Interview with Marci Jefferson, author of Enchantress of Paris
in Author Interviews, News
19 Aug 2015
When we heard that Marci Jefferson’s books are about ‘remarkable women in history who dared to defy powerful men,’ we knew that we needed to interview her and learn more. We loved chatting with Marci Jefferson, author of Girl on the Golden Coin and the new book to read – Enchantress of Paris.
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The alignment of the stars at Marie Mancini’s birth warned that although she would be gifted at divination, she was destined to disgrace her family. Ignoring the dark warnings of his sister and astrologers, Cardinal Mazarin brings his niece to the French court, where the forbidden occult arts thrive in secret. In France, Marie learns her uncle has become the power behind the throne by using her sister Olympia to hold the Sun King, Louis XIV, in thrall.
Desperate to avoid her mother’s dying wish that she spend her life in a convent, Marie burns her grimoire, trading Italian superstitions for polite sophistication. But as her star rises, King Louis becomes enchanted by Marie’s charm. Sensing a chance to grasp even greater glory, Cardinal Mazarin pits the sisters against each other, showering Marie with diamonds and silks in exchange for bending King Louis to his will.
Disgusted by Mazarin’s ruthlessness, Marie rebels. She sacrifices everything, but exposing Mazarin’s deepest secret threatens to tear France apart. When even King Louis’s love fails to protect Marie, she must summon her forbidden powers of divination to shield her family, protect France, and help the Sun King fulfill his destiny.
Who are your literary heroes? Why do they inspire you?
I spent several formative years of my nomadic, Air Force life growing up in southern Georgia. Gone With the Wind was one of the first movies I remember watching. I read the book (for the first time) in fourth grade. Scarlett O’Hara, with her sass and savvy, stuck with me. She is vain, selfish, manipulative, and mean. But she sacrifices pieces of herself for those she loves. Scarlett is the archetypal survivor, but one without insight. Modern women could learn from her mistakes.
You write about remarkable women in history who dared to defy powerful men. Do you have women from history whom you turn to for inspiration?
Edith Cavell, the British nurse who defied the Germans occupying Belgium during World War One by helping allied soldiers escape. I’ve been a nurse for seventeen years, and I can only aspire to be as selfless as Edith, though I certainly am as stubborn.
Because France is where Marie Mancini was. I actually learned about Marie while doing research for Girl on the Golden Coin. In most sources, Marie is mentioned as King Louis’ first love, someone he might have married if not for his duty to his country. But deeper study revealed a story far more complex, full of conspiracy, corruption, passion…I couldn’t resist writing about her. You might say she enchanted me!
What’s on your writing desk?
My novel in progress is top secret at the moment! But I can tell you about a short story I have coming out in March, 2016, in the anthology titled A Fall of Poppies, Stories of Love and the Great War, along with fellow authors Jessica Brockmole, Hazel Gaynor, Evangeline Holland, Kate Kerrigan, Jennifer Robson, Heather Webb, Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig.
The Great War has ravaged Europe, leaving devastated landscapes and scarred psyches in its wake. In spite of the peace treaty signed on November 11, 1918–Armistice Day–war still rages within. Men and women, those who fought and those who watched from the sidelines, pick up the pieces of their shattered lives: widows dream of revenge, nurses withhold their secrets, prisoners plan for escape, lovers reunite, and the product of violence brings an innocent war-child. The guns have stopped, but courage and resolve are still tested. In the deep silence of the ceasefire, peace does little to hinder the emotional battles still to come. Yet on the scorched battlefields, a fall of poppies brings hope.
My contribution to this work is short story about a Belgian rebel who hides from the world, only to find an ally in the enemy.
Say you’re hosting a dinner party and can invite anyone in the world, alive or dead, fictional or real. Who’s coming to dinner?
Scarlett O’Hara, Elizabeth Bennett, Helen of Troy, Anne Boleyn, Alexander the Great, Merlin, Jesus, Frances Stuart, Marie Mancini, Ragnar Lodbrok, Edith Cavell. This is a hard question. Dinner would be interesting.
What’s in your Netflix queue?
Practical Magic and Cold Mountain. I never tire of watching them.
What’s your favorite line from Enchantress of Paris?
This quote from Marie Mancini’s memoire is on the opening page of Enchantress of Paris, and is far better than anything I could ever write about her. “Conscious that freedom is the richest treasure in the world and that a noble and generous spirit must stop at nothing to acquire it, I applied my efforts to obtaining it.”
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
Live your dreams.
Marci Jefferson is the author of the new book Enchantress of Paris.
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Taylor loves books with a heavy dose of absurdity, hilarity, and beautiful prose. She is a marketer, adventurer, nature-lover, Hufflepuff, wannabe world traveler, and advocate of laughter.
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