The New York Times Book Review wrote that Eleanor writes “enlightening social history that is great fun to read.”
The Washington Post called Eleanor Herman “A lot more fun than Danielle Steel or Dan Brown.”
eanor read countless diplomatic dispatches, letters, and contemporary records on life in seventeenth century Rome. Her fluency in French, German, and Italian has been invaluable in researching sources that have never been translated into English.
Mistress of the Vatican is Eleanor’s third book. Sex with Kings – a history of royal mistresses – appeared in 2004, and Sex with the Queen – a history of queens who took lovers – was published in 2006. Eleanor is a frequent commentator in the media about royal scandals, and has hosted episodes for The History Channel’s show, Lost Worlds, to air in the 2007-8 season. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Eleanor graduated with a degree in journalism from Towson University, studied languages in Europe, and for thirteen years worked for NATO’S Nations & Partners for Peace magazine. She is married and lives in McLean, VA.
Today I'm so happy to have the author of my MOST FAVOURITE BOOK SERIES, Eleanor Herman! Thanks so much to Glasstown Entertainment!
Q: How has your journey been in terms of writing the Blood Of Gods & Royals series?
It’s been quite a journey indeed! There are so many main characters that at first it
was difficult to make each one unique. Three girls and three boys, all attractive
and brave. But the characters sort of defined themselves as I went along. They
spoke in their own voices. Book 2, Empire of Dust, was so much easier than Book
1, Legacy of Kings. Book 3, Reign of Serpents, just sailed along. Now I am into
Book 4, Dawn of Heroes, and it’s the easiest yet in terms of knowing my
characters. The challenge has been making them grow and change. How have
their adventures—their losses and pain, especially—caused them to mature?
Because now, in Book 4, looking back on the first book, they seem like kids. In the
space of a few months, they have become older and wiser. Their experiences
have transformed them into adults.
Q: What is your favorite under-appreciated novel?
As a teen, I loved a 1944 novel called Dragonwyck by Anya Seton. In the
nineteenth century, a poor pretty girl is called to live with a wealthy older relative
and his unattractive nasty wife in a creepy mansion in the Hudson Valley. The girl
and her dashing, mysterious distant cousin are instantly attracted to each other,
and lo and behold the wife mysteriously dies, and one minute later he asks the
girl to marry him. Eagerly she agrees, because she’s sixteen and doesn’t see that
he poisoned his wife, and she finds out he’s even creepier than the house and
things go pretty much downhill from here.
Q: What's the most difficult thing about writing historical fiction novels?
Getting the right mix of history in with the plot, character development, action
and dialog that all novels have. I want the reader to feel as if they have slipped
effortlessly into another time, which means mentioning certain historical
details—an oil lamp, a rough-woven tunic, wine in a painted cup—without
weighing the prose down with it. As a historian, I could write pages and pages of
details and have to stop myself!
Q: If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
I actually don’t think there is anything else I could have done. I read ceaselessly,
which is important. I did the thing where you bring a flashlight under your
blankets so you can read after bedtime, so my mother would think I was sleeping.
But she figured that out pretty fast. Then I pretended I was constipated and sat on
the toilet for hours in the middle of the night with a book; she told me the hard
toilet ring would ruin the circulation in my thighs and they would swell up and fall
off, so that was the end of my pretended constipation.
I also wrote a lot. If we were given a composition assignment for two pages I
would come in with twenty. Just call me Hermione, right? And I wrote stuff just
for myself, in my room. How did that food taste? How did the mean girl make me
feel? How did the boy next door make my heart flutter?
I also had a lot of tribulation—not something I could control, but it makes for a better writer because you can keenly feel emotions and conflict. My parents had
a rough divorce. At twelve I got uprooted from the school I had attended since
kindergarten and put in one where at first the other kids didn’t like me. So if you
are suffering as a teenager and want to be a writer, just look at it as material!
Read. Write. Suffer. That’s pretty much it.
Q: What's up next for you as a writer?
I have a wildly gross and hilarious non-fiction book coming out next May called
The Royal Art of Poison, which examines poisonings at royal courts. I look not only
at murder by poison—and there was some of that as recent exhumations of royal
corpses have proved—but also at inadvertent self-poisoning. Lead makeup.
Mercury enemas. Arsenic skin cream. Latrines leaking into wells with deadly
bacteria. The kings and queens had lice and worms and stank to high heaven because they actually thought that taking a bath would kill them. Don’t read it before dinner.
New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman entwines the real scandals of history with epic fantasy in this action-packed follow-up to EMPIRE OF DUST.
In REIGN OF SERPENTS, the ancient power of Snake Blood threatens the known world. While Prince Alexander struggles with a very deadly inner demon, his betrothed, Zofia, is on her way to him, to unite their kingdoms…even as she begins to realize where her true allegiance lies. The fierce Cynane meets her match-not in her future husband, the deranged king of Illyria, but in her great-great-grandfather, Talus, possessor of Smoke Blood, who will teach her the true meaning of betrayal. And marooned together on an island in the Mediterranean, romantic tension blooms between Katerina and Hephaestion as they learn of lost civilizations and discover a device that could help them do the impossible: kill the last living god.
Thanks Eleanor for being on the blog!!! Can't wait to read Reign Of Serpents! Trust me you all need this series in your life! <3