The Empress Chronicles Blog Tour


The Empress Chronicles

In this dazzling first book in the EMPRESS CHRONICLES series by the author of THE MOMENT BEFORE, one courageous girl seeks keys to the past to unlock the future…
When city girl Liz is banished to a rural goat farm on the outskirts of Portland, the 15-year-old feels her life spiraling out of control. She can’t connect to her father or his young girlfriend, and past trauma adds to her sense of upheaval. The only person who seems to keep her sane is a troubled boy who is fighting his own demons. But all of this changes in one historical instant.
One-hundred fifty years earlier, Elisabeth of Bavaria has troubles of her own. Her childhood is coming to a crashing end, and her destiny is written in the form of a soothsaying locket that has the ability to predict true love. But evil is afoot in the form of a wicked enchantress who connives to wield the power of the locket for her own destructive ends.
When Liz finds a timeworn diary, and within it a locket, she discovers the secrets and desires of the young Bavarian princess who will one day grow up to be the legendary Empress of Austria. It is in the pages of the diary that these two heroines will meet, and it is through their interwoven story that Liz will discover she has the power to rewrite history—including her own…

Readers of books like Rachel Harris’s MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY will love THE EMPRESS CHRONICLES
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Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
Thanks so much for asking! THE EMPRESS CHRONICLES is the story of Empress Elisabeth of Austria's teenage years when she frolicked through the Bavarian forest recording secrets in a tiny leather journal, and the present-day Liz who, while battling her own inner demons, discovers the journal along with a locket that has the power to rewrite history and both young women make alarming discoveries about humanity and the power of words. I intend it to be the first book of a series.

What inspired you to write it?
When I was born, we lived in an apartment a few blocks from the Hofburg Palace, so I guess you could say that my “sponge” years were filled with grand sights and history, and I soaked it up. Years later, when I returned to Vienna to visit (we left for the U.S. when I was six), I became enchanted with the Sisi story, and worked to find a narrative that offered more about her roots—one that explored her whimsical youth.

How did you come up with the idea for the cover?

I offered some ideas to my publisher, Diversion Books, and they hired an amazing cover designer (who remains a secret), who came up with the cover.

If it was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
I would want a Polish actress named Agata Trzebuchowska to play Sisi. And Shailene Woodley for Liz. For Cory, definitely Jamie Blackley. Willow could be played by Lauren Lee Smith.

What is it about this genre that appeals to you so much?
I like both contemporary and light fantasy books – books that blur lines and venture into uncharted territory – both as a reader and a writer. I like to be immersed in the “what ifs” of everyday life.

What made you want to become an author?
So I could find a home for my daydreams and fantasies. I’m always inventing narratives when I eavesdrop on conversations of strangers. It’s nice to have a legitimate place to put those imaginings.

How do you come up with character names?
I often change them during drafts. Once a character is fleshed out a bit, the name often just arrives. Like a stork, bringing a baby in its beak.

Name one of your all-time favourite books?
WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson

Who, or what, inspires you?
I’m often inspired, creatively, when I walk the hills behind my house. Or when I travel. Or by the beauty of the natural world or a rich conversation, or an unusual person I happen to meet.

Where is your favourite place to write?
My 10 X 10 office just off my garage.

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?

Name two of your favourite authors.
Junot Diaz and Antonya Nelson

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
Raymond Carver, David Foster Wallace, and Beatrix Potter. They all fascinate me, and I’d love to hear them in conversation.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
My grandmother’s uncle was a Habsburg portrait artist.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?
photo credit: Ana Gremard via photopin cc
Jodie Foster

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.
The last two houses I lived in were both last-owned by persnickety widows who died within a few years of selling their houses. I often feel them spying on me from their respective graves.

What are your (writing) plans for the future?
Well, I want to keep going with my Empress books, and also write a few books that focus on millennial characters.

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.

Hiking in Wales

Favourite myth / fairytale?
Snow White and Rose Red

Who/What did you want to be when you were a kid?

A famous horsewoman or a mother of nine. I also toyed with the idea of becoming a veterinarian for a brief time – or a studier of animals, like Jane Goodall. I always wanted to be a writer, too.

Suzy Vitello is a proud founding member of a critique group recently dubbed The Hottest Writing Group in Portland, and her short stories have won fellowships and prizes (including the Atlantic Monthly Student Writing Award, and an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship).


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