Interview with MJRose

Apr 12th, 2012 | By | Category: Book of the Month, Fandom, Featured Articles

We have had the wonderful opportunity to interview our Book of the Month’s author, MJ Rose! She was gracious and lovely and amazing. Keep reading to hear everything she has to say. And…if you haven’t read our Book of the Month, <em>The Book of Lost Fragrances</em>, what are you waiting for?? This book is fantastic and sublime. It is definitely a book you are not going to want to miss!

<strong>This is the twelfth book you have written. How did writing this one differ for you from the others?</strong>

<em>I’m not sure that writing it was very different. My process hasn’t changed very much  – the books just seem more difficult to write. Which seems unfair right? The more you write the easier it should be.</em>

<strong>I know much of the premise of <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>The Book of Lost Fragrances </span>is based off of some true facts. When and where did you first come across the story of Cleopatra and her love of fragrances?</strong>

<em>About three years ago I was reading a book about Cleopatra (69 BCE to 30BCE), who was the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, and found out she was fascinated with and some say obsessed by scent. Marc Anthony built her a fragrance factory where he planted now extinct flora and fauna including groves of balsam trees  (important in the creation of perfume at the time) confiscated from Herod.</em>

<em>In the 1980s a team of Italian and Israeli archaeologists believe they unearthed the factory at the south end of the Dead Sea, 30 km from Ein Gedi. Residues of ancient perfumes along with seats where customers received beauty treatments were found there.</em>

<em>Cleopatra was said to have kept a recipe book for her perfumes, entitled Cleopatra gynaeciarum libri. The book has been described in writings by historians Dioscorides, Homer and Pliny the Elder. No known copy of the book exists today.</em>

<em>When I read about that book, I knew I had the idea for a new novel.</em>

<strong>When you’re not writing you own books, what is your favorite genre/subgenre to read?</strong>

<em>The same genre I write – historical fiction.</em>

<strong>If someone were to write a book about your life, what do you think the most prominent theme would be?</strong>

<em>Determination and creativity</em>

<strong>Which character in <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>The Book of Lost Fragrances </span>do you relate to the most? Is there one character you found harder to write than all of the others?</strong>

<em>I’m not sure there’s one I relate to the most – but there’s one I have a soft spot for – Robbie L’Etoile – the main character’s brother.</em>

<em>The hardest was the main character Jac L’Etoile. I usually find the main character the most difficult. They’re always the most elusive – playing hide and seek with me it seems.</em>

<strong>I’m sure it’s nerve-wracking and scary to release a novel out into the world. What is the one scene from the book that you are most nervous to have people read?</strong>

<em>The last scene – I want people to come away from the book feeling it came full circle and feeling reading the book was time well spent.</em>

<strong>What has been the toughest criticism you’ve been given as an author? Best compliment? How did you handle those comments?</strong>

<em>Anyone who tells me that my books made them cry – or stay up late – is giving me the best compliment. The toughest criticism was how some readers felt about the ending of one of my books – the best ending I think I ever wrote – but one some readers felt cheated by. I wanted to write every one of them and explain why the book had to end that way.</em>

<strong>I know that a fragrance has been made inspired by the fragrance in the book. What was it like when you first heard it was being created? How did you feel to know you had a part in something women everywhere would now be choosing to wear during important moments in their lives?</strong>

<em>While writing <strong>THE BOOK OF LOST FRAGRANCES</strong>, to keep in the world of scent, I burned candles. When I was finished, I searched out the perfumer who’d created the candles that had inspired me the most, Frederick Bouchardy owner of Joya Studios, and gave him a copy of the manuscript as a thank you.</em>

<em>Bouchardy was instantly intrigued by<strong> the book</strong>—first, as a reader, he said he was taken with the mystery and romance of the story.  In my tale, scent plays a strong role as it pertains to memory. Bouchardy, who creates using oils and other classic ingredients, said this notion spoke to him as a designer and producer of fragrances, and thus the idea to create this beautiful fragrance was born.</em>

<em>When he told me he was going to create his version of that scent I started to cry. He asked me what I’d like to name it.</em>

<em>The ancient fictional fragrance at the heart of the novel is called Âmes Sœurs, which means “Soul Mates” in French.  That’s what I suggested and indeed what Bouchardy named his version: Âmes Sœurs, The Scent of Soul Mates.</em>

<em>I can’t imagine what it will be like when it goes on sale – amazing!</em>

<strong>We share a common favorite book, <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>The Awakening</span> by Kate Chopin. Tell me, what draws you to a book such as this one? What do you look for in a great book for you to add it to your favorite books list?</strong>

<em>To get on my list of all time favorites a book has to not only stay with me but change me somehow – make me think about something I’ve never thought about before and then call me back over and over again. Each one has done that for different reason. I’m not sure there’s a common thread between my favorite.</em>

<strong>You pioneered self-publishing in the late 90’s with your book <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>Lip Service.</span> What do you think about the publishing industry right now? How do you see it changing? How would you like to see it change more?</strong>

<em>We’re in the midst of so many changes  – its both exciting and frustrating and scary depending where you are in the process and who you are in the process. Writers have opportunities we’ve never had before – which is great – and at the same time its more difficult than ever before to break out new authors and get the word out about them.  </em>

<em>I’d like to see more and more creative energy put into figuring out how to expose readers to books.</em>

<em>There’s nothing like browsing in a wonderful bookstore and having a wonderful bookseller talk to you about what you read and making recommendations. I’d like to make sure that never goes away and also how to bring that great in store browsing – on line.</em>

<strong>Because we cover anything entertainment related, in conjunction with the books we review, we have a favorite question we like to ask. Who would you cast as your main characters if <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>The Book of Lost Fragrances </span>were to be made into a movie and you could choose anyone?</strong>

<em>Well I’d play with time. Juliette Binoche at 30 would be Jac L’Etoile. Malachai Samuels is John Malkovitch. Griffin North is a young Richard Gere and Robbie L’Etoile could be Jude Law</em>

<strong>As a writer, if you could choose four authors, dead or alive, to make up your very own dream critique group, who would they be and why?</strong>

<em>Robert Nathan for his magical plotting. Victor Hugo for his strong themes and sense of drama. F.Scott Fitzgerald for his all. John O’Hara for his dialog.</em>



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