Interview with Michelle Diener + Giveaway of The Emperor's Conspiracy

Please welcome author Michelle Diener to Passages to the Past! Michelle is here as part of her virtual tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for The Emperor's Conspiracy and she was kind enough to answer a few questions for me! 

Be sure to check out the schedule of stops for her virtual tour below, as well as enter to win a copy of The Emperor's Conspiracy!

What was the inspiration behind writing The Emperor’s Conspiracy?  And what drew you to set it in Regency London? 

I really find it hard to nail down a favorite historical period, because I love so many, but the characters for this story, specifically Charlotte, arrived in my mind complete with setting, and the very real plot by Napoleon wormed its way into the story, so that defined the actual date of 1811. As for insprication, I started out writing The Emperor's Conspiracy more than five years ago, and in those early days it was much more light-hearted. As I researched the life of a London sweep and a child labourer, I realized the whole story would have to be grittier and darker, and I mulled things over for years before actually rewriting what little I had already written, and finishing the story. 

When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? And why historical fiction? 

I've always wanted to be a writer. I love reading, I love books, but I always wanted more stories, and I wanted the stories to go a specific way. I didn't always agree with the author. LOL. What choice did I have but to write stories of my own? If I can keep someone up late, transport them away to another world, just like I do when I'm reading a wonderful book, then I consider myself sucessful. As for historical fiction, well, I love history. I absolutely love it. I studied it at high school and university, and read all historical non-fiction I can find. But I have to admit I love fantasy and sci-fi, too. And you may be seeing some books from me in those genres in a year or so. :) But I'll never not write historical fiction. I have way too many historical fiction stories in me for that to ever happen. 

Can you take us through a day in your life while you are writing a novel? 

I get up and get the kids ready for school, then I walk them over, and keep going on my walking route, which is roughly 5 kms. Then I get home and shower, and then if I'm not expecting any urgent email, I go straight to writing for a couple of hours. I do some chores, open up my email, and attend to the other business of being a writer that isn't writing, then try to fit in another couple of hours of writing before I fetch the kids and take them off to their after-school activities, homework, etc. At night, if I have the energy, I'll try to write for another hour when the kids are in bed. 

What authors inspire you? 

Oh, so many! My critique partners, Liz Kreger and Edie Ramer, inspire me for their dedication to their craft, their perseverance and their generosity of spirit. Authors such as Jayne Anne Krentz, Dick Francis, Terry Pratchett, Dean Koontz, Nora Roberts, Iain M. Banks, Agatha Christie, Mary Stewart, Patricia Briggs, Sulman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood inspire me with their consistent excellence and ability to totally lose me in their worlds. And they are just the ones that leapt into my mind this minute, I'm sure there are plenty I'll think of later. 

What book would you like to read again for the first time? 

Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks. It has such a twist at the end, any re-reading you do, you can't help but read in the light of that final revelation, which changes the way you see so many characters. So you can never re-read with the same sense of discovery. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? 

Understand that it is hard. It is supposed to be hard. And when you've finished something, I highly recommend leaving it for at least a month, before taking it out and doing a final edit. You won't regret it! 

What project on you working on next? 

I just finished a book that is a sequel to The Emperor's Conspiracy, tentatively entitled Banquet of Lies. Charlotte and Edward are secondary characters in this book, but it stands on its own, like The Emperor's Conspiracy. To give myself a break, I'm working on writing a full length novel inspired by my short story contribution to the Entangled Anthology. Breaking Out, my contemporary paranormal contribution, has resulted in a barrage of emails from readers asking me to continue the story. I'm obliging. I will probably put a book together which includes Breaking Out as the first four chapters, and carries on from there. 

About the Book

Publication Date:  November 27, 2012
Gallery Books


From nineteenth-century London’s elegant ballrooms to its darkest slums, a spirited young woman and a nobleman investigating for the Crown unmask a plot by Napoleon to bleed England of its gold.

Chance led to Charlotte Raven’s transformation from chimney sweep to wealthy, educated noblewoman, but she still walks a delicate tightrope between two worlds, unable to turn her back on the ruthless crime lord who was once her childhood protector.

When Lord Edward Durnham is tapped to solve the mystery of England’s rapidly disappearing gold, his search leads him to the stews of London, and Charlotte becomes his intriguing guide to the city’s dark, forbidding underworld. But as her involvement brings Charlotte to the attention of men who have no qualms about who they hurt, and as Edward forges a grudging alliance with the dangerous ghosts of Charlotte’s former life, she faces a choice: to continue living in limbo, or to close the door on the past and risk her heart and her happiness on an unpredictable future.

About the Author

Michelle Diener has always had a passion for reading and writing. She began writing stories when her parents gave her a typewriter for her twelfth birthday, and she hasn’t stopped since. Born in London and raised in South Africa, she now lives on the west coast of Australia with her husband and two small children.  

She is the author of Dangerous Sanctuary, In a Treacherous Court and Keeper of the King's Secrets.

Connect with Michelle Diener: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

The Emperor's Conspiracy Virtual Tour Schedule

Monday, November 26

Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, November 28
Review & Giveaway at Books Devoured

Friday, November 30
Author Interview & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Monday, December 3
Review & Giveaway at My Reading Room
Review, Author Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Libraria

Tuesday, December 4
Review at Historical Tapestry & The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader

Wednesday, December 5
Review & Giveaway at Book of Secrets

Friday, December 7
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading   

Monday, December 10
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair 

Giveaway (US ONLY)

- To enter, please leave a comment below and include your email address (only comments with email addresses will be entered in the giveaway). 
- +5 additional entries become a follower of Passages to the Past. If you are already a follower you will automatically receive the bonus entries. 
- +3 additional entries join the Passages to the Past FB Page
- +3 additional entries follow PTTP on Twitter
- +1 additional entry each, please help spread the word by blogging, posting on sidebar, tweeting or posting this giveaway on Facebook or Google+. You can use the SHARE buttons below. 
- Giveaway ends on December 10th.

Good luck to all!

TEC button


  1. Oh this sounds so good! And already knowing there is a sequel coming out to it makes me excited....I love sequels! Thanks for the giveaway!
    +5. GFC follower (Colleen Turner).
    +3. Facebook follower (Colleen Turner).
    +3. Twitter follower (@candc320).
    +1. Shared on Google+.
    +1. Shared on Facebook.
    +1. Shared on Twitter.

    Thanks Amy!

  2. +5. GFC follower Celticlady
    +3. Facebook follower Kathleen Kelly.
    +3. Twitter follower (@celticlady1953).
    +1. Shared on Google+. Kathleen Kelly
    +1. Shared on Facebook.
    +1. Shared on Twitter.
    link on sidebar here:

  3. This sounds like a wonderful novel; and the cover is gorgeous! And like the previous commenter, I too love books with sequels. Thanks for the giveaway.

    +5 Google follower

  4. Would love to win! I'm a Twitter follower and also am on the FB page and a member of the PTTP blog.

  5. I recently read a historical fiction mystery with lots of information about the chimney sweeps. Many of them got stuck in chimneys and many died of the soot in their lungs later on. They were always dirty. So many of them never took baths. So I am very interested in this book!

    +5. GFC follower (Carol N Wong).

    +3. Facebook follower (Carol N Wong).

    +3. Twitter follower (Carolee888).

    +1. Shared on Google+.

    +1. Shared on Facebook.

    +1. Shared on Twitter:

    +1 shared on Pinterest:


  6. This book sounds like a good one to read. Thank you for the chance to win. I also enjoyed your review.

    +5 follower (griperang)
    +3 FB Page follower (Angela Holland)
    +3 Twitter follower (@griperang)
    +1 blogging -
    +1 tweeting -
    +1 Facebook -
    +1 Google+ -

    Thank you - griperang at embarqmail dot com

  7. thanks for the opportunity - this looks great!


    FB follower (Tiffany Button)
    Twitter follower (LadyGStationery)

  8. This sounds great!


    +5 GFC follower (The Flashlight Reader)
    +3. Facebook follower (Flashlight Commentary)

  9. I am so glad to hear that there is going to be a sequel. Even before I finished the book, I was thinking I wanted to read more.

    No need to enter me in the giveaway!

  10. On the TBR list! And I'm so excited about the sequel already!

    +5 follower (GFC Lara Frame/lafra86)
    +3 Facebook follower (Lara Newell)
    +1 Google+ (

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  11. I'm seeing this pop up a lot. I really want to read it. Thanks for a great giveaway.


    +5 I follow via google reader

  12. Love the interview and the exciting promise of another HF writer!

  13. Love the interview and the exciting promise of another HF writer!

  14. This is a new book to me ...I would love to read it ( and maybe win it !) Lynda

  15. Thanks for subscriber twitter follower @rhondareads.

  16. thanks for a great opportunity to win a great sounding book.

  17. I love historical fiction and I love mysteries. This one sounds great.
    +5 GFC follower.
    +3 Belong to FB page: Lisa Holmes Garrett
    +1 Tweeted:

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

  18. Wonderful interview -- I'm going to look for Use of Weapons this weekend -- that's an endorsement!

    Really excited to read this one -- thank you for the giveaway!

  19. I've heard so many great thing about this book. Absolutely love the cover too.

    +5 Follow PTTP / Leah Weller (leahluvsmedieval)

    +3 Follow PTTP on Facebook / Leah Weller

    +1 Shared on Facebook / Leah Weller


  20. I would love to win a copy, and I'm a follower!


  21. I loved Michelle's last two books, can't wait to read this one!

    Follower of blog, on FB and Twitter

  22. I've been hoping t win a copy of this book ever since I first saw it. hopefully this will be my lucky entry. Thanks for hosting.

    - +5 I am a follower of Passages to the Past by email: carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx
    - +3 I have already joined the Passages to the Past FB Page: Carl Scott
    - +3 I follow PTTP on Twitter: @carlrscott
    - +1 I tweeted a link to this post:
    - +1 I pinned this post on Pinterest:

  23. I've been waiting for this book to come out! It sounds so good.

    +5 I am a GFC follower
    +3 I've already joined PTTP on FB

  24. I never knew that there were girl chimney sweep's!,
    facebook follower on pttp
    facebook follower
    twitter followr joekathbia
    shared on twitter and facebook

  25. Sounds like a really good book.
    I follow your blog and follow your facebook page, I will share about this on facebook

  26. This sounds really interesting!!

    I follow on Google Reader.

  27. Ooooo! This looks delicious!
    Thanks for having the giveaway!

    +5. GFC follower (Tiffany Kohler).
    +3. Facebook follower (TIffany Kohler).
    +1. Told friend about giveaway.


  28. What a gorgeous cover! This looks like a great read!
    Thanks, Amy!

    tiger_fan_1997 AT yahoo DOT com

    +5 Blog Follower
    +3 FB Follower

  29. This looks so good! Thanks for the giveaway!

    I follow via GFC- Kirsten!
    and twitter- @commodorewood


  30. Stephanie

    I follow passages to the past on fb (Stephanie Rosch) and twitter StephanieRosch and the blog on


  31. I find it interesting you are "taking a break" from historical fiction to write paranormal. I can actually see some similarities between the dealings with the underbelly of english society in EMPEROR'S CONSPIRACY and dealings of mortals and paranormal beings in the urban fantasy/paranormal fiction world.
    Not such a stretch after all.

    +5 GFC follower librarypat

    +3 a member of the Passages to the Past FB page (Patricia Barraclough

    +3 a Twitter follower, @pbbearclaw

    +1 tweeted

    +1 Shared on Facebook

    +1 posted on G+

    librarypat AT comcast DOT net

  32. Nice interview.


  33. Thanks for the giveaway, Amy!

    +5 follower of Passages to the Past. +3 Passages to the Past FB Page.
    +3 follower of PTTP on Twitter.


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