in the lobby of the local rec center. I bring my iPad and headphones to drown out the external noise with a movie or TV show on Netflix/Amazon Prime that I’ve seen a zillion times that I can ignore. I can’t listen to music unless it’s very soft and instrumental only, I’m strange that way. Given my druthers, I’d write in my office (or my bathtub) when the house is empty. But as that won’t happen for another 15 years, I make do. J


Do you share any personality traits with your main characters?

I hope so. I think they’re remarkable women who were a vital part in the founding of their country. But to give a more direct answer, I think Elisabeth and I have the most in common. She is fiercely loyal, a born mother, and willing to bear her teeth in the face of a menace to her friends and family. She’s also a skilled baker, and while I won’t claim her skill level, I do love puttering about the kitchen. I can make some mean Irish Car Bomb cupcakes if I do say so myself!

"An unforgettable saga of strength and sisterhood,

one that will stay with you long after the final page."

—Anne Girard, author of Madame Picasso and Platinum Doll


Aimie K. Runyan, member of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Women's Fiction Writers Association, has been an avid student of French and Francophone Studies for more than fifteen years. While working on her Master's thesis on the brave women who helped found French Canada, she was fortunate enough to win a generous grant from the Quebec government to study onsite for three months which enabled the detailed research necessary for her work. Aimie lives in Colorado with her husband and two children.


Promised to the Crown

“An absorbing adventure with heart.”

—Jennifer Laam, author of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar

Bound for a new continent, and a new beginning.


In her illuminating debut novel, Aimie K. 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.


Publication Date: April 26, 2016

Publisher: Kensington

Formats: Paperback & eBook; 352 Pages

Series: Daughters of New France

Genre: Historical Fiction

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