MORE to BROWSE - Pages that might be of Interest

Friday 1 April 2016

A-Z Blogging: A is for...Aurelia and Alison Morton

Click Here for a list of other A-Zers

Throughout April I have invited 26 authors who had been selected as Editor's Choice by the
 Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews to help me out with the 2016 A-Z Blog Challenge...

Except to be a little different I interviewed 
their leading Character/s...

Today's Character is from :

Until April 9th! 
Buy on Kindle for only 99p/ 99c!
An A-Z Bloggng Bargain!

HH : Hello! I believe you exist in Alison Morton’s novel, AURELIA. Oh, that’s your name, too. Would you like to introduce yourself – who you are, what you do? 
AM : Salve! I’m twenty-eight and was born into the Mitela family in Roma Nova and my given praenomen is Aurelia, the same as that of Gaius Julius Caesar’s mother in ancient Rome. Currently, I serve as a major in the Praetorian Guard Special Forces.

HH : Where and when are you? Are you a real historical person or did your author create you?
AM : It’s the 1960s here in Roma Nova. Ours is a small country, wedged in between New Austria, the Italian Federation and Slovenia, so a lot of mountains with forests and high pastures, some valleys and low-lying areas near the rivers. Our city – we don’t have a different name for it, just ‘the city’ – is very old, some parts even going back to the foundation in the late fourth century. We pride ourselves on keeping our ancestors’ gods and way of life and holding to Roman values and culture. Well, it had to change when Roma Nova was threatened with extinction in the first years. Sisters and daughters and then wives had to put on armour and fight alongside the men in order to survive. The records show those were grim times.

Am I real? (smiles) I am to the author, but it would be presumptuous to say I’m a famous person.

Photo courtesy of Britannia
HH. In a few brief sentences: what is the novel you feature in about?
AM : Hm, well, it is safe to talk confidentially, isn’t it? You must have got through security to be asking these questions...

 My mother is giving me the Hades of a time saying I should have another child, another heir, and wants me to pair up with Caius Tellus. I’d rather throw myself off the Senate House roof. And I don’t want him within a hundred metres of my young daughter. Oh, he’s clever, charming and so on, but I think he’s a taker in life and I’m convinced he’s up to something that could threaten Roma Nova. I’m packing to go north to Berlin to investigate the silver smuggling and I know in my bones he’s going to be involved…

HH :  I ‘met’ my pirate, Jesamiah Acorne on a beach in Dorset, England -  how did your author meet up with you?
AM : Juno knows! I think it was when she was writing her three stories about my granddaughter, Carina. I’m in my seventies in those books – what a thought! Apparently, the author wanted to stick her nose into what happened in my younger days, especially about the Great Rebellion, the traitorous Caius and my lost love. So she decided to write three more books; AURELIA is the first of those.

HH : Tell me about one or two of the other characters who feature with you - husband, wife, family? Who are some of the nice characters and who is the nastiest one? 
AM : Let’s get my nemesis out of the way first. I can’t say it better than in my explanation to a colleague:
‘You’ve never met Caius Tellus, have you?’ I said and leant back in my chair and crossed my arms. ‘He’s charming, manipulative and a complete bastard. He has natural sexual charm and the instincts of a predator. Unfortunately, he’s intelligent with it, but somehow, the Fates forgot to give him the least sense of good and evil when he was born. They also forgot to tell him how to think beyond himself.’

On a brighter note, the centre of my life is my daughter Marina.
‘She was so fragile; fine red-brown hair and a delicate face, light brown eyes like a frightened rabbit, not the bright Mitela blue like mine and my mother’s. Never robust, Marina had coughed and wheezed her way through infancy, floored by the least infection.’ And ‘Soft as rose petals, her skin shone, her flesh a little plumper than when I’d left her. Pale freckles dotted her nose and forearms. But her smile was pure sunshine.
If only my mother had lived, she would have had the pleasure of seeing this glorious child bloom.’

Who else? Ah, Tertullius Plico is the cynical intelligence chief. Well, I’ve never met one who wasn’t, have you? He’s a grumpy old sod, but fiercely loyal but he gives me a hard time. He’s one of the fearsome Imperatrix Justina’s senior secretaries and reports on external affairs direct to her, so wields considerable, if hidden, power.

And Miklós, the smuggler?
‘If I thought the horse was impressive, the rider was no less so; a tall figure, and supple as he moved with the horse, his strong-featured face was without expression but his whole person exuded confidence.’ And ‘I looked up at the rider. He bent forward, gave me a half-bow. His black curly hair touched the collar of his beige shirt, but not the neck of the leather waistcoat he wore over it. Dark, slightly worn moleskin breeches were tucked into black scuffed boots. As I stared at him, warmth rushed up my neck. He smiled, knowingly. Pluto, was I so obvious?

HH : What is your favourite scene in the book?
AM : The final one!

HH : What is your least favourite? Maybe a frightening or sad moment that your author wrote.
AM : When that bastard Caius honed in on my daughter…

HH : What are you most proud of about your author?
AM : She understands my values and motivations and doesn’t make judgements. Her portrayal of people and important events in Roma Nova attracts plaudits from her many fine and discerning readers. Although deprecating praise, she has won awards and accolades – a B.R.A.G. Medallion for each of her books, Editor’s Choice in The Bookseller and this shortlisting in the 2016 prize. I salute her. Macte!

HH : Has your author written  other books about you? If not, about other characters?
How do you feel about your author going off with someone else!
AM : Oh, she keeps it in the family, which is right and proper; Roma Novan society is traditionally based on the larger family which includes cousins, household and farm staff.  INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS and SUCCESSIO feature my granddaughter Carina’s adventures, her tangled love life and how she has to deal with the tough threats facing Roma Nova in the 21st century.

I’m so proud of how she transfers from her unfulfilled existence in the Eastern United States to take up a life here in Roma Nova; it suits her so much better. And even though it’s a rocky path, she desperately loves Conrad, my protégée from the post-Rebellion days. If only she could keep her temper in check…

Scriptrix Alison Morton
HH : As a character if you could travel to a time and place different to your own fictional setting  where and when would you go?
AM : Ha! Well, although they were desperately hard times, I’d volunteer to go back and help the Roma Nova founders in the late fourth century. Imagine it. They’d been persecuted and hounded out of ancient Rome by the Christian emperor Theodosius, they set up a new colonia in the mountains and then had to fight off all-comers during the Great Migrations and years afterwards. They needed every spare gladius they could lay their hands on and had to recruit daughters and sisters. I would be honoured to have helped.

Thank you that was really interesting!
Now where can readers of this A-Z Blog Challenge find out more about you and your author?

Connect with Alison on her Roma Nova site:
Facebook author page:
Twitter: @alison-morton

Buying links for AURELIA (multiple retailers/formats):

Amazon universal link:

Here is the company we will be keeping on this 
A-Z Blog Challenge!
A 1st  Friday - Aurelia  - Alison Morton
B 2nd Saturday  - Bloodie Bones - Lucienne Boyce
C 4th Monday - Man in the Canary Waistcoat Susan Grossey
D 5th Tuesday - Dubh-Linn  - James Nelson
F 7th Thursday - Fortune’sFool- David Blixt
H 9th Saturday - The Love Letter of John Henry Holliday - Mary Fancher
K 13th Wednesday - Khamsin- Inge Borg
L 14th Thursday - Luck Bringer   - Nick Brown
N 16th Saturday - A Newfound Land  - Anna Belfrage
O 18th Monday - Out Of Time  - Loretta Livingstone
P 19th Tuesday  - Pirate Code  - Helen Hollick
Q 20th Wednesday - To Be A Queen – Annie Whitehead
R 21st Thursday  - The Spirit Room - Marschel Paul
U 25th Monday  - A Just And Upright Man - John Lynch
X 28th Thursday – The FlaX flower – AmandaMaclean

So call back tomorrow 
To meet the next exciting Character! 
(unless it is Sunday - in which case, I'll have something different 
but just as interesting !)


  1. Interesting take on the challenge! Love it I scrap 2

    1. thanks scrapydo2 - don't forget to call back tomorrow!

    2. Yes, quite a challenge to speak out of the mouth of a character you've created. ;-) I really enjoyed it. And thank you, Helen, for the opportunity to present Aurelia to your readers.

  2. Great start to the A-Z Challenge, Helen. Loved it
    @CazsBooks from Welcome Aboard Greenham's Yacht may have been your first visitor...well it is April 1st after all.

  3. What a great theme Helen, good luck with the challenge.

    1. Thanks Rosie - I've some fantastic fictional guests lined up!

    2. And it's equally great being part of it, Rosie!

  4. Helen and Alison,
    What a great start to The Challenge; so worth getting up early to catch up to Nova Roma time and Aurelia. Digging into a character's background is always fascinating for readers.
    Thank you for sharing Aurelia and her world with us.

    1. Thanks, Inge. Aurelia is a 'tough cookie' even by Roma Nova standards, but she has a lot to cope with when trying to stop Caius Tellus, her enemy since childhood.

  5. Replies
    1. Lots of interest, Steven, and may it continue through the month.

  6. Brilliant! Only just finished giving Roma Nova a decent mention on my own newsletter (a plug for Alison's forthcoming gig at the Wrexham Carnival of Words) - and up pops Aurelia! Must be karma. But well done to Alison. And to Helen, of course, for a very clever initiative!

    1. Aurelia Mitela and the Praetorian Guard Special Forces of Roma Nova are everywhere, Dave. I think it's a brilliant initiative of Helen's; I think we'll make her an honorary Praetorian!

    2. At this precise moment, Helen is wondering why on earth she decided to do this - talk about busy! LOL

  7. Such an interesting theme for the challenge!
    I'm not familiar with the author, the book or the Historical Novel Society, but now I'm intrigue.
    And I love strong woman! And the setting (New Roma) sounds so interesting!
    (My TBR list will be so much bigger by the end of the month, thanks to you!)

    1. Thanks for dropping by Catherine - I can assure you the TBR pile will have some fantastic books in it!

    2. Sorry to add to your TBR pile, Catherine. Well, I'm not really. ;-) I think Aurelia is a strong woman among strong women, but she is also a loving mother and a woman who sometimes doubts her ability to cope, but without being sentimental. She just gets on with what has to be done - she's a realist - something we can all sympathise with!

    3. Sounds even more interesting! Thanks!

  8. I love this idea, interviewing a character is something I would never have thought of but it's a great way to get to know them a bit more :)

    1. it's quite a challenge 'becoming' them in order to answer Helen's questions and makes you dig deep into them.

  9. Such a fun post. Another book for my TBR pile. ��

    1. don't you mean TBR mountain? LOL

    2. Know the feeling, Loretta. I'm putting all the Editor's Choices on my wish list, then running for cover as the pile threatens to crash to the floor!

    3. Lol, Helen and Alison. Yup. I may need to buy ropes and crampons.

  10. Cracking start to this series - really enjoyed it :)

    1. Thank you, Annie. I think Helen's taken on a huge initiative, but it's going to be very revealing!

    2. Thanks Annie - I agree, a cracking start!

  11. Such and interesting theme! Happy a-z!

    1. THanks Andrea, I thought it might be something a bit different :-)

    2. And as an author it gives you a new aspect on your own character- a fascinating exercise!

  12. Sounds like an interesting story. Great when the main character is so strong.

    Liz A. from
    Laws of Gravity

    1. It is interesting Liz - Alison's books are very gripping, and yes great to have such strong female leads. (I'm waiting for the TV series - would make good TV drama)

    2. Thanks, Liz. I've tried to make Aurelia strong, not just because she's tough anyway because of her culture and inclination, but because she has weaknesses and vulnerability yet enough grit to overcome them.

    3. Thanks, Helen for your confidence! I'd love to see them on the screen too. But in a way, it's sometimes better as a reader to imagine your own version of a book's world. 😀

  13. Could I possibly mention that AURELIA is on special deal of 99 pence/99 cents until 9 April?

  14. What a great blog! I really like the idea of writing a character's life backwards so to speak - her first appearance in her 70s and then we learn about the rest of her life. Salve Aurelia!

    1. I became so intrigued by AURELIA when I was writing the first three I knew I had to write her 'younger' story.

  15. Love Aurelia. Love to hate Caius. Lucky me! Great post - tweeted,of course!

    1. Yes, Caius is a great villain. Whether Aurelia can deal with him is for readers to discover in the next book, INSURRECTIO. 😉

  16. This woman sounds fantastic! I love the line "I would rather throw myself off the Senate House roof ..." We've all been there I daresay! I love the idea of this series.

    1. Aurelia is fairly straightforward and says it as it is, but she does fell racked by guilt sometimes. She doesn't do things by half-measures and readers seem to like this. 😀


Thank you for leaving a comment - it should appear soon. If you are having problems, contact me on author AT helenhollick DOT net and I will post your comment for you. That said ...SPAMMERS or rudeness will be composted or turned into toads.