Thursday, August 15, 2019

Interview with author Cynthia Ripley Miller

I'm excited to share my interview with author Cynthia Ripley Miller; I've just started her newest book, The Quest for the Crown of Thorns, a historical novel that is giving me The DaVinci Code-meets-Outlander vibes. Set in 5th century Rome, it's a romantic thriller adventure with fascinating historical elements that have me hooked. If you're intrigued, check out the interview and enter the giveaway at the end of this post.

Cynthia Ripley Miller
Do you have any writing rituals or routines?

I prefer writing in the late morning continuing into the early evening. Depending on how much time I have, I'll take a break and step away from it for some fresh air, and then return a little later. When I walk, I listen to music. Often, the words or melody will trigger ideas that I may incorporate into my stories. I'll often write after the dinner hour as well.

Regarding rituals, in my office, I have pictures that represent how I imagine my settings and characters to look. I have talismans that have meaning for me and art prints that convey the heroic and romantic mood. My two favorite prints are The Entombment of Atala by Girodet and Meeting on the Turret Stairs by Frederic William Burton. I also have to admit I like crystals and chimes around me too. I have a spiritual nature.

Was The Quest for the Crown of Thorns the original title of your book?

The working title was A Crown of Thorns, but my publisher felt that the adventure and mystery were best conveyed by implying a mission or quest. I liked it much better. I tend to create simple working titles and then rethink them as the story unfolds.

As you were writing The Quest for the Crown of Thorns, was there a particular scene or character that surprised you?

The character who has surprised me most is Marcella. She's caught between her dangerous desires and her need to be loved and belong. As a young girl, she's sold by her mother as a concubine to the emperor’s household and gifted to a senator. Her resiliency began to determine her actions as the story unfolded and fell into place naturally. She has grown larger than I first envisioned and has added an extra dimension to the series. I’ve also heard from several male readers that she is their favorite character. ☺

Had you intended to write a series when you began? What are you most interested in exploring over the multiple volumes of your series?

I did envision a series. Some of the writers I respect have written a variety of series, and I felt drawn to this, perhaps, through their influence and because I enjoyed following their characters through adventures as well.

I’m most interested in exploring underlying themes and customs that exist today and how they were viewed in the late ancient world. For example, one theme in the Quest for the Crown of Thorns is divorce. What did it look like in the 5th century, and how did it impact especially women? There existed a Roman legal government and the Christian church, and at times, their views differed on the subject. Also, the laws often changed with a new emperor. In researching this, I found scholars who have studied the laws of 5th century Rome and written about divorce. I found it fascinating. Currently, I’m exploring the theme of religious persecution in 5th century Jerusalem.

Do you have any food, music, smells, or other things that help put you in the mood to write about 5th century Gaul and Rome?

Listening to music will definitely put me in a writing mood: I listen to a wide variety of music, but for me, top mood builders are Celtic music, women singers (Mckinnett, Clarkson, Adele, Furtado, etc.) and the Gipsy Kings are good too. I like to cook and eat, so I have a sense of the food. I've drunk mead, plenty of wine, eaten oysters, and love lamb and roast pig. Yum. My favorite smells, verbena, lavender, rosemary, and basil also existed in the ancient world.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

I like to binge-watch TV series, which are usually historical: The Crown, Victoria, Poldark, Outlander, Grantchester, The Last Kingdom, Medici, Marco Polo, and the historical exception, Big Little Lies. I kind of like to exercise (I have a love-hate relationship with it) and I like to walk my dog. It gives me time to think.

Read any good books recently?

I just finished reading My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante about two little girls who grow up as best friends in post-WWII Naples, Italy. Also, Catilina’s Riddle by Steven Saylor from his series involving the detective Gordianus the Finder.

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About the Author

Cynthia Ripley Miller is a first generation Italian-American writer with a love for history, languages and books. She has lived, worked, and travelled in Europe, Africa, North America and the Caribbean. As a girl, she often wondered what it would be like to journey through time (she still does), yet knew, it could only be through the imagination and words of writers and their stories. Today, she writes to bring the past to life.

She holds two degrees and has taught history and teaches English. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthology Summer Tapestry, at Orchard Press and The Scriptor. A Chanticleer International Chatelaine Award finalist for her novel, On the Edge of Sunrise, she has reviewed for UNRV Roman History, and blogs at Historical Happenings and Oddities: A Distant Focus

Cynthia has four children and lives with her husband, twin cats, Romulus and Remus, and Jessie, a German Shepherd, in a suburb of Chicago.

On the Edge of Sunrise is the first in the Long-Hair Saga; a series set in late ancient Rome and France and published by Knox Robinson Publishing. The second book in the series, The Quest for the Crown of Thorns, was released in June 2017.

For more information please visit Cynthia Ripley Miller’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

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During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 1 paperback and 2 eBook copies of The Quest for the Crown of Thorns! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on August 20th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only. Ebooks are available for international entries.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Crown of Thorns - Tour #3

1 comment :

  1. What a great interview! Thank you so much for hosting Cynthia & her blog tour!

    HF Virtual Book Tours