The Immortal World of Rome ~ Once a Roman, always a Roman.
I landed in beautiful Washington State some fourteen summers ago and I love my new home. So much so that I can’t think of Redmond as my new home anymore, but just as the place where my heart is. At the same time, I am proud of my ancestry and I have always been fascinated by the city of Rome, where I had the good fortune to be born and live for several years. So, it won’t come as a surprise that the first two books I wrote, Gaia and Elios, were set both in Rome and Seattle, and some distant planets.
In a more subtle way, Rome and the Roman culture permeate my Ginecean Chronicles as well. The language spoken by the enslaved men is Latin, and Ginecea itself is none other than a dystopian copy of the Eternal City itself.
One year ago, after publishing the last title in The Ginecean Chronicles, I started thinking about the next series. The idea of writing a paranormal and urban fantasy saga with Rome in the background had been percolating in my mind for quite some time, and without further ado I embarked in a journey of rediscovery of my Roman origins. I raided my local library and came back home with all I could find on Rome and the Romans. From cooking to voting, I wanted to know everything I could about those people. I spent hours taking notes. After a while, I become so absorbed in the task that I started daydreaming about walking through familiar places from my youth and being transported back to the Imperial times.
I even tried a few Roman recipes, and among them the Roman Libum. One afternoon, fully inspired by my latest read, I baked the ricotta cake soaked in honey because I had to have a taste of what Romans ate. The libum I prepared resembled a similar modern preparation in both consistency, flavor, and also baked-goods’ smell. Not surprisingly, since the Italian cuisine has maintained that simplicity of tastes and ingredients over the millennia.
A small part of all those notes I compiled over several weeks found its way into The Lost Centurion, the first title in The Immortals, that paranormal and urban fantasy series set in modern-day Rome I’d been thinking to write for so long.
The Lost Centurion’s hero, Marcus Sulpicius Aurelianus, is an immortal Roman whose life is spent seeking revenge for the murder of his wife. Although the main story is set in the year two thousand and fourteen, Marcus has a hard time living in present-day Italy, and his mind often wanders to his past, to his wife, and to the days spent in the field with his army.
In addition to refresh my history lessons, I studied the geography of Rome to make sure I had all my locations straight. Despite having lived there for more than a decade, I used to walk or take public transportation to move around and never drove, which somehow has altered my memories in terms of distances. Several times, I consulted my family and friends still living in Rome to calculate alternative routes in the event of bad weather or heavy traffic.
The modern city, above ground and below ground, is as much a character as the heroes and heroines populating The Immortals series. Its colorful atmosphere, its ancient ruins, its chaos, its constant traffic are an important part of all the stories published so far. Even though in The Immortal Greek and The Broken Angel, the second and third book in the series, there aren’t many flashbacks to the Roman past, both Alexander and Samuel must deal with Rome and its physical presence every step of the way to conquer their enemies and find love. The Eternal City is a multifaceted character that oftentimes is an ally, but sometimes likes to play villain.
The more titles I write in this series, the more I fall in love with my beloved Rome all over again. Maybe, when I’m done with The Immortals, I’ll take some time off to start yet another story. One that is completely set in Roman times and keeps coming back to me, demanding to be written. Maybe soon…
Monica La Porta
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About the Author
Monica La Porta is an Italian who landed in Seattle several years ago. Despite popular feelings about the Northwest weather, she finds the mist and the rain the perfect conditions to write. Being a strong advocate of universal acceptance and against violence in any form and shape, she is also glad to have landed precisely in Washington State. She is the author of The Ginecean Chronicles, a dystopian/science fiction series set on the planet Ginecea where women rule over a race of enslaved men and heterosexual love is considered a sin. She also published two other series: the futuristic love story across the universe, Elios & Gaia, narrated in two books; and the paranormal romance/urban fantasy series The Immortals set in Rome. Stop by her blog to read about her miniatures, sculptures, paintings, and her beloved beagle, Nero. Sometimes, she also posts about her writing. Find our more at Monica's blog: www.monicalaporta.com find her on Facebook and Twitter @momilp.