I am delighted to be part of the launch celebrations for Mata Hari by Michelle Moran. Mata Hari is published by Quercus on 28th July 2016 and is available for purchase from Amazon UK, Amazon US, W H Smith, Waterstones and directly from the publisher.
With such an interesting character at the heart of Mata Hari, I’m thrilled to be featuring a guest post from Michelle Moran today all about strong women.
Paris, 1917. The notorious dancer Mata Hari sits in a cold cell awaiting freedom . . . or death. Alone and despondent, Mata Hari is as confused as the rest of the world about the charges she’s been arrested on: treason leading to the deaths of thousands of French soldiers.
As Mata Hari waits for her fate to be decided, she relays the story of her life to a reporter who is allowed to visit her in prison. Beginning with her carefree childhood, Mata Hari recounts her father’s cruel abandonment of her family as well her calamitous marriage to a military officer. Taken to the island of Java, Mata Hari refuses to be ruled by her abusive husband and instead learns to dance, paving the way to her stardom as Europe’s most infamous exotic dancer.
From lush Indian temples and glamorous Parisian theatres to stark German barracks in war-torn Europe, Moran brings to vibrant life the famed world of Mata Hari: dancer, courtesan, and possibly, spy.
A Guest Post by Michelle Moran
Writing about strong women is something that comes naturally to me. My mother is a strong woman, as was her mother before her, and I like to think that I will pass on this characteristic to my daughter as well.
Yet I never anticipated writing historical fiction until I participated in my first archaeological dig. It was there that I first started thinking about the women of our past. I had always known that I wanted to be a writer, and suddenly it seemed that I had come across something that resonated with me–the lives of historical women.
It just so happened that after this trip I went to Berlin and visited the museum housing Nefertiti’s limestone bust. Face to face with one of the greatest beauties to have ever lived, I was captivated. She looked not just beautiful, but strong. Powerful. I wanted to know who she was. I began the research into her life and discovered as I went that she had indeed been a powerful woman–one who’d inspired strong emotions when she lived over three thousand years ago. Those emotions had been so strong that the men who ruled after her tried to erase her name from history.
I’m fascinated by women whose lives have been obscured by both jealous rulers and time. Resurrecting them through literature has become a passion of mine and I hope that my latest novel, Mata Hari, will help do exactly this for Margaretha Zelle, known to the world as Mata Hari.
About Michelle Moran
Michelle Moran’s experiences at archaeological sites around the world first inspired her to write historical fiction. She is the author of Nefertiti and its standalone sequel The Heretic Queen, as well as Cleopatra’s Daughter and The Second Empress. She lives in Texas.