Sophie Perinot Talks About Working on A Day of Fire with Her Writing Friends

If you haven’t heard, six top historical novelists have joined forces to bring readers the stories of Pompeii’s residents—from patricians to prostitutes—as their world ended. They have called it A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii. It’s a combined novel by Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn and Vicky Alvear Shecter, with an introduction by Michelle Moran, in which each takes on a character and intertwines them into the story.

In celebration of the book, and all the time this clan put into it, I’m doing this SERIES. Yes, some sort of “Ring of Fire” series where I toss the fire torch to each of the authors every Wednesday or so for SIX WEEKS in order for them to answer a few quick questions about the book. All of the authors were given the same questions! Follow along and see what each says! We’ll be going in order based on where their part of the story falls within the book. My review will be posted during the six weeks as well.

Sophie Perinot is next on the list. So, take it away Sophie……

Q1 : What did your character bring to the volcano gods for the book (i.e. what voice did they bring to the volume)?

A: My characters brought love to the volcano gods: both imagined love and the real thing. The tricky part for my main character, Aemilia, was recognizing the difference. Aemilia is only fifteen, an age at which infatuation is common. She is a very smart young woman but she can’t be wise—because that is something that generally comes with age. Alternately, extreme circumstances can lead to tremendous personal growth. What if you were a young woman on the cusp of a major life event—your wedding—and suddenly your process of growing up was accelerated and focused by a shaking (quite literally) of the world as you knew it? What might you become? That is the situation Aemilia experiences.

Q2: What is one of your favorite moments from the collaboration?

A: Writing can be a solitary business which is a shame because most of the writers I know are a heck of a lot of fun. “A Day of Fire” took the loneliness out of being a novelist. Because “A Day of Fire” is a continuity—a collection of stories that overlap and build a larger plot arc—a tremendous amount of back-and-forth was involved between participating authors. We got to hang out, both virtually and in real life. I think my favorite moment was our first in-person get together. Four of us (Eliza Knight, Stephanie Dray, Kate Quinn and I) gathered at Kate’s house for a day long planning session. Our number one goal was to finalize the book’s timeline and start a “bible” full of characters and details that could continue to grow as the project did. Most of us arrived with a sense of who our characters were and where our story fit in the overall destruction of the city. But as we sat together around a table (see picture) ideas began to catch fire. There was so much energy and discussion. It was fantastic! I felt like I was watching my own story and the stories of the others take solid form right in the air between us. I believe all of us left that session feeling our work had been changed for the better by the encounter.

And here are some pictures of the women of the Pompeii novel working away….they don’t look like they are having fun at all, do they? WINK!

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L-R: Kate Quinn, Sophie Perinot, and Eliza Knight working on A Day of Fire.

pompeii ladies

The ladies of Pompeii: L-R Kate Quinn, Sophie Periot, Stephanie Dray, and Eliza Knight

Sophie Perinot, Biography~

Sophie Perinot writes historical fiction. Her debut novel, The Sister Queens,(March 2012/NAL), was set in 13th century France and England and wove the captivating story of sisters, Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence, who both became queens. Perinot’s next novel, Medicis Daughter, (late 2015/Thomas Dunne) travels forward three-hundred years to the intrigue-riven French Valois court, spinning the tale of beautiful princess Marguerite who walks the knife edge between the demands of her serpentine mother, Catherine de Medicis, and those of her own conscience.

Ms. Perinot has both a BA in History and a law degree. She left the practice of law to pursue artistic interests, including writing. An avid reader, especially of classic literature, and life-long student of history, it seemed only natural that Sophie should write historical fiction. As someone who studied French abroad and a devotee of Alexandre Dumas, French history was a logical starting point. An active member of the Historical Novel Society, she has attended all of the group’s North American Conferences and served as a panelist multiple times.

When she is not visiting corners of the past, Sophie lives in Great Falls Virginia with her three children, three cats, one dog and one husband. To learn more about Sophie and her work, visit

The FIRST STOP on the RING OF FIRE, and she survived, was Vicky!

The THIRD STOP will be Ben Kane, so stay tuned!!

 A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii released on November 4, 2014. Order now!

Amazon UK:</

pre-order cover ElizaKnight_ADayofFire_HR

A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii, Information~

by Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn and Vicky Alvear Shecter,
with an introduction by Michelle Moran

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: November 4, 2014

Six top historical novelists join forces to bring readers the stories of Pompeii’s residents—from patricians to prostitutes—as their world ended. You will meet:

Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain’s wrath . . .these are their stories:

A boy loses his innocence in Pompeii’s flourishing streets.

An heiress dreads her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire.

An ex-legionary stakes his entire future on a gladiator bout destined never to be finished.

A crippled senator welcomes death, until a tomboy on horseback comes to his rescue.

A young mother faces an impossible choice for her unborn child as the ash falls.

A priestess and a whore seek redemption and resurrection as the town is buried.

Six top historical authors bring to life overlapping stories of patricians and slaves, warriors and politicians, villains and heroes who cross each others’ path during Pompeii’s fiery end. But who will escape, and who will be buried for eternity?

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Filed under Feature Articles, Q and A with Authors

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