This week we go behind the scenes as author Alyson Richman visits Shelf Pleasure to share the inspiration behind her latest novel, The Velvet Hours. This fascinating story centers on the real-life French courtesan Marthe de Florian and the mystery surrounding her apartment—which had been shuttered for more than 70 years. Author Shannon Baker is also on Shelf Pleasure to explain how her past always manages to turn up on the pages.

From the best book news to the must-read recent releases, here are the stories not to miss:

Unlocking the Mystery of Marthe de Florian
A look at the mystery surrounding Parisian courtesan Marthe de Florian, who was the inspiration for author Alyson Richman’s exquisite new novel, The Velvet Hours.

You Can’t Go Home Again—Thank Goodness
Every experience, good and bad, can serve as writing inspiration. Author Shannon Baker shares how some of her hardest times led to some of her greatest adventures on the page.

Fascinated By Gold?
The Lafayette Sword has gold fever, Freemasonry, murders, the quest for a stolen priceless sword, and alchemy. Here are some interesting tidbits publisher Anne Trager learned along the way.

Best New Books
Here are our picks for the best new books of the week. The hardest part is picking which to read first! Historical fiction or mystery?

Book News of the Week: Print Isn’t Dead
See the most beautiful libraries in every US city, discover how long it took 30 writers to finish their most famous novels (makes for great cocktail party conversation!) and rejoice that print books are still going strong in this week’s best book news.


If you’re a Shelf Pleasure regular …

You know we can’t resist a romance featuring any type of athlete. We spent this weekend with the hot football players of Kristen Callihan’s The Game Plan. Fiona Mackenzie’s family has always seen her as super flighty…but with intense NFL center Ethan Dexter she might have finally found something she can commit to. Long distance and other obstacles (seriously, how many can be thrown at this couple?) test their love, but it’s a terrifically fun ride.

Until next week, happy reading!