We are nearly at the end of our Romancing September Across the World Tour. It is now day 28 and today we can meet author Alison Morton. She will be talking about writing romance in today’s society over with Stephanie in a few hours time.
First of all thank you so much, Rosie and Stephanie, for asking me to join you on your Romancing September Across The World blog tour.
1) Where is your home town?
Royal Tunbridge Wells, a former spa town in West Kent between London and the Channel coast. It was a gentle, very green and kind place for a child to grow up in.
2) You’ve been writing since the age of 7, is this your first piece with romance?
I scribbled a series of romantic short stories when I was about sixteen or seventeen. When I found them years later I was so appalled that I shredded them. I was really too young to understand the deep emotion and world-changing effect of romance.
3) The title of your book is “INCEPTIO”. Does it have an English translation?
Yes, it means “the beginning” and is the first story in the Roma Nova series as well as the start of Karen’s adventures.
4) This is a fast paced romantic thriller, making use of a historical era which you love, tell us more about that history.
This goes back into my own near-historical past!
I was eleven and fascinated by the mosaics in Ampurias (huge Roman site in Spain). I asked my father, “What would it be like if Roman women were in charge, instead of the men?” Maybe it was the fierce sun boiling my brain, maybe it was just a precocious kid asking a smartarse question. But clever man and senior ‘Roman nut’, my father replied, “What do you think it would be like?”
Stories with Romans are usually about famous emperors, epic battles, depravity, intrigue, wicked empresses and a lot of sandals, tunics and swords. But imagine the Roman theme projected sixteen hundred years further forward into the 21st century. How different would that world be?
In INCEPTIO, the country of Roma Nova battled its way from a small colony somewhere north of Italy in the late fourth century into a high tech, financial mini-state which has retained and developed Roman Republican values, but with a twist – it’s governed by women. The thriller story then takes place against this background. Ultimately, alternate history allows your imagination to explore outside the confines of the set timeline and to introduce conflict and challenges to history in your own terms. And that’s a lot of fun!
5) Can you drop a few hints about the love story within the book?
One or two! Karen’s had a lot of upheaval in her life, so has learned to be reserved and self-sufficient. When she meets Conrad, she’s attracted to him, but is wary as he seems a bit too smart, even arrogant. He seems to want to protect her as well as being a messenger from her Roma Novan family, but she feels there’s something secretive about him. She tries to keep an emotional distance, but realises it’s becoming harder. But when he deceives her (because he thinks she wouldn’t understand the reason), she is devastated and cuts the relationship. But after the hurt subsides and she is absorbed in her new mission in Roma Nova she suspects she may have made the biggest mistake of her life…
6) This book successfully makes people believe in an alternative to history that may still exist today. Is there a place in the world that inspired the setting of Roma Nova?
Writing in the real world means getting inside the heads of the characters, imagining what they see in their everyday world, what they smell, eat and touch. If you set your story in a different country, you can visit the places the characters would live in, smell the sea, touch the plants, walk under the hot blue sky, or freeze in a biting wind. But if you invent that country, then your task is doubled.
You have to get the geography and history of your imagined country right as well as the social, economic and political development; that sounds dry, but every living person is a product of their local conditions.
I drew inspiration from several central European countries, picking bits from here and there, but one of the chief places was Slovenia.
7) Karen is running from an assassin, why does she choose Roma Nova?
Karen’s mother was from an old Roma Novan family and her grandmother, Aurelia, has always wanted Karen to visit. Roma Nova offers Karen safety, a ready-made family and, of course, the fascinating Conrad.
8) I believe that Karen finds that love and her new family cannot protect her, how did you use your own life skills to help her?
I served in the military for six years and use some of those experiences to describe how she transforms herself and how she finds purpose in her life.
9) I like the idea of a female character who trains herself. Could she be described as a modern day Amazonian woman?
Ha-ha! Karen is already an outdoorsy type from the start; she revels working as a park volunteer every weekend, she misses her rural New Hampshire childhood, she jogs and goes to the gym in New York. Later, she knows she has to become fit to face her nemesis, and readily adapts to the hard training. Her mother came from a tough family, so maybe it’s in Karen’s genes…
10) I can’t wait to read this book, for those fans who are clamouring for more, do you have a new book for them coming out soon?
Thank you, Rosie. I hope you enjoy INCEPTIO. And yes, number two is on its way. PERFIDITAS (betrayal) is at the final proof stage and is due out mid-October. And I’ve just seen the draft cover…
Thank you Alison, I shall be reviewing “Inceptio” here on the blog on October 8th. Good Luck with the new book launch. Now pop over to Stephanie for the second half of the interview http://stephanie-hurt.com/