Thursday, 27 April 2017

Retalio by Alison Morton 

Series: Roma Nova Thriller series #6
Release Date: 27th April 2017
Publisher: Pulcheria Press
Genres: Crime / thriller / Political

Alison Morton’s RETALIO is published today – congratulations to her! 

It’s the sixth in her award winning Roma Nova thriller series. She’s going to tell us what it’s like letting go of her main character, then you can read an extract. And then one lucky reader will have the chance to win a signed paperback!

Saying goodbye to characters

Well, that’s it. RETALIO has finished on a high dramatic note and a poignant one, too. And my character has failed and triumphed, loved and despaired and striven and driven. And I’ve walked and run and punched the air with her every step.

But I didn’t know I’d feel so bereft when I typed the last page. The endgame is played out. No more adventures for either the older Aurelia Mitela the stateswoman, as in my first Roma Nova trilogy set in the present – INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS and SUCCESSIO – or Aurelia the young Praetorian officer and imperial councillor in the second, prequel trilogy back in the 1960s and early 1980s in AURELIA, INSURRECTIO and RETALIO.

I’ve lived with my heroine for five years, written over 600,000 words in which she was a secondary, then main character. I’ve sweated hours over her adventures, her troubles, her victories, her fears, her doubts, her joy. It’s like losing a dear friend.

Thinking up a character starts with how she looks, walks and talks. Next, we ask about her family, background, her training, job, friends and colleagues. Is she thoughtful, placid, hot-tempered, clever, light-minded, practical, forgetful, vulnerable, tough? How does she feel about her life at the moment? Does she have a significant other, and children? What does she want from life? What’s hindering her? Then you throw her into a difficult situation and see how she reacts. As you write her story, or her part in a story, she comes to life through her actions. Then you really get to know her, as I’ve come to know Aurelia Mitela

Now I have to pick myself up, stop wimping and get on with the next book.  Once I have my 30-line outline and set my brain to thinking while I sort the airing cupboard, wash up or pull up some weeds, I’ll be off. Perhaps we’ll glimpse my heroine and her granddaughter Carina in a short story. Or perhaps I’ll sneak her in somewhere else…

So what’s RETALIO about?

Early 1980s Vienna. Recovering from a near fatal shooting, Aurelia Mitela, ex-Praetorian and former foreign minister of Roma Nova, chafes at her enforced exile. She barely escaped from her nemesis, the charming and amoral Caius Tellus who grabbed power in Roma Nova, the only part of the Roman Empire to survive into the twentieth century.

Aurelia’s duty and passion fire her determination to take back her homeland and liberate its people. But Caius’s manipulations have isolated her from her fellow exiles, leaving her ostracised, powerless and vulnerable. Without their trust and support Aurelia knows she will never see Roma Nova again.

Extract from RETALIO

‘Betrayal and collaboration used to lead automatically to a death sentence. You should be grateful this is the 1980s.’ She refused to look at me and instead jabbed her spoon into the coffee cup, almost scraping the glaze off as she rattled it round the tiny amount of liquid at the bottom.
‘Is that what you really think I’ve done, Maia Quirinia?’
‘I’m an accountant, Aurelia, used to looking at facts and figures. And the evidence against you adds up, if you’ll forgive the pun.’
This was my childhood friend, my fellow minister, one of the inner circle I had trusted with my secrets, my failures as well as my successes. The person who’d comforted me when I was nearly raped as a fifteen-year-old, whose common sense gave me balance and whose life I’d saved on the dreadful night of fires.
She looked tired; her hair was neat, but she obviously hadn’t had it cut and shaped for weeks. She’d draped her coat, pressed wool from a chain store, over the back of the chair and kept the acrylic scarf round her neck. That and the knitted gloves she would once have been embarrassed to give to a charity shop told me how hard things were for her. And it was probably the same for the rest of them.
She glanced at the wall clock. Ten past eight on a freezing December morning in a Vienna backstreet. She wriggled on the hard wooden chair. The workman’s cafĂ©, warm from the fug of cigarette smoke, wasn’t the most comfortable place to start the day. It was full of people arguing about the previous evening’s football and how much everything cost, and the whirr and clatter of the coffee machines and the snappy retorts of the server trying to get to all twelve tables at once; crowded enough to drown our words.
‘I have a job interview in twenty minutes.’ She stood up. ‘I’m sorry, more than you can imagine, but this is goodbye. If any of the others find out I’ve been meeting you, I’ll be proscribed as well.’
She’d said it. That terrible word. Proscribed. Not that it meant much coming from a group of exiles stripped of authority, living on the edge of financial ruin, but it stung all the same.

About Alison

Alison writes the acclaimed Roma Nova thriller series featuring modern Praetorian heroines. She blends her deep love of Roman history with six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, adventure and thriller fiction.

The first five books have been awarded the BRAG Medallion. SUCCESSIO, AURELIA and INSURRECTIO were selected as Historical Novel Society’s Indie Editor’s Choices.  AURELIA was a finalist in the 2016 HNS Indie Award. The sixth, RETALIO, is out on 27 April 2017.

A ‘Roman nut’ since age 11, Alison has misspent decades clambering over Roman sites throughout Europe. She holds a MA History, blogs about Romans and writing.

Now she continues writing, cultivates a Roman herb garden and drinks wine in France with her husband of 30 years.

Social media links
Connect with Alison on her Roma Nova site:
Twitter: @alison_morton

Buying link for RETALIO (multiple retailers/formats):

Watch the RETALIO book trailer:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


One Response so far.

  1. Thank you so much for hosting me on my RETALIO blog tour – lovely to have the support over the years!

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