Monday, June 16, 2014

"The Lion and the Rose"

Kate Quinn is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she first got hooked on ancient Rome while watching I, Claudius at the age of seven. She wrote her first book during her freshman year in college, retreating from a Boston winter into ancient Rome, and it was later published as Mistress of Rome. A prequel followed, titled Daughters of Rome, and then a sequel, Empress of the Seven Hills--written while her husband was deployed to the Middle East.

Quinn made the jump from ancient Rome to Renaissance Italy for her fourth and fifth novels, The Serpent and the Pearl and The Lion and the Rose, detailing the early years of the Borgia clan. She also has succumbed to the blogging bug, and keeps a blog filled with trivia, pet peeves, and interesting facts about historical fiction. She and her husband now live in Maryland with a small black dog named Caesar, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox.

Quinn applied the Page 69 Test to The Lion and the Rose and reported the following:
From page 69:
The song ended, and a smattering of applause burst out. My Pope looked around for me and had a beam when he saw his old mistress sitting with the new. So amicably too, smiling at each other with such great sweetness. Rodrigo couldn't see that I was gripping my roses so hard my fingers welled blood from half a dozen thorn pricks. How I longed to cram those roses up Vannozza dei Cattanei's nose.
At first, I thought that my page 69 wasn't terribly representative of my last book The Lion and the Rose: this meeting between the Borgia Pope's two mistresses would imply the book is all flowers and female cat-fighting, which it isn't. (Lots of politics, assassination, and really good food, too.) But it does get two very important things across:

1. This ain't Pope Francis. Maybe your jaw dropped a little bit on the realization that a) a Pope not only has a girlfriend, but several and b) He's flaunting them in public where everyone can see, Renaissance-era tabloid gossip be damned. It was a very different era back then, one that might shock even a modern reader to their bones - and I had fun delving into that.

2. It's funny - at least, I hope you got a giggle from this. I like making my readers laugh, first of all because historical fiction has gotten so deadly serious lately, and second of all because the contrast of laughter makes ensuing tragedy all the more poignant. Read The Lion and the Rose, and you'll both laugh and cry.

At least, I hope you will.
Learn more about the book and author at Kate Quinn's website and blog.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Kate Quinn and Caesar.

My Book, The Movie: Empress of the Seven Hills.

The Page 69 Test: The Serpent and the Pearl.

--Marshal Zeringue