Monday, May 21, 2012

Kate Quinn Week Plus Giveaways!

Happy Victoria Day to all my Canadian friends! 
And what better way to celebrate than to have a very special Guest here on EBJ-History Salon? 

 Kate Quinn, Fantastic author of the newly released,

whose heroines are always extraordinary women of strength, is here with another of her most interesting guest posts.

Truth is that all this week will be a Kate Quinn week Giveaway with guest post, review and 2 Giveaways!

Today, after you read her post, kindly leave Kate a comment and then be sure to enter the Giveaway!!

And now without further ado…Please welcome, Kate Quinn, 

I'm a firm believer that no woman should be all about her love life. Women in the real world who think and talk about nothing but who they're dating are crashing bores – and so are the women in novels who have not a thought in their fictional heads but who they are to marry. But it can be a dilemma in historical fiction: if you are writing about historical women, usually well-born or moneyed ones, then quite often their only job in life really was to get married.

Even so, I always try to give my historical heroines depth by making sure they have passions and interests outside love and marriage. Thea, my heroine in “Mistress of Rome,” is a slave girl who ends up mistress to the Emperor while nursing a grand and secret passion for a gladiator, so her love life is of great importance to the plot. But she is also a talented singer who manages to build a career as a musician. She loves music, works hard at it, and is proud that her success brings her a degree of independence even though she is still a slave. Even when she is co-opted as Imperial mistress, she never stops thinking of herself as an artist; a woman who can earn a living in some way other than on her back.

In my second book “Daughters of Rome” I had four female characters, and I made sure that they all had hobbies and pastimes outside the always-pressing issues of who they would have to marry next to keep afloat in the snakepit of the Year of Four Emperors. The heroine Marcella is an amateur historian who writes biographies of past emperors; in the modern day she'd be Alison Weir. Even though Marcella will never be able to publish her work, she still takes satisfaction from it. Her cousin Diana has a passion, or maybe a mono-mania, for horses and chariot racing – just like all those little girls today who live at the stables and want to marry their pony (i.e. me, at ten). Books, politics, chariot-racing – all traditional pastimes for patrician women of ancient Rome, even if my heroines are perhaps a bit more unconventional in pursuing their passions than most women of their time would be.

My newest release “Empress of the Seven Hills” (sequel to “Mistress of Rome”) presented me with stricter guidelines. My heroine Sabina is a historical figure, unlike Thea and Diana, and thus I had to abide by the known facts about her rather than make them up to suit my story. Much of her life at first glance appears quite unexceptional: she grew up in a traditional patrician family and in her teens she married another wealthy patrician, just like many girls of her time. But her husband was well-known for his wanderlust, traveling much of the Empire and usually taking his wife with him – even though it's also documented that their marriage wasn't a happy one. Aha, I thought, and slowly Sabina took flesh in my mind as a more interesting woman than the conventional facts of her bio might indicate. I saw her as an adventurous girl, a savvy world traveler who brushes aside things like danger and dirt – and who won't hesitate to defy her husband if it means keeping her freewheeling life. Sabina will have romantic adventures along the way too, of course – but her passion for adventure and travel are what really shaped her character for me, not merely the men who would love and be loved by her.

Even if historical women were more limited to marriage and children than careers and hobbies, there's still room to maneuver. Upper class women in ancient Rome might not be able to have jobs, but they could be patrons of the arts; they could be world travelers; they could pursue (strictly amateur) passions for music or sports or literature. Lower class women could sometimes make an independent living as musicians or dancers or artisans; more often they could help their husbands in some family trade like baking or weaving or shopkeeping. These are the historical women I want to write about; women who don't just think about men, but about ideas and hobbies and sometimes just making a living. In other words, real women – even if they only live in the pages of a book.

Kate Quinn
Author of historical fiction
"Empress of the Seven Hills"
"Daughters of Rome"
"Mistress of Rome"


1) You must be a follower of this blog
2) Please leave a comment for Kate!
3) EXTRA Points EVERY TIME you post on Facebook or Twitter (come back to post your link)
Open to Canada and US - WINNER ANNOUNCED on Sunday, May 27
Good Luck to All!!!


Linda said...

I've only recently become interested in HF set in ancient Rome. I would love to read this book. Thanks for the giveaway.

Google follower.


Anne said...

Great post!

Kate, I love that you give your characters interests outside of love and marriage. It makes for a much more interesting character!

Thanks for the giveaway.

Rachel said...

I'm a follower and I'd love to read this- thanks for the giveaway!

Unknown said...

I NEED Empress of Seven Hills!!! NEED!
Kate's women are all wonderful, strong women. I especially loved the Cornelias!!

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Ah well, it looks like I will have to arm wrestle Allison over who NEEDS this book more. I've really enjoyed her other books and can't wait for this one!

I am a blog follower.

Yay for another book set in my favorite period!


Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Also, posted about this on Facebook (

Heather Webb said...

Kate is fabulous and so are her books! I'm willing to mud wrestle the other two chickadees who want to win a copy of this book!
BTW, dearest blogger, we share a love of Josephine!

Literary Chanteuse said...

I haven't read very much set during the Roman times but this sounds so good!

-Shared on facebook
-Tweeted on twitter


Michelle Stockard Miller said...

I agree with Kate. I would want to write about women who had ideas of their own and pursued their own interests, not just those of their husbands. At least some women in history were able to have minds of their own.

I'm a long time follower. Thanks for the chance!


Love your new layout and header, Lucy!

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

I agree with Kate. I would want to write about women who had ideas of their own and pursued their own interests, not just those of their husbands. At least some women in history were able to have minds of their own.

I'm a long time follower. Thanks for the chance!


Love your new layout and header, Lucy!

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

Shared on Facebook:



Rachel said...

I really enjoy Kate's books about ancient Rome. It is an interesting period in history. Keep the books coming!

mamabunny13 said...

I can't wait to read this!
I follow via gfc - mamabunny13
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

brokenteepee said...

Thank you for the opportunity.
I follow
I shared on facebook:

and tweeted:

kaiminani at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I love Rome!!! but who doesn't. I will ignore all the dissenters....... And I am now a follower.

Kate Quinn said...

Thanks for the nice comments, everybody! But don't go mud-wrestling on my account . . . :D

Judith Starkston said...

Thanks, Kate, for reminding the world that women from the past were not all about marriage and their menfolk. So many fascinating women out there from the past to explore in fiction!

Anonymous said...

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