Alison was our guest back in 2013…
Thank you very much for welcoming me to your guest room, Jane.
Today (1st March 2013), my début novel, INCEPTIO, is published. Hooray! Three years of slog – researching, writing, and polishing – have led to this exciting moment.
An eleven year old 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 men?” Maybe it was the fierce sun boiling my brain, maybe it was just a precocious kid asking a smart-arse question. But clever man and senior ‘Roman nut’, he replied, “What do you think it would be like?” Real life intervened (school, uni, career, military, marriage, motherhood, business ownership, move to France), but the idea bubbled away in my mind and INCEPTIO slowly took shape.
Of course, I made the classic mistake of submitting too soon, but had some encouraging replies and I’d had some full manuscript requests, even from a US agent! Replies went along the lines of “If it was a straight thriller, I’d take it on.” and “Your writing is excellent, but it wouldn’t fit our list.” I was (am!) passionate about my stories so I decided to self publish with bought-in publishing services. Using high quality professional backing (editing, advice, registrations, typesetting, design, book jacket, proofing, etc.), I’ve found it a fantastic way to enter the market.
So how is an alternate history thriller different from a normal thriller?
Alternate history is based on the idea of “what if?” What if King Harold had won the Battle of Hastings in 1066? Or if Julius Caesar had taken notice of the warning that assassins wanted to murder him on the Ides of March? Sometimes, it could be little things such as in the film Sliding Doors, when the train door shuts and Gwyneth Paltrow’s character splits into two; one rides away on the train, the other is left standing on the platform. From that point on the time line develops differently from the one we know.
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…
So what’s INCEPTIO about?
In brief – danger, vengeance and love.
New York, present day, alternate reality. Karen Brown, angry and frightened after a kidnap attempt, has a harsh choice – elimination by Renschman, a government enforcer, or escape to the mysterious Roma Nova, her dead mother’s homeland in Europe. Founded sixteen centuries ago by Roman exiles and ruled by women, Roma Nova gives Karen safety, a ready-made family and a new career. But a shocking discovery about her new lover, fascinating but arrogant special forces officer Conrad Tellus who rescued her in America, isolates her.
Renschman reaches into her new home and nearly kills her. Recovering, she is desperate to find out why he is hunting her so viciously. Unable to rely on anybody else, she undergoes intensive training, develops fighting skills and becomes an undercover cop. But crazy with bitterness at his past failures, Renschman sets a trap for her, knowing she has no choice but to spring it…
INCEPTIO is out today as both paperback and e-book from Amazon.
And next? I’m working on PERFIDITAS, the second book in the Roma Nova series.