Monday, April 17, 2023

Many congratulations to #awardwinning author Alison Morton on the 10th Publication Anniversary of her fabulous novel INCEPTIO #AlternativeHistory #Thriller #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub @alison_morton @cathiedunn

Many congratulations to Alison Morton on the 10th Anniversary of the publication of INCEPTIO, the first novel in her bestselling Roma Nova series! đŸ„łđŸŽ‰


* 10th Anniversary Hardback Edition *

Roma Nova Series

by Alison Morton

Publication Date: March 28th, 2023
Publisher: Pulcheria Press
Pages: 382
Genre: Alternative History / Thriller

“It's about Roman blood, survival and money. Mostly yours."

In an alternative New York, Karen Brown is running for her life. She makes a snap decision to flee to Roma Nova - her dead mother's homeland, the last remnant of the Roman Empire in the 21st century. But can Karen tough it out in such an alien culture? And with a crazy killer determined to terminate her for a very personal reason? 

Stifled by the protective cocoon of her Roma Novan family, deceived by her new lover, she propels herself into a dangerous mission. But then the killer sets a trap - she must sacrifice herself for another - and she sees no escape.

A thriller laced with romance and coming of age, this first in series is Roman fiction brought into the 21st century through the lens of alternative history and driven by a female protagonist with heart and courage.

This 10th Anniversary hardback edition includes bonus content: Three character ‘conversations’, two short stories and the story behind INCEPTIO.

Before we begin, please introduce yourself.

I’m a thriller writer, former translator and military officer, and a ‘Roman nut’ from age eleven. Oh, and I read a lot.

Could you tell us a little about your book/series, and what inspired you to create Roma Nova?

Roma Nova is an imaginary country in Europe, a remnant of the Roman Empire that’s survived into the present and prospered due to its tenacity, engineering know-how and robust attitude, especially to challenges. Out of necessity, sisters and daughters took up arms alongside men to defend their fledgling state in the late 4th century. The descendants of these tough and capable women rule Roma Nova today. 

Six full-length Roma Nova novels, including INCEPTIO, have won the BRAG Medallion for indie fiction. SUCCESSIO, AURELIA and INSURRECTIO were selected as Historical Novel Society’s Indie Editors’ Choices.  AURELIA was a finalist in the 2016 HNS Indie Award. 

The Bookseller selected SUCCESSIO as Editors’ Choice in its inaugural indie review. The Historical Novel Society recently selected JULIA PRIMA, the first Roma Nova Foundation story set in the 4th century, for the accolade of Editors’ Choice.

The series deals with the simple stuff of life(!) – transformation, deception, rebellion, vengeance takers, comradeship and epic love. INCEPTIO introduces Carina, the first of these heroines in the 21st century.

When researching Roma Nova, did you come upon any unexpected surprises? 

Alternate history is a slightly strange sub-genre of historical fiction as Robert Harris showed in his classic ‘what if’ thriller Fatherland. However, I learnt that to build a credible alternative timeline, you need to research everything as thoroughly as you would for standard historical fiction, otherwise you end up with Inglourious Basterds. (Not that it wasn’t a brilliant film in its own right.) 

In ‘althist’ fiction, the characters should live naturally in their world, so you need to make that world normal for them and thus research their laws, food, work, revenue, culture, fun and society values. I anchor as much as possible to similar things in our world, for instance a cop is always a cop, whether they are an Ancient Roman vigilis, watchman, Bow Street runner, constable or Roma Novan custos.

What do you think is the most challenging aspect of writing alternative historical fiction? 

Working out the historical backstory! Althist starts from a point of divergence in the past and history then sets off on an altered timeline. And this divergence is permanent – no time travel and no going back. Certainly no waking up and finding it was a dream! 

In the Roma Nova case, this split occurred in AD 395. Although I don’t write a comprehensive history of how different the rest of the world looks as a result of this, I needed to have worked it out in my head so that the characters can make casual references to it at relevant points. In CARINA, which follows INCEPTIO, our heroine goes on a mission to the RĂ©publique de QuĂ©bec. There’s a ‘what if’ for you!

Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why? 

It has to be Carina herself. She’s raised as Karen Brown in the Eastern United States (EUS), firstly by her parents, then fostered after their death by austere cousins in Nebraska. She’s built a shell round herself against loneliness and at the start of INCEPTIO is neither happy nor unhappy. She knows she’s not content or fulfilled but has no real idea how to go forward in life. Then everything changes after three things: what seems a minor incident in the park where’s she’s a week-end volunteer, a government enforcer hunting her for his own personal reason and her meeting an attractive, but hard-eyed messenger from Roma Nova. 

Karen comes into her own in Roma Nova and emerges as Carina (her original birth name). She’s still the same basic character but faces her fears and matures, clearing away things that have held her back mentally and emotionally. Developing a character through their misfortunes, heartaches and joys is one of the best things about being a writer!


How did you come up with your setting, and your characters?

A combination of fascination with Ancient Rome, a lifetime of reading thrillers and historical fiction, six years in the military and a determination to have a female protagonist leading the action. Too often the woman in thrillers is a victim/assistant/consultant; my heroine was going to be firmly in charge. However, this was not practically possible in Ancient Rome. What to do? Then I read Robert Harris’s Fatherland and discovered you could ‘alternate’ time... 

Aurelia, Carina’s wise grandmother is a senator and imperial councillor to Imperatrix Silvia, but she has secrets she’d prefer to keep firmly in her own past. Conrad, Carina’s love interest, is tough, but with a brittleness which we don’t really see until the fourth Carina adventure, SUCCESSIO, but it’s lurking under the surface.

Other characters – tough, resourceful, enigmatic or flawed – seem to have emerged when needed as I wrote Carina’s story. The joy of (mostly) writing by the seat of your pants!  

What is your next publishing project about?

Well, as a follow-up to JULIA PRIMA which tells the story of the two Romans who founded the ruling dynasty of Roma Nova, I’m writing the next phase of that foundation story. Readers have urged me to do this and as a ‘Roman nut’ how can I refuse?

INCEPTIO 10th Anniversary Hardback Edition:

Alison Morton

Alison Morton writes award-winning thrillers featuring tough but compassionate heroines. Her nine-book Roma Nova series is set in an imaginary European country where a remnant of the ancient Roman Empire has survived into the 21st century and is ruled by women who face conspiracy, revolution and heartache but with a sharp line in dialogue. 

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.  

Six full-length Roma Nova novels, including INCEPTIO, have won the BRAG Medallion, the prestigious award for indie fiction. 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 Bookseller selected SUCCESSIO as Editor’s Choice in its inaugural indie review. The Historical Novel Society recently selected JULIA PRIMA, the first Foundation story set in the 4th century, the accolade of Editors’ Choice.

Alison now lives in Poitou in France, the home of MĂ©lisende, the heroine of her latest two contemporary thrillers, Double Identity and Double Pursuit. Oh, and she’s writing the next Roma Nova story.

Connect with Alison:


  1. What a cracking start to the INCEPTIO hardback tour! I loved your questions, Cathie. Thank you for hosting the tour launch!

    1. You're most welcome, Alison. Thank you for your fabulous answers. Best of luck with your tour.