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Interview with Stephanie Thornton about Ancient Egypt, Hatshepsut, Eating Chocolate, and Writing History

Daughter of the Gods, Stephanie Thornton~
Interview and Giveaway

THERE IS A GIVEAWAY ON THIS POST!

Before we get to our interview with Stephanie Thornton, author of Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt, you can enter to win a copy of the fabulous book by clicking on the Rafflecopter link HERE. You must reside in US or Canada, though. Sorry, these are the rules from Historical Fiction Virtual Tours. You have until May 30 to enter!

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Hi Stephanie, my friend!! I am so happy to have you back here on Oh, for the Hook of a Book for your to entrance readers with your amazing wit and funny bone…..well, maybe a little bit of historical tidbits as well. I’ll try not to monopolize too much of your extremely busy schedule, but I hope you’ll come in for a chat, some coffee, and I made us special some Cadbury eggs cupcakes from the Cadbury Mini-Eggs I saved especially to bake for you!! So, what kind of coffee creamer can get for you?

Stephanie: You had me at Cadbury mini-eggs! And actually, do you have any wine? Why not go all out to celebrate, right?

Erin: Yep, have wine too, will pour you a much needed glass. Have a plop down on my comfy couch, feel free to put your feet on my coffee table, and tell me how you’ve been this week? How EXCITED are you for Daughter of the Gods to publish???!! (I know I am THRILLED!!! :D)

Daughter of the Gods(1)

Stephanie: This has been a whirlwind of a week, but I’m ecstatic to finally see Daughter of the Gods hit the shelves. My daughter told me when she was three that she’d “publish” it for me by putting its stack of printer paper pages on the shelves at Barnes & Noble. Super cute, but the real thing is even better!

Erin: I know I had you stop by for an interview when The Secret History, your novel of Empress Theodora, published. That was a super interview and anyone who missed that can read it HERE. But I think I’ll have a few new questions for you this time around. So let’s get started.

Q: Your novel, The Secret History, was a huge debut success. But you actually wrote Daughter of the Gods before The Secret History in your writing process. How does it feel to publish two books within such a short time period even if some of the writing was done before hand? Did you have to re-edit any of it? Finally, how does it feel to finally spread it out into the world? And with such a lovely cover too!!

A: I tore apart Daughter of the Gods while The Secret History was on submission with publishers, but still had to do another revision for my editor. Fortunately, it was fairly light and then it was given a drool-worthy cover. One of my life goals was to get Hatshepsut’s story published, so I’m thrilled to be able to cross that one off my bucket list.

Q: Your second book, Daughter of the Gods, is about Hatshepsut, one of Egypt’s most successful Pharaohs (even being a female!). Tell us about your OBSESSION with Hatshepsut. What inspired it, when did it start, what fuels it, and why do you admire her?

A: First, Hatshepsut is from ancient Egypt which is hands-down my favorite historical era of all time. I stumbled across her after being assigned a biography project in junior high. I wanted a famous female Egyptian, but Cleopatra was taken. The good old encyclopedia (remember those?) had an entry on Hatshepsut, but it was pretty short. Later, I was able to read Joyce Tyldesley’s Hatchepsut and that really started my obsession. Hatshepsut is such an intriguing, enigmatic character, especially considering that she was almost wiped from history by her nephew, Tutmose III, at the end of his rule. She ruled a man’s world and did it better than most of the men who came both before and after her, and that alone justifies my adoration of her.

Statue of Hatshepsut on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art/ Wikipedia

Statue of Hatshepsut on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art/ Wikipedia

Q: What part of her life does Daughter of the Gods focus on, or is it a life-long biographical fiction? What makes your novel vary from the average biography? How much is fact-based and how much is fantasy?

A: I stuck to the known facts of Hatshepsut’s life, but unlike a biography, had to fill in the gaps for her motivations and also some of her family life. Egyptians were good about documenting when people died (or really, failing to mention them again once they were gone), but didn’t record how people died or why they did the things they did. Thus, for example, I chose to have Hatshepsut’s sister die during a hippo hunt gone awry, when in reality she may have died of something as simple as an infection. I chose to focus on Hatshepsut’s early years, her marriage to her half-brother through her regency, and finally to her assumption of the Isis Throne. That’s where all the juicy stuff happens!

Q: Hatshepsut is regarded as one of the major influential and successful women in history. What types of things did she accomplish and why is she so highly regarded?

A: Hatshepsut likely quelled a rebellion in Kush (there are tomb descriptions of her on the battlefield, but this may have been propaganda as Egyptian pharaohs often exaggerated their accomplishments). However, she did reopen trade routes with the land of Punt, build her amazing temple at Deir el-Bahri, the Red Chapel, and numerous obelisks in Karnak, several of which you can still see today. Her reign ushered in an era of peace, thus beginning Egypt’s Golden Age. Not only that, but she also started the first public zoo, using many of the animals—giraffes, baboons, etc.—that were brought back from Punt. That’s a pretty impressive resume!

Q: Isn’t it too bad that the false beard represented power and many of her statues feature her with one? I wonder how she really looked like and what she dressed like in her real life? Any ideas?

A: There are depictions of Hatshepsut as Great Royal Wife on various temples, but they’re stylized as is common in ancient Egyptian art. She likely wore what most noblewomen did at the time—loose sheaths made of lightweight linen. However, based on Hatshepsut’s mummy, she was fairly short, had the Thutmosid family overbite, and was extremely overweight at her death.

Q: What factual non-fiction books, movies, documentaries have you seen or read about her that you can recommend to us as adults?

There is a History Channel documentary on the discovery of Hatshepsut’s mummy that came out about six years ago, and Joyce Tyldesley’s Hatchepsut is a solid read about Hat’s entire life. Egyptologist Kara Cooney is also coming out with a new biography this fall that I’m excited to read!

Q: With my middle daughter being part-Egyptian, I’d love her to learn more about this amazing woman from her culture. Do you found books in the middle reader to teen sect that she might be interested in?

Sadly, I don’t know of any books about Hatshepsut that are aimed at a younger audience. I did hear a few years back about a picture book based on the zoo Hatshepsut created with the animals from Punt, but have never found a copy.

Q: Daughter of the Gods is launching now, but you have another book already done that you wrote this year, called The Tiger Queens, which is coming out on November 4. Can you briefly tell us about this?

A: The Tiger Queens is the story of Genghis Khan’s first wife and daughter, as well as his daughter-in-law and a Persian slave. It’s something a historical family saga, spanning 80 years from Genghis’ early life to the ascension of his grandson Mongke. It’s a pretty wild ride and quite the departure from the golden palaces of Hatshepsut and Theodora!

Tiger Queens

Q: How did you juggle the announcements and work with The Secret History, Daughter of the Gods, and then writing and editing Tiger Queens all within a year? Plus, add to that your full-time teaching job, running, baking cupcakes, taking care of your daughter, and…and…and…what is your secret to do it all so successfully?

A: I don’t sleep. (And I eat a lot of cupcakes and ice cream cake, hence the running.) I’d die without Post-Its to keep my to-do lists straight each day. Also, I make sure I travel fairly regularly so I can leave some of the work at home!

Q: What have you learned about yourself and about your writing over the last whirlwind of a year?

A: I have to be disciplined. There are writers out there who can write and revise a book in just a few months and then take time off from writing, but that’s impossible with my crazy schedule. So I plod along with just a few pages a day. Eventually it adds up and then I’ve got a book!

Q: Do you write with an outline or by the seat of your pants? How do you focus yourself and keep details organized?

A: I make an outline of all the historical events that I have to include and go from there. I didn’t outline The Tiger Queens as much as I should have which resulted in some painful revisions. I’ve got an eight-page outline for Book #4 to try to avoid repeating that misery and keep all my details straight!

Q: How have your honed your research, writing, and editing talents that you already are putting to good use on your NEXT book about Alexander the Great?

A: I’ve got a fairly good process for getting the plot set in my first draft, revising for characterization and sub-plots during my first revision, and then cleaning up the prose and adding quirky historical setting details in my subsequent edits. I’ve learned to leave out the setting details until last simply because they’re my favorite part and I can rarely bring myself to delete them once they’re there, even if I know I need to delete the scene they’re in!

Q: So Tiger Queens is next and you are currently writing your fourth novel. When can we expect to see that publish? What is next after that for you? What other women in history intrigue you that you might put on the short list to write about?

A: The book about Alexander the Great will come out in November 2015. After that I’m not sure whom I’ll write about!

Q: OK, some fun things are at hand now. What is your favorite Doctor Who episode to date? What movie(s) are you looking forward to seeing this summer?

A: I love every episode of Doctor Who! (Except maybe Love & Monsters because the ending was so weird.) I’m a sucker for a good romance, so I’ll say the end of Season 2 with Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, mostly because I bawled my eyes out. Sadly, I have no idea what movies are coming out this summer. I only get to the theater to see kid-friendly movies and summers in Alaska are glorious, so we tend to hit the movies only when it’s winter: dark and cold.

Q: Now that Easter is over, and the Cadbury Eggs on our cupcakes today are probably our last, what is your new choice of candy to get you through the day (or evening)?

A: What?! No more Cadbury Eggs? That’s sacrilege! Lately I’ve been eating a lot of Reese’s peanut butter cups, but I actually bake so much that we usually have brownies and cookies in the house. (Again, hence all the running I have to do.)

Q: If you could time travel what two places would you go to?

A: Egypt, straight to Hatshepsut’s palace to find out the answers to all the questions I have for. (Especially about her and Senenmut.) As for the second… Probably to ancient Greece so I could grill Alexander the Great and all my characters for Book #4!

Q: Where can readers and writers connect with you?

A: My website is www.stephanie-thornton.com, and I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads!

Erin: THANK YOU, Stephanie, for hanging out with me a little while here. It’s always a highlight of my day to connect with you. I know that Daughter of the Gods is going to be a HUGE HIT and I am so stoked about your success. It’s well-deserved to such an astounding writer and even equally awesome person. Talk to you soon!

Stephanie: Thanks so much for having me, Erin! And thank you especially for the Cadbury mini-egg cupcakes!

Daughter of the Gods, Synopsis~

Daughter of the Gods(1)Publication Date: May 6, 2014
NAL Trade
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Egypt, 1400s BC. The pharaoh’s pampered second daughter, lively, intelligent Hatshepsut, delights in racing her chariot through the marketplace and testing her archery skills in the Nile’s marshlands. But the death of her elder sister, Neferubity, in a gruesome accident arising from Hatshepsut’s games forces her to confront her guilt…and sets her on a profoundly changed course.

Hatshepsut enters a loveless marriage with her half brother, Thut, to secure his claim to the Isis Throne and produce a male heir. But it is another of Thut’s wives, the commoner Aset, who bears him a son, while Hatshepsut develops a searing attraction for his brilliant adviser Senenmut. And when Thut suddenly dies, Hatshepsut becomes de facto ruler, as regent to her two-year-old nephew.

Once, Hatshepsut anticipated being free to live and love as she chose. Now she must put Egypt first. Ever daring, she will lead a vast army and build great temples, but always she will be torn between the demands of leadership and the desires of her heart. And even as she makes her boldest move of all, her enemies will plot her downfall….

Once again, Stephanie Thornton brings to life a remarkable woman from the distant past whose willingness to defy tradition changed the course of history.

Praise for Daughter of the Gods~

“Daughter of the Gods is a wonderfully intimate and dramatic evocation of Ancient Egypt, where one headstrong young woman dares to become pharaoh. Stephanie Thornton vividly portrays the heat and the danger, the passion and the heartbreak of Hatshepsut’s struggle, as she defies even the gods to ensure success on the throne of Egypt. A touching love story combines with a thrilling tale of death, courage and political intrigue to produce a superbly researched and powerfully written novel. This is the kind of book that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. A remarkable story, remarkably told.” -Kate Furnivall, author of Shadows on the Nile

“Stephanie Thornton’s heroines are bold, brave, and powerful–they make me want to stand up and cheer!” -Kate Quinn, author of Lady of the Eternal City

“Daughter of the Gods is a full-out, total immersion experience of ancient Egypt. From her moving love affair with a commoner to her fierce and unwavering commitment to Egypt as a female Pharaoh, Hatshepsut crackles with fascinating complexity. Her ka must be grinning with pleasure at this richly textured account of her life, one that is worthy of the great queen herself. “ -Vicky Alvear Shecter, author of Cleopatra’s Moon “An epic saga that brings ancient Egypt to life with vivid imagery and lovely prose. Stephanie Thornton is a rising star!” -Stephanie Dray, author of Lily of the Nile

Buy the Book~

Amazon US (Kindle)
Amazon US (Paperback)
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Books-a-Million
IndieBound
Kobo Books

About the Author~

Stephanie ThorntonStephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.

“The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora” is available from NAL/Penguin, and “Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt” will hit the shelves May 2014 and “The Tiger Queens: A Novel of Genghis Khan” will follow in Fall 2014.

For more information, please visit Stephanie Thornton’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

 Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/daughterofthegodstour

Tour Hashtags: #DaughteroftheGodsTour #StephanieThornton #Hatshepsut #VirtualBookTour

Daughter of the Gods_Tour Banner _FINAL

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Interview with Historical Author Stephanie Thornton on Women in History, Writing, and Thoughts on Ancient Desserts!

Today I have an amazing interview with debut author Stephanie Thornton, who penned one of my favorite current books, The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora! If you have a love of women in history who have overcome great odds and helped change history, this book is for YOU! You can read my review from June HERE!

Now, Stephanie talks about inspiration for her novel, what other intelligent women she’s writing about, and why she’s telling aspiring writers to never give up! PLUS there is a GIVEAWAY and you’ll see that information right under the interview. Enjoy!

The Secret History

Hi Stephanie, welcome to Oh, for the Hook of a Book! I am so happy to feature you back on the site in celebration of your debut novel release, The Secret History: a Novel of Empress Theodora.  How have you been taking it all in?

Stephanie: Thanks so much for having me, Erin. The last week has been a whirlwind of awesomeness, and I’m thrilled to be here!

Erin: I can only imagine your excitement! And well-deserved!! Let’s grab some coffee and start talking about everything under the sun, or at least as much as we can get to!

Q: The Secret History is your first published novel, correct? Where did you find the inspiration to write it?

A: This is indeed my first published novel. I’m a high school history teacher and was inspired to do some more research after reading a line in a textbook about an actress-turned-empress who saved her husband’s throne during riot by giving a rousing speech. That was Theodora’s famous speech during the Nika rebellion, but I soon found out there was so much more to her story!

Q:  Given the amount of research, how did you undertake that task? How long did it take you?

A: The research never ends! (I actually found a new portrait of Theodora this week, hidden in a Roman church, and wish I could go back and write a scene about it for the novel!) I start my research by reading the available primary texts from the era, then move on to biographies of my main characters. Once I have the story, then I move on to the setting details that really make the era come to life. Those pieces tend to fall into place during my final edit, so I’m truly researching the whole way through.

Erin comments: You are very good at setting the scene with amazing details. I can picture all you write as if I am truly there.

Q:  What was the most interesting tidbit about Theodora, or the people surrounding her, that you came across in your research?

A: I absolutely love that Theodora was the daughter of a bear trainer. I’m distantly related to the Bailey side of Barnum & Bailey’s Circus, so I like that we have a shared circus background!

Erin comments: That’s so cool!

Q:  The cover art for your book is beautiful. Did you find much art, creative writings, tapestries, or the like from this time period in Constantinople? I know you described some beautiful architecture and art in your book.  What other cultures influenced that empire creatively during the sixth century?

A: The Byzantine Empire was heavily influenced by the Italian Roman Empire, but was starting to diverge from the classic forms of architecture, as can be seen by the domes of the Hagia Sophia on the novel’s cover. (Which I love, by the way. I almost swooned when I first saw it.) It’s also interesting to note that Byzantine architecture spread out of Constantinople after Theodora’s time—St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice is considered Byzantine in structure. I’m not aware of many creative writings or tapestries from the time period, but fortunately for us, many of the stunning Byzantine mosaics survive to this day—one of the lasting impacts of Byzantine art as they truly excelled at mosaic-making. In fact, if you Google “Mosaics,” the first image you’ll see is one of Christ from the Hagia Sophia and another top hit is a portion of the mosaics from San Vitale in Ravenna, the site of Theodora’s famous mosaic.

Q:  Women from these ancient cultures seemed to have great strength of mind and soul.  Many times they seemed to be even revered by their male peers or significant others intellectually, politically, and romantically. How do you think this happened, even as sometimes women still struggle today with this issue?

A: I think it took a strong man to recognize these amazing women, as that was typically not the norm. Most ancient cultures viewed women as second-class citizens, so for a man like Justinian to realize Theodora’s strengths, and even fight to be allowed to marry her, speaks volumes as to the strength of his own character. Justinian battled laws forbidding his marrying a common actress, and also feuded with his aunt, who wanted him to marry a respectable girl (despite the fact that his aunt had also once been a prostitute). I think it was difficult for men to realize that they didn’t have to give up their power to allow women to also have their say, something that still impacts women today.

Erin comments: You’d think after thousands of years, that would be a simple fix (a man feeling weak when a woman is strong) but alas….it’s still a tad bit of a struggle in the modern world as well. Also, women like Justinian’s aunt who could take their success and use it to teach or help others, but instead of point fingers at someone else just because the finger was pointed at them, aren’t helpful either. Lessons for today many times are still spoken through history.

theomosaictheodora

Mosaic of Empress Theodora

Q:  Keeping in line with that, given the major lines drawn among social classes, the poverty in the city streets, and the actresses who were paid for their bodies, how did some of these women rise to the powerful legacies they become? It couldn’t have been easy.

A: It definitely wasn’t easy, and as it always does, luck played a huge part in Theodora’s uncommon ascent from the gutters to the throne. The Byzantine Empire allowed for some upward mobility, but only for a select few people. Life in the ancient world was brutal for the vast majority of the population, and there were often few choices for women. The fact is that Theodora’s determination, perseverance, and wit would have amounted to little had she not been able to attract a wealthy patron, something she would have been well aware of. Lucky for her, she managed to catch the eye of the future emperor, and was then able to use her talents to their full advantage!

Q:  I know you also like a favorite quote of mine: “Well-behaved women rarely make history!”  Can you expound on that notion and besides the fact that drama always is memorable, what else makes this true? Do you feel it is still true today?

A: That’s one of my favorite quotes—I have it on my webpage and also in my classroom! I think that in order for women in the ancient world to stand out and be remembered, they really did have to break the rules. If they didn’t, they were relegated to the background. Women like Theodora and her friend Antonina refused to let men call all the shots—even the men they loved—and weren’t afraid to voice their own opinions (or perform salacious and daring acts on stage). For Theodora, at least at Nika, that also meant that she was able to turn the tide of history. As for whether this is still true today, I think it’s a little easier for women to get noticed, but it’s still women who break the norms—Hillary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Sandra Day O’Connor—who will likely end up remembered by the history books.

Erin comments: I agree. And though it’s sad that women standing up for beliefs, causes, or for their voice to be heard is considered risky, I applaud women who strive daily without fear and continue to work hard to change society

Q:  What other women in history are you writing about?  Can you talk a little about your next several books and the desire you have to bring to print “your forgotten women in history?”

A: My next novel, DAUGHTER OF THE GODS, is about Hatshepsut, Egypt’s first successful female pharaoh, and my personal idol since I was in the 7th grade. Hatshepsut financed major trade explorations, fought against foreign uprisings, and fell in love with a commoner, all while guiding Egypt into its Golden Age. My third book, THE TIGER QUEENS, will feature Genghis Khan’s first wife and several of his daughters. All of these women were integral to history, but sadly, have been largely forgotten. It seemed wrong that we all remember Cleopatra (who lost Egypt to the Roman Empire—I’ll forever hold that against her) and Anne Boleyn (who did give birth to Elizabeth I, but is mostly famous for getting her head chopped off), yet we don’t know about these other inspiring women who left such a legacy to history.

Erin comments: I agree! Hatshepsut has always been a favorite of mine and would love to see more books showing her in a positive light! Honestly, I have never even hear of Khan’s wife or family, so that will be really interesting!

Q: Besides the women you are currently writing on, what other women have you thought about featuring in a novel? Why?

A: I’m turning my eyes toward ancient Rome for my fourth novel, although I have yet to decide exactly who my new heroine will be. There are a couple of options, but I’m not allowed to start researching those women until I finish revising my third book!

Q:  What words of advice do you have for aspiring female writers? How would you motivate them to pursue their writing dreams?

A: Never give up! It’s cliché, but also so true. This business will wring the blood and tears right out of you, but if you’re passionate about what you’re writing, you have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I believed so much in the first book I wrote that I went back and rewrote it from the ground up after finishing THE SECRET HISTORY. That book will release next year as DAUGHTER OF THE GODS, despite all the people who told me it was impossible to get a book on ancient Egypt published these days. You can achieve whatever you want to, but not if you stop writing!

Erin comments: Ancient Egypt is my favorite historical subject to read and there are so many stories of magic and wonder to be told.

Q:  What has been your biggest challenge on your writing journey? Alternatively, what has been your biggest personal success?

A: I almost threw in the towel on the whole writing business in the midst of querying DAUGHTER OF THE GODS, (and having all those naysayers tell me ancient Egypt wasn’t “in”). But I love the women I write about, (I would go totally fan girl on them if I ever invented a time machine), and I knew I had to keep going. My biggest personal success was finding an agent, and then an editor, who believed that the world would want to know about these women.

Erin comments: It seems like such a no-brainer to me! It’s so sad to hear you had so much difficulty. As a reader, writer, and history buff myself, I have been on the look-out for books such as what you are writing! At least you are making this reader happy, but I bet you will many others too. Glad you kept going!

Stephanie Thornton

Author Stephanie Thornton

Q: With a family and a career as a teacher, how do you find the time to write? Do you “schedule” writing time on your calendar or just fit it in as possible? How do you gain support from your family for your writing time?

A: My only real writing time comes at night after my daughter is in bed. I have a wonderfully supportive husband who knows that for one golden hour, I have to hide away in my writing room and get the words into my laptop. I’ve gotten into the habit of writing everything by hand first and then typing it into my laptop, so with that system, I carry notebooks with me just about everywhere to take advantage of other random writing opportunities.

Q:  How do you find your character’s voice when writing? What are some character developing tips?

A: Each character is different, which is fun, but often challenging at the same time. Theodora is pretty snarky, and it was often easy to hear her sarcastic comments in my head as I was writing. I often have mottos for my characters to help determine both their voices and their actions. Theodora’s motto was easy: SURVIVE.

Q:  What other books and authors do you enjoy personally and why?

A: I will read just about anything, but I love historical fiction. (Of course!) My all-time favorite novel is MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA by Arthur Golden and I’ve loved all of Kate Quinn’s novels since MISTRESS OF ROME came out. I love books with a killer plot, characters I love and want to throttle at the same time, and lush, exotic settings.

Q:  The major question I really want to know is if you found any ancient secret baking recipes during your work? What might Theodora’s favorite dessert have been and what is your favorite?

A: Best question ever! First of all, I think it’s a tragedy that Theodora lived in a time without chocolate or ice cream. I’m not sure I would have survived. That said, I did come across a reference to a Byzantine dessert made of cream and sprinkled with orchid pollen. I’m not sure if it would have been any good (certainly not as good as ice cream), but I managed to include a reference to it in one of Theodora’s banquet scenes with Emperor Justin.

Erin comments: Oh, I am always about the food. And your food descriptions in your book were AMAZING!! I think I might even have to try that flower pollen…

Q:  Where can readers and writers connect with you?

A: You can pretty much find me everywhere these days! I’m online at www.stephanie-thornton.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorStephanieThornton, and I tweet as @STephMThornton.

Erin:  Thank you so much, Stephanie, for joining me today on the site. I absolutely adored your book and writing style and I can’t wait for your next upcoming novels! I wish you the best of luck with your writing and hope to have you back again soon!

Stephanie: Thank you so much for having me, and for asking such fantastic questions! I hope we can meet up again when DAUGHTER OF THE GODS releases next year. (That is, if you like hippo attacks, musty tombs, and Egypt’s greatest pharaoh of course!)

Erin: I am absolutely already super excited for Daughter of the Gods!! I want to be first on the reading list!!

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Giveaway~

The giveaway is for one paperback copy of The Secret History and open internationally!  To enter, please leave a comment under this post, or at the link on the Facebook page when it appears at www.facebook.com/HookofaBook. You can also email me at hookofabook(at)hotmail(dot)com. Whichever you choose, please be sure to leave your own email so I can contact you.

Extra entries: +1 for following my blog and +3 for “liking” the Facebook page mentioned above which is a hub for reviews, interviews, and book news.

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THE SECRET HISTORY, Synopsis~

The Secret HistoryPublication Date: July 2, 2013
NAL Trade
Paperback; 448p
ISBN-10: 045141778X

Where Theodora went, trouble followed…

In sixth century Constantinople, one woman, Theodora, defied every convention and all the odds, and rose from being a common theater tart to become empress of a great kingdom, the most powerful woman the Roman Empire would ever know. But the woman whose image was later immortalized in glittering mosaic was, in fact, a scrappy, clever, conniving, flesh-and-blood woman full of sensuality and spirit whose real story is as surprising as any ever told…

When her father dies suddenly, Theodora and her sisters face starvation on the streets. Determined to survive, Theodora makes a living any way she can—first on her back with every man who will have her, then on the stage of the city’s infamous amphitheater in a scandalous dramatization of her own invention. When her daring performance grants her a back-door entry into the halls of power, she seizes the chance to win a wealthy protector—only to face heartbreak and betrayal.

Ever resilient, Theodora rises above such trials and by a twist of fate, meets her most passionate admirer yet: the Emperor’s nephew. She will thrive as his confidant and courtesan, but many challenges lie ahead. For one day, this man will hand her a crown. And all the empire will wonder—is she bold enough, shrewd enough, and strong enough to keep it?

Praise for The Secret History

“Stephanie Thornton’s Theodora is tough and intelligent, spitting defiance against the cruel world of the Byzantine Empire. Her rise from street urchin to emperor’s consort made me want to stand up and cheer. Her later years as empress are great fun to read, but it was her early struggle as actress and courtesan that really had me roaring: either with rage at the misfortunes heaped on this poor girl, or with delight as she once more picked herself up with a steely glint in her eye and kept on going.”—Kate Quinn, author of Empress of the Seven Hills

“Loss, ambition and lust keep this rich story moving at top speed. Stephanie Thornton writes a remarkable first novel that brings a little known woman to full, vibrant life…A sprawling and irresistible story.”—Jeane Westin, author of The Spymaster’s Daughter

“A fascinating and vivid account; in The Secret History, the life of Empress Theodora leaps from the page, as colorful and complex as the woman herself.”—Michelle Diener, author of The Emperor’s Conspiracy

Author Stephanie Thornton, Biography~

Stephanie ThorntonStephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.

For more information, please visit Stephanie Thornton’s website. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

 Link to Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/thesecrethistoryvirtualtour/
Twitter Hashtag: #SecretHistoryTour

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