Mastodon The Writing Desk: Book Launch Guest Post by Alison Morton, Author of EXSILIUM: A Roma Nova Foundation Story (Roma Nova Thriller Series Book 11)

27 February 2024

Book Launch Guest Post by Alison Morton, Author of EXSILIUM: A Roma Nova Foundation Story (Roma Nova Thriller Series Book 11)

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

Exile – A living death to a Roman

AD 395. In a Christian Roman Empire, worshipping the traditional gods is a death sentence. Three Romans, Maelia, Lucius and Galla, faithful to their beliefs in Rome’s thousand-year religion and values, must choose. Do they stay, hoping for the best, or leave Rome forever – a rupture from everything they know – to search for a safer life?

Writing a sequel to a successful book is like a double-edged sword, possibly a Roman gladius which has the ability to slash as well as jab. You hope your message hits the target as well as entertaining the reader, but sometimes it can slash aimlessly in every direction.

Enough of this swordplay talk! 

EXSILIUM is the sequel to JULIA PRIMA where we followed the fortunes of Julia, the daughter of a prince ruling as a client of Rome in Noricum, north of Italy in the late 4th century. She was caught in a political and religious trap. Then she met Lucius, a disgraced Roman tribune, and took the biggest gamble of her life. JULIA PRIMA received various accolades including the Historical Novel Society’s of being selected as Editors’ Choice. 

But I hadn’t finished the story I promised my readers – the beginnings of Roma Nova at the dusk of the once mighty Roman Empire. There was too much to recount in one book. I needed to write a sequel to the prequel, hence EXSILIUM. But they can be tricky things…

A sequel must be its own story and not merely answering a cliff-hanger in the earlier book. (As a reader, I really dislike cliff-hangers!) For new readers, a little background should be filtered in about the characters’ previous actions and where they stand now, but without repeating so much that readers of the previous book will be bored or dislike such repetition. 

A good way is to take the point of view of a previously secondary character and show how they saw some of the events of the previous book. In EXSILIUM, Maelia Mitela and Lucius Apulius let us know about Julia and her impact on their lives. In this way, we can also catch up on events in intervening years, in this case from AD 370 to AD 383. 

Another way is to grow the characters who were in the previous book. Sometimes you can do this literally, with children or adolescents in the first book now appearing as adults in the sequel. 

Although a sequel must be complete in itself, it should move the overall story arc forward, but not at the expense of requiring the reader to read the first book. However, I always hope the reader will be motivated to explore the others in the Roma Nova series!

Happy reading! 

Alison Morton

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About the Author

Alison Morton writes award-winning thrillers featuring tough but compassionate heroines. Her ten-book Roma Nova series is set in an imaginary European country where a remnant of the Roman Empire has survived into the 21st century and is ruled by women who face conspiracy, revolution and heartache but use a sharp line in dialogue. The latest, EXSILIUM, plunges us back to the late 4th century, to the very foundation of Roma Nova. She blends her fascination for Ancient Rome with six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, historical and thriller fiction. On the way, she collected a BA in modern languages and an MA in history.  Alison now lives in Poitou in France, the home of Mélisende, the heroine of her two contemporary thrillers, Double Identity and Double Pursuit. Find out more at Alison's website and find her on Facebook and Twitter @alison_morton.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much, Tony, for hosting EXSILIUM on its publication day - much appreciated!


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