Carolyn Meyer is the author of Cleopatra Confesses. Being as enthusiastic about Ancient Egypt as I am, was very happy to see a YA account of the legendary queen’s life. Carolyn stopped by the virtual offices to discuss her new book with me, and to share a little about herself.
[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Carolyn Meyer] Blue-eyed, organized, friendly; loves good food, good books, serious movies, smart friends, dumb dogs, old clothes; hates mess, high heels
[MMC] Can you tell us a little about your book, Cleopatra Confesses?
[CM] Before Cleopatra became a famous queen, she was a young girl. The story begins during her childhood in Alexandria and her rivalry with her hateful sisters, continues with her meetings with Marcus Antonius and Julius Caesar, and caries her through her early years as queen of Egypt. It’s an attempt to tell the story from a new perspective, to explore the real person behind the myth.
[MMC] Why did you decide to write a book based on the life of Cleopatra?
[CM] I’ve written about a number of queens and princesses, beginning with the Tudors. I think it has taken me a while to tackle a subject as difficult and complex as Cleopatra.
[MMC] What have you learned about yourself through your characters?
[CM] I always try to identify completely with my characters, especially when they behave badly. For instance, the bit when Cleopatra has to find a way to get to Caesar and has herself delivered in a bundle of bed linens, I don’t think it’s something I would have done myself, but I had a great time imagining myself in Cleopatra’s place and enjoying the look of surprise on the face of the great Caesar.
[MMC] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the book?
[CM] Trying to capture the emotional life and especially the voice of a subject so familiar (it was hard to get Elizabeth Taylor out of my head) and yet from such a distant time and place.
[MMC] How much and what kind of research did you have to conduct while you were working on the book?
[CM] Research is a never-ending process, all the way through the final revisions. I read everything I can get my hands on and try to learn not only about the main characters but about the details of everyday life–what they ate, what they wore, what they did for fun. (Thank you, Google!) Traveling to the sites I’m writing about it wonderful, and I did visit Egypt and floated down the Nile, much as Cleopatra did.
[MMC] If you were sucked into a time vortex and ended up in ancient Egypt, what would you miss the most?
[CM] Modern medicine and modern plumbing, for sure!
What do you think you would like the best about your new life? If I came back as a member of nobility, I think I’d enjoy having someone else do all the dirty work; of course, there would always be the worry of a jealous rival waiting to murder me.
[MMC] What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
[CM] Read–lots of different things. Write something every day. Learn to accept criticism. Don’t give up!
[MMC] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[CM] I don’t remember NOT reading, but the most important influence was my father, who read to me (doesn’t matter what) and told me stories.
[MMC] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[CM] Travel almost anywhere, try new food, cook, invite friends for meals, get up early and go for a long walk, read in bed.
Thanks!! You’re welcome!! Hope this works for you.
[MMC] Thank you!
You can learn more about Carolyn and her book by visiting her website here: www.readcarolyn.com
You can also follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/cmeyerbooks
Don’t forget to Like her Facebook page: Carolyn Meyer Books
Cleopatra Confesses is in stores now! You can order a copy from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the handy Amazon widget below.