Today, I am very excited to host an interview with M.J. Rose author of The Secret Language of Stones.
Please tell us a bit about The Secret Language of Stones?
As World War I rages and the Romanov dynasty reaches its sudden, brutal end, a young jewelry maker works at La Fantasie Russie. The jewelry shop is owned by Pavel Orloff, protégé to the famous Faberge, and is known by the city’s fashion elite as the place to find the rarest of gemstones and the most unique designs. But war has transformed Paris from a city of style and romance to a place of fear and mourning. In the summer of 1918, places where lovers used to walk, widows now wander alone.
So it is from La Fantasie Russie’s workshop that young, ambitious Opaline Duplessi now spends her time making trench watches for soldiers at the front, as well as mourning jewelry for the mothers, wives, and lovers of those who have fallen. People say that Opaline’s creations are magical. But magic is a word Opaline would rather not use. The concept is too closely associated with her mother Sandrine, who practices the dark arts passed down from their ancestor La Lune, one of sixteenth century Paris’s most famous courtesans.
But Opaline does have a rare gift even she can’t deny, a form of lithomancy that allows her to translate the energy emanating from stones. Certain gemstones, combined with a personal item, such as a lock of hair, enable her to receive messages from beyond the grave. In her mind, she is no mystic, but merely a messenger, giving voice to soldiers who died before they were able to properly express themselves to loved ones. Until one day, one of these fallen soldiers communicates a message—directly to her.
So begins a dangerous journey that will take Opaline into the darkest corners of wartime Paris and across the English Channel, where the exiled Romanov dowager empress is waiting to discover the fate of her family.
Where did you get your inspiration for The Daughters of La Lune series?
My great-grandmother was born in Paris, France in 1874 and was a self-professed witch. I have her crystal ball and her deck of card she used to tell fortunes with. She’s the inspiration for the books.
Your books are meticulously detailed, what is your research process like?
I read about my subjects for years before I have gathered enough to write a novel. I keep notebooks and files of interesting subjects, lists and lists of things I want to write about. I also create very detailed Pinterest boards for myself to collect all the imagery of the period.
I’ve always been intrigued by the tragedy of the Romanovs, how did the incorporation of this into your newest novel come about?
My great-grandfather on the other side of my mother’s family was a watch /clock repairman for the Tsar and I’ve always heard stories about the opulence of Russia before the revolution. Somehow it just came together – I wish I could be more specific but its sort of like making a big pot of soup. I have all these different ingredients in my head and when I take out a spoonful to get a new book started they’ve become all mixed up. This one was jewelry, Romanov, WW1, ghosts, Paris and lithomancy.
Jewelry plays a central part in Opaline’s story. Do you have a favorite stone?
I think opals are my favorite stone — they are mostly water — and have flashes of a rainbow of colors trapped inside them— such a romantic notion. They are known for a myriad of properties but my favorites are that opals are said to enhance cosmic consciousness and stimulate intuition and insight. At the same time, they are renowned for meditations, and shamanic journeys. Perfect for this book!
Is there a scene or character that you most enjoyed writing about?
I loved writing about Opaline’s jewelry making. I would love to design jewelry myself and this gave me a chance to imagine the pieces I’d like to create.
Was there any aspect of the novel that you found challenging?
Yes, for a long time it was very difficult to figure out how a flesh and blood woman would be able to fall in love with and make love with a ghost.
If you could have lunch with three historical figures who would they be?
This always changes but today it would be Monet, Daphne du Maurier and Lord Byron.
Who are your favorite authors?
Too many to mention and I always leave someone out but here are some– Frances Hodgson Burnett, Ayna Seton, Lee Child, Alyson Richman, Steve Berry, Randy Susan Meyers, Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, Beatriz Williams, Stephanie Cowell, Daphne Du Maurier, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Anay Seaton, Barry Eisler, Lauren Willig, C.W. Gortner, Susanna Kearsley, Wendy Webb, Agatha Christie, Wilke Collins, Kate Mosse, Doug Clegg, Lexi Blake, Michelle Zink… and on and on…
What are you currently reading?
Marlene by C.W. Gornter and listening to Tiny Little Things by Beatriz Williams.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Go to museums, read, shop especially for shoes and window shop for jewelry, cook, walk, swim… reapeat.
Are you currently working on a new project, what is next for you?
I am just finishing up my 2017 novel, The Library of Light and Shadow.
About M.J. Rose
M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother’s favorite books before she was allowed.
She is the author of more than a dozen novels, the co-president and founding board member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: AuthorBuzz.com. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut. Visit her online at MJRose.com.
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Blog Tour Schedule
Wednesday, July 13
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Thursday, July 14
Spotlight at Teddy Rose Book Reviews
Friday, July 15
Review at A Dream within a Dream
Monday, July 18
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Tuesday, July 19
Review at First Impressions Reviews
Wednesday, July 20
Review at Laura’s Interests
Thursday, July 21
Review at Read Love Blog
Tuesday, July 26
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Wednesday, July 27
Interview at First Impressions Reviews
Thursday, July 28
Review at Creating Herstory
Friday, July 29
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Monday, August 1
Review at The Book Junkie Reads
Tuesday, August 2
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads
Wednesday, August 3
Review at Diana’s Book Reviews
Thursday, August 4
Interview at Diana’s Book Reviews
Monday, August 8
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Tuesday, August 9
Review at Worth Getting in Bed For
Thursday, August 11
Review at Girls Just Reading
Friday, August 12
Review at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog
Monday, August 15
Review at Fangirls Ahead!