Friday, April 21, 2023

Join The Coffee Pot Book Club in conversation with #AncientHistoricalFiction author, Fiona Forsyth #interview @for_fi @sharpebooks @cathiedunn


A Roman Short Story Collection


Derek Birks, Richard Foreman, 
Alistair Forrest, Fiona Forsyth, Jacquie Rogers,
Peter Tonkin, Alistair Tosh

Publisher: Sharpe Books
Publication Date: March 13th, 2023
Print length: 124 Pages
Genre: Short Story Collection / Ancient History

“A must-read - the classical age and its colourful characters brought to life by our most talented authors.” ~ Steven Veerapen

Travel back to Ancient Rome - the Republic and Empire - through this entertaining and engaging collection of short stories, featuring spies, soldiers and statesmen.

Read about some of your favourite characters from established series or be introduced to new writers in the genre.

This exclusive collection, involving a number of bestsellers in the genre, includes interviews with each of the authors. Read about their interest in Ancient Rome and pick-up some valuable writing tips.

The Emperor’s Sister by Derek Birks

A Night to Remember by Richard Foreman

Pillow Talk by Alistair Forrest

Blood Money by Fiona Forsyth

Fool’s Gold by Jacquie Rogers

The Barge She Sat In by Peter Tonkin

Headhunter by Alistair Tosh

Recommended for fans of Conn Iggulden, Steven Saylor and Ben Kane.

Praise for Derek Birks:

"Packed with action and a cast of well-drawn characters." ~ Peter Sandham, author of Porphyry & Ash

Praise for Richard Foreman:

"An arresting opening that leads into a thoroughly gripping story. Impressive research and understanding of the period allows Richard Foreman to move so seamlessly and effectively from historical epic to historical detective thriller. A must read for fans of Steven Saylor." ~ Peter Tonkin, author of The Ides

Praise for Alistair Forrest:

"Libertas is a fast-moving tale of fortitude, survival and eventual retribution told against the background of Rome's bloody civil war." ~ Douglas Jackson, author of Glory of Rome

Praise for Fiona Forsyth:

"Tightly-written, well-researched, fast-moving, and showing an excellent eye and ear for character and dialogue. A joy to read." ~ David Wishart

Praise for Jacquie Rogers:

"Vivid prose, gripping mystery and a constant sense of adventure: this Roman Britain is richly textured and immediately alive." ~ Robert Wilton

Praise for Peter Tonkin:

”Edge-of-the-seat terror” ~ Daily Post

Praise for Alistair Tosh:

"An excellent, exciting debut. Gripping, gritty and blood-spattered. Fans of Roman historical adventure will love it!" ~ Matthew Harffy

Only 0.99 for a limited time!

Free to read with #KindleUnlimited subscription.

Today, we extend a warm welcome to historical fiction author, Fiona Forsyth, who is chatting about a new short story collection from Sharpe Books, Triumphs and Tragedies!

Thank you for joining us on The Coffee Pot Book Club blog. Please make yourself comfortable. 

Before we begin, please introduce yourself.

Hello! I’m a life-long Classics geek, studied Classics at Oxford, taught it for 25 years at a boys’ public school in the UK, and started writing when a family move to the Middle East gave me the time and space.

Could you tell us a little about Triumphs and Tragedies: A Roman Short Story Collection

These stories, set in times ranging from 43 BC to 452 AD, come from seven authors who all write novels set in the Roman world. You’ll meet poets and princesses, as well as spies, murderers and pirates. We have each chosen something very different to write about, so for the reader, it’s like being given a box of assorted doughnuts. You’ll try them all, like them all (hopefully) and have a tough time deciding on a favourite. 

Why did you choose to submit a story to this collection, and what is your story about? 

When I was asked, I had just finished the last of my novels about Lucius Sestius, and I was missing my hero. It also gave me a chance to write about something I own. The real Lucius Sestius produced coins and I managed to buy a silver denarius minted by him in Asia over 2000 years ago. Once you’ve touched a tiny piece of history like that, the temptation to write its story is irresistible.

A multi-published author yourself, you find yourself in the company of other brilliant historical fiction writers. Each of you has your own, unique writing style. Why, do you think, do your different voices, as a collective, appeal to readers? 

I often joke that if a book has the word “Tudor” in the title, I shall read it! But like most readers, I am ready to try a much greater variety. A collection like this offers that variety, while appealing to anyone who is looking for a new voice writing in a genre they already enjoy. The range itself is fascinating – look at the amount of history covered by the words a Roman short story collection. Derek Birks’ story is set five hundred years after mine, and the Roman Empire he described was intriguingly different to mine.

How did you come up with the plot of your short story, and your characters?

Once I knew the story revolved around the coin and the army mint that Lucius Sestius ran in Asia, the setting and the plot followed on. An army camp is a wonderful setting for a story, because it is enclosed and inaccessible to outsiders, and its inhabitants live by rules and routine. I had my hero Lucius Sestius ready, and I pulled in the poet Horace to be a character because I like him. He has an enjoyment of life that is very straightforward and positive. My husband got an off-stage role as guinea-pig for some experiments I had to make, on how a weapon might leave an impression in human flesh. 

What was the most challenging part – for you – in working together with others on this project?

It was a lovely project, and I was absolutely thrilled to be writing alongside people like Derek Birks and Peter Tonkin. Then I realised that I would be being read alongside people like Derek Birks and Peter Tonkin, and compared to them! Quite daunting, but such a great opportunity - so I just enjoyed writing my story, and sent it in. 

Lastly, your own books are also set in Ancient Rome. What is it about that era that fascinates you so much?

I love the politics of the late Republic and early Empire. Rome was going through a change in her system of government, and that brought the misery of civil war to her people. Looking at how individuals coped (or didn’t cope) is both sad and fascinating. It helps that the contemporary sources are relatively good and that the whole era is peppered with interesting men and women. And amid all this, the Romans still managed to produce some stunning literature. Latin is a great language, and increasingly popular with adult learners – if you get the chance, go for it!

Thank you for your time.

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