Friday, January 28, 2011

Off The Beaten Track: A Roman Romance

Today's Off The Beaten Track contributor is the wonderful Christina Phillips. She's always loved writing, and while her efforts in eighth grade usually involved space ships, time travel and unfortunate endings, as soon as she discovered romance novels a whole new world opened up. She now writes ancient historical romances about strong heroines and gorgeous warrior heroes who, no matter how torturous the journey, are guaranteed a happy-ever-after. Christina was born in the United Kingdom, but now lives in sunny Western Australia with her real-life hero and their three children.

Thank you Alli, and the wonderful ladies at Novel Adventurers for having me on your blog today!

I thought I’d chat today about the historical background of my ancient historical romances for Berkley Heat—FORBIDDEN (out now) and CAPTIVE (out next month). The Forbidden series is set during the first century AD, during the early years of the Roman occupation of Britain.

I’ve always loved history and growing up in England I took our rich heritage for granted (you can bet I’m kicking myself now!). We’ve been invaded by Romans, Saxons, Vikings and Normans, and as a teen I adored reading sexy romances of fearless warriors and their beautiful maidens. But I never expected that one day I’d be writing them!

And yet as soon as Maximus, the Roman centurion hero of FORBIDDEN, stormed into my head late one night, I was hooked. Why was he searching for his Druid princess lover when they were the deadliest of enemies?

The reason I chose Wales as my setting was because of its links to the Druids, and the fact the Isle of Anglesey—then known as the Isle of Mon—was the Druid stronghold. I wanted the odds stacked overwhelmingly against Maximus and his heroine Carys being able to declare their love for each other and having her a Druid—and a Druid princess at that—fit perfectly.

Claudius, the Roman Emperor at the time, hated Druids with a passion and wanted all trace of them wiped out across his Empire. Couldn’t be better for the purposes of my plot! I now had historical back up for my Romans’ determination to hunt down and eliminate the elusive clan of Druids who had escaped them during the initial invasion.

The second book, CAPTIVE, follows the story of Carys’s best friend Morwyn. After she’s captured by a tough Gaul mercenary she’s taken to Camulodunum—present day Colchester in Essex in S.E. England—which at that time was the Roman capital of Britannia. It was only after the Boudicea revolt in AD 61, when Camulodunum was razed to the ground, that Londinium (present day London) became the capital city.

AD 51, the year in which CAPTIVE is set, is also the year when Caratacus, a displaced Briton king, rose up against the Roman invaders in what he hoped would be a decisive battle. I was intrigued as to how he and his rebels managed to evade the Romans for so long and Caratacus and his vision for freedom became a vital thread of the book.

I’d love to giveaway a copy of either FORBIDDEN or CAPTIVE to one lucky commenter—just leave a comment in this post or let me know what ancient or unusual time period in history do you love reading about in romances?

Entries will close at 11.59 February 4, 2011 EST.
 
FORBIDDEN:
Between a warrior and a princess comes an erotic passion as all-consuming as the hatred between their warring worlds…  
Excerpt: Over 18s Only, please!

CAPTIVE:
Trained in sensuality, a Druid priestess finds herself falling for the wrong man—the warrior who’s taken her prisoner…

For extra chances to win Forbidden goodies, subscribe to my newsletter: http://au.groups.yahoo.com/group/Christinaphillips/


22 comments:

  1. Christina, I love that you wrote as a child! So did I, since I was five years old. And when I was a teenager, my stories also involved space ships, time travel, and sometimes unfortunate endings. Later,I wrote stories about killing people instead of romance, though :) but last year I did a few erotica stories and one of them even won something in a contest, to my big surprise. Thank you for blogging with us!

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  2. I love history. Different time periods have captivated my interest throughout my life. I've been fascinated by Native American history; the American Revolution, Civil War, Gilded Age, Roaring 20s, and all decades from the 40s onward. Crossing the oceans, I'm interested in the history of Australia, the Orient and most European countries. I love reading about the aristocracy and royalty of times gone by.

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  3. Christina, thanks so much for blogging with us today. I can't wait to read your books! I love the way you describe Maximum storming into your head. It feels that way to me sometimes - characters appearing so vividly, their story just has to be told.

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  4. Christina does such a grand job of protraying the historical setting amist the love and conflict happening between her heroes and heroines. She surprised me in Forbidden. Historical knowledge and heat mixed in such a tangible way, I could hardly put the book down! I'm going to Love Captive!

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  5. Wow -- it sounds like both books would be wonderful. Strong women -- British Isles, a few foggy heaths. I am ready for escapist literature!

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  6. Wow -- it sounds like both books would be wonderful. Strong women -- British Isles, a few foggy heaths. I am ready for escapist literature!

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  7. I only discovered the joy of ancient historicals last year, and now I am a convert! Your research definitely shows in your books, Christina and I can only imagine how excited you get when you find a piece of history melds beautifully with your storyline.

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  8. Thanks for having me, Lina! Congratulations on your contest win! I must confess, I still kill people off in my romances!!!

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  9. Hi Emma! I love history too. There's so much rich conflict that can be woven into a romance and I love exploring how my hero and heroine can overcome all the odds so they can be together!

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  10. Thanks, Heidi! It doesn't often happen the way it did with Maximus but he was so demanding I couldn't say no :-)

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  11. Kaye! Thank you so much! I'm so thrilled you enjoyed Forbidden. I hope you enjoy Bren and Morwyn's story as much :-)

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  12. Hi Lyn! I love writing about strong women, and especially loved how Maximus had to come to terms with a woman who was so different from the ones he'd previously known. And Morwyn, being a warrior in her own right, doesn't take kindly to any man trying to tell her what to do :-)

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  13. Thanks so much for having me, Alli! It is a wonderful feeling when you suddenly discover a piece of history that fits so well with your plot. Although I knew the Romans wanted to drive out the Druids, and knew vaguely of the story of Caratacus, it wasn't until I was actually researching for my books I discovered how well both historical facts fitted in with both my plots and the dates. Bit like magic really!

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  14. Christina, thanks so much for blogging with us today! I'm so impressed with the many layers of theme and story you weave into your novels. And such intriguing historical times too. Can't wait to check your books out!

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  15. Thanks, Supriya! I do love weaving in mystical aspects with the historical threads!

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  16. I love, love anything in the ancient Roman era!

    lovemybabysquid@yahoo.com

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  17. Hi Cathie! So do I :-) Thanks for stopping by!

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  18. I'm fascinated by ancient times and places, particularly lost and mythical civilizations. Your books sound fantastic.

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  19. Hi Christina and Alli, I've heard so much about your books and they're on my TBR pile - maybe I'll sneak them to the top!

    My favourite period of history is Tudor England. As soon as I learned about it in high school it captivated me and I read everything I can set in that period.

    Cath

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  20. Thanks, Cathy! I love lost and mythical civilizations as well, they're so fascinating. I have to drag myself away from the research!

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  21. Hi Catherine! Oh I love Tudor history as well, and there are quite a few Tudor set romance books on the market now - wonderful!!

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