Monday, August 4, 2014

Cover Reveal and Author Interview: The Empress Chronicles
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...

As I was browsing NetGalley a few weeks ago I came across a book called The Empress Chronicles. For those of you who don't know what NetGalley is it is basically a site for bloggers and other book lovers to find and request advanced copies of books. I personally love NetGalley because it allows me to find some really unique and amazing books to read and review. As soon as I read the description of The Empress Chronicles I knew I had to request it because the plot was like nothing I have ever read before. Luckily my request was granted and shortly after the amazing publisher, Diversion Books, asked me to take part in the cover reveal and an interview with the talented author, Suzy Vitello!

 Isn't the cover just beautiful! I love the old diary in the middle, how it is separating the modern world and the past. The cover works perfectly with the book (which I just finished and LOVED)

Author Interview!

1. When and how did you come up with the idea for The Empress Chronicles? Where did you find your inspiration? 

 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.

2. What was the hardest part of writing a novel that takes place in the past and in the present?

   Balancing the narrative arcs – having the rising action scenes in the contemporary story dovetail those in the historical one.

3. Did you ever experience writer's block while writing The Empress Chronicles? If so, how did you get over it? 

 Oh my, this book (unlike my debut, The Moment Before) took forever to write! I had two drafts written before I wrote Moment, and then, once Moment was in the publishing queue, I rewrote Empress yet again, after some terrific notes from an editor I hired. I wouldn’t call it “block” exactly, more like false starts.

4. What piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

  It sounds cliché to say, “Don’t give up,” but I mean it! Tenacity is way more important than talent. Read, read, read, read! Attend workshops (the online ones at Lit Reactor are great if you don’t have any locally). You can write the book that’s in your heart, it might just take a while.

5. Did you ever listen to music to get inspiration while writing The Empress Chronicles?

 I did! But not while I wrote. For Empress, before sitting down to work on pages, I listened to Wagner (it’s a big part of the book), Schubert, Mozart, Chopin (Nocturnes, especially). I find that when I’m actually writing, I need to hear the voice (the actual sound, as if the character is in the room with me) of the character, and music sometimes prevents that.

6. What do you think readers will enjoy most about reading The Empress Chronicles? 

 Liz and Sisi are like my kids at this point, so naturally I will love if readers relate to them and root for them. I hope, too, that the readers get immersed in the girls’ stories and the settings. Maybe be inspired to learn more about The Empress Elisabeth (I hear that Daisy Goodwin has a historical fiction based on her that’s just come out). The Empress was a fascinating character, and her time in the spotlight has come.

About the author:
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).

Suzy's debut novel, THE MOMENT BEFORE, was published by Diversion Books in January, 2014.
Visit her and pre-order The Empress Chronicles at:



  1. Thanks so much for the opportunity to do this interview, and for the Cover Reveal support!

  2. This cover is quite pretty! I also really like the diary in the middle! I'm excited for this one to release!

    Ashtyn @ Wonderland’s Reader!


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