1 May 2017

Guest Post By Brian J Kitchen, Author of The Divided Empire Series

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Britain, February 392 AD. 
Flavius Vitulasius is at his father’s villa in Ad Trivonam when he receives a letter from his boss, Aulus, informing him of his latest mission.
Flavius is a former soldier who is now a Magistriani. 
Emperor Theodosius wants Flavius and Siward to find Elen. She might know what happened to the Silver Host, a treasure believed to have been hidden by Magnus and his men that can fund the looming civil war. 
Joined by their friend Lucius, their mission takes Flavius and Siward throughout Britain and Segontium and across the sea to Hibernia in search of the Silver Host. 
Yet an old enemy always seems one step ahead of them: the Saxon woman, Gunhilde, who is working for Arbogastes’ chief agent in Britain.

I started to write my first novel when I was 17 years old, well over 50 years ago now. It was what I suppose could be described as a science fiction novel set in a future Britain. At the time, I was very interested in science fiction and had read most of the novels by Asimov, Fred Hoyle and Arthur C Clarke.

Needless to say, the novel was never finished, girls and football, or more correctly football and girls becoming more important in my life than writing. At school, English & History had been my favourite subjects and it was therefore inevitable that sometime in the future, I would take up writing once again. It was however, another 17 years before I did.

The Roman period in Britain had always been my favourite period of history and the novels of Rosemary Sutcliff and especially her Eagle of the Ninth trilogy had been my favourites. My interest in the Roman period had been revitalised when in the mid-1970s my wife Lynne and I had holidayed on the Isle of Wight and visited the Roman villa at Brading.

After that visit, I started to study the Roman period in Britain, reading every book on the subject that I could and believe me when I say there are a great many of them.  We also joined the Association for Roman Archaeology and I would scour the ARA News (the Associations journal) whenever I was sent one for news of any new finds or discoveries.

When we returned from holiday I started to write my second novel, a historical novel based in Roman Britain. I was only able to write at weekends, having a full-time career in learning Disability Day Services at the time and it took several years to write. When it was finally finished in the early 1990’s I sent it off to a publisher and also entered in in a contest. It was unsuccessful. At about that time I was promoted and found I had even less time to write and so the novel was virtually forgotten and I didn’t write again, until I retired eight years ago.

About a year after I’d retired, our local newspaper was asking if anyone was interested in doing guest columns for the newspaper. I applied and was successful and for two I wrote a fortnightly column for them. Getting back into writing again spurred me on to trying to attempt to write a novel again. I’d kept the manuscript of the novel I’d written back in the 1990s and rewrote it. I finished the novel which was Divided Empire the first in the series I’m now writing and submitted it to Endeavour Press, who to my utmost surprise decided to publish it. I then wrote Dark Betrayal, the second in the series which is also published by Endeavour Press.

Research for my novels has always been very important to me, as I try to ensure that my novels are as accurate to the times as they can possibly be. The problem for me is that sometimes the research can take precedence over my writing. This is because I find something whilst undertaking research which particularly fascinates me and wanting to know more about the particular subject I get side-tracked.

I have started to write the third novel in the Divided Empire series, but at the present time have taken some time out to conduct some further research for it. The enigmatic Attecotti, a people the Romans say conducted raids on Britain in the 4th Century, feature in the novel, but unfortunately very little is known about them.

Like a lot of people, I enjoy looking around second hand bookshops and the shelves of books in charity shops and last year had a fortuitous find. I came across a book called ‘Britain: Rome’s Most Northerly Province’, by G.M.Durant. It was first published in 1969, although I think it is out of print now and so I was fortunate to get hold of it. Durant puts forward the theory that the Attecotti, or Attacotti as they are also known, were an Irish tribe from the district around Ath-Cliath, a place the Vikings were later to call Dublin. This tied in with my storyline for the novel and so that’s where they’ll be based.

Brian J Kitchen
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About the Author

Brian Kitchen lives in Burton upon Trent, England, with his wife Lynne, son Mark and two tortoiseshell cats, Tansy & Zoe. He first became interested in the history of Roman Britain as a child and has always had a passion for writing. The first of the Flavius Vitulasius Novels, Divided Empire is his first published novel but there are many more to come. Find out more at Brian's website www.briankitchen.me.uk and find him on Facebook and Twitter @Oldbrookender.

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