Meet the author: Jung Chang
3 October 2013 Last updated at 19:33 BST
Jung Chang first came to readers attention 20 years ago when her book Wild Swans became an international bestseller.
She followed that up with a biography of Chairman Mao and is once again looking to China's history for the basis of her third book.
Empress Dowager Cixi is an account of the woman who effectively ruled China for half a century before her death in 1908.
Jung Chang spoke to the BBC's Nick Higham about it.