Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Second Empress - A Novel of Napolean's Court from Author Michelle Moran

The Second Empress by Michelle Moran

Q&A about the novel The Second Empress:

The Second Empress by Michelle Moran

Q: What inspired you to write THE SECOND EMPRESS?
I knew I wanted to write something that would chronologically follow my fourth book, MADAME TUSSAUD. Toward the end of TUSSAUD, the narrator is imprisoned with a woman named Rose Beauharnais. Those who are familiar with French history will recognize this name, because she later becomes Napoleon’s wife, the empress Joséphine. Originally, I was interested in writing on her. Then I discovered that after Napoleon divorced Joséphine, he married a nineteen year-old Austrian archduchess who was equally fascinating. I wanted to know what it must have been like for this young girl to arrive in France with the expectation that she fill Joséphine’s shoes and command a small army of servants and courtiers. At the time, the French court was a wild place, and Marie-Louise—Napoleon’s second wife—was young, shy, and politically inexperienced. Her arrival shocked many, but no one was a shocked as she was herself. 

Q: Why did you tell the novel from three different points of view?
A: I wanted readers to come away with a clear sense of just how powerful Napoleon really was. He was the sun around which all people orbited, whether those people were family members or servants. For this reason, I chose to tell the story from the points of view of his sister, his wife, and a young Haitian chamberlain. With all three people providing commentary, I felt the reader would be better able to judge Napoleon for his/herself, since the three narrators each have slightly different views of this man.

Q: Are the characters true to life? In other words, did Pauline really want to marry her brother?
A: I tried to remain as close as possible to the historical record, especially where personalities were concerned. This means that, yes, Pauline Bonaparte was really as wild and unpredictable as she is in this book. There is very good evidence that she wanted her brother to conqueror Egypt and reign as Pharaoh—with her as his queen. There are a variety of explanations for this, and I try to cover them all in the novel.

Q: Many letters exist in which Marie-Louise praises Napoleon. So why is she portrayed in the novel as being vehemently against her marriage to him?
A: For the purposes of the book, I took the position that Marie-Louise was simply writing what Napoleon’s spies wanted to hear. There is very little chance she would have criticized Napoleon in her letters to her father, knowing that each one would be read as soon as it left her hand. Napoleon conquered her nation, then took her hand in marriage without telling either her or her father. Unless Marie Louise was uncommonly naïve or dense, I don’t believe that any woman in her situation would be happy about it. Especially given Napoleon’s reputation with women.

Q: What is the one thing you hope your readers will take away from this book? A: An understanding of Napoleon’s court, and an appreciation for how difficult it was to be in his sphere of influence and not succumb to his magnetism. Ambition and drive in a leader is intoxicating. People want to believe that bigger and greater things are just ahead. Napoleon was highly skilled at rallying his troops, and this magnetism extended into his personal life as well. Here was a man who regularly insulted women and behaved abominably toward his political equals. Yet people still gravitated toward him, and not just because of his power or influence. They were attracted by his vision of the future in which the entire world belonged to him. It was radical and insane and somehow appealing, especially for those who imagined themselves as being part of his quest.

Q: What kind of research did you do for this book? Did you visit France? A: France is like a second home to me! For more than ten years, I spent every summer in Paris, and I was fortunate enough to be able to visit each of the locations written about in the novel. Napoleon’s life—and the lives of those around him—was very well documented, and I drew mainly from the letters and memoirs of the people who feature most heavily in this book. The letters between Joséphine and Napoleon were especially useful, since they showed a side of Napoleon which he rarely displayed in public. For me, research is the best part of writing a book. There’s nothing like visiting Napoleon’s library in person, or seeing the heavily embroidered gowns that Marie-Louise, or her predecessor, Joséphine, once wore. As an historical fiction author, those are the things you try to capture in a book—a sense of place and style. A well-researched novel can have the power to transport someone through time, and I hope that’s what THE SECOND EMPRESS does for my readers.

Available for pre-order is Michelle's newest book:

Rebel Queen

Visit Michelle Moran on Facebook

Saturday, August 30, 2014

How I Spent My Summer

Have to say that I am an Autumn girl, but this past Summer has been one of the best. Spent time with sisters, hosted a fundraiser, interviews on our blog, the weather has been fantastic, and just had such a great time!

Sharing some pics. Thimble Islands, Author Suzanne Palmieri, Zac, Actress Rachel Alig, Judy Whitney, and a pic of my Sisters.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ghostline - Interview with Actress Rachel Alig

An interview with lead actress Rachel Alig, from the movie Ghostline by Dean Whitney:

How old were you when you started acting? And where and how did you start?
Rachel - I was ten years old when I started acting. First, I put on shows for my entire family in our living room. Thankfully, my mother and father allowed me to take classes and audition at The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. It was pure bliss for me! By the time I was twelve years old, I had representation at a Cincinnati talent agency, Wing's Model Management. I have been living and working in Los Angeles as a full-time actress for four years.

How is your role in Ghostline different from others that you have previously played?
Rachel - I fell in love with my character in Ghostline almost immediately. 'Chelsea Watkins' knows who she is and is fiercely outspoken and headstrong. She is different from other characters I have previously played in the fact that she is strongly committed to her relationship with her boyfriend, 'Tyler Jantsen', played by Zack Gold. I've never played a character who made their significant other their number one. Chelsea's top priority in life, was Tyler's well-being. With this in mind, it made many of my scenes as 'Chelsea', much more about her love for, 'Tyler'.

Do you identify with your character in any way?
Rachel - I definitely identified with Chelsea in many ways. My own self-awareness is something that I pride myself on and, 'Chelsea', also knew herself very well. Also, I believe Chelsea is selective in who she trust and loves. If she loves you, then she really loves you. When considering friendships and relationships in my own life, I value quality over quantity.

What is your process for acting? Are you a method actor like Daniel Day-Lewis and Meryl Streep, assume a role from the moment you step onto the set the first time, and never leave the role until the film wraps? Or do you prepare or research your roles or characters?
Rachel - I don't like to say I have a specific formula for acting. What I hope to achieve in every scene and every project, is a sense of realness and truthfulness. I do practice techniques of a method actor, but I am willing to step out of character at times. Much of my acting comes from the preparation I do in developing my character and committing to her belief system and maintaining her characteristics. When I am in a scene, I like to let go of everything and allow for real emotions to brew.

Who are your favorite actors, who inspires you, and why?
Rachel - I have a long list of actors who I absolutely admire and respect. Those who really stand out are Sean Penn, Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts, Joaquin Phoenix, Jessica Chastain, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Elizabeth Olsen, and of course, Meryl Streep. All of these artists take risks, their screen presence is captivating, and I never doubt them for a minute. They inspire me because they aren't afraid to bare their hearts and souls. Because they have all played a variety of such convincing characters, I feel as if I don't know how they would truly act as themselves. That's what I want to achieve; I want people guessing what 'Rachel Alig' is actually like as a person.

What would be your dream role or what would you like to accomplish as an actor?
Rachel - My dream role requires a total transformation in the physical sense and the emotional state of being. I want a character in which I have to gain 40 pounds, shave my head, and add a few tattoos. I don't want to look like me, resemble me, or have any familiar traits of me. That's the physical transformation I want. As far as the character's emotional state goes, I want it to be on the brink of madness. This person has moments of great clarity but finds themselves tormented by their own demons. I want a challenge! As an actor, I hope I continue to improve, grow, and develop so much that the projects I am on are on a higher tier. I want to be surrounded by professionals who respect the art of acting, film making, and storytelling. It is a craft that I am honored to be practicing as a professional. Eventually, I hope to be producing my own content.

Any advice for aspiring actors?
Rachel - Prepare for the highs and lows. I have found some success and believe I will continue to do so on my acting journey, but even now I'm dealing with a great letdown. It hurts. It sucks. It feels like a slap in the face. However, I know it's only temporary and the next time I get that phone call saying, 'We'd like to offer you the part', the pain will all be worth it. Also, you must be willing to work each and every day. It is rare that I have a day off. If I'm not filming, I'm auditioning. If I'm not auditioning, I'm in class. If I'm not in class, I'm updating my reel and website. It is never ending. You must love it so much, that you give a piece of yourself to your craft everyday.

A fun fact about you that you’d be willing to share?
Rachel - I'm addicted to cheesecake. No, seriously, I have to have a piece a day...... :)

Thank you Rachel! Looking forward to the release of Ghostline! See the entire cast and crew here on IMDb!

An Update: Rachel Alig will be performing the role of Kelly Hooker in The Final Table 

Saturday, August 16, 2014


Interviews and updates coming for the movie Ghostline! From Dean Whitney, Judy Whitney and featuring actress Rachel Alig.

Stay tuned!

And from Judy Whitney: Hi's an important information about Ghostline; we could really use the help!!! I realize that most of you have already seen our trailer, but very few have left comments. Positive (and recent) comments will go a long way toward helping us secure distribution. We ask that you re-visit the link and leave a comment. We will gather all the names of those who leave comments, put them in a hat, and draw one on 9/19. That person will receive an advance DVD copy of GHOSTLINE.