Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Author Interview - Stephanie Dray of Song of the Nile

Last week, I reviewed Stephanie Dray's sequel to Lily of the Nile, Song of the Nile. Now I have the chance to interview Stephanie about her book and her love of history. Thank you so much for stopping by Stephanie!

What is the first book you remember reading by yourself?
It was a book of Greek mythology and I was so absorbed in it that when the bell for recess rang at school, I didn’t hear it. In fact, I didn’t even hear when class was called back to order and I got in big trouble with my teacher.

What is one book you will/have share(d) with your children?
I don’t have children, but if I did, I would probably share the story of Stone Soup with them, because it was a fairy tale that always struck me as being about how we all have to contribute to society.

Why do you think the world is still so fascinated with Cleopatra and her progeny?
That’s easy; Cleopatra was, and remains, the most powerful woman in the history of the world. Oh, there have been other queens and prime ministers and female secretaries of state. But none of them had the geographic dominion, relative wealth, and unfettered authority enjoyed by the infamous Queen of the Nile. Until another woman takes up that mantle, she will always fascinate us. 

How long have you had an interest in ancient Rome and Egypt? What got you interested?
My parents took us on a tour of Italy when we were very young and it stuck with me! Then, when I saw the movie Cleopatra, the one with Liz Taylor, my brain was totally engaged.

Pick one – Julius Caesar or Marc Antony?
Oh no. Do I have to pick just one? I guess I’d pick Julius Caesar because I would rather be taken care of by a man who is more of a father figure than have to take care of someone whose personality is young and irresponsible, like Antony’s was. But truly, I suspect Antony was not only the better lover, but also the more genuinely good person.

There are tons of books about Cleopatra. Why did you decide to write about her often forgotten daughter?
Because no one else had--at least when I started writing the series. Now there seems to be a new fascination with her!

If Lily/Song of the Nile were made into a movie, who would play Selene, Juba, and Octavian? Any ideas for other characters?
Oh, goodness. I’m so bad with actors. All I know is that I’d want Kevin McKidd, James Purefoy and Ray Stevenson to appear somewhere in the movie. Really, the whole cast of HBO’s Rome would work for me.

Thanks for the fun questions!

About Stephanie…

Stephanie graduated with a degree in Government from Smith, a small women’s college in Massachusetts where–to the consternation of her devoted professors–she was unable to master Latin. However, her focus on Middle Eastern Studies gave her a deeper understanding of the consequences of Egypt’s ancient clash with Rome, both in terms of the still-extant tensions between East and West as well as the worldwide decline of female-oriented religion.
Before she wrote novels, Stephanie was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Now she uses the transformative power of magic realism to illuminate the stories of women in history and inspire the young women of today. She remains fascinated by all things Roman or Egyptian and has–to the consternation of her devoted husband–collected a house full of cats and ancient artifacts.

Sorceress. Seductress. Schemer. Cleopatra’s daughter has become the emperor’s most unlikely apprentice and the one woman who can destroy his empire…

Having survived her perilous childhood as a royal captive of Rome, Selene pledged her loyalty to Augustus and swore she would become his very own Cleopatra. Now the young queen faces an uncertain destiny in a foreign land.
Forced to marry a man of the emperor’s choosing, Selene will not allow her new husband to rule in her name. She quickly establishes herself as a capable leader in her own right and as a religious icon. Beginning the hard work of building a new nation, she wins the love of her new subjects and makes herself vital to Rome by bringing forth bountiful harvests.
But it’s the magic of Isis flowing through her veins that makes her indispensable to the emperor. Against a backdrop of imperial politics and religious persecution, Cleopatra’s daughter beguiles her way to the very precipice of power. She has never forgotten her birthright, but will the price of her mother’s throne be more than she’s willing to pay?
Berkley Trade October 2011 (Trade Paperback)
# ISBN-10: 0425243044
# ISBN-13: 9780425243046
Purchase Info
Pin It

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I never knew Cleopatra had a daughter either until I read her biography. My next thought was somebody should write a book about her life, just imagine what she was witness to!

    New follower~

    Stephanie ~Misfit Salon~


Thanks for leaving a comment! I will try my darnedest to reply to any and all comments. Please make sure they are family friendly. I welcome discussion, but please no rudeness.