Monday, March 10, 2014

Interview with M.J. Rose, author of The Collector of Dying Breaths

Author interviews are one of my favorite things to post which is why I am super excited to welcome author M.J. Rose to Flashlight Commentary to discuss her newest release, The Collector of Dying Breaths.

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Welcome to Flashlight Commentary. To start things off, please tell us a bit about The Collector of Dying Breaths.
In 1533, an Italian orphan with an uncanny knack for creating fragrance is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. To repay his debt, over the years René le Florentine is occasionally called upon to put his vast knowledge to a darker purpose: the creation of deadly poisons used to dispatch the Queen's rivals. But it's René other passion—a desire to reanimate a human breath, to bring back the lives of the two people whose deaths have devastated him—that incites a dangerous treasure hunt five centuries later. That's when Jac L’Etoile—suffering from a heartache of her own—becomes obsessed with the possibility of unlocking Rene's secret to immortality. Soon Jac’s search reconnects her with Griffin North, a man she’s loved her entire life. Together they confront an eccentric heiress whose art collection rivals many museums and who is determined to keep her treasures close at hand, not just in this life but in her next. Set in the forest of Fontainebleau, crisscrossing the lines between the past and the present, M.J. Rose has written a mesmerizing tale of passion and obsession. This is a gothic tale perfect for fans of Anne Rice, Deborah Harkness, and Diana Galbadon.

What inspired you to write this story?
I was doing research on another book and learned that Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, who both believed in reincarnation, supported the idea that in death, the soul leaves the body with its last breath. 

Edison’s dying breath, collected by his son, Charles, is in fact on display at the Edison Winter Home in Fort Myers, Florida.  I was totally taken with the idea of our souls being expelled in that last breath and it became the thesis of my novel.

What research went into The Collector of Dying Breaths and did you discover anything particularly surprising while investigating the background material for you book?
I always do a lot of research into the time period.  The most surprising think I learned was about an ingredient used in perfumes and remedies in the middle ages called “momie” that is certainly one of the most fascinating I’ve come across. 

It is found in the tombs of the people who have been embalmed with spices, as they used to do in ancient times. It’s found near the brain and the spine. Instruction manuals from the 15th century suggest it should be shining, black, strong smelling, and firm. And that the white kind, which is rather opaque, does not stick, is not firm and easily crumbles to powder, must be refused.

What drew you to this particular time period?  
That this was when perfume was first brought to France from Italy. 

You probably have many, but is there a scene you particularly enjoyed writing?
The first time René meets Isabeau.

What scene posed the greatest challenge for you as an author?
The first time René meets Isabeau.

Sometimes fiction takes on a life of its own and forces the author to make sacrifices for the sake of the story. Is there a character or concept you wish you could have spent more time with or expanded on? 
Cosimo Ruggieri, Catherine de Medici’s astrologer who practiced black magic. I was so intrigued but he only plays a small part in the book.

If you could sit down and talk with one of your characters, maybe meet and discuss things over drinks, who would you choose and why?
Robbie L’Etoile… Jac’s brother, I have a crush on him.

What do you hope readers come away with after reading your work?
That they have really enjoyed themselves and don’t regret having spent their precious time with me.

Authors are famous, or infamous depending on your point of view, for writing their own experiences, friends and acquaintances into their narratives. Is there anything in The Collector of Dying Breaths that sprung directly from your personal history? 
I’m neither famous or infamous – probably because I never use my own experiences, friends or acquaintances into my book. I’d be bored writing about what is.

Okay, we've talked a lot about your book. Let's switch gears and talk a little bit about you. How would describe your writing process? 
It’s like making soup. I put in a lot of ingredients, stir and simmer. 

Two words: writer's block. How do you deal with it? 
I don’t believe in it. I  think if you have it’s because you don’t know your characters well enough.

Who are your favorite authors? 
Too many, far too many too mention… but some of my all time favorite books are Rebecca, The Great Gatsby, The Secret Garden and Love in the Time of Cholera.

What are you currently reading? 
The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

What do you like to do when you're not writing? Any hobbies?
I love to go to museums, shop (especially for shoes), swim and travel anywhere there is water.

Where do you stand on the coffee or tea debate? 
Both

And finally, what's next for you? Do you have a new project in the works? Planning a vacation? Anything exciting and/or noteworthy? 
I am working on my next book, The Secret Witch of Rue Dragon. Deep into the research right now. Thanks for asking.

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M.J. Rose is the international best selling author of fourteen novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors – Authorbuzz.com. The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose’s novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype. She is also the co-founder of Peroozal.com and BookTrib.com.

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.



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Format: Hardcopy
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Released by: Atria Books
Length: 384 pages
ISBN-10: 1451621531
Genre: Historical Fiction/Suspense

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Check out all the stops on M.J. Rose's The Collector of Dying Breaths Virtual Book Tour


Monday, March 3
Tuesday, March 4
Review at The Novel Life
Wednesday, March 5
Review at Bitches with Books
Thursday, March 6
Friday, March 7
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Monday, March 10
Tuesday, March 11
Review at Book-alicious Mama
Wednesday, March 12
Review at The Wormhole
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Thursday, March 13
Review at Luxury Reading
Friday, March 14
Review at Book Drunkard
Monday, March 17
Review at Closed the Cover
Tuesday, March 18
Review at The Lit Bitch
Interview at Closed the Cover
Wednesday, March 19
Review at Princess of Eboli
Monday, March 24
Review at To Read or Not to Read
Interview at Mina’s Bookshself
Tuesday, March 25
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Wednesday, March 26
Thursday, March 27
Review at A Bookish Libraria
Friday, March 28
Monday, March 31
Review at Mom with a Book
Tuesday, April 1
Review at Peppermint, Ph.D.
Wednesday, April 2
Review at Reviews by Molly
Thursday, April 3
Review at Mari Reads
Friday, April 4
Spotlight at Reading the Ages
Monday, April 7
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review at From Left to Write
Tuesday, April 8
Review at Mina’s Bookshelf
Review at Lit Addicted Brit
Wednesday, April 9
Review at West Metro Mommy
Thursday, April 10
Review & Interview at Cynthia Robertson Blog
Friday, April 11
Review at She Reads Novels
Monday, April 14
Tuesday, April 15
Wednesday, April 16
Review at A Novel Review
Thursday, April 17
Review & Interview at Cozy Up with a Good Read
Friday, April 18
Monday, April 21
Review at A Book Geek
Tuesday, April 22
Wednesday, April 23
Interview at Blogging the Beloved
Thursday, April 24
Review at Pure Textuality
Friday, April 25
Monday, April 28
Review at Book Dilettante
Tuesday, April 29
Review at Our Wolves Den
Wednesday, April 30
Review at From L.A. to LA
Thursday, May 1
Friday, May 2
Review at A Writer’s Life
Tuesday, May 6
Wednesday, May 7
Thursday, May 8
Friday, May 9
Review at Blood Mother
Monday, May 12
Review at Broken Teepee
Tuesday, May 13
Review at Savvy Verse & Wit
Wednesday, May 14
Review at Buried Under Books
Thursday, May 15
Review at bookramblings
Friday, May 16
Monday, May 19
Review at The Mad Reviewer
Tuesday, May 20
Thursday, May 22
Friday, May 23
Review at Tower of Babel
Monday, May 26
Tuesday, May 27
Wednesday, May 28
Review at Book Nerd
Thursday, May 29
Review at Kincavel Korner
Friday, May 30
Interview at Kincavel Korner

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