All of Alison Morton’s Roma Novan books have achieved critical acclaim. The first five books have been awarded the BRAG Medallion. Successio, Aurelia and Insurrectio were selected as Historical Novel Society’s Indie Editor’s Choices. Aurelia was a finalist in the 2016 HNS Indie Award. Retalio, the sixth book set in and around Roma Nova, is published on
27th April 2017.
I’ve been a ‘Roman nut’ since I walked on my first mosaic in Spain, so any stories were going to be set in a Roman society. Enter a dollop of feminism; I questioned why there weren’t many strong women leading the action in stories about Rome and was determined to make my protagonist female. But women in Ancient Rome didn’t have agency (except as influencers), nor public identity nor voice, so when the novel writing bug bit, I brought my Roman heroines up to the modern age where they definitely run things!
A working knowledge of European history gave me background enough to know when I had gaps to research. The geography I pinched from Slovenia. The key to world building is to make it real for your characters. Walk them down a typical street at different times of the day. What do they see and hear? What sounds and smells are in the air?
Carol: I must admit, as a reader I found it difficult to start, as I did, with Aurelia and then go to the Carina novels. Did you find the shift to the 1960s Roma Nova difficult to manage, both in practical and emotional terms?
Alison: I love writing in the first person as I see the world from the character’s eyes, mind and emotions; it’s not always a reliable view, which means it sets up all kinds of conflict! I tried third person for both women and it didn’t work for these books. But in the future, who knows?
Carol: Finally, a bit about yourself? What are your hobbies and how do you spend any spare time?
Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher. She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames. Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times. The Terminal Velocity of Cats the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Her latest book The Fragility of Poppies was published 10 June 2016. Read a review of Carol’s latest book
The Fragility of Poppies