I’m delighted to pick up the baton from Ruth Downie in this cyber-relay called My Next Big Thing. It’s for authors to answer a set of questions devised by…I don’t know actually who devised them originally, but they’re good questions. Ruth gave good answers last week at http://rsdownie.co.uk/2012/12/11/my-next-big-thing/
Now for my two penn’orth:
What is the working title of your book?
At present it’s called BLOOD ON THE ROAD. I’m not totally sure about that title, (sounds too much like a motorway accident!) but the book isn’t finished yet, and something better will occur to me as I go on writing.
Where did the idea for the book come from?
It’s the fifth in a series about Roman innkeeper Aurelia Marcella She runs an inn on the road to York in the Roman province of Britannia, at the end of the first century AD, which is not all that long after the Romans invaded Britain. So native hostility to the conquerors is still sharp. Aurelia prefers peace with both settlers and native tribes, but she keeps getting drawn into solving crimes, often at considerable risk. So far her adventures have been in what we’d call Yorkshire, but then at the end of Book 4 (DANGER IN THE WIND) a perfect reason emerged to send her off to London, and it’s working out beautifully. I’m having such fun researching Londinium and trying to see it through the eyes of a country innkeeper.
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Having a film made from one of my books is a fascinating thought, but I’ve one small qualm. Until that fairly unlikely event, I and all my readers can have our own idea of Aurelia, Lucius, Quintus, and the rest. Once movie images arrive, they restrict people’s imaginations a bit…hey, what am I saying? I’d be over the moon, of course I would, so if any movie moguls are reading this, feel free to get in touch!
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Plans for a happy Roman wedding are wrecked when the bridegroom vanishes and his bride-to-be is threatened with death if she looks for him, but Aurelia must look, because he is her brother.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It’ll be published by Poisoned Pen Press in the USA and by Head of Zeus in the UK and Commonwealth.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
There are quite a few authors writing mysteries set in Roman times, which is great. But we’re all different, so comparisons are difficult and I’m not sure how useful. Google “Roman historical mysteries”, we’re all there for you to try!
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
You could say it was a natural development, being part of a series. But what made me choose my particular period? I’ve had a lifelong interest in Roman history, since living in York as a child, and then as a teenager read “I CLAUDIUS” by Robert Graves, a truly brilliant book. They say “write about what interests you,” so I do.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It’s told from the point of view of a woman, which is very unusual for Roman-era mysteries. I wanted to look at Roman society through feminine eyes because it was in legal terms very male-dominated, but I knew that, as in so many other eras of history, smart women like Aurelia could learn to work the system and live their lives more or less as they liked.
Now I’m going to tag my good friend Rebecca Jenkins, another writer of historical crime fiction, and a fellow member of the Mystery Makers group. Her novels set in Regency England involve Raif Jarrett, adventurer, spy, soldier, and artist…a fascinating mixture of a sleuth. Rebecca’s Next Big Thing will be posted soon at http://www.rebeccajenkins.com/Rebeccas_blog