I am super excited to be able to share an interview with Blood of Gods and Royals series author Eleanor Herman on the release day for VOICE OF GODS, a prequel novella that looks to be the perfect introduction to the series in anticipation of the release of LEGACY OF KINGS this August.
It is currently available for free download at Amazon and Barnes & Noble (links are below) and I can’t wait to dive into my copy today. Because I love, love, love this world, the characters, and how the author brought them all to life. I got the chance for a super early read of LEGACY OF KINGS last December and I devoured it. (My Review)
The wait for the next installment has been killing me, so I’m thrilled to be able to have the novella to tide me over. Though I will definitely be re-reading LEGACY OF KINGS when it releases next month.
As I am such a huge fan of the series I am also offering up a pre-order of LEGACY OF KINGS. You can enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of the post.
First, though, here is the Q&A with the very awesome and talented author, Eleanor Herman, where she talks about her book, the setting, favorite character and scene, and more!
Q. If you had to describe LEGACY OF KINGS in 25 words or less, how would you describe it?
An epic saga of Alexander the Great at sixteen, where history meets magic, where empires burn and evil stirs… I think I’m out of words.
Q. What is it about the time period your story was set in that drew you to it?
I am SO into the ancient world. Civilization had this peak in terms of sophisticated thought, luxury goods, and travel. People were very accepting of the gods and religions of others. Then, with the advent of Christianity, people lost their tolerance because monotheism means there’s only one god so if you don’t accept my version, I’m going to beat the crap out of you until you do. The quality of everything—art, household comforts, hygiene, and travel—totally tanked. Thought became limited. Plumbing plugged up and wasn’t repaired as the pope said bathing was a sinful vanity; people got filthy and everything smelled.
For a thousand years the Vatican kept the lockbox of knowledge securely closed to keep ignorance alive and their power strong. So until the Renaissance, everything was sort of depressing. I suppose it’s no coincidence that the second historical period I’m drawn to is the Renaissance when things got ancienty again in terms of tolerance and sophistication but maybe not bathing.
Q. What made you decide to write about a young Alexander III of Macedon? What was it about his early life that made you want to tackle it as a writer?
There are great possibilities writing about Alexander the Great because before he was twenty and ascended the throne of Macedon, only two stories are known about him. One was how when he was very young he spoke to Persian ambassadors waiting for his father to come into the throne room. He asked them highly intelligent questions about Persia, its geography, and how far its major cities were from one another. The second one, which is detailed in Legacy of Kings, was how he got his war horse, Bucephalus. So that leaves wide open all kinds of possibilities about his early life without contradicting stuff we know actually happened.
And the fascinating question is, based on the man he became, who was he as a teenager? We have to extrapolate backward to come up with that answer: ambitious, earnest, awesomely smart and brave, ready to take on the world.
Q. Who was your favorite character to write about in LEGACY OF KINGS and who was the most challenging character to write about? And why?
All the girls were easy to write. Kat and Zofia are nice people who manipulate their way into—and try to manipulate their way out of—highly unusual and dangerous situations. But I love Cynane best for her in-your-face bitchiness. There’s a good part of me in her, the part I deny and repress because I want to be a nice person. With Cynane, I could just let it all hang out. She’s smart-mouthed, physically lethal, riddled with pain, and aching from a sense of not belonging, ever. That’s the part of me I try to hide, except for maybe the physically lethal thing.
I have to work harder at writing from a male perspective than a female’s because, while I know men have their own way of thinking, I can’t really understand it. Emotionally, if women are an entire piano of keys, men are—maybe–an octave. So Alexander, Heph and Jacob aren’t manipulative like the girls; they’re more goal-focused. That’s their octave.
Q. What was your favorite (non-spoiler-y) scene to write in LEGACY OF KINGS – and why was it a favorite?
Oddly, the Tournament of Blood and the big battle chapters at the end were my favorites. It’s ironic because at first I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to do them justice; I am so non-violent I hustle bees out of the window and gently deposit ants and stink bugs outside. But once I got into these bloody slash-and-hack scenes, I was SO INTO them. I think they are among the strongest scenes. It helped that I have read just about everything there is on ancient warfare, including all the ancient writers, some of whom were Greek generals. So most of what I used actually happened.
Q. How did you decide upon how much fact vs. how much fiction to include in LEGACY OF KINGS? How did you strike a balance between the two that made sense to you as a writer?
That’s quite a challenge. The non-fiction historian in me wants everything to be completely accurate, which isn’t possible since so little is known of Alexander’s youth. Plus, the fantasy elements are what make the story unpredictable and fascinating. So I focus as much as I can on getting daily life absolutely accurate: the lighting, the food, the clothing, the warfare, the functioning of a palace, the travel. The goal is to make this a gripping ride for the reader, weaving fact and fantasy into a breathtaking pattern.
Q. What do you find to be the biggest challenge about bringing history to life for your readers? And what do you love most about breathing new life into events from the distant past?
Even in my adult non-fiction books (Sex with Kings, Sex with the Queen, Mistress of the Vatican) I made history “sparkle off the pages,” as one reviewer wrote. It’s all in the presentation. Kids would love history if their teachers presented it in an interesting way. These were people just like you and me, trying to get through their lives in some comfort and with a certain measure of success. But in past centuries, invaders could wipe out your entire country, burn it to the ground, and kill or enslave you. Epidemics could kill everyone you knew in a matter of weeks. Civilizations could topple practically overnight. And women, servants, and people of color had absolutely no rights.
Ask yourself, what if you had been born a slave owner in the Deep South? The child of a top Nazi in Germany? What would you have believed? How would you have acted? That’s what I love most about breathing new life into events from the distant past: getting people to think, to ask themselves what they would do, who they would be, what they would want and how they would go about getting it. We’ll never know, of course, but it’s amazing to imagine it.
Q. What other historical figures are you dying to re-introduce to a YA audience?
Julius Caesar! What was he like at sixteen? Cleopatra. Nefertiti. I could go on and on and on…
About Eleanor Herman
Eleanor Herman is the New York Times bestselling author of Sex with Kings, Sex with the Queen, Mistress of the Vatican, and King Peggy. Obsessed by all things royal and historical, she lives in McLean, Virginia with her husband and four extremely dignified cats. Legacy of Kings is her first novel.
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About LEGACY OF KINGS
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Title & Series: LEGACY OF KINGS (Blood of Gods and Royals #1)
Author: Eleanor Herman
Release date: August 18, 2015
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.
Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancée, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.
Weaving fantasy with the salacious and fascinating details of real history, New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known: Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.
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About VOICE OF GODS
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Title & Series: VOICE OF GODS (Blood of Gods and Royals #0.5)
Author: Eleanor Herman
Release date: July 15, 2015
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
As the end of an age approaches, gods whisper horrors, families scheme for power and one woman may hold the secret to a lost legacy.
At nineteen, Ada of Caria yearns to take the Snake Blood throne from her mad older siblings. She seeks the help of a young orphaned girl named Helen, the first True Oracle to have walked the earth in more than three hundred years.
Helen may be able to channel the voice of the gods, but she hates her gift and will do anything to get rid of it—even lie to her best friend, Myrtale, the priestess-princess of Epirus who is destined to marry King Philip II of Macedon even though she loves another.
And in the shadows lurks a handsome green-eyed stranger who has more at stake—and more to lose—than anyone could possibly imagine.
Amid jealousy and heartbreak, torrid affairs and secret rendezvous, it is spoken by the gods that either Helen or Myrtale—newly named Olympias—will carry the destiny of the known world within her womb.
The prequel to Legacy of Kings, Voice of Gods traces the intricate web of love and betrayal that led up to the birth of history’s most powerful leader, Alexander the Great.
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I’m offering up for giveaway….
A pre-order copy of LEGACY OF KINGS to ONE (1) winner.
- Must be 13 or older to enter
- There will be ONE winner
- Giveaway is open to anywhere The Book Depository ships
- Prize will be ordered from either Amazon or The Book Depository depending upon location
- Giveaway ends on August 2nd at 11:59 p.m. Pacific
- Winner will be announced in the Rafflecopter and contacted by email
- Winner has 72 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen
There are no requirements to like or follow the blog. But there are extra entry opportunities to follow the author and publisher on social media, for adding the books on Goodreads, for leaving a comment, and for tweeting about the post.
Enter in the Rafflecopter below…
a Rafflecopter giveaway