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Historical Fiction
Six authors bring to life overlapping stories of patricians and slaves, warriors and politicians, villains and heroes who cross each others' path during Pompeii's fiery end.
Caught in the deadly world of the Renaissance's most notorious family, three outsiders must decide if they will flee the dangerous dream of power.
The Borgia family begins its legendary rise, chronicled by an innocent girl who finds herself drawn into their dangerous web.
The lives of an ambitious soldier, a patrician heiress and a future emperor fatefully intersect.
The Year of Four Emperors - and four very different women struggling to survive
A brilliant and paranoid Emperor, a wary and passionate slave girl – who will survive?

Ave Historia: An irreverent look at historical fiction today: books trends, historical tidbits, and random tangents

Collaborative Writing: An Irreverent Look Behind The Curtain

November 23, 2015

Tags: a year of ravens, boudica, eliza knight, stephanie dray, ruth downie, vicky alvear shecter, sja turney, russell whitfield, ben kane

As I wrote A YEAR OF RAVENS with my six co-authors Ruth Downie, Stephanie Dray, Eliza Knight, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Simon Turney, and Russell Whitfield, we were often asked about the collaborative process. How exactly does one go about writing a book-in-seven-parts? Well, it involves a lot of emails, a lot of Skype sessions, a lot of back-and-forth Facebook chats--and we undertake it with a great deal of seriousness, as you see from this collection of direct quotes as we moved through the stages of collaboration this year.


As We Outline Our Stories

Simon: “I have an eight-page outline, anyone want to have a look?”
Kate: “My entire outline is eleven words.”
Stephanie: “I want to talk over-arching themes. What are we trying to say with this book? What’s our overall message?”
Vicky: “Why are we talking overarching themes before we even know what happens?!”
Ruth: “My heroine’s name--Ria or Narina? Oh well, I’ll decide by the time I’m done.”
Eliza: “Really?! I can’t move forward at all until my heroine has a name.”
Russell: “Hey guys, my story’s already finished!”
All of us: (outwardly) “Wow, you’re so motivated!” (Inwardly) “Bastard.”


As We Research

Ruth: “This poem I’m reading on Celtic wooing practices, `The Wooing of Etain . . .’ Not a lot of wooing in it. Sparky bunch.”
Stephanie: “Russ, you walked Hadrian’s Wall in full Roman armor--does chain-mail really go thunk-scratch as you walk?”
Russell: “It’s actually more wunk-thunk-kitch, wunk-thunk-kitch.”


As We Research Some More

Stephanie: “My Roman procurator's villa is in Narbo. But I might need to change the color of the grapes in his vineyard. Maybe we can't be sure of the climate in that specific place for whatever variety of grape existed before modern variations 2000 years ago.”
Kate: “Don't mention the color of the grapes. Just say they're ripe. Nobody cares what color the grapes are.”
Stephanie: “I'm putting in the color of the grapes! You can't stop me. I've gone rogue.”
Kate: “Is that the mulish streak of an author thinking "I looked it up. I researched it. It's going in the book or time is wasted?"
Stephanie: “Absolutely! I don't even drink wine. I don't know the difference between a Syrah and a Chardonnay. You think I researched grape regions in France for my health? No, Madam. I did not.”


As We Write

Stephanie: “The f*cking king still isn’t burned.”
Ruth: “So many Iron Age names are completely unusable. Corotica, Auumpus, Aessicunia . . .”
Russell: “My hero can’t keep his willy in his subligares.”
Vicky: “All right, break for lunch, then back to the slaughter.”
Eliza: “My muse today is a bitchy bitch who bitches.”
Simon: “I've managed to put two tines of a fork into my hand.”
Kate: “I love you guys.”


As We Procrastinate

Kate: “Hey, look at this! `Buzzfeed quiz to find your Celtic name!’ I got `Floraidh, the Gentle Petal.’ Jesus. What are you guys getting?”
Simon: “`Muireann, born of the sea.’ For a man who has to travel 50 miles to the ocean, I find that amusing.”
Russell: “`Aidan the Fiery Rider. The ancient Celts would have seen you as the bringer of light.’ And I’m a complete slacker . . .”
Vicky: “I got Muireann too. And I live 250 miles from a beach.”


As We Finish Our Rough Drafts

Stephanie: Slept for ten hours straight after writing 22,000 words in 4 days.
Eliza: Pulled four all-nighters and is now drinking wine straight from a jar.
Vicky: Cross-eyed from maneuvering her mind around the mental contortions needed to plausibly excuse a massacre.
Ruth: “Mightily glad I finished my story when I did, because seconds later a huge spider ran across the desk. I'll be decamping to the kitchen until it's died of old age. Or possibly until I have.”
Simon: MIA. Apparently fled all the way to Wales to get away from the non-stop barrage of Boudica emails.
Kate: Killed approximately 80,000 fictional Celts and has used every synonym in the book for "slaughter."
Russell: Smiling like a cat in the cream because he finished his story first and didn't skate across the deadline over-caffeinated, under-slept, and hooked up via IV to the nearest alcoholic beverage like his co-authors.


As We Edit Each Other

Stephanie: “Kate, don't have your hero kick the severed head. Soooo disrespectful.”
Eliza: “Two stories to edit AND another book out this week . . .”
Vicky: “Wait, you guys feel sorry for my story's homicidal maniac?”
Simon: “______ ______ _____!” (Editing while on holiday, bumping down a Welsh country road in the passenger seat of a Vauxhall Zafira, going 25 mph behind a horse caravan).
Ruth: “Well, my heroine's unconscious through all of THAT story, so that saves me writing her any dialogue . . .”
Kate: “Russ, editing your foul-mouthed optio is having a deleterious effect on my vocabulary. I just told my cranky old plug-in coffeemaker to `Hurry up, you dozy f***ing cow.’”
Russell: “You're welcome, luv.”


As We Fact Check

Stephanie: “Eliza, stop looking up etymological roots! You can’t FIND a word that’s old enough! That’s the beauty of writing in the ancient world; you don’t have to do this!”
Eliza: “I. Can’t. Stop.”
Ruth: “I’ve spent the day only leaving the computer to hunt out books I haven’t used in years. I must go remind Husband that I’m still alive.”
Kate: “Russ, you say Gaulish, but should we go with Gallic?”
Russ: “Gaulish. Gallic brings to mind berets, stripy shirts, Gauloise cigs and accordion music.”


As We Fact Check Some More

Kate: “So, state funeral in the morning and then the pillaging starts . . . you think it could be done by 3pm or so?”
Ruth: “You know, I’m not sure how long pillaging takes. It’s not something I’ve ever given a great deal of thought to.”
Kate: “If the funeral is done by morning we have just enough time to kick off the pillaging. If that’s done by mid-afternoon, we can schedule the flogging . . . I sound like a demented event planner trying to rent a hall.”


As We Make Continuity Changes

Kate: “The blond slave girl mentioned in Story #3 cannot suddenly become a brunette in Story #5; the queen in Story #1 cannot possibly make it all the way north by Story #2 unless we involve a TARDIS; and that Druid cannot die in Story #4 by drowning AND in Story #7 by evisceration.”
Stephanie: “We need to decide on `Mona’ or `Ynys Mon,’ or the history police will crucify us.”
Ruth: “Crikey, don’t the history police have anything better to do?”
Several voices in unison: “No.”


As We Work On Promo

Vicky: “Ok, everyone pitch in on this Q&A.”
Stephanie: Talks overarching theme.
Ruth: Talks archaeological evidence.
Simon: Talks character development.
Russ: Makes hilarious rude jokes.


As We Celebrate Book’s Launch

Ruth: “Really, this was wonderful. It’s been like a crash course in writing combined with group therapy, only funnier.”
The rest of us in unison: “AWWW . . .”

(Then the Yanks wonder: “Do the Brits hug?”)
(As the Brits wonder: “Five hour time difference . . . too early for the Yanks to pour celebratory drinks?”)

Happy Release Day for A YEAR OF RAVENS: A NOVEL OF BOUDICA!

November 17, 2015

Tags: a year of ravens, boudica, eliza knight, stephanie dray, ruth downie, vicky alvear shecter, sja turney, russell whitfield, ben kane

Today marks the release of the second collaborative novel I have ever had the pleasure of taking part in! Last year, five other authors and I collaborated to write a novel-in-six-parts about the fall of Pompeii; it was titled "A Day of Fire: a novel of Pompeii". This time around my co-authors and I (most of the same bunch, plus some delightful new faces) tackled the Boudica rebellion against Rome. The result? "A Year of Ravens: a novel of Boudica."

Our sophomore collaborative proved to be a bigger, darker, far more complex book than "A Day of Fire." What can I say, we wanted to up our game! And in the process, we had about as much fun as is legally possible to have while still calling it work. Approximately three million emails passed between the seven of us as we wrote, mostly hilarious - I adore every one of my co-authors and would work with them again in a heartbeat. We're all very proud of "A Year of Ravens," and we hope you enjoy it too!

Buy your copy here!

Amazon US (print and Kindle) | Amazon UK (print and Kindle) | Apple | Nook | Kobo


A Day of Fire - Just 99 Cents!

January 1, 2015

Tags: a day of fire, pompeii, stephanie dray, ben kane, eliza knight, Sophie Perinot, Vicky Alvear Shecter

Limited time only - but "A Day of Fire" is just 99 cents on Amazon and Nook! If you've got an e-reader and a buck, now's the time to snap it up and start your 2015 reading list!

Happy Release Day! A Day of Fire: a novel of Pompeii

November 4, 2014

Tags: a day of fire, pompeii, stephanie dray, ben kane, eliza knight, Sophie Perinot, Vicky Alvear Shecter, release day, blog tour

It was on another Release Day that "A Day of Fire" was first conceived, the champagne-fueled brainchild of myself, Stephanie Dray, and Sophie Perinot. We were having a celebratory lunch in honor of my latest Borgia book, and swapping idle ideas for future projects. "Continuities," Stephanie mused, and was met with blank looks. "Basically, a novel in four parts, written by four authors, or however many are working together. Romance authors do it all the time."

"Why haven't historical fiction authors jumped in?" Sophie wondered. "We could pick a historical event and go to town! What event?"

"Sinking of the Titanic? Downton Abbey tie-in . . ."

"Field of the Cloth of Gold? Tudor tie-in . . ."

"Destruction of Pompeii . . . ?"

Eyes gleamed. And this project was born.

It's been a wild, sometimes rocky, always exhilarating ride. Our original trio was swiftly joined by three more musketeers. I screwed up the nerve to approach Ben Kane, whose work I adore (after being wowed by the gorgeous mayhem he wreaked with the Spartacus legend, I knew he could tear the top off a mountain in style). Vicky Alvear Shecter already had a hit YA HF novel in the works about Pompeii ("Curses and Smoke," highly recommended!) but didn't mind revisiting the lava fields with us. And self-pub goddess E. Knight joined the Good Ship Pompeii and firmly took the tiller, steering the rest of us self-pub newbies through the waters of the Indie Ocean.

I am uniquely proud of what I and my five co-authors have put together in "A Day of Fire." I think, frankly, that it's awesome. Some of that was planned (the careful plotting we did to interweave characters; the careful research into the latest Pompeii archaeological findings), and some of it wasn't (how did we get such a perfect cross-section of Roman society in our protagonists? Sheer luck). But we worked hard, and it was worth every moment.

And at long last, our story about the final days of Pompeii is available in e-book and print!

“This truly is the finest book I have read this year, an emotional roller-coaster that educates while it entertains. Its impact will stay with me for quite some time.” ~Parmenion Books

“Despite knowing what happens in Pompeii and to the majority of its citizens, A Day of Fire is a book full of suspense, fear, and unexpected bravery.” ~Ageless Pages

“I can’t praise this book highly enough. It’s a rattling good tale of disaster, death, resolution and rebirth.” ~Dodging Arrows

“I LOVED this! The writing style, the choice of stories told, the evolution of characters, the drama. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.” ~The Maiden’s Court

"Each one of these authors deserves a huge amount of praise for putting this impressive piece of art together.” ~Steven McKay

DESCRIPTION:

Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain's wrath . . . and these are their stories:

A boy loses his innocence in Pompeii's flourishing streets.
An heiress dreads her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire.
An ex-legionary stakes his entire future on a gladiator bout destined never to be finished.
A crippled senator welcomes death, until a tomboy on horseback comes to his rescue.
A young mother faces an impossible choice for her unborn child as the ash falls.
A priestess and a whore seek redemption and resurrection as the town is buried.

Six authors bring to life overlapping stories of patricians and slaves, warriors and politicians, villains and heroes who cross each others' path during Pompeii's fiery end. But who will escape, and who will be buried for eternity?

Buy Now:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads




Sneak Peek At "A Day Of Fire"

October 7, 2014

Tags: a day of fire, pompeii, stephanie dray, ben kane, eliza knight, Sophie Perinot, Vicky Alvear Shecter

Four weeks out from the launch of “A Day of Fire,” the novel-in-six-parts I’ve written with Ben Kane, Sophie Perinot, Stephanie Dray, E. Knight, and Vicky Alvear Shecter. The novel is already available for pre-order at Amazon, but in honor of the countdown to release, I’d like to share some lovely illustrated quotes to give you a taste of the tales inside! (The quote from my story is #4!)













A Day of Fire: Cover Reveal and Pre-Order!

September 16, 2014

Tags: a day of fire, pompeii, stephanie dray, ben kane, eliza knight, Sophie Perinot, Vicky Alvear Shecter

It's here: the cover AND the Pre-Order info for my Pompeii project! We are all super excited how it turned out, and we hope you will be, too!


Title: A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii
Authors: Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn and Vicky Alvear Shecter, with an introduction by Michelle Moran
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: November 4, 2014

Pre-order today!


Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain's wrath . . .

Six top historical novelists join forces to bring readers the stories of Pompeii’s residents—from patricians to prostitutes—as their world ended. You will meet:

A boy who loses his innocence in Pompeii's flourishing streets;

An heiress dreading her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire;

An ex-legionary who stakes his entire future on a gladiator bout destined never to be finished;

A crippled senator welcoming death, until a tomboy on horseback comes to his rescue;

A young mother facing an impossible choice for her unborn child as the ash falls;

And a priestess and a whore seeking redemption and resurrection as the town is buried.



The Next Project: Something Secret, Different, and Fabulous!

June 6, 2014

Tags: a day of fire, pompeii, stephanie dray, ben kane, eliza knight, sophie perinot, vicky alvear shecter

Some of you may have heard me hint over the past few months about a fabulous secret project coming up after "Lady of the Eternal City." Secret no longer--here are the deets.

It's a collaboration between six authors of historical fiction. All about the fall of Pompeii.

Everything began on my last release day, when Stephanie Dray and Sophie Perinot dropped by in their standard Release Day effort to keep me distracted from my Amazon Sales Ranking by any means up to and including handcuffs. At some point over the champagne, somebody mused "We should write a book TOGETHER. Not just a collection of stories; a book-in-three parts. Romance authors do it all the time, why not historical fiction authors?"

Six months and eight billion emails later, we had a subject - the last days of Pompeii - and a lineup of contributing authors. Six authors, not three; representing all shades and flavors of historical fiction from guts-and-glory star Ben Kane to historical YA phenom Vicky Alvear Shecter; historical family drama expert Sophie Perinot and historical fantasy maven Stephanie Dray and romance-bestseller-turned-historical novelist Eliza Knight.

At the end of 2014, we will be excited to bring you A Day of Fire: Stories of Pompeii.

Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens escaped the mountain's wrath, some died as heroes . . . and these are their stories.

A boy who loses his innocence in Pompeii's flourishing streets.
An heiress dreading her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire.
An ex-legionary staking his future on a gladiator bout destined to be fatally interrupted.
A crippled senator whose only chance of escape lies with a beautiful tomboy on horseback.
A young mother faced with an impossible choice for her unborn child as the ash falls.
A priestess and a whore looking for redemption and resurrection as the town is buried.

A novel in six parts, overlapping stories of patricians and slaves, warriors and politicians, villains and heroes who cross paths during Pompeii's fiery end. But who will escape, and who will be buried for posterity?