Jaime Loves Stuff : Q&A With Michelle Moran & Cleopatra's Daughter Giveaway


Q&A With Michelle Moran & Cleopatra's Daughter Giveaway



As you all know, there is an ENORMOUS buzz on the blogosphere concerning Michelle Moran's newest book, Cleopatra's Daughter and I am beyond excited that she has graced my blog with her presence!

Q: What prompted you to write a novel about Cleopatra’s daughter?

A: I do a great deal of traveling both for research and for fun, and most of my destinations are archaeological sites. On a trip to Alexandria in Egypt, I was afforded the amazing opportunity of participating in a dive to see the submerged remains of Cleopatra’s ancient city. More than ten thousand artifacts remain completely preserved underwater: sphinxes, amphorae, even the stones of the ancient palace. Although I'm not a fan of diving, it was an incredible experience, and it changed the way I looked at Cleopatra. I immediately wanted to know more about her life, and it was mere coincidence that my next trip took me to Italy, where her ten year-old children were brought to live after her suicide. While in Rome, I was able to retrace her daughter's steps, and upon seeing where her daughter had lived on the Palatine, I knew I had my next novel.

Q: What was it like to walk where Selene walked? In particular, what was it like to visit Octavian’s villa?

A: Unbelievable. For two thousand years, Octavian’s villa has sprawled across the top of the Palatine Hill, slowly deteriorating. At one time, its vibrantly painted dining room had hosted magnificent feasts, one of which would have been the celebration of the emperor’s triumph over Marc Antony and Cleopatra in Egypt. As the heir to Caesar, Octavian was determined to rule the western world without interference. He changed his name to Augustus, and with the help of his general Agrippa and his architect Vitruvius, he turned a city of clay into a city of marble.
I had known all of this on that day in March when the villa was opened for the first time in more than a century. What I hadn’t known, however, was just how unbelievable that trip back into the world of ancient Rome would be. After three million dollars in restoration, Italian archaeologists have been able to recreate not just the intimate library and studies Augustus used, but the mosaic floors he once walked on and the vividly painted ceilings he once walked beneath with Ovid, Seneca, Cicero, Horace, and even Julius Caesar himself. As we were quickly escorted through the frescoed rooms, we stopped in the triclinium – the dining room which had once seen so many famous faces smiling, laughing, even crying for mercy. With a little imagination, it was easy to see the tables and couches that had once adorned the chamber, and there was the undeniable feeling of standing in the presence of the ancients. It was the kind of feeling you only get in Grecian temples or Egyptian tombs.

Q: In all three of your novels, your narrators have been teenage girls. Is there are reason for this?

A: Actually, yes. I like to begin my novels during the time of greatest transition in a person’s life. And in the ancient world, the greatest transition in a woman’s life was often the time when she was married. Because women married at much younger ages two thousand years ago (twelve years old was not uncommon), my narrators have all been very young girls. In fact, Random House will be making a conceted effort to market Cleopatra's Daughter to young adults as well as adults. However, as my novels progress through time (my next book, for example, will be about Madame Tussaud), my narrators will be older.

Q: Is the Red Eagle based on an historical person?

A: Yes. The Red Eagle is actually based on several men who led slave rebellions (unsuccessfully, I might add) against Rome. Spartacus led the most famous revolt, but there were other men too, such as Salvius, who waged war with his army of slaves in ancient Sicily.

Q: You write in your acknowledgements page that the character of the Red Eagle is an homage to the works of several authors. What made you decide to do this?

A: Creative as well as personal reasons. First, I wanted to create a character that fans of swashbuckling adventures might love, and it wasn’t at all difficult to find historical personalities on which to base such a hero. Men like Spartacus and Salvius were heroes in the truest sense of the word. But I didn’t want there to be too much action, and certainly not so much that it would detract from the real story – that of Selene and her twin brother Alexander growing up in a foreign court. I could certainly have chosen not to include anything as obviously fictitious as the Red Eagle. But I wanted to illustrate just how threatening slave rebellions were at that time, and how ever-present the danger of becoming a slave would have been, even to captured royalty. And the creation of the Red Eagle wasn’t a huge stretch. Many rebels who came before – and after – the Red Eagle employed similar tactics: rousing the plebs, arming the slaves, and encouraging those in servitude to passive resistance.
On a more personal note, however, I wanted to include the Red Eagle because I knew it would be a character my father would have loved. He devoured anything having to do with ancient Rome, and I deeply regret not having written this while he was still alive.

Q: Was a third of Rome’s population really enslaved?

A: Sadly, yes. And you didn’t have to be born a slave to become one. You could be kidnapped and sold into slavery, your city could be overrun and you could be turned into a slave, or you might be sold into servitude by your own parents. Slavery meant an absolute loss of every human right we now take for granted, and as a slave, your body was no longer your own. Many slaves were physically and sexually abused, regardless of age or gender.

Q: Where did these slaves come from?

A: Many were Gallics and Greeks. The Gallics were from Gaul, a region which now encompasses France, Belgium, parts of Switzerland, and Germany.

Q: When did slavery end?

A: It hasn't. In the Western World, it was slowly - very slowly - phased out with the coming of Christianity (which was one of the reasons Christianity flourished… it appealed to the disenfranchised and enslaved, making everyone equal if not on earth than in the next life). But slavery certainly hasn't ended for everyone. There are women and children who are ensalved today, even in America and Europe. Of course, this isn't legal. Many of these victims of modern-day human trafficking have been brought over from places like Albania or Algeria and have no resources to escape. That's why organizations such as STOP International exist. You can visit them here.

Q: What resources did you use to write this novel?

A: I did most of my research on-site (in Rome, Alexandria) and in libraries. In order to describe the Palatine, I went there (not that this was necessary… but it was certainly fun!). To get a feel for life on Capri, my husband and I booked a week there and took several trips into the Blue Grotto (where you can no longer swim). I also used dozens of books and contacted scholars such as Duane W. Roller whose work on the life of Kleopatra Selene was invaluable to me.

Q: Why did you change Cleopatra Selene’s name to Selene in the novel?

A: I thought it would be nice (and easier for the reader) to differentiate Selene from her mother by calling her by her second name. Selene means moon, while her brother – Alexander Helios – was named after the sun. Very pretty, I think!

Q: Is it still possible to visit the places Selene visited when she was in Rome?

A: Yes. In 2008, I went on a photographic safari in search of the places Selene would have gone during the brief years she was in Rome. Many of the photos are included here!

Q: What are you working on next? Will it also be marketed to both adults and YA?

A: Actually, my next book will be firmly adult fiction. MASKS OF THE REVOLUTION is about Madame Tussaud, who joined the gilded but troubled court of Marie Antoinette, and survived the French Revolution only by creating death masks of the beheaded aristocracy. I’m very excited about this novel, since Marie (the first name of Madame Tussaud) met absolutely everyone, from Jefferson to the Empress Josephine.

Isn't she awesome? I am so excited to also announce that she has extended her generosity to include being able to giveaway a SIGNED copy of Cleopatra's Daughter to ONE lucky reader! I have read both Nerfertiti and The Heretic Queen, both of which are on my top books of all time list, and I know Cleopatra's Daughter will NOT disappoint!






How to enter, well this time I am going to keep it super simple.

To enter? Simply leave a comment answering one of these questions:

If you could go back in time and live during a specific historical event, what would it be?

OR
How did you find my blog? :)

Following is not required, but I would recommend it because I will announce the winner on here and the winner will have 48 hours to contact me, I will NOT contact the winner.

If you want to earn extra entries:

Leave each in a seperate comment, if you don't, I will count these as ONE entry instead of the multiple entries that you did! Thanks~

These are only worth one extra entry:
post on Twitter @Historyslover this contest (leave link!)
Post this on your blog (leave link)

Giveaway ends on September 15th at midnight. Winner will be announced on this blog. This IS an International contest, so doesn't matter where you live- it's open! (Hooray!)



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57 comments:

  1. I would go back to Shakespeare's time in London, I'd love to see one of his plays premiere. Richard III would be ideal.

    misusedinnocence@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I found your blog from This Book For Free on Book Blogs. Thanks.

    gahome2mom/at/gmail/dot/com

    ReplyDelete
  3. I actually found you once before following links, but this time I came from your post on Book Blogs and adding you to my reader.
    Thanks for the chance to win a copy of this novel!
    knittingmomof3(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh I would love to see what it was like during the 1920's and the era of "Flappers". Prolly because I am reading about them right at this moment in time. =)~
    I would LOVE this book. Hope I win.

    *sprinkles you all with fairy dust and flutters off.................

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi there,
    I would LOVE this book. I heard about this giveaway from Book Blog. I am a member there. Thank you for the great interview and the giveaway.
    *sprinkles you with fairy dust and flutters off.....................

    ReplyDelete
  6. I found you thrugh JKaye.
    Been following ever since.

    Would like achance to read this book.
    Cheli
    Cheli's Shelves

    ReplyDelete
  7. I found you on BookBlogs.
    I'd love the chance to win a copy of this book!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I would go back to turn of the 19th century like Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice time because women were looked upon highly if they were artistic could play an instrument read well etc. and I think I could fit in decently well in that era.. haha... better then I do now.

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  9. That was a really great interview, Jaime. :-D I can't wait to read Cleopatra's Daughter - it looks like such a good read.

    I'd love the chance to win a copy of this book. If I could go back in time and live during a historical event it would have to be the Tudor court. What an obvious choice but I've been fascinated by the Tudor family since I was 9 years old and discovered that Henry VIII had six wives (something that blew my mind!)

    I love the idea of being at that court at the time of some of the greatest British monarchs ... and, I guess, the romantic part of me loves the idea of being courted by a young, fit, and healthy Henry VIII (if he looked like Jonathan Rhys Meyers or Eric Bana I certainly wouldn't complain ;-) )

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm trying to narrow down to one time I'd love to go back to. I think definitely Elizabethean England (as one of the rich kids). I'd also love to meet my grandparents when they were young. Is that weird?

    Thanks for sharing.

    s.mickelson at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  11. I found your blog through Shelia at Bookjourney!
    Cleopatra's Daughter looks great, would love to win!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think I'd like to go back and visit France around the time of the French Revolution.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Congratulations Michelle on the new release! It really looks like a great book! Dont enter me to win, I'm ordering it anyway, but would love to visit with you privately on a couple of questions.
    email me amanda@amandamcintyre.net

    Great blog site Jaime! And I think its kismet that Jaime and I found each other! LOL

    Be well~

    Amanda

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh! the time? Gosh, so many places, so much history...I need to be HG Wells ;))

    I happen to be writing in Victorian London, but I am starting a early novella set in early Britannia--then there is the spirit of the old American west--
    dang, I can't pin down just one..sorry;)

    Amanda

    ReplyDelete
  15. (Sorry if this is a duplicate, I keep losing my comments.)

    No need to enter me I just wanted to say great interview! You had so much interesting information. I'm also going to be hosting a giveaway from this author. I can't wait to read the new book!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I would go back to the 1960's free love hippie era
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  17. I found you on Book Blogs. aitmama {at} gmail{dot} com

    ReplyDelete
  18. I would want to live in Art Deco period in the 1920's.
    jen4777[at]hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. I think the Old West would be an interesting time period to live in. Things were tough but everybody stuck together.
    wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  20. I would love to go back to Ancient Egypt. That's one reason I love Michelle Moran's books.

    amandarwest@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  21. I tweeted about this contest. amandawk

    ReplyDelete
  22. I found your blog through Popin's Lair.

    Amanda
    fitz12383(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  23. I also Tweeted:

    http://twitter.com/fitz12383/status/3710375840

    Thanks!
    Amanda
    fitz12383(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  24. hi, Please add me into this competition please. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  25. Libby's Literary Library sent me here! I'm a new follower!

    delilah0180(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  26. I have now become a Follower.

    I found a link to your blog on Popin's Lair.

    I have read Nefertiti and loved it, so I have to enter this giveaway.
    Thank you.

    Carol

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  27. I found your blog through Popin's Lair.

    mauagd@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  28. I think I'd like to go back to the ancient Egypt and realy see Cleopatra!

    mauagd@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  29. I also found your blog through Popin's Lair.

    tanialexandralves@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  30. I think I'd like to go back to ancient Rome during the imperium.

    tanialexandralves@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  31. I found your blog through Popin's Lair.

    joanapatriciadias@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  32. I think I'd like to go back to the middle age and see Joana of Arc in action!

    joanapatriciadias@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  33. I found your blog through Popin's Lair.

    luisfilipebarros88@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  34. I think I'd like to go back to the time of Leonardo Da Vinci and kwon him and his work!

    luisfilipebarros88@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  35. I found your blog through Popin's Lair.
    rosamariabarrosmaria@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  36. I think I'd like to go back to ancient Greece and know Socrates.

    rosamariabarrosmaria@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  37. I found your blog through Popin's Lair!


    joaomiguelrocha85@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  38. I think I'd like to go back to the of druids and bards and learn magic!

    joaomiguelrocha85@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  39. I found your blog through Popin's Lair.

    alexsweetbabygirl@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  40. I think I'd like to go back to my grandmother youth!
    alexsweetbabygirl@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  41. I found your blog through Popin's Lair.

    migueljardim85@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  42. I think I'd like to go back to the Ottoman Empire to have an harem
    migueljardim85@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  43. I found your blog through Popin's Lair!

    filipemaria90@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  44. think I'd like to go back to 1915 and know Mata Hari

    filipemaria90@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  45. I found your blog through Popin's Lair!
    mariabarros1987@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  46. I think I'd like to go back to the belle epoque to live a peaucefull life.

    mariabarros1987@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  47. I found your blog through Popin's Lair!
    isispath@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  48. isispath@gmail.com
    I think I'd like to go back to the victoria era to know queen Victoria in person!

    ReplyDelete
  49. I found your blog through Popin's Lair!

    augustod56@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  50. I think I'd like to go back to the ancient Babylon to know why they have so bad fame!

    augustod56@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  51. I found your blog on Crazy for Books blog. Glad I found you!!!!

    ryspenc@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  52. Found your blog at The Book Pixie. Great giveaway.

    Marie
    utah91960(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  53. I don't know what time period I would like to live in. I def don't want to go so far back that women are second rate citizens. I am too controllng! I also don't want to wear a corset or a heavy dress.
    I dont' remember how I found your blog..been reading for awhile now. Maybe you found me first. :)

    Please add me in contest to win this book!

    Alipet813(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  54. I found your blog on book blogs. I would love to enter.

    Zia
    ziaria(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  55. I found your blog via jezebelsk (Walking on Sunshine)

    Ladytink_534(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  56. I found your web site on book blogs. Please enter me and thanks for keeping it international.

    Mystica


    mystica123athotmaildotcom

    ReplyDelete
  57. I found you on book blogs. I would love to be entered!

    lovinfitch(at)aol(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
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