Friday, May 27, 2011

Michelle Diener

Today I'm pleased to introduce to you an author to watch. Meet Debut Author, Michelle Diener.

What people are saying about IN A TREACHEROUS COURT:

"IN A TREACHEROUS COURT is an action-adventure-mystery-historical that grabs the reader on page one and doesn't let go. It reminds me of SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE in the way it captures the "feel" of Tudor England, moving with equal aplomb from royal palace to refuse-clogged London street to leaky rowboat on the Thames." Kate Emerson (Author of BY ROYAL DECREE: Secrets of the Tudor Court)

"Awesome! History woven flawlessly into riveting fiction." Tammy J. Schneider (Special Features Editor and book reviewer at "Affaire de Coeur" magazine)

IN A TREACHEROUS COURT by Michelle Diener (Gallery Books, 2nd August 2011)

Henry VIII’s most lethal courtier and his newly appointed artist become the only thing keeping him on the throne – and if they survive, neither will ever be the same.

John Parker is one of Henry VIII most useful courtiers — utterly merciless and completely loyal. But one small favour for his King will pull Parker into a deadly plot against the throne, one that will test his courage, his resolve, and most especially, his heart.

A commission from Henry VIII should have been the crowning achievement of Susanna Horenbout’s career, but before the beautiful and talented artist even sets foot in England, she finds herself in possession of a secret that could change its history. With Parker as her only protection against killers who will stop at nothing to silence her, Susanna has to trust the dangerous, enigmatic courtier. She’s used to fighting in a man’s world, but she never expected to be fighting for her life.

Shall we learn more? Welcome, Michelle to GET LOST IN A STORY.

DONNELL: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

MICHELLE: It would be a toss-up between the Lake District in England and the south of France.

DONNELL: What’s your favorite room in your house, and why?

MICHELLE: The kitchen. I love baking. And eating what I bake. :)

DONNELL: Have you ever written a character who wasn’t meant to be a hero/heroine but he/she wouldn’t go away?

MICHELLE: Never. My characters are all impeccably behaved. (Real answer – at least twice.)

DONNELL: What’s in your refrigerator right now?

MICHELLE: Assorted vegetables, cheeses, milk, yoghurt, juice, and waaay more condiments than I need.

DONNELL: What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you WISH more people COULD know?

MICHELLE: That my Virgo-ness is a pro, really, not a con. Everyone likes their lists alphabetized, don't they? Well, don't they?

DONNELL: What is your favorite tradition from your childhood, that you would love to pass on or did pass on to your children?

MICHELLE: Making a really big thing about birthdays. My husband didn't have that, but my family really got into it, and I've carried that on.

DONNELL: What do you do to unwind and relax?

MICHELLE: Read or walk. I really love cold winter days where there is nothing I HAVE to do. I love curling up under a blanket with a good book.

DONNELL: Do you suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

MICHELLE: I do. Or rather, I look at a blank page and would rather do anything else than write on it. I'll get up and make myself do something even more unpleasant, like ironing, or hanging up washing. And then sit back down again. If that doesn't work, I force myself to write anything at all. Even if pain and suffering are involved and I hate every moment, I quite often find that I've managed to make at least some progress.

DONNELL: What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing/researching a book?

MICHELLE: It's hard to pick just one, I've found so many! From kings disguising themselves as commoners and roaming the streets of London, to English noblemen riding with the King of France and throwing rocks and eggs at peasants, to court musicians who are spies.

DONNELL: Which era would you least have liked to live in, fashion-wise? Most?

MICHELLE: I already lived through the 80s, thanks. Never again. Although the corsets of the Victorian era are also not something I'd like to have experienced. Most? Right now. As an historical author who has done plenty of research on historical clothing, I love the comfort and ease of care of current clothing.

DONNELL: How many languages do you speak?

MICHELLE: Including English, I speak 4. The others being French, German and Afrikaans. I used the Afrikaans in my Tudor-set series because my heroine, Susanna Horenbout, is Flemish, and Afrikaans is very similar to Flemish. I tried to think of what my heroine would say in Afrikaans, and then translated it to English to give her a slightly foreign cadence of speech.

DONNELL: If you were given a chance to travel to the past where would you go and specifically why?

MICHELLE: Oh, no question, back to London in 1525. I'd love to take a look at how it really was then. See if the world I've created for Susanna and Parker in IN A TREACHEROUS COURT bears some resemblance to the real thing.

DONNELL: How much money does it take to be happy?

MICHELLE: Just enough to not have to worry about it.

MICHELLE DIENER'S Question for Readers:

The two main characters in my debut, IN A TREACHEROUS COURT, are outsiders. My heroine, Susanna, is a foreigner, and my hero, Parker, is one of the King's 'new men', a courtier who has been given a great deal of power – the kind of power usually only given to noblemen - through his professionalism and loyalty to the King. Both of them have a place in the hierarchy but do not feel part of it. What is your favorite outsider in fiction, either book or film?

Michelle, it's been a pleasure. Readers, questions or comments will enter you in a drawing to win Michelle's Advanced Reader Copy of IN A TREACHEROUS COURT.

Born in London and brought up in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, reading and writing have always been my passions. I write historical fiction and my debut novel, IN A TREACHEROUS COURT, is set to release August 2nd, 2011 with Simon & Schuster imprint Gallery Books.

The second book in the series, KEEPER OF THE KING'S SECRETS, also featuring Susanna Horenbout and John Parker, is scheduled for a February 2012 release.

I currently live on the west coast of Australia with my husband and two children.

When I'm not writing, or driving my kids from activity to activity, you can find me at my website, blogging at Magical Musings, or online at Twitter and Facebook.



  1. Michelle, welcome to Get Lost in a Story. I've preordered your book. It looks fabulous! I have to say Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier has this flavor. The second Mrs. Max de Winter feels a total outcast in this book, until she unravels the mystery of Rebecca.

    I also love Glory and the Lightning by Taylor Caldwell, in which Aspasia, a trained courtesan influences two of the most influential Greek politicians and rises to power in her own right, becoming one of the first advocates of women. Great answers. Thank you!

  2. Since I'm your critique partner and I read your books, I'll say your hero, John Parker, is my favorite. You created such a wonderful, full-fleshed and real character in John.

    Other than that, there are too many to pick one. Jane Eyre from my teens. Harry Potter was an outsider, and what a great character he turned out to be. I recently read a YA ARC of Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep. Gwen Frost is a complete outsider at the Mythos Academy, and I was rooting for her.

    There's something about outsiders that I love.

  3. Thank you so much for having me, Donnell! I hope you love IATC.

    As for your picks, both of them are favorites of mine, too! I gobbled Taylor Cadwell books up in my teens, and Rebecca is one of those books that stays with you for the rest of your life.

  4. Thank you, Edie. Thinking about it, no wonder we love each other's work so much, your Cassie in Dead People is a true outsider, as is Noah in Dragon Blues. And I love them both!

  5. Looking forward to the Treacherous Court!
    Do you really alphabetize your lists??? Come on.... Really??

  6. Laura, not my shopping lists, or anything like that. Eek! That is going too far, even for me. But if there is a list out there, like the names and numbers of GIAMers going to National on the FB group, for example, or the GIAM website list of members' FB and twitter names, wellllll, yes, those, I go in and alphabetize. Because, it just bugs me to death if they aren't in order. Sad. I know.

  7. Hi Michelle,

    You're so talented, languages, (I notice you didn't mention computer speak!), house renos, writing, business, etc. Love the multi talents pulling together into your writing.

    I love your answer about money - isn't that the truth!

    I've heard so much about this book, I can't wait to read it. Major congrats on your success.

  8. Thank you, Dale, and right back at you! You know how much I admire you, and your seemingly inexhaustible supply of energy, talent and optimism.

  9. Your story sounds fascinating, Michelle. I wish I spoke as many languages as you do. I grew up with a bilingual father, but he only taught me a few words. >:( I love outsiders, too, and it's hard to name my favorite. Jane Eyre was and still is a fave of mine. I also loved (and I mean loved) Mary Stewart's Merlin from The Crystal Cave. Wanted to be his girlfriend, lol.

  10. Thanks for coming by, Michelle! Your book sounds fabulous. That time period is so fascinating.

  11. Wonderful interview! Michelle I love that period in history and look forward to reading your book!

    I would have to say my favourite out of place character comes from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander--her heroine Clair ends up in 18th century Scotland by mistake. A disastrous event until she meets heart-throb Jamie!

  12. Love the Tudor period, Michelle. Can't wait to get my hands on it! Your world-building sounds fantastic!

    The outsider is my favorite character trait for both hero and heroine. It sets them apart as individuals, who can function outside the strict morals/laws of society, but are most often the most honorable characters of the story. Quintessential romantic characters!

  13. Michelle, I can't wait to see you in New York! Mucho congrats on your debut. I wish you many many many sales!

  14. Tori, I loved Merlin in The Crystal Caves, too! LOVED him. Loved that whole series. Funny, I'm talking a lot about Mary Stewart these days, obviously with the re-release of her romantic suspense novels. One of the biggest compliments I ever got on my writing was this great email my editor sent me in which she said my writing reminded her of Mary Stewart. Naturally, I still have that email :) .

  15. Thank you, Maureen. You're right, it is a time so full of changes and shifts in power, it is a writer's dream :) .

  16. Thank you, Sharon! I love Claire from the Outlander series, too. Time travellers are the ultimate outsiders, aren't they?

  17. Jillian, thank you. And yes, exactly. Outsiders can see the world through fresh eyes and aren't as bound by the rules of the world they find themselves in.

  18. Karin, I can't wait to see you, either. I'm holding you to that afternoon tea :) Thank you for your support through the years, my friend.

  19. Hey Michelle! Sorry I missed your day to GET LOST. The hubby took me away from my laptop all day. Can't blame him...he travels way too often.

    Glad you had a great turn-out.

  20. Thanks, Angi. Hope you enjoyed your computer-free day. :)

  21. I was a 16th century major so am pleased to hear about a book that sounds very intriguing. Impressed to hear there is already a sequel! I am also a huge Mary Stewart fan, although prefer her romantic suspense to her Merlin books.