Monday, September 14, 2009

Quick Q and A's with Michelle Moran and Contest!!

Michelle Moran is the author of several books for adults, but in her newest she creates a magical historical fiction that's an Adult/ teen crossover titled Cleopatra's Daughter.

First off, please welcome Michelle to Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf, were she'll be answering a few Q and A's that she's provided to give you a further look into the topic(s) of her novel(s). As well as giving away some goodies! :)

~~

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 concerted 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: 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.

~~~

Thanks so much Michelle! Now, on to the contest portion of this post. Michell has been sweet enough to donate a copy Cleopatra’s Daughter as well as an ancient Roman coin complete with certificate of authenticity such as the one pictured on the left.

How To Enter:

Just leave a comment! It seriously can't get easier then that. :)
Though, creativity will earn you bonus points.

Extra Entries:

+4 for already being a follower/ subscriber of this blog.
+2 for becoming one.
+ 2 for each time you link to this contest from sidebar, facebook, myspace, twitter. ( Though with twitter please add @Lauren817 to your link, so I can track them easier, thanks!)

Ends:

September 28th at midnight eastern and this is open internationally! :)

GOOD LUCK!!

54 comments:

  1. Ok so Im soooooo excited for this book, but I really really WANT that coin!! Anyway I'm already a follower so +4 for me.

    frankie.mallis@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. +4 Im already a follower
    +2 Tweeted about it: http://twitter.com/Libelula89/status/3990246454
    +2 Link on sidebar:
    http://entrelibelulas.blogspot.com/

    Mariana
    sarima89(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  3. +4 already a follower
    +2 sidebar http://owlforya.blogspot.com

    foltzsfantasticbooks at gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just became a follower too....thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  5. +4 I am already a follower.

    rebecca191 AT aol DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Please enter me!

    I've already a follower.

    I've posted this in my sidebar and I'll mention it in my Sunday Contest Slurry this Sunday.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh, I'd love to win this book! It looks SO GOOD. Great interview!

    +4 for already being a follower on Blogger

    celialarsen(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I would love to win this, please enter me in the giveaway, thanks!

    roxxyroller(at)hotmail(dot)com

    Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Chat - join us at http://forum.coolcanucks.ca/

    ReplyDelete
  9. I follow your blog

    roxxyroller(at)hotmail(dot)com

    Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Chat - join us at http://forum.coolcanucks.ca/

    ReplyDelete
  10. I subscribe

    roxxyroller(at)hotmail(dot)com

    Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Chat - join us at http://forum.coolcanucks.ca/

    ReplyDelete
  11. I follow on Twitter as coolcanucks

    roxxyroller(at)hotmail(dot)com

    Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Chat - join us at http://forum.coolcanucks.ca/

    ReplyDelete
  12. I tweeted!

    http://twitter.com/coolcanucks/status/3995995379

    roxxyroller(at)hotmail(dot)com

    Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Chat - join us at http://forum.coolcanucks.ca/

    ReplyDelete
  13. I own CoolCanucks.ca, which is a Canadian Contest and Freebie site. This giveaway is shared here:

    http://forum.coolcanucks.ca/22851-laurens-crammed-bookshelf-cleopatras-daughter-michelle-moran-book-giveaway-sept28-canada

    roxxyroller(at)hotmail(dot)com

    Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Chat - join us at http://forum.coolcanucks.ca/

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great interview! I'd love to win this book.

    I follow through Bloglines.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I would like to be entered!

    +4 Already follow!

    delilah0180(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  17. *Don't count this for the contest*

    Great interview! There is no way I could imagine someone getting married at 12, that's just crazy. :) Can't wait to read this book.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Love this contest and interview!
    + 4 for already being a follower/ subscriber of this blog..I am already a follower! :)

    Nina.happyendings@yahoo.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  19. Enter me! I'm already a follower.
    katiesbookshelf@ymail.com

    ReplyDelete
  20. count me in please

    +4 already a follower

    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hay there!

    +4 I am already a follower of your blog

    +2 I added a link for contest on my blog

    My email is koolkrew@gmail.com
    Thanks! :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Please include me in your giveaway

    +4 I follow your blog

    +2 tweeted http://twitter.com/Prairiebelle/status/4117604741

    Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Chat - join us at http://forum.coolcanucks.ca/


    bluebelle0367(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  23. +2 becoming a follower
    +2 linked to my sidebar under contests

    Froggy
    froggarita@gmail.com
    http://froggaritavillesbookcase.blogspot.com
    A Blog with Bite!
    http://blogwithbitereviews.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  24. Would love to enter.

    +2 new follower

    Zia
    ziaria(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  25. Please enter me-thanks!

    amanda n.
    fitz12383(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  26. I follow.

    amanda n.
    fitz12383(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  27. tweet tweet!

    http://twitter.com/fitz12383/status/4145334174

    amanda n.
    fitz12383(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  28. Oh my god! I want the coin so badly! Cleopatra's Daughter is a good book.

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  29. +2 New follower.

    +2 Linked to sidebar
    http://aik-friendsnfamily.blogspot.com/

    +2 Tweeted.
    http://twitter.com/aikchien/status/4150267601

    +2 Facebooked. (Aik Chien)

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  30. Here's a new tweet for you to track easier:

    http://twitter.com/aikchien/status/4150310322

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  31. +2 follower
    +2 sidebar

    http://yabookqueen.blogspot.com

    yabookqueen@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  32. I'd love to win, add me in
    copperllama at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  33. This sounds like a really good read! I would love to be entered to win! Thanks for the great giveaway!

    +4 I follow your blog!

    imsosweepy { at } gmail { dot } com

    ReplyDelete
  34. I guess that I am getting in touch with my "geek" side as I am so excited about the possibility of winning both the book Cleopatra's Daughter and the coin. You will just have to believe that I will honestly be doing the Happy Dance in Oklahoma if I win both the book and coin.

    Thank you,

    Christine
    womackcm@sbcglobal.net

    ReplyDelete
  35. +2 Became a follower of your blog

    +2 I tweeted http://twitter.com/ossmcalc/status/4309177246. The only problem is that I listed it at being at Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf instead of @Lauren817.

    thank you,

    Christine
    womackcm@sbcglobal.net

    ReplyDelete
  36. wow, I love that you're giving out a coin (and the book looks great as well). It reminds me of reading about Aureus and Denarius several years ago...

    +2 became a follower
    +2 tweeted here>>>
    http://twitter.com/andreadbc/status/4310114779

    brigneti at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  37. Yo! I really like your blog header. It's one of a kind!

    Now onto other matters: I'd love to take part in your giveaway.

    +2 for becoming a follower.
    +2 I don't have Twitter but I've mentioned your contest in my blog.

    josettebooks[at]yahoo[dot]com

    Thank you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  38. +4 for already being a follower
    + 2 linked in post(and sidebar doesn't know if that counts for one or two entries?)
    +2 twittered the contest.

    my email: ladybug[AT]bluezone[DOT]no

    ReplyDelete
  39. Would love to read this
    copperllama at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  40. I LOVE writer's interviews! =D
    and I want to read the book!

    +4 for already being a follower

    My email: giuly_4(at)hotmail(dot)com

    thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  41. would LOVE to read this book...please count me in...I'm a
    'new' subscriber...

    karen k
    kmkuka(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  42. speckldharted22(at)aim(dot)com

    twitter(dot)com/speckldharted

    ReplyDelete
  43. I'd love to read this book!
    thefirstlibrarian@yahoo.com

    4+ already a follower
    2+ linked this contest here:
    http://booksandliteratureforteens.blogspot.com/2009/03/contests-around-blog-o-sphere.html

    ReplyDelete
  44. Please enter me to win.
    +2 I am a new follower

    ReplyDelete
  45. I watched the very adult series Rome and became very interested in this time period. Cleopatra was very cool and I would love to read about her daughter.

    +2 new follower
    zenfoxflowerATyahooDOTcom

    ReplyDelete
  46. I have been waiting to read this book, it sounds awesome.
    +4 for already being a follower

    Ashley R.
    arudd908@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  47. I would love to read this book. It's exactly my kind of book.

    ryanw@mts.net

    ReplyDelete
  48. I really want to read this book!
    +4 already a follower.

    lovinfitch(at)aol(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  49. My kingdom for a copy of this book!!

    Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Chat - join us at http://forum.coolcanucks.ca/

    ReplyDelete
  50. omg this looks sooo interesting! i want to read it soo bad!!

    aliciagrubbe@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  51. I am a follower! :D

    faked_sugartone at hotmail

    ReplyDelete
  52. I would LOVE to win this!!
    Thankyou!! :D:D

    -Lindsay

    lindsay15photo@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  53. It is very interesting for me to read the article. Thank you for it. I like such topics and anything connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more soon.

    ReplyDelete
  54. It was rather interesting for me to read this article. Thanx for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read a bit more soon.

    ReplyDelete

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