Find Me On FaceBook!

RSS: Blog FeedSubscribe to
Posts [Atom]

April 2007May 2007June 2007July 2007August 2007September 2007October 2007November 2007December 2007January 2008February 2008April 2008May 2008July 2008September 2008October 2008November 2008December 2008January 2009February 2009March 2009April 2009May 2009June 2009July 2009August 2009September 2009December 2009May 2010October 2010March 2011

History Buff is a site for history lovers everywhere. It is also a site very interested in women of the past. Although I (sadly) no longer have time to continue these interviews, here is an archive of Q&As about women's lives in history. And please feel free to stop by History Buff's sister site for archaeological discoveries making news today. Enjoy!

Michelle Moran
Historical fiction author

As an historical fiction writer I am fascinated by news stories featuring the past as it's unearthed and reimagined and brought to life. I spend a
large quantity of time searching for news in archaeology and history. Once in a great while a new archaeological discovery will act as an inspiration for what I'm currently writing. But most of the time the news stories I read are simply interesting tidbits of history. Unfortunately, I have disallowed comments because I travel so frequently that I can neither monitor nor respond to them. But I would still love to share the history that I find fascinating each day. So welcome! And feel free to visit my website at or contact me at authormichellemoran at hotmail dot com.

Logo designed by Shaun Venish

Blog designed by Mia Pearlman Design


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Q&A With Historical Fiction Author Dora Levy Mossanen

* What was it about Persia that made you want to set both HAREM and
COURTESAN: A NOVEL there, albeit in different times?

Since I spent twenty formative years of my life in Iran, and my family’s Persian roots go back more than 2500 years to the time of Darius the Great, it felt most natural to set my novels, HAREM and COURTESAN in Persia. My own background is somewhat unusual, since I was born in Israel, settled in Iran at the age of nine, then fled to California with my family at the onset of the Islamic Revolution. What is apparent, though, is that I will always treasure the wealth of factual stories my historian grandfather recounted to me during his lifetime and will forever draw from them for my future books.

* In your most recent novel, COURTESAN, you follow three generations of
Jewish women who live in France. Simone, however, travels from France to
Persia to be with the man she loves. How much of these women's lives are
based on fact and how much is fiction?
The three generations of Jewish woman in COURTESAN are fictional characters born of my imagination. But, each one, the grandmother, Madame Gabrielle, the daughter, Françoise, and the granddaughter, Simone, carries a combination of traits and habits that throughout the years, I carefully observed in a number of influential women in my life, my mother, grandmothers, aunts from another fascinating generation. In the end, all writers are voyeurs, don’t you think?

* In researching COURTESAN: A NOVEL, was there anything you were shocked to learn about courtesans in 19th century France?
The most shocking fact I learned about courtesans in 19th century France was tremendous their influence on powerful men of the time, even kings, and how they sometimes succeeded to change the political course of a country. A number of courtesans were highly educated, articulate, and invested shrewdly at a time when women were expected to remain far from the financial arena. I find it ironic that the same men who expected their wives to stay home and raise kids admired courtesans who were the exact opposite.

* Tell us something surprising about women in 17th century Persia, where
your novel HAREM is set.
Women in ancient Persia, and specifically women in the Shah’s harem, were surprisingly resourceful, able to overcome insurmountable hurdles, ruthless and ambition. During my research for HAREM, I was constantly shocked to learn how very rife with danger harems of the time were.Murders, poisoning, and plotting were prevalent, not to mention sexual favors to advance one’s position. But by far the most surprising fact I learned was that a number of these women had sex with eunuchs and even fell in love with them. Unbelievable!

* Are you working on another book, and if so, will it be set in Persia?
I am currently working on another historical novel, this one set in Russia, of all places, and during the last Romanovs, another decadent, tumultuous, and tragic era.

Thank you Dora! And feel free to visit Dora Levy Mossanen online for more information
about her novel Courtesan.