Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Stephanie Marie Thornton Author Interview


Photo Content from Stephanie Marie Thornton

I'm a writer and high school history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from history since I was twelve.

My first two novels, The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora and Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt reimagine the lives of two of history's forgotten women: Theodora of the Byzantine Empire and Pharaoh Hatshepsut.

My third and fourth books center around the women who stood behind the greatest conquerors the world has ever seen. The Tiger Queens is the story of Genghis Khan's wife and daughters, while The Conqueror's Wife tells of the women who both loved and hated Alexander the Great. With my love of the ancient world, I also joined the H Team to help pen a collaborative novel, Song of War: A Novel of Troy in which I put a new spin on the story of Cassandra, King Priam's cursed seer of a daughter.

I live with my husband and daughter in Alaska, where I'm at work on American Princess about Alice Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt's wild child daughter (Berkley/Penguin, March 2019).

        
  


Can you tell us when you started AMERICAN PRINCESS: A NOVEL OF FIRST DAUGHTER ALICE ROOSEVELT, how that came about?
I was inspired to write AMERICAN PRINCESS after stumbling across a picture book called MIND YOUR MANNERS, ALICE ROOSEVELT. As a high school history teacher, I’ve always been a huge fan of Theodore Roosevelt and this children’s book for my daughter was my first introduction to his hellion of a daughter. 

Are there any new Authors that have grasped your interest and why?
I dearly love Chanel Cleeton’s NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA and WHEN WE LEFT CUBA. I teach about the Cuban Revolution so I’ve really enjoyed reading about that era, especially from a female perspective. Chanel’s stories are inspired by her own family’s experiences and her writing is so vivid!

What is needed for a story to be good?
A snappy plot and characters that people love are key. 

What do you hope for people to be thinking after they read your novel?
I love to hear from readers who finished my novels and then immediately started online research to find out more about the characters. That’s ultimately my goal, to bring to life women from history that people don’t know that much about and inspire them to learn more.

What chapter was the most memorable to write and why?
Without giving away spoilers, I’ll just say there’s a death scene that ripped out my heart—and Alice’s—every time I had to edit it. I always wished I could skip that scene!

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
To never give up!

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
For my next novel, AND THEY CALLED IT CAMELOT, I’ve jumped into the 1950s and beyond to retell the story of iconic First Lady Jackie Kennedy. 

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Ha! I actually had a chance to do this with Alice Roosevelt and Jackie Kennedy. They were friends in real life, so I was able to sneak them into each other’s respective books as I wrote them. 

What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
Read. A lot. Every writer I know is also an avid reader. 

What part of Alice did you enjoy writing the most? 
Her sass! Alice certainly had a lot of verve, especially for a woman at that time.

At a movie theater which arm rest is yours?
Not sure I’ve ever paid attention to that!

Do you play a musical instrument?
Not any more, although I used to play the clarinet. 

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?
Sometimes it’s story ideas, but more often than not it’s lesson plans for the following day at school. 

What was your favorite childhood television program?
Hmmm…. For a while there I was a pretty big fan of My Little Pony. 

Which incident in your life totally changed the way you think today?
Probably moving to Alaska when I was four. I like to think I’m more adventurous and resilient because of where I live—you have to be to survive the winters! 

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Travel outside their own country, preferably to a place that is totally different culturally. 

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
I’ve always wanted to travel to Mongolia. One of these days it’s going to happen!

TEN QUOTES FROM AMERICAN PRINCESS: A NOVEL OF FIRST DAUGHTER ALICE ROOSEVELT
  • “Not for the first time, I worried that there was simply no hope for me.”
  • “I was like one of those hurricanes that rips through the Caribbean every year, growing wilder and more destructive as winter loosened its grip.”
  • “Why love wisely when you can love like this?”
  • “I’d always been a gambler. I’d let the cards fall where they may, and hope life didn’t deal me a flop hand.”
  • “Act the opposite of how you feel, I thought, and perhaps you’ll fool them all.”
  • “Why was it that men had all manner of acceptable outlets to let o steam—singlestick, boxing, or even football—while women were expected to simper and pour tea, regardless of their own inner turmoil?”
  • “For, after all, that was all we truly had in the end. Memories.
And yet, sometimes memories simply weren’t enough.”
  • “I assured myself that seizing a little happiness couldn’t possibly be the worst mistake I’d make in this life. Could it?”
  • “Fortunately, we women are made of strong stuff. And I had many women to lean on.”
  • “If you can’t say something good about someone sit right here by me.”

A sweeping novel from renowned author Stephanie Marie Thornton...

Alice may be the president's daughter, but she's nobody's darling. As bold as her signature color Alice Blue, the gum-chewing, cigarette-smoking, poker-playing First Daughter discovers that the only way for a woman to stand out in Washington is to make waves--oceans of them. With the canny sophistication of the savviest politician on the Hill, Alice uses her celebrity to her advantage, testing the limits of her power and the seductive thrill of political entanglements.

But Washington, DC is rife with heartaches and betrayals, and when Alice falls hard for a smooth-talking congressman it will take everything this rebel has to emerge triumphant and claim her place as an American icon. As Alice soldiers through the devastation of two world wars and brazens out a cutting feud with her famous Roosevelt cousins, it's no wonder everyone in the capital refers to her as the Other Washington Monument--and Alice intends to outlast them all.

Praise for AMERICAN PRINCESS

"Epic in scope and rich in immersive detail, American Princess is a compelling and poignant tribute to one of America's most colorful, unconventional, and trend-setting women. Highly recommended read!" —Laura Kamoie, New York Times bestselling coauthor of America's First Daughter and My Dear Hamilton

"A fascinating account of the life of the daring and adventurous Alice Roosevelt Longworth. Brimming with political history, scandal, and insight into some of America's most influential figures, American Princess is a must-read for historical fiction fans." —USA Today bestselling author Chanel Cleeton, author of Next Year in Havana, A Reese Witherspoon Bookclub Pick

"Thornton skillfully brings to life the incomparable and unapologetic Alice Roosevelt, whose scandalous life was at the center of American politics for nearly a century. Fast-paced and written with verve and sass, this book is a treat and a treasure for history lovers. Fabulous!" —Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling coauthor of America's First Daughter and My Dear Hamilton

"Skillfully woven and impeccably researched, American Princess brims with scandals, secrets, and the complexities of love in all of its wondrous, maddening forms. A vividly imagined portrait that mesmerized me from the first page to the last." —Kristina McMorris, New York Times bestselling author of Sold on a Monday

“The wild, wonderful, outsize personality of presidential daughter Alice Roosevelt is on full and fantastic display in this lightly fictionalized take on her unapologetic, unconventional life….Alice herself would undoubtedly have loved this take on her unorthodox life—as will the many destined to read it.” —Publishers Weekly

“An absorbing portrait of a woman who lived life on her own terms.”—Booklist

“Readers will be enthralled by Alice’s wit and adventures…as Thornton expertly weaves the events of her life.” —Library Journal

"Witty and poignant, chock full of secrets and scandals and richly researched, American Princess has everything you could want in historical fiction." —RenĂ©e Rosen, bestselling author of Windy City Blues

"Stephanie Thornton's sparkling new novel captivates from page one. This intimate portrait of Alice Roosevelt follows America's favorite first daughter from wild young debutante to Washington DC grand dame and delights every step of the way." —Alix Rickloff, author of The Way to London

"I loved reading about how this no-holds-barred woman took the country, the world by storm. Her life spans many of the important events and people of the twentieth century, from World War I to the assassination of J.F. Kennedy. A completely satisfying, mesmerizing, read." —Jeanne Mackin, author of The Beautiful American

"With graceful prose, Thornton paints a lively portrait of the indomitable Alice Roosevelt—socialite, writer, and president’s daughter…. A rich and compelling read, American Princess is one I won’t soon forget.” —Heather Webb, international bestselling author of Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of WWI

“I fell in love with Alice Roosevelt's voice…. Thornton has successfully created an endearing, unforgettable female figure.… American Princess, is a powerful, mesmerizing historical novel, destined to be shelved as a classic!” —Weina Dai Randel, author of The Moon in the Palace, 2017 RWA RITA® Award Winner

You can purchase American Princess: A Novel of First Daughter Alice Roosevelt at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you STEPHANIE MARIE THORNTON for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of American Princess: 
A Novel of First Daughter Alice Roosevelt by Stephanie Marie Thornton. 
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2 comments:

  1. She would have been fun to meet as a sharp-tongued old lady!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've always been fascinated by the caring and wisdom of Alice Roosevelt. She spoke her mind without too many filters.

    ReplyDelete