Posts Tagged ‘Roma Nova’

Special Guest – Alison Morton

AURELIA_cover_image800x520Today I welcome back fellow writer Alison Morton to my blog. She’s the author of the Roma Nova alternate history thriller series, and she’s just published the fourth instalment, AURELIA. I loved the first three books, which featured Carina Mitela, American-born but with a Roma Novan mother. They followed her story as she returns to her mother’s homeland where she has to adjust to living in a matriarchal society where women rule and her family is one of the top twelve in the country (something that brings both duties and privileges).

AURELIA takes us back two generations, to 1960, and is the story of Carina’s grandmother. It’s a cracking good read! I really like Aurelia, who is a fantastic heroine – courageous, strong, intelligent and decisive – and this fast-paced novel, which takes us on a journey through an alternative Europe, keeps the reader turning the pages throughout. And the villain of the piece is truly evil!

So, Alison, tell us what made you want to go back and tell Aurelia’s story?
Two things, really. Firstly, we meet Aurelia as an older woman in INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS and SUCCESSIO and as I wrote her I found myself becoming fascinated by her common sense, toughness and her loneliness. In INCEPTIO, Karen struggles to visualise Aurelia twenty plus years before as a military commander leading a unit to retake a war-torn city. And the mystery of Aurelia’s single life – there is no husband, lover or companion in the family circle or memory, yet she is Karen’s grandmother. Plenty to chew on there. Secondly, I wanted to write about the terrible events twenty-three years before INCEPTIO that scarred Conrad and threatened the destruction of Roma Nova itself. AURELIA is the pre-cursor to that story. Watch this space!

Woman soldierShe’s definitely what I would call a “kick-ass” heroine – is that something you aspired to be yourself? (I know you were in the army)
Well, all fiction is made up, but some of it is less made up than other parts of it. 🙂

As I said, the bad guy is truly evil, almost like a Bond-villain – is that what you based him on or did you have something/someone else in mind?
No, I didn’t base him on a Bond-villain. 😉 The bad guy in AURELIA has all the gifts the world could give him, but wants more. This fascinates me. In a way, our modern culture centres on that. But he is beauty and intelligence with a rotten heart and represents our darker side. So I constructed him from those ideas. Of course, there may just have been the odd hint about him in the first three books …

Berlin

Berlin

I found your alternative Europe absolutely fascinating and especially the idea that if Germany/ Austria had reverted to tiny kingdoms/ princedoms/ mini republics after the Great War, they would never have had the energy to band together and cause a second one because they were always squabbling among themselves. Do you think that’s what should have happened after the real World War I?
Well, maybe I’m a romantic, or possibly a touch Machiavellian, but I think it’s a strong possibility. ‘German-ness’ has never been confined to national borders; for instance, Prague and Strasbourg were very much culturally and philosophically identified German cities for centuries. In contrast, German-speaking regions vary massively from each other in dialect, loyalty, food & drink, national costume, politics and identity from northern Italy to Hamburg, Alsace to Berlin.

You obviously do your research very thoroughly and there was a lot of information about silver trading, stock markets, banking and espionage – how did you go about finding all those details? (And I just want to add that you did a brilliant job in explaining it to the reader).
After hours, weeks, even months of research plus delving back into my own past. I worked in the City of London for a few years, and although not in metal trading or futures, I couldn’t help but be aware of them. Ditto the banking. And doesn’t silver fascinate everybody …?

Rome

Rome

The ending of the book isn’t exactly a cliff-hanger (I think I can safely say that without giving anything away?), but at the same time I was left wanting to know more about what happens next. Will you continue Aurelia’s story or are you moving on to her daughter Marina next?
I like to resolve each of my stories properly; I’m not a fan of leaving readers on a cliff-hanger as I think it’s unfair to them. You may think that things seem settled for the moment, but if you look up a Roma Nova history book, you’ll see that there’s a catastrophe looming. Oh, are all the history books out on loan? What a shame! You’ll have to wait until the next Roma Nova story to see what happens thirteen years later …

Ohh, intriguing!  Best of luck and thank you for being my guest today!

There’s a lovely book trailer for AURELIA here:-

https://youtu.be/K5_hXzg0JWA

Alison Morton_smLinks:-

Connect with Alison on her Roma Nova blog: http://alison-morton.com/blog/

Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/AlisonMortonAuthor

Twitter https://twitter.com/alison_morton @alison-morton

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5783095.Alison_Morton

Buying link (multiple retailers/formats):

AURELIA: http://alison-morton.com/books-2/aurelia/where-to-buy-aurelia/

Guest Author – Alison Morton

Welcome back to the blog, Alison!  I really enjoyed your first novel INCEPTIO and am very much looking forward to the second book in the series, PERFIDITAS.  Please tell us a little bit about it and what that word means?

Thank you for a warm welcome, Christina.  Great to be back!

PERFIDITAS means betrayal – our word ‘perfidy’ is closely related – but for the Roma Novans who have invested their whole way of life and motivation for survival over many centuries in their core values, it’s deeply repugnant.  And entangled with that, there’s betrayal on a personal level …

In INCEPTIO, Carina, the heroine has to cope with a whole new way of life, Roman style, and it was fun to follow her journey as she learned about her mother’s country of birth, Roma Nova, and adapted to it.  Is there more for her to learn in book no 2, any surprises for her and the reader?

Plenty of surprises!  Although Carina knows in her head that she has to be involved in the family-based social system, she tries to dodge it – she’s more interested in her exciting job.  But with privilege comes responsibility and she has to face up to it.  But in doing so she surprises herself.

I loved the way in INCEPTIO she decided to learn to defend herself and really knuckled down to it.  Those scenes were very real, so did you have to go to a boot camp yourself to get this right (or did you send someone else?  I would have!)?

Haha!  No, they’re drawn from my own military training.  Many’s the time I’ve had to go out on exercise in sleet or rain on the north German plain, or creep on my stomach across a frosty field while the opposition tries to outwit you.  The training for it was pretty rigorous!

The heroine learned to speak Latin fairly quickly – I assume the spoken version was easier than the written one?  And would you, yourself, be able to communicate with someone in Latin if you had to?

Like children with parents of different nationalities, Carina learnt her mother’s native tongue when she started to speak as a very young child.  Her father insisted she went to Latin class, but that stopped when he died when she was twelve.  It’s a little like the heroine in the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding who went to Greek school on Saturdays.  Carina didn’t use Latin again for years, but once the language is imprinted in the brain when small, it comes back.  I’m sure you know the experience yourself with Swedish!

Et ego?  Difficile est tenere quae acceperis nisi exerceas!

Me and Latin?  It’s hard to remember what you learned unless you practise it 🙂

Conrad, the hero, had been a bit of a bad boy before meeting the heroine, although the people of his country didn’t seem to look at it quite the way we do.  Does this come back to ‘bite him on the bum’ at all in the rest of the series?

You’ll have to wait!  But yes, the Roma Novan system of morality is quite different from ours, being based on inheritance of names, rights and property through women.  This goes back to the earliest times in Roma Nova when they were struggling to survive and women ran social, political and economic life when men were defending the young country.

Everything is based on the family/tribe.  Men join women’s families and take their partner’s family name, if the couple chose to marry formally.  Traditional Roman marriage is more a social and economic arrangement, not a religious one.  In modern Roma Nova, they can contract for a term, i.e. so many years, if they choose.  It’s always the woman’s eldest daughter who inherits whatever her parents’ contracted arrangements.  After all, you always know who a woman’s child is …

Conrad tries to hold it and himself together by doing the right thing all the time, but he struggles sometimes because of his traumatic childhood and it’s all bound to unravel sometime in the future. But that’s a little way off yet. 🙂

It was interesting to note the matriarchal society you created – is that something you think we should have?  Women are, after all, capable of multi-tasking to much greater effect than men (or so I’m told :-))

I wanted to explore the ‘what if’ idea where society was a mirror of the way ours had developed.  The real late Roman period was one where women’s power and influence were growing.  Without the patriarchal Christian political system that developed in Western Europe, I think that women wouldn’t have been so contained and relegated as they have been.

I had a lot of fun writing a potted ‘history’ on my own blog about how I imagined Roma Nova developing into a 21st century matriarchy which is a far more egalitarian society than ours and one that doesn’t conform to the male/female stereotypes or gender roles.  Whether readers would enjoy living there is something for them to decide …

Thank you, Alison, for telling us a bit about the background to PERFIDITAS. I look forward to the continuation of the series!

PERFIDITAS blurb:-

Captain Carina Mitela of the Praetorian Guard Special Forces is in trouble – one colleague has tried to kill her and another has set a trap to incriminate her in a conspiracy to topple the government of Roma Nova.  Founded sixteen hundred years ago by Roman dissidents and ruled by women, Roma Nova barely survived a devastating coup d’état thirty years ago.  Carina swears to prevent a repeat and not merely for love of country.

Seeking help from a not quite legal old friend could wreck her marriage to the enigmatic Conrad.  Once proscribed and operating illegally, she risks being terminated by both security services and conspirators.  As she struggles to overcome the desperate odds and save her beloved Roma Nova and her own life, she faces the ultimate betrayal …

Book trailer: http://alison-morton.com/blog/perfiditas-book-trailer/

Buying links: PERFIDITAS is available through your local bookshop (paperback), on your local Amazon (paperback and ebook) and on other online retailers.

Website: www.alison-morton.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AlisonMortonAuthor

PERFIDITAS page: http://www.facebook.com/Perfiditas

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alison_morton