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Friday, August 05, 2011

CLEOPATRA'S MOON by Vicky Alvear Shecter (giveaway)

Drum roll for CLEOPATRA'S MOON by Vicky Alvear Shecter!

I had the great pleasure of being an early reader for Vicky's new novel, so I feel like a proud parent as it heads into the world and gets amazing reviews like these:
"A fantastic read..." School Library Journal
"Fascinating...atmospheric...highly memorable." Publisher's Weekly
"Brings ancient Egypt and Rome to life... fascinating..." Booklist
"Intriguing storytelling...a romantic and exciting story." Kirkus
     They are well-deserved as Vicky is one of the most knowledgeable and talented writers I know. In fact, through her passion for all things Greek, Egyptian, and Roman, she is docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum where Vicky tells the stories behind those index cards in the displays.
     I have enjoyed several of her tours now, and always hear interesting new stories. (Heck, we could have spent an entire day on just one Greek vase!) A visit to the King Tut exhibit when it was in Atlanta further proved her power of story-telling as a crowd ended up following our small group to hear what Vicky would say next.
     Well, she's taken all that knowledge and painted us a picture of what life might have been like for the only daughter of the famous Egyptian Queen, Cleopatra. She's filled CLEOPATRA'S MOON with the little details that make a place and time come to life and we, as the reader, have a glimpse of what it might have been like to walk the streets of ancient Egypt or Rome. What a gift she's given us!
     I'm beyond thrilled to have Vicky on my blog today to answer a few questions...

Q.     How did your passion for ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome begin and how did you foster it?
A.     I became fascinated by ancient history when I was in elementary school. It stayed my passion through high school and even into college. But, fearing I wouldn’t be able to “do” anything with a history degree, I got an English degree instead (ha, ha, ha!). Fortunately, I did get a writing gig right out of college but it was in business marketing. I threw myself into my writing career and forgot, for a long while, how much I loved studying and learning about the ancient world.

Q.     When did the story of Cleopatra's daughter first come to you? It must have been massive in its scope and quite overwhelming as a topic, so how did you circle around to actually writing it?
A.     The story of Cleopatra’s daughter fascinated me from the moment I read about her. How was it that most of us didn’t know the last queen of Egypt had four children? And why didn’t we know it was only her daughter who survived to adulthood? We have only the barest facts about Cleopatra Selene, so writing a biography was not an option. The only way to tell her story was to fill in the blanks with fiction.

Q.     I know you are filled with more fun facts about Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome which you share on your blog: HistoryWithATwist.blogspot.com. How did you decide what to include in the book and what to keep out?
A.     [Laughing] My editor took care of that! The brilliant Cheryl Klein always spotted when I got obsessed with fascinating facts. She would call it “falling in love” a little too much with the history. At first, I didn’t understand. Why couldn’t I shove every cool detail I could find into the story? But her laser-beam like focus on the emotional arc of the story kept me “honest.” If the factoid didn’t in any way support my character’s growth or direct experience, out it went.

Q.     Response to CLEOPATRA'S MOON has been overwhelmingly positive, not just as a good read, but as a great mother-daughter discussion book, a discussion book about free will, and a read for adults as well as young adults. Tell us about some of the feedback you're getting along with your exciting speaking engagements.
A.     The response has been beyond anything I could have dreamt about. The biggest deal for me was getting reviewed in the LA Times and The Wall Street Journal. I had no idea that was even a possibility! So to discover that not only had the book been featured, but also that it had received excellent reviews blew me away.
     Learning that Teen-Vogue put it on its “Must Read” list and that a writer from Newsweek (on her personal blog) suggested CLEOPATRA’S MOON as a good mother-daughter read was also incredibly exciting. I’d have to say, though, that speaking at the National Junior Classical League (NJCL) convention was especially exciting for me. Surrounded by more than 1,000 teens and young adults with an interest in ancient history? Be still my heart! I felt like I’d found my soul mates!

Q.     Finally, how does it feel? You have two chapter books out already, ALEXANDER THE GREAT ROCKS THE WORLD (named to the "25 Books All Young Georgians Should Read" list by the Georgia Center for the Book) and CLEOPATRA RULES, but this is your first novel. Share the glow...
A.     My glow of excitement is ridiculous. I CANNOT believe this is happening to me. When the LA Times review came in, my brother (author, Michael Alvear) said, “This is a dream come true!”
     But here’s the thing—it wasn’t a dream come true because I couldn’t even conceive of such a thing happening to even DREAM about it! To work with Cheryl Klein and be supported by Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic? To have such a gorgeous book cover? To garner so many positive reviews? Amazing. There are little pinch marks all up and down my arms as I continue to check whether this is really happening. I’m also incredibly grateful to friends like you, Diane Capriola, Liz Conrad (who is sorely missed) and others from my critique groups who encouraged me to continue writing Selene’s story. The children’s book writing community is amazing. I only hope that I can give back a small measure of the support that was given to me so freely.

I'm SOOOO happy for you Vicky!!!!
Vicky's official launch party will be tonight, this Friday, at 7 p.m. at LIttle Shop of Stories in downtown Decatur, Georgia (toga’s optional!).

GIVEAWAY!!!! And here at dulemba.com, Vicky is kind enough to offer a FREE SIGNED COPY of CLEOPATRA'S MOON. As soon as I hit 25 comments, I'll do a drawing. And be sure to add your email address!! I have to be able to contact you, and you must live in the Continental US to win.

And there's more!!!!
Listen to this great interview with Vicky hosted by Oasis Audio:


And listen to an excerpt from Cleopatra's Moon NOW!


40 comments:

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Thanks for such a wonderful feature!

Lynn Coulter said...

Can't wait to read this one. I have the new Cleopatra biography on my list, too.

Ashes said...

I can't WAIT to get my book tonight! I am so excited! Why do I have pinch marks up and down my arms? Because I am living THROUGH you, Vicky! It's an amazing book, and you're an amazing writer. Great post, Elizabeth!

Doraine Bennett said...

Have a great time tonight. Wish I could be there. It's going to be hard work to dream bigger than this, but dream on girl. There's more to come, I'm sure.

Meridth Gimbel said...

Sounds like a super interesting bok. Can't wait to read it!!

Patricia Cruzan said...

Since I enjoyed one of your previous books, I'm sure that I'd like this one, too.
Sell those books. I'm happy for you!

Virginia Ferguson said...

I've read Alexander the Great Rocks the World and Cleopatra Rules...I'm a great fan of Vicky's work. I can't wait to read Cleopatra's Moon. If it's as good as the first two non-fiction works, it's destined to be a best selling novel!!!

Best of luck, Vicky

Terri Hoover Dunham said...

This book sounds absolutely divine! I can't wait to read it! And Elizabeth, what a fantastic interview!

Terri Hoover Dunham
louisianabook@yahoo.com

mary said...

Wow! I can't wait to read Cleoptra's Moon. Historical fiction is so fascinating and especially when it is written by someone who knows what they are writing about. I'm cheering extra loud because clearly Vicky deserves the success!

Robyn Hood Black said...

Can't wait to celebrate tonight - e, we will miss you! Terrific interview. Thanks to both of you. I have a book spine poem for Cleopatra Selene today at my blog

Sandy Fry said...

Vicky, this is wonderful. You are an inspiration and I'm so glad I knew you 'when. Wishing I could be there tonight too -- Sandy Fry

Cathy C. Hall said...

Oh! I hope they don't sell out tonight!

Well, I DO hope they sell out--just after I've purchased my book. But I'm still throwing in my chance here. It sounds so nice, I'll want to read it twice! ;-)

Gail said...

Can't wait for tonight! I plan to buy my copy tonight but if I win this giveaway, I'll give it away on my blog and pass on the love!!!

kidlitgail@gmail.com

Marcia Berbeza said...

LOVE ancient history! Can't wait to read it!

Ana Maria Rodriguez said...

This is soooo exciting! I hope to see photos of the book release party. Congratulations on the starred reviews and I have to tell you that your enthusiasm for history is very
contagious. Cheers!

Grafixjess@hotmail.com said...

Sounds like a great read! Something I can drag my 11yr old 'bonus' off the computer for??!! Its a chore to get her interested in books but I will never give up. I'm happy there are so many great options out there that i can enjoy reading with her. Thanks for posting!
Grafixjess@hotmail.com

Donny Bailey Seagraves said...

Great interview! Congratuations to Vicky, one of my favorite authors! Sorry I'll miss the Little Shop event, but I know it'll be a great success. Can't wait to read your new book.

Joyce Lansky said...

I was the lucky winner of "Cleopatra's Moon" on Vicky's blog, but I'm placing a comment so someone else can be as lucky as me.

Joyce
http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

Sarah Campbell said...

I can't wait to get my hands on this book. I am so happy for Vicky. e, you did a great job with the interview. Enjoy the ride, V.

Evelyn said...

Really enjoyed the interview, Vicky! And can't wait to read the book. My mother was a Latin teacher and had four years of Latin myself, so I'm one of those people who like the classics. Huge congrats to you for your wonderful success! (I was also delighted to hear that your release party was in Decatur, GA. I attended Agnes Scott, so that's my old stomping ground.) Best wishes to you. Thank you, Elizabeth for hosting the interview.

Evelyn said...

Oops! Sorry. I thought my post would include a link to my email, but apparently it doesn't.
evelyn(dot)christensen(at)gmail(dot)com

Rebecca said...

Looks like a fascinating book. Best wishes to you on it's publication! I can't wait to read it.

Anonymous said...

I work at a library and this looks like a must have for our patrons! Can't wait.

D.Johnson
johnsonjrj3@aol.com

cinleeco said...

Looks like a great read!

Donna said...

Seems the taste of the book has me wanting more. I love historical novels, & this one is sure not to disappoint. Thank you...and the cover is beautifully done!

Christine Deffendall said...

Working with Young Adults in a public library setting, I am always eager to learn about engaging, quality books! Hope I win!

Marilyn said...

Great things await ... I hope to get a chance to read this one. :)

slbela59 said...

ok lets try this again! Would love to win, thanks for chance!

Helen Dooley said...

THis sounds like an interesting book. My daughter is a middle school teacher and I have sent her the link. Thanks for sharing such great things with us. Nothing in the world like a good book.

gobeagirl said...

Omword! This sounds like a fantastic book. I didn't know she had any children at all. My DD is so fascinated by anything to do with Eygpt as am I. Thanks for this chance to win a copy. Lisa G
l_gobea@yahoo.com

JP Card Crazy said...

book sounds awesome!!!Will go on my list!

Roxx.T Barnes said...

Can't wait to read the book!Thanks for the chance to win !

Rhonda Miller said...

Sounds like a great book. Congrats to Vicky.

rmpoohbear75@gmail.com

Teresa said...

How very exciting!! I am a avid reader, the book sounds wonderful. Thanks, Teresa
mycraftylifenow@gmail.com

cat said...

Congratulations.
I belong to two book groups and am sure that this will be one that will be on our "must read" list.
cat s.
catbaskets@mchsi.com

ella said...

I can't wait to read the book

Lagene said...

Great feature & introduction to Cleopatra's Moon!

TonyaKaye said...

WOW This book looks like a great read!

cal8007 said...

Cleopatra had children? Amazing! I enjoyed your interview with your friend Vicky. I so want to read this book and I thank you for a chance to win it.

Hugs!

Carmen L
cal8007 at aol dot com

Shell~AK Stamper said...

What history buff wouldn't love to read Cleopatra's Moon....would enjoy getting a copy to read!

Thanks for your review!

Shell~Alaska♥

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