For the seventh time in my life, I get to write the words “My book came out today.” What a feeling!
“Lady of the Eternal City” was the book from hell in many ways – it was my first true sequel, and it had my first child narrator, my first redemption arc, and my first male-male romance, not to mention twenty years of back-story, 10+ different countries as settings, and the most complicated and contradictory historical figure (Emperor Hadrian) who I’ve ever had the frustration of researching. LEC was a problem child which I more than once contemplated throwing on the fire and dousing with gasoline, but now my problem child is out in the world – and I’m very proud of it.
I hope you enjoy it, too.
I have been hugely touched by the good wishes, the prayers, and the wonderful support coming in from readers after my house fire of two weeks ago. It’s been a rollercoaster two weeks, but the Overseas Gladiator and I are fighting our way back to normality: burns healing, belongings recovered, progress made slowly but surely on our half-ruined house. I have the best readers, friends, and fans in the world, and I wish I could give you something back.
Fortunately, I can. Sometimes the fates line up like that.
It’s just a hair under two weeks till Lady of the Eternal City is released, and around this time, I’ll usually release the coming book’s first chapter as a sneak preview. This time I’ve gone one better: not only are you getting a teaser excerpt from LEC’s first chapter, you’re getting three bonus stories not included in the book.
LEC has been the book from hell for many reasons–some books are just problem babies while others are angel–and one of my early plot snarls came from the fact that I started the story too early in the timeline. I wanted to pick up right where Empress of the Seven Hills left off–with Vix wrestling with the impossible choice of killing his best friend; with Titus wondering if an executioner was coming for him; with Sabina in an ever-developing condition. But I ended up scrapping my original start and opening a year after the events of Empress of the Seven Hills, as Hadrian makes his long-awaited entry into Rome as Emperor. It was the right choice, but there were scenes on the cutting-room floor that I always regretted losing. And they made three self-contained little stories all on their own, so I realized I could bundle them together here: three prequel stories taking place in that missing year between Empress of the Seven Hills and Lady of the Eternal City.
Battered warrior Vix has always been Hadrian’s bitter enemy, and he vows that will never change, even when he is made Praetorian Guard and Imperial watchdog. But with his family’s lives on the line, Vix faces a bitter choice: kill a friend, or serve a foe?
Mild, scholarly Titus might once have been favored as Imperial heir, but he never wanted the throne. All he desires is peace in the arms of his new bride–but the jealous Hadrian has other ideas. A horror of bloodshed and violence interrupts Titus’s wedding night, and the man of peace finds a choice at sword-point: honor and death, or betrayal and a cell?
Elegant, elusive Sabina is desperate to escape the bleak future that awaits her as Hadrian’s Empress, and even more desperate to conceal the secret growing in her own body. But when she begs a famous seer for a glimpse into her future, she receives an astonishing vision of the Eternal City under Hadrian’s rule, and the new Empress must choose: her own freedom, or the glory of Rome?
Three former friends find new futures in blood, omen, and prophecy. Three prequel vignettes to “Lady of the Eternal City, in an exclusive e-release titled The Three Fates.
The Three Fates is available for FREE download on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Scribd, and Page Foundry. It is available on Amazon Kindle at 0.99, which was the lowest possible price option. The Three Fates is NOT available in print, since this is an e-release only–and there is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Lady of the Eternal City tucked in the back.
I hope you enjoy it–and again, thank you. Thank you all.
I’ve got the ok from my publisher, so here it is: the cover and the plot description for Empress of the Seven Hills sequel Lady of the Eternal City, set for release March 2015!
National bestselling author Kate Quinn returns with the long-awaited fourth volume in the “Empress of Rome” series, an unforgettable new tale of the politics, power, and passion that defined ancient Rome.
Elegant, secretive Sabina may be Empress of Rome, but she still stands poised on a knife’s edge. She must keep the peace between two deadly enemies: her husband Hadrian, Rome’s brilliant and sinister Emperor; and battered warrior Vix, who is her first love. But Sabina is guardian of a deadly secret: Vix’s beautiful son Antinous has become the Emperor’s latest obsession.
Empress and Emperor, father and son will spin in a deadly dance of passion, betrayal, conspiracy, and war. As tragedy sends Hadrian spiraling into madness, Vix and Sabina form a last desperate pact to save the Empire. But ultimately, the fate of Rome lies with an untried girl, a spirited redhead who may just be the next Lady of the Eternal City . . .
Praise for the Empress of Rome novels
“Gripping.” – Diana Gabaldon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Outlander series
“Quinn handles imperial Rome with panache.” – Kirkus Reviews
“A masterful storyteller.” – Margaret George, author of Elizabeth I: The Novel
Chris Hemsworth turned 29 not long ago, and I’d like to offer him a belated birthday present: the starring role of the upcoming movie of my latest book, “Empress of the Seven Hills!”
Sigh – if only. The fact is, I doubt HBO will be burning up my phone line anytime soon with offers to turn Empress of the Seven Hills into a star-studded 7-season miniseries a la “Game of Thrones.” Historical movies are hideously expensive to make, what with all those costumed extras and elaborate battle scenes and CGI Colosseum fights, and even if I did get a movie offer, writers never get casting approval. “Empress of the Seven Hills” could get turned into a C-grade borderline porno with Fabio in nipple rings as Vix, and I’d have no power to stop it.
But it’s always fun to dream – so here is my ideal cast for “Empress of the Seven Hills!” (Blog reprint from My Book, The Movie, by kind permission of blogger extraordinaire Marshal who has also hosted me on Writers Read and Coffee With A Canine.)
Vix: My brash and abrasive soldier hero is the hardest to cast. For one thing, he starts the book out as a swaggering boy of nineteen, and ends as a capable war hero of thirty-three. But I’ll go with Chris Hemsworth–in “The Avengers” he showed humor, charisma, and swagger just like Vix, and in “Snow White and the Huntsman” he proved he could swing a blade with serious heft.
Sabina: Emma Watson would be perfect for my intelligent, reticent, and just-a-bit-mysterious heroine. Playing a senator’s daughter with a yen for adventure, Ms. Watson would get to dress up and dine with emperors, or go grunge to hunker down with legionaries, all with equal aplomb. Plus rock a pixie cut.
Hadrian: for Sabina’s husband and the book’s villain, I’ll pick Wentworth Miller. His stint in “Prison Break” showed him as charming and intelligent, his good looks hiding a serpentine mind and a cool, detached ruthlessness–perfect for Hadrian.
Titus: Vix’s unlikely best friend is a shy over-educated patrician boy who grows into confident man-to-be-reckoned-with, and I can think of no one better than Zach Gilford. As the teenage quarterback in “Friday Night Lights” he showed both sweetness and steel beneath a gawky inarticulate surface.
Emperor Trajan: the confident, charismatic man’s-man emperor of Rome, beloved by all and especially by Vix who is his protege. Put Harrison Ford in a breastplate, and we’re done.
Empress Plotina: with a name like that, you know Trajan’s wife will be a scheming villainness. Michelle Forbes would be perfect; handsome but cold.
Mirah: Vix’s fiery Jewish wife with the red hair? Emma Stone.
Senator Marcus Norbanus: Gabriel Byrne would be perfect for Sabina’s intellectual senator father
Faustina: Sabina’s little sister, who grows up into a beauty and sets her sights on the shy Titus for a future husband. Jessica Brown Findlay plays an identical type in “Downton Abbey” as an earl’s spirited rebel daughter who uses beauty, charm, wit, and everything else in her arsenal to make sure she gets her own way. Just like Faustina.
Now for funding. HBO, are you listening?
I wrote my latest book “Empress of the Seven Hills” while my husband was deployed to the Persian Gulf. I ended up writing him into the book, in a way – my hero bears more than a passing resemblance to the man I married, though I didn’t realize this until it was pointed out to me. And at first I denied it.
Husband: (raising an eyebrow) “So it’s a complete coincidence that both your husband and your fictional hero are tall, freckled, left-handed, short-tempered, adrenaline-junkie military men who snore like a chain-saw, can’t sit still without one foot jittering, and have a habit of pissing off superiors?”
Thank goodness my husband is back home now, as unscathed as my fictional hero – and I wrote about both of them in the last issue of Milspouse Magazine, under the monthly feature “My Military Romance.” Pick up an issue on any base, or just click here! And thanks again to Milspouse Magazine, and military husbands and wives everywhere.
So said Shakespeare in “Taming of the Shrew,” when Petruchio woos his Kate. There are a lot of us Kates around (Henry VIII married three of ’em, not to mention Prince William and La Middleton!), and now we have our own website: Kate-Book.com, a website for Kates, by Kates, and about Kates! Credo: “We Kates are collectively very proud of our name. It’s one quick, clean syllable that at the same time denotes strength, creativity, class, beauty, and feet that smell like roses.” Here, here!
This month Kate-Book.com is launching a book club feature. I’m the first author being interviewed, so check it out!
Ten fun questions in a Q&A with Kayla Posney, the Pittsburgh Historical Fiction Examiner. Kayla’s got some fun questions like “What 5 historical figures do you invite to dinner?” (Depends if I want a good party or a bloodbath!)
To find out who made my historical guest list, click here! And thanks again to Kayla for interviewing me!
This is how most of us experience history: trying desperately to stay awake in class as someone drones on about the Hawley Smoot Tariff. So why do we end up reading historical fiction instead?
Over at Writerspace, I’m giving my best five guesses. Reason #2:
“The clothes! Forget trying to squeeze into the skinny jeans and stiletto heels of 2012; let’s go back to an era where you could swish around in a gorgeous gown and be considered the ideal beauty at size 16.”
Want to hear the rest?
Hop on over to Writerspace and find out!
Something sweet and silly for the weekend: the fun blog Coffee with a Canine, where I got invited to talk about my dog. Something I can never resist!
Click here to find out how a mixed-breed rescue pup has become an Outer Mongolian Temple Dog named after a Roman dictator.
What do writers read? That’s Marshal’s question over on “Writers Read,” and it’s a good ‘un. As a historical fiction writer, it’s probably no surprise that I read a lot of HF. But I try to dip into other genres too, in the spirit of expanding my horizons, and that’s why my current reading list doesn’t just have HF on it, but classics, thrillers, and YA dystopias . . .