1. You've written several books now. How was writing this one different?
This was the most well-behaved of my four novels to write. Maybe it was just because I was fresh from the red-headed stepchild that was The Tiger Queens, (which made me want to check myself into a rubber room several times), but the research and the characters for The Conqueror's Wife just seemed to flow.
2. What inspired you to write about Alexander the Great?
I had a conversation with my editor while writing about Genghis Khan's girls and she suggested that I write about an ancient Persian woman for Book #4. I stumbled upon Roxana while I was researching, discovered that Alexander the Great had a whole slew of powerful women behind him, and the idea was born!
3. What was your research process like for this book?
I started with Robin Lane Fox's biography on Alexander, followed by Plutarch's history, and then a book on ancient Macedonian women that featured Alexander's wives and cunning mother, Olympias. Fox's biography became a road map for major plot events and then I researched more on the characters as I went. Of course, my favorite part was filling in all the little details, like the fact that fetal lambskins were prized trade items in ancient Persia. (Further proof that I'm an unrepentant history nerd!)
4. Who is your favorite character in this book and why?
Hephaestion! Gods, but I love, love, love Hephaestion. He's snarky and hunky and loves poetry and has a mouth that just won't stop. He's definitely my favorite character ever (much to the chagrin of Antonina from The Secret History, who is not amused at being displaced), and he made me both laugh and cry all the way from the first draft to the final revision.
5. If you could bring three fictional characters or historical figures with you to a deserted island, who would you bring and why?
I've never had to bring just fictional characters to a desert island so I'm going to stick with them this time around. (For what it’s worth, my historical pics are Hatshepsut, Hephaestion, and Theodora.) I’m on an astronomy kick and devoured The Martian so I’m going to say Mark Watney because he’s hilarious and could also probably figure out how to grow potatoes on our deserted island. Also, Jamie Fraser from Outlander. (For obvious reasons.) And just because I’ve always loved her, Scarlett O’Hara. An astronaut, a Scot, and a southern belle should make for lively conversation!
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