HBO just called, and they’re giving Lady of the Eternal City the “Game of Thrones treatment!
Sigh – I wish. But until the day Weiss & Benioff are leaving me urgent voice-mails, a girl can dream – and I don’t know a writer out there who doesn’t know exactly how they’d cast their beloved characters if given a movie set and total production control. (Which we’d never get, because no writer does. But this is fantasy, right? Come on, I’ve already planned what I’m wearing to the 2016 Oscars to watch LEC win Best Picture. Red Valentino and Louboutins; very 2011 Jennifer Lawrence.)
Anyway, here’s my dream cast for Lady of the Eternal City.
Sabina: for my elegant mid-thirties heroine, I’m going with Lyndsey Marshal. As Cleopatra on HBO’s “Rome” she had an inscrutable elegance that will wear nicely on my secret-keeping Empress. Not to mention an adorable pixie cut under the various Imperial wigs.
Vix: Dan Feurriegal played a tough-grained foul-mouthed heart-of-gold gladiator in “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” – I think he can handle Vix. He’s already got the skills for Vix’s fight scenes, Vix’s wicked grin, and Vix’s ferocious expression. (He’s my arm candy for the 2016 Oscars. We look lovely on the red carpet together.)
Emperor Hadrian: this role is a tough one, since Hadrian is endlessly mercurial and vibrates between cruelty, kindness, friendship, enmity, hatred, love, and every other set of extremes you could imagine. Eric Bana with his “Troy” beard – those intense dark eyes are SO Hadrian.
Antinous: Vix’s adopted son, Hadrian’s lover, and also one of the most famous and beautiful faces of the ancient world – yeah, this one’s a poser. I’m going with Douglas Booth, who has a face so perfect it looks carved, but all that perfections melts into a surprisingly sweet smile.
Titus: I loved Tobias Menzies in Rome, and now that he’s tearing it up as Frank/Black Jack Randall on “Outlander,” I can see he’d be perfect for my sweet, serious, noble-souled Titus.
Annia: My secondary heroine has a fiery temperament and the hair to match, a marathoner with a fierce soul who has to save the Empire at the end when all the adults have screwed things up. Molly Quinn showed on “Castle” that she could play tough, intelligent, and funny, just like Annia.
Marcus: Zach Gilford, because I adored him as Matt Saracen in “Friday Night Lights,” showing the same blend of sweetness, intelligence, and awkwardness as my young Marcus Aurelius. Who never wrote “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!” in his Meditations, but should have.
Pedanius Fuscus: for the swaggering golden-boy teenage ass who makes everyone’s lives a living hell, I have to go with the ultimate swaggering golden-boy teenage ass of all time–King Joffrey/Jack Gleason.
Servianus: the white-haired orator constantly droning “In my day . . .” could be played by no one other than Julian Glover/Maester Pycelle from “Game of Thrones.”
Mirah: for Vix’s fiery Jewish wife with a rebel’s soul, Brigid Brannagh would work very well.
Simon bar Kokhba: one final “Game of Thrones” alum. The charismatic Jewish leader whose ferocious rebellion nearly brought Rome to her knees has relatively little screen time in LEC, but he needs to pack a powerful punch. Pedro Pascal accomplished exactly the same thing in his cameo role of the Red Viper on GoT.
Hope you enjoyed my fantasy casting. Who do you see as Vix/Sabina/Hadrian & Co.?
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.
1. Page 2: Hey, this book isn’t so bad.
2. Page 81: That’s the fourth misspelled word . . . and those are just the ones I caught. Wait, how many am I missing?!
3. Start over.
4. Send panicked email to writing buddy begging for one more reread of that problematic eighth chapter.
5. This book is terrible.
6. Realize you said the Roman eagle standard was silver, when Imperial-era eagles were gold. Make change, exhale, then grow cold. That was just the historical error you caught. HOW MANY AM I MISSING?!
7. Incorporate Chapter 8 changes from writing buddy, who read your pages at 11:30 at night on what was supposed to be a dinner break in the middle of their own deadline crisis. Hit the Vatican website and start petition to have writing buddy canonized.
8. Spend four hours untangling the timeline inconsistencies pointed out by your copyeditor, then realize it’s all because you miscalculated your hero’s age, i.e. you can’t count.
9. Get the shivers when your primary source says the Chapter 19 lightning strike happened fifteen years earlier than you placed it in your story. Ransack research materials wildly looking for that vindicating second source, which is missing. Finally found under sleeping, resentful dog who has not been walked in days.
10. Compose email offering your editor your first born child and a kidney if you can have another week to finish this. Delete email, go back to work.
11. Deadline Day. Writing buddy comes to your house, handcuffs you to the sink, and presses Send for you.
12. Thank writing buddy. Set a date next week to do the same for her when she needs to press Send.
13. Start drinking.
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
I’ve gotten tagged for another blog hop, and this one is “Meet My Main Character.” I’m currently writing the sequel to my ancient Rome novel “Empress of the Seven Hills,” and if you’ve read that then you won’t be too surprised to know that the main characters there–gladius-swinging legionary Vix and his rival’s subtle wife Sabina–will be back for many more adventures.
But I have another heroine who will be elbowing Vix and Sabina out of the way so she can have her share of page time, and I’ve been keeping her quiet up till now. Want to learn a little more about her?
1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
Her name is Annia, a young heiress of ancient Rome. And she is a historical figure, but I’m not giving you her full name because I don’t want you running to Wikipedia and finding out what happens to her before the book is even out.
2) When and where is the story set?
Second century Rome, under the reign of the fascinating, mercurial, ever-traveling Emperor Hadrian. The same guy who built that big wall across the top of England because he took one look into Scotland and said, very sensibly, “Hell no.”
3) What should we know about your main character?
“She had big blue-gray eyes with red lashes, like a sword-blade with a fan of blood on it and every bit as piercing.” That about sums Annia up. She may be a rich girl in a silk dress, but she’s tough as nails and no one to mess with.
4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
Annia will find herself embroiled in all kinds of Imperial hot water–plots, assassinations, poison, and mayhem. She’s just a young ‘un, but she’ll find herself having to put her life on the line to save the Empire when the adults have totally screwed things up.
5) What is the personal goal of the character?
She has an arch-enemy she’d love to put in the ground, because he’s been bullying her all her life. And she has a bookworm best friend who has been proposing marriage since she was four, and she really wishes he’d knock it off.
6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
“Lady of the Eternal City” is the title, but there’s no blurb yet because I haven’t had time to write one!
7) When can we expect the book to be published?
March 2015, if I can meet my deadline. Which is rushing at me like an oncoming train, so I’d better get back to work.
Paula Lofting tagged me, and now I’ve tagged three authors to follow and post about their main characters . . . which I happen to know include at least one fascinating and famous set of historical lovers, so be sure to check them out on the 22nd!
The Lion and the Rose will be released in less than two months on January 7th, and I’ve included a New Year’s treat. Tucked in the back will be a teaser chapter from the forthcoming sequel to Empress of the Seven Hills. Not just any chapter, either. Lots of readers have asked me the following questions: “Will Vix ever go home to Britannia?” and “Will we ever see Arius and Thea from Mistress of Rome?”
Yes, and yes. That’s the scene tucked into the back of The Lion and the Rose. And for you now, a snippet from Vix’s eyes when he goes back to Britannia for the first time in nearly twenty years. Partly to help build a certain wall in the north, but partly to see his family:
My feet were soundless on the grass as I approached the garden, but the man whipped about before I got a step further, one gnarled hand dropping his trowel and drawing the dagger at his waist instead. He was up in a crouch and ready to face me in an eyeblink, and his shoulders were bent and his hair entirely gray, but that crisp secutor stance could have graced any arena in Rome. And had.
“You haven’t gotten slow with age,” I told my father. “But you still can’t garden worth a tribune’s arse.”
The rest of the scene awaits you at the back of The Lion and the Rose. Hope you enjoy!
I’ve gotten the ok from my publisher, and I can finally let slip some news I’ve been keeping quiet for a while.
My usual writing schedule is simple: one 450 page book per year, give or take. But that’s going to be different this year. I didn’t write one 450 page book last year–I went on some kind of insane hyper-drive, and wrote two.
And they’re both going to be released in the next six months.
As for one more bit of news? Both books are Borgia novels. I know some of you are looking ahead for the sequel to Empress of the Seven Hills (more on that later) but all I can say is, I took what was intended to be a one-book vacation to the Italian Renaissance, and my one-book vay-cay turned out like a high-school kid’s two-day sight-seeing trip to Paris which somehow morphs into two years of backpacking through Europe. The Borgia world grabbed me like a vise, and so did my characters. Giulia Farnese, mistress to the Borgia Pope and my irrepressible heroine, had far too many real-life adventures to confine to one book. A standalone novel became a duology instead–and to avoid leaving poor Giulia (and my readers) on another cliff-hanger, I wrote both books of the duology back to back. The Serpent and the Pearl is the first installment, set for release five weeks away on August 6, 2013 (though if you want to enter the new Goodreads giveaway for an advance copy, click here.) The concluding installment of Giulia Farnese’s story will be titled The Lion and the Rose, and it’s slated for release January 7, 2014 – just five months later.
And for those looking for news on the Empress of the Seven Hills sequel, I can tell you that I’m busy writing it now. It has no fixed release date yet, but it will be titled Lady of the Eternal City. Hopefully the Borgia novels and their trio of heroes will tide you over: Giulia Farnese, the Renaissance’s most beautiful woman; her cynical bodyguard Leonello who duels with Cesare Borgia and hunts serial killers for fun; and a fiery cook named Carmelina who has a genius for gourmet food, a mummified hand in her pocket (don’t ask), and more secrets than she can count.
Take a look here at my duology’s two gorgeous covers, and two (spoiler-free) descriptions:
Rome, 1492. The Holy City is drenched with blood and teeming with secrets. A pope lies dying and the throne of God is left vacant, a prize awarded only to the most virtuous–or the most ruthless. The Borgia family begins its legendary rise, chronicled by an innocent girl who finds herself drawn into their dangerous web . . .
Vivacious Giulia Farnese has floor-length golden hair and the world at her feet: beauty, wealth, and a handsome young husband. But she is stunned to discover that her glittering marriage is a sham, and she is to be given as a concubine to the ruthless, charismatic Cardinal Borgia: Spaniard, sensualist, candidate for pope–and passionately in love with her.
Two trusted companions will follow her into the world of the Borgias: Leonello, a cynical bodyguard bent on bloody revenge against a mysterious killer, and Carmelina, a fiery cook with a past full of secrets. But as corruption thickens in the Vatican and the bodies begin to mount, Giulia and her friends must decide if they will flee the Borgia dream of power–or if they can even survive it
From the national bestselling author of “The Serpent and the Pearl” comes the continuing saga of the ruthless family that holds all of Rome in its grasp, and the three outsiders thrust into their twisted web of blood and deceit . . .
As the cherished concubine of the Borgia Pope Alexander VI, Giulia Farnese has Rome at her feet. But after narrowly escaping a sinister captor, she realizes that the danger she faces is far from over–and now, it threatens from within. The Holy City of Rome is still under Alexander’s thrall, but enemies of the Borgias are starting to circle. In need of trusted allies, Giulia turns to her sharp-tongued bodyguard, Leonello, and her fiery cook and confidante, Carmelina.
Caught in the deadly world of the Renaissance’s most notorious family, Giulia, Leonello, and Carmelina must decide if they will flee the dangerous dream of power. But as the shadows of murder and corruption rise through the Vatican, they must learn who to trust when every face wears a mask . . .