Today I'm very happy to welcome my friend Alison Morton back onto my blog. Alison has just published the third book in her Roma Nova series, SUCCESSIO, and is here to talk about it. (The previous two books in the series were INCEPTIO and PERFIDITAS). As I've mentioned before, they are an intriguing blend of alternative (alternate) history, suspense thriller and romance, so I had some questions for her:-Q - Okay, first of all, what does the title mean and what made you choose it for this book?
A - SUCCESSIO has a double meaning: 'what happened next' and 'the next generation'. As you've seen before, I love playing with words and their meanings. No doubt I'll get into trouble for it one day! I think the original Latin word successio has shifted in meaning in English although it's kept it in the romance languages like French.
Q - This is the third book in the series and your heroine Carina Mitela has come a long way since the first time she found out Roma Nova existed. What's been the hardest thing for her to adapt to? And does she ever wish she could go back to a time before she knew about Roma Nova?
A - Although she's thoroughly at home in her role as a Praetorian and has slowly grown into her social role, she sometimes has feelings of still being the outsider. As she says, she has 'zero intention of going back to the EUS' where she was brought up, but she is very happy to speak in English from time to time. When you cross cultures, there are always gaps both in knowledge and values. But they can be strengths: she often looks at things with a different perspective which triggers her into finding a unique solution to a problem.
Q - I have immense respect for the real Romans and always find it amazing that some of the things they invented were lost for centuries (millennia in some cases!) after the fall of Rome. Which of their achievements are you most in awe of?
A - I won't go into the John Cleese speech in the Life of Brian, but although there were massive failures in this respect, I think the idea of the rule of law is very important. Also the fact that if you were a Roman citizen, you had the ability to rise to the top. Now, that's a massive generalization for a society riddled with class systems, but it was possible on merit, connections (networking as we call it now) and proven track record. In the military/political field.
Q - The Roman empire fell spectacularly in the end and one can't help but think of the phrase 'pride goes before a fall' - do you think we're in danger of heading the same way now? (That's a bit of a 'Mad Max' question, but you know what I mean)
A - Well, the Roman Empire declined and dissolved over quite a long period, rather than collapsed in one go. It was weakened in many places and on many layers by a variety of things so when the crunch came, it was fatal. Here's more about the Roman dusk: http://alison-morton.com/2013/12/20/shedding-light-on-the-roman-dusk-4/
My personal view for now is that we have to keep our heads, ignore the hysteria in the newspapers and dig out hard facts. Homo sapiens is supposed to be intelligent and adaptable. It would be a shame if she/he succumbed to irrationality and rumour and didn't have the vision to look towards a better, more realistic future.
Q - I'm still intrigued by the concept that Roma Nova is ruled by women. Do you think we should be to a much greater extent? (I'm kind of thinking of Angela Merkel of Germany who seems to be the only leader in Europe recently not to have received a drubbing at the polls!)
Definitely! Women of all political shades and talents should be much more present in government, industry, science and commerce. There is a tendency to lump 'women' together as a heterogeneous group. We are people as well. 😉 Politically, you have had Mary Robinson, Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton, Golda Meyer and Angela Merkel - all completely different characters, but they all stand out because they are so few. That's the problem.
Q - Finally, what's next for Carina and Roma Nova? Are you working on a fourth title or would you like a break now to start a different project?
Roma Nova marches on! The fourth novel tells the early story of Aurelia Mitela, Carina's grandmother. Book five will be about the terrible rebellion that almost destroyed Roma Nova. So I have quite a lot to be getting on with!
Many thanks for being my guest today!
A pleasure, as always, Christina. Thank you for having me!
So what's SUCCESSIO about?
Roma Nova - the last remnant of the Roman Empire that has survived into the 21st century - is at peace. Carina Mitela, the heir of a leading family, but choosing the life of an officer in the Praetorian Guard Special Forces, is not so sure.
She senses danger crawling towards her when she encounters a strangely self-possessed member of the unit hosting their exchange exercise in Britain. When a blackmailing letter arrives from a woman claiming to be her husband Conrad's lost daughter and Conrad tries to shut Carina out, she knows the threat is real.
Trying to resolve a young man's indiscretion twenty-five years before turns into a nightmare that not only threatens to destroy all the Mitelae but also attacks the core of the imperial family itself. With her enemy holding a gun to the head of the heir to the imperial throne, Carina has to make the hardest decision of her life…
And here's the SUCCESSIO book trailer (quite exciting!): http://youtu.be/B6Tr0VvKbJI
Alison Morton writes Roman-themed alternate history thrillers with strong heroines. She holds a bachelor's degree in French, German and Economics, a masters' in history and lives in France with her husband.
A 'Roman nut' since age 11, she has visited sites throughout Europe including the alma mater, Rome. But it was the mosaics at Ampurias (Spain) that started her wondering what a modern Roman society would be like if run by women…
Both INCEPTIO, the first in the Roma Nova series, which was also shortlisted for the 2013 International Rubery Book Award, and PERFIDITAS, the second in series, have been honoured with the B.R.A.G. Medallion®, an award for independent fiction that rejects 90% of its applicants. Alison's third book SUCCESSIO is being launched this month!
Connect with Alison on her blog http://alison-morton.com/blog/
Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/AlisonMortonAuthor
Twitter https://twitter.com/alison_morton @alison-morton
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