BY MICHELLE MORAN
The marriage of Marc Antony and Cleopatra is one of the greatest love stories of all time, a tale of unbridled passion with earth-shaking political consequences. Feared and hunted by the powers in Rome, the lovers choose to die by their own hands as the triumphant armies of Antony’s vengeful rival, Octavian, sweep into Egypt. Their three orphaned children are taken in chains to Rome, but only two—the ten-year-old twins Selene and Alexander—survive the journey. Delivered to the household of Octavian’s sister, the siblings cling to each other and to the hope that they will return one day to their rightful place on the throne of Egypt. As they come of age, they are buffeted by the personal ambitions of Octavian’s family and court, by the ever-present threat of slave rebellion, and by the longings and desires deep within their own hearts.
The fateful tale of Selene and Alexander is brought brilliantly to life in Cleopatra’s Daughter. Recounted in Selene’s youthful and engaging voice, it introduces a compelling cast of historical characters:
- Octavia: the emperor Octavian’s kind and compassionate sister, abandoned by Marc Antony for Cleopatra
- Livia: Octavian’s bitter and jealous wife
- Marcellus: Octavian’s handsome, flirtatious nephew and heir-apparent
- Tiberius: Livia’s sardonic son and Marcellus’s great rival for power
- Juba: Octavian’s ever-watchful aide, whose honored position at court has far-reaching effects on the lives of the young Egyptian royals
Selene’s narrative is animated by the concerns of a young girl in any time and place —the possibility of finding love, the pull of friendship and family, and the pursuit of her unique interests and talents. While coping with the loss of both her family and her ancestral kingdom, Selene must find a path around the dangers of a foreign land. Her accounts of life in Rome are filled with historical details that vividly capture both the glories and horrors of the time. She dines with the empire’s most illustrious poets and politicians, witnesses the creation of the Pantheon, and navigates the colorful, crowded marketplaces of the city where Roman-style justice is meted out with merciless authority.
Based on meticulous research, Cleopatra’s Daughter is a fascinating portrait of Imperial Rome and of the people and events of this glorious and tumultuous period in human history. Emerging from the shadows of history, Selene, a young woman of irresistible charm and preternatural intelligence, will capture your heart.ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Michelle Moran was born in the San Fernando Valley, CA. She took an interest in writing from an early age, purchasing Writer's Market and submitting her stories and novellas to publishers from the time she was twelve. When she was accepted into Pomona College she took as many classes as possible in British Literature, particularly Milton, Chaucer, and the Bard. Not surprisingly, she majored in English while she was there. Following a summer in Israel where she worked as a volunteer archaeologist, she earned an MA from the Claremont Graduate University.
Michelle has traveled around the world, from Zimbabwe to India, and her experiences at archaeological sites were what inspired her to write historical fiction. A public high school teacher for six years, Michelle Moran is currently a full-time writer living in California with her husband. She is the author of the bestselling historical fiction Nefertiti and its standalone sequel, The Heretic Queen. Her third novel, Cleopatra's Daughter, will debut September 15, 2009.
AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Michelle Moran was so kind to do an interview with BOOKIN' WITH BINGO...even AFTER my computer crashed, she did it twice. Thank you, Michelle.
So first, what is the next or current book you are working on?
I am currently hard at work on my next novel, Madame Tussaud. She is proving to be quite a character, even in an time period filled with boisterous, standout personalities! Of course, CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER will be released September 15th.
What have you just finished reading?
C. W. Gortner's The Last Queen, the beautifully-told story of Juana "la Loca" of Castille.
What books would you say have made the biggest impression on you, especially starting out?
I think that The Red Tent by Anita Diamant was probably the single work of historical fiction that drew me away from writing science-fiction/fantasy. The time period and that part of the world (Eastern Mediterranean) really spoke to me.
What gets you started on a new book? A character or story idea or….?
For me, an idea often begins with a journey or an experience that helps me establish a connection with a narrator. Whether I'm walking across the Palatine Hill in Rome, visiting Versailles, journeying to the Valley of the Kings, or scuba diving at Alexandria, I am constantly thinking of stories which would make great novels. Walking in the footsteps of my characters makes a tremendous difference: I don't know if I could write any other way.
What is something about you that you would want people to know about you that we probably don’t know?
For a devotee of travel, I have an incredibly bad sense of direction! Also, that I have an almost Imelda Marcos-like obsession with shoes!
What is your best advice to anyone, including young people, who want to be writers?
Keep writing. If at any point along the way I had stopped writing and said to myself, you know, I think book number eleven will be my last, I wouldn't be published. Writers don't like to hear this, though. I know when I was looking at writing advice and I would see this posted somewhere I would think, well that's helpful. I wouldn't have thought of that. But the truth is there's no good-ol-boys-club and there's no backdoor into the publishing industry (unless you're already a star). Good work sells, and if it doesn't, write another one, then maybe once you're a success they'll haul out all of your old books that weren't worth publishing the first time around, spruce them up a little, and voila, all of your previous efforts won't have been wasted! Or maybe you'll look back on those books and think, wow, they knew something I didn't. My work has gotten better. And then you'll hide those first eleven books in a closet somewhere (or a craftily labeled folder in My Documents so that no one ever finds them).
What is something you would like to share with us about writing your favorite genre in general?
Two things: firstly, how fun, surprising and unexpected the research portion of writing always is, and secondly, how much more there is to the "business" of being a writer than the novel-writing itself!
If you want to know more about Michelle Moran, check out her website at michellemoran.com. You will even find information in there about her national bestseller NEFERTITI: A NOVEL
Thanks to Tracee at Pump Up Your
Book Promotion, I have TWO copies of
CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER to give away.
First place winner will receive a finished copy
and second place will receive a new advanced copy!
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