Today I welcome best selling author Kate Quinn to my series of interviews. Kate is the author of Mistress of Rome, Daughters of Rome, Empress of the Seven Hills and the soon-to-be-released The Serpent and the Pearl. Kate will be participating on two panels at the Historical Novels Society Conference: “Sex in Historical Fiction: How to Make It Hot” and “Historical Fiction Set in the Ancient World: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”
Q: What got you first interested in historical fiction?
A: The past has always fascinated me, ever since the days when I was six years old and I couldn’t sit down on the school steps without pretending I was Elizabeth I refusing to enter the Tower of London. My favorite movie was Spartacus, and I was crushed that no boys of my own age were even remotely capable of leading a slave rebellion or wielding a gladius like Kirk Douglas. Under those circumstances, it was probably inevitable that I ended up writing historical fiction!
Q: Is there an era/area that is your favorite to write about?
A: I first got interested in ancient Rome because of I, Claudius, which I watched when I was far too young, but adored anyway. Imperial Rome is so far away from us in time, but culturally so close. From sports fans to fast food, from running water and daily baths to birth control and no-fault divorce, the Romans embraced cultural traditions that wouldn’t be seen again on a widespread scale for two thousand years. And now I’m giving ancient Rome a break and have moved on to the Renaissance—another fascinating period; so much art and beauty existing side by side with so much bloodshed.
Q: Do you have a favorite era for reading?
A: I’ll read historical fiction set in any era as long as it’s well-written!
Q; Is there a writer, living or deceased, you would like to meet?
A: I would have loved to meet Judith Merkle Riley, who was my idol for historical fiction. In a genre that can sometimes take itself deadly serious, she wasn’t afraid to make her readers laugh. I understand she was very active with HNS—I will always be sorry that I didn’t join up until after she had died.
Q: Can you tell us about your latest publication?
A: The Serpent and the Pearl is my latest book, set for release in early August—and it’s my first book set outside Imperial Rome. I’m hopping on the Borgia bandwagon for a rollicking story starring Giulia Farnese, a Renaissance beauty with floor-length hair who was mistress to the Borgia Pope. Stir Giulia’s incredible real-life adventures together with those of her acerbic bodyguard, add in one fiery-tempered cook with a dangerous past, and light on fire for a fun fast-paced read.
We’ve now reached the time in our interview for the let’s-get-to-know-the-author-better, nearly-pointless, sort-of-silly, rapid-fire questions:
Coffee or tea? Coffee. I don’t care if it tastes like motor oil, as long as it’s black, hot, and strong enough to take the roof of my mouth off.
Ocean or mountain? Ocean. I have a periodic fantasy of taking a waterproof laptop and going to live on a houseboat in the middle of the ocean where I can be absolutely, completely alone except for the sound of waves.
Hiking or shopping? Hiking. A long ramble with my dog helps me unsnarl plotting problems – I feel just like Emily Bronte, sans Yorkshire moors.
Violin or piano? Piano – as long as it’s not me playing it!
Mystery or fantasy? Both. I’ll happily hop from George R.R. Martin to Robert B. Parker.
Darcy or Heathcliff? Darcy. Heathcliff killed baby birds, which is just a bit of a turn-off for me.
Love scene or death scene? I’m a sucker for a good love scene. Who isn’t?
For more information about Kate Quinn, visit her blog: http://www.katequinnauthor.com/blog.htm
Buy her books at her Amazon Author Page
Or keep track of her online:
Contact Kate: katequinnauthor at hotmail.com