Book Title: INCEPTIO (10th Anniversary hardback)

Series: Roma Nova

Author: Alison Morton

Publication Date: 28 March 2023 (original ebook and paperback 1 March 2013)

Publisher: Pulcheria Press

Page Length: 390

Genre: Thriller

Twitter Handle: @alison_morton @cathiedunn

Instagram Handle: @AlisonMortonAuthor @thecoffeepotbookclub

Hashtags: #10YearsINCEPTIO #RomaNovaSeries #AlternativeHistory #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub

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Alison Morton


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

Coffee Pot Book Club tour for INCEPTIO 10th Anniversary Edition hardback 

When Angels Fly     24 April 2023

How does a character like Carina come to life?

Reading is an emotional trip, and we want to gasp, shiver, feel rolls of warmth, resentment, sympathy, fear, loss, and triumph as we turn the pages. Rounded, multi-layered characters are essential to engage people in a story. Superwomen can work in some contexts, but readers quite like our heroines and heroes making horrible mistakes, misjudgements and dubious decisions, along with being aware, clever and cunning as appropriate.

But equally important is to think about is what formed those characters. Some characteristics are common across ages, locations and personality. Bad temper or a sweet disposition, a loving childhood or abusive environment can occur whether your character lives in Ancient Rome or the Moon Colony in 2175.

When I invented my main character Carina Mitela, the heroine of INCEPTIO in Roma Nova which I’m celebrating today, I needed to know who she was, where did she come from, what did she want, and fear? What was stopping her? What did she like? What were her values? What were her strengths and weaknesses?

Carina had to go through a ‘birthing’ process or perhaps even a regression; she’d started off fully formed in my imagination at the start of INCEPTIO, the first of her adventures.

So I had to lay some clues to get her to where I wanted her…

We first see her working in the New York Kew Park as a weekend volunteer.
What this tells us – she loves the outdoors and works happily with others.

She enjoys running and keeping fit.
What this tells us – she’s sporty.

At the beginning of INCEPTIO, Karen (not yet Carina) is not particularly happy or unhappy. Although she’s not achieving very much in her job, she buckles down and gets on with her tasks.
What this tells us – she’s unsure of her abilities, and unsettled, but resilient.

The early loss of her parents and fostering with cold relatives forces her to be self-contained and not a little wary of others.
What this tells us – she needs to feel safe. Part of the urge to protect herself makes her a smartmouth.

She defends an older person from some young bullies.
What this tells us – she has a strong sense of fairness and has the courage to put it into action.

She has a hot temper and makes snap decisions, not always wise ones.
What this tells us – she’s passionate and fallible.

She enjoys the movies and subscribes to a movie periodical.
What this tells us – she has a nice, normal, safe hobby.

The foundations were laid. The traumatic events in INCEPTIO revealed her innate toughness and determination, her sense of fairness, her hot temper and compassion. Now I had to build in some factual background in the form of a character sketch.

A brief biography of Carina
Born in the Eastern United States (EUS), father William Brown, ex-UK citizen, mother Marina Mitela, daughter of one of the Twelve Families who founded Roma Nova in ancient times. Although registered with the Roma Novan authorities at birth as Carina Mitela, she was raised as Karen Brown in the EUS with her father’s surname. For her first twelve years, she lived in New Hampshire. Sadly, she lost her mother in a mysterious car accident when she was three, and her father from cancer at twelve. Fostered adequately, but unlovingly, with distant Brown cousins in Nebraska on the edge of the Indigenous Nations’ territories, she left for the autonomous city of New York the day after graduating high school. After several jobs, at the beginning of INCEPTIO she has ended up as an assistant account executive in Bornes & Black Ad Agency.

Physically, she is too tall and angular to be classically pretty, she has an athletic build, blue eyes and red-blonde hair. She doesn’t know it yet, but she bears a striking resemblance to her grandmother, Aurelia, as a young woman.

Deeper and deeper…
More of Carina’s background emerges in the books following INCEPTIO where she is the lead character – CARINA, PERFIDITAS and SUCCESSIO. However, Carina’s backstory is reinforced when we see her mother, Marina, in the second group of books which feature Carina’s grandmother, Aurelia, as a young woman. Marina is a young child in AURELIA, set in the late 1960s, an older child in NEXUS and a young woman in the early 1980s in INSURRECTIO and RETALIO. William Brown, Carina’s father, not only courts Marina, but helps Aurelia in INSURRECTIO and RETALIO. And Carina herself is born in RETALIO. Although these incidents are subplots to Aurelia‘s story – she is after all the heroine of those four books – they also flesh out Carina‘s background.

Back to Carina’s own stories…
In the novella CARINA, our heroine leads her first overseas mission and some of the eager newbie enthusiasm fades as the realities of political and professional life touch her. In PERFIDITAS and SUCCESSIO, she matures, becoming a parent as well as an effective special forces soldier. She has found her place in life, but the heart-wrenching challenges she faces test her loyalty and duty to the full and nearly break her profound love for her partner, Conrad.

Later, she becomes a senior officer in the Praetorian Guard Special forces, a senator and imperial councillor, and heads the Twelve Families of Roma Nova, yet remains a loving mother and granddaughter but not without her doubts and worry about fouling up. Not an easy combination at any stage of her life!

Over the series we see different parts of each individual’s story – I love hooking the past, present and future together – but Carina retains her basic character traits and values throughout, although how she expresses them and assesses her reactions develop through the stories.

She is only human, after all!

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Author Bio:

Alison Morton writes award-winning thrillers featuring tough but compassionate heroines. Her ten-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. INCEPTIO starts the adventure…

She blends her fascination for Ancient Rome with six years’ military service and a life of reading historical, crime 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 lives in Poitou in France, the home of Mélisende, the heroine of her two contemporary thrillers, Double Identity and Double Pursuit. Oh, and she’s writing the next Roma Nova story.

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