Suppose Roma Nova, the last remnant of the old Roman Empire, had struggled through to the 21st century – a tough little country
with tough, resourceful people?
The Girl from the Market AD 370
Victory Speaks AD 395
A Roman Intervenes 1066
Silvia’s story 1987
Conrad and Carina’s Roman Holiday 2019
Saturnalia Surprise 2027
Allegra and Macrinus 2029
Why short stories of Roma Nova?
Good question! Not an easy one for a writer of 100,000 word novels! Books in the two Roma Nova trilogies are this long with heroines Carina and Aurelia battling their way through sub-plots galore, dealing with complex characters, plenty of conflict, personal and professional dilemmas, entangled love lives, yet keeping the ruler and state of Roma Nova safe. Set in a European mini-state with strong Roman values and a unique social system, each story needs needs a full book.
Being honest, short stories were not my thing. Distilling a tale down to 1,000 or 2,000 words seems a terrifying task: a single story/theme/conflict; 2/3 characters, maximum of 4/5; single setting; short period of time, ultra quick resolution after the climax, no sub-plots, little if any world-building and no wide cast of characters.
1066 and all that
After six full length books where I could let my characters, plots and twists run wild, (in a disciplined and targeted way, of course ), I was asked to contribute to an anthology of alternative history short stories centred on the Norman invasion of England (or not) 1066 Turned Upside Down. I nearly refused, but how could I miss the biggest ‘what it’ of English history? And how wonderful would it be if an eleventh century Roma Novan female envoy clashed with the macho William of Normandy?
Uncovering hidden backstory and ancient secrets…
But short stories of my own? I’d broken the barrier with 1066, but in the end my curiosity caught me. When writing the full-length Roma Nova novels, I’ve enjoyed giving the characters their own backstory as it illuminated how they became the characters they were. But I’ve always wanted to explore hidden incidents in my protagonists’ lives, delve back into Roma Nova’s earliest days and find out what happened to characters after the main trilogies ended. I asked my Roma Nova Enthusiasts’ Group who they would like to know more about. Then I began…
ROMA NOVA EXTRA sprang into life
Well, possibly lurched in fits and starts. But this is the huge advantage of writing short stories; each one can be written individually in a relatively short time. Seven of the eight in this collection range from 3,000 words to 10,000 (not quite the classic lengths!). At 18,000 words, the eighth story was originally going to be a separate novelette, but it seemed the perfect complement to the others. Together, they cover a historical range from AD370 to 2029, but focus on people.
Lucius Apulius, a military tribune in the dusk of the Roman Empire, is posted from a plum staff position with one of the most influential commanders at the time to a Danube backwater. The reason? Wrong religion.
His indirect descendant, Allegra Mitela, a tough 21st century Praetorian, struggles with her identity and emotional life. How did the eighteen-year-old Imperatrix Silvia, exhausted and lonely after the liberation of Roma Nova in the 1980s, meet her Italian husband? And what was the ancient mystery uncovered by Conrad and Carina during their ‘Roman holiday’?
Some are love stories, some are life lessons learned, some resolve tensions and unrealistic visions, some are plain adventures, but above all, they are stories of people in dilemmas, in conflict, in trouble and their efforts to resolve them. Oh, and there are a few surprises…
More about ROMA NOVA EXTRA
Do you need to have read the other books first? No. Readers of INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO, AURELIA, INSURRECTIO, RETALIO and CARINA will be familiar with many of the characters, but it’s not essential by any means as the stories are complete in themselves. However, I hope readers new to Roma Nova may find these glimpses intriguing enough to read some of the longer books.
# # #
About the Author
Alison Morton writes the award-winning Roma Nova thriller series featuring modern Praetorian heroines. She blends her deep love of history with six years’ military service in a special communications regiment and a life of reading historical, adventure and thriller fiction. A ‘Roman nut’ since age 11, Alison has misspent decades clambering over Roman sites throughout Europe. She holds an MA History and blogs about Romans and writing. Now she continues to write thrillers with tough heroines, cultivates a Roman herb garden and drinks wine in France with her husband. Connect with Alison on her Roma Nova site: http://alison-morton.com and find her on Facebook and Twitter @alison_morton