Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Interview with Michelle Diener

I'm delighted to share my third interview with author Michelle Diener. I reviewed her delightful Banquet of Lies yesterday and I'm thrilled she answered my questions about this book and her charming heroine Giselle.  Be sure to enter the giveaway to win a copy of Banquet of Lies!

Was Banquet of Lies the original title of your book?

Yes. For once, the title the book started with was the one it kept. :)

As you were writing Banquet of Lies, was there a particular scene or character that surprised you?

Yes. The character of the Duke of Wittaker. I had a certain character in mind for him, and had him in a couple of scenes that just didn't work. I eventually had to completely re-imagine him and his role, and I think the book was far stronger for that.

Where did the character of Giselle -- Banquet of Lies' chef-slash-spy -- come from?

I've had her in mind since 2005, so a long time. I started the book all those years ago, but I didn't have a strong enough motive for her to go into hiding as a cook. It took a lot of time and thought to come up with the plot I did. My original thought was to write a book about the sexual and gender inequality of the era as personified by the master / servant relationship, and its propensity to abuse. I wanted to twist that around by having the hero acutely aware of the situation, and trying to balance his attraction with his knowledge that he is walking a very fine line. Giselle needed to be a particular kind of person for this to work, and I enjoyed bringing her to life.

You've written about 19th century South Africa, Tudor Europe, and Regency London. Why these eras? Are there any other eras you're tempted to write about?

I love all history. I think there is something unique and interesting about all of the various eras, and I am a bit like a magpie, and get distracted by something shiny and interesting which I stumble across, no matter when it is set. I will definitely be working on something set in the inter-war period, which I really find almost more Machiavellian than the Renaissance period.

Read any good books recently?

I'm reading an excellent research book on the inter-war period now, called Between the Wars 1919-1939: The Cartoonist's Vision by Roy Douglas, which studies the social as well as the political climate between the wars by looking at political cartoons. I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

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My thanks to Ms. Diener for her time and answers.   You can learn more about her and her books by checking out her website, or connecting with her on Facebook and Twitter.


I'm thrilled to offer a copy of Banquet of Lies to one lucky reader! To enter, fill out this brief form. Open to US readers only, ends 11/8.


  1. I really liked the Duke :D I want more of him

  2. I enjoyed reading another of Michelle's books. This one sounds equally as good. I like the cover.