Friday, October 23, 2015

Emily Holleman

Emily Holleman is a Brooklyn-based writer. After a two-year editing stint at where she had to worry a lot about politics, celebrities and memes, she returned to her true passion: fiction. She's currently working on a set of historical novels that reimagines the saga of Cleopatra from the perspective of her younger sister, Arsinoe. The first of these, Cleopatra's Shadows, is currently available from Little, Brown.

From the author's Q & A with Alexandra Schwartz at Salon:

Tell me how you got interested in this: Were you interested in trying to find a different way of approaching Cleopatra or did you start at a point of interest with her sisters?

I started at a point of interest with her sisters. I was reading Stacey Schiff’s book about Cleopatra right before going to Egypt with my family. Toward the beginning, there’s this mention of Arsinoe, and Stacey Schiff describes her literally in a footnote, something like, “Very little is known about Arsinoe’s motivations but that hasn’t stopped even the most illustrious historians from trying to figure them out,” and then quotes something from [a] French guy who’s like, “If Arsinoe hadn’t been jealous of Cleopatra, she wouldn’t have been a woman, let alone a Ptolemy.” [A] very pre-World War II French historian thing to say about her motives.

That really caught my eye: this idea that all women must be by default jealous of any sort of sexual successes [of their peers]. He, of course, was talking about Cleopatra’s relationship with Caesar, which is much later than what we cover in this book. That was what really intrigued me: the idea of taking this woman whom we see always from the perspective of her lovers, from the perspective of Rome, and flipping that on its head and looking at it through the eyes of her sisters whom we now have completely...[read on]
Visit Emily Holleman's website.

Writers Read: Emily Holleman.

The Page 69 Test: Cleopatra's Shadows.

--Marshal Zeringue