Today my guest is Gina Danna, a fellow historical author and great friend of mine. She’s re-releasing her Ancient Roman romance, Love & Vengeance and came by to talk about her inspiration for choosing this fascinating period of history.
If you could travel back in time, where would you go?
A fellow writer had written a time travel piece I read about going back to the time of knights. It was good and I commented how I’d travel back to Ancient Rome but feared I’d enter the Colosseum where I would be killed like the Christians. She retorted but what if a man saved me? That immediately set my muse to playing. What if…
Instantly, Marcus and Gustina came to life. The opening to Love & Vengeance is that rescue. These two demanded I tell their story, which got me into researching just how did people live back then? What was the Colosseum like? Gladiators? Research isn’t new to me – I have graduate degree in History though I admit, my favorite time has been the American Civil War. But Ancient Rome held a certain appeal to me I couldn’t deny.
The Roman Empire thrived for hundreds of years, first as a Republic then as an Empire. It expanded throughout Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa. But the pinnacle of the entire civilization was Rome itself. To the Romans, everyone wanted to be one of them. The town itself grew to over a million inhabitants by 100 A.D. (or C. E.). There many of today’s foundations took hold – the idea of a representative assembly, The Senate; philosophy (they took the Greeks beginnings and expanded them, adopting them as their own); architecture; sewer systems that survive to today; aqueducts and baths survived; roads.
And war. The bulk of their Empire was amassed through war. Those defeated in war often were turned into slaves – a commodity the Romans needed badly. Those infamous structures like the Colosseum were built through slave labor. Anyone could become a slave then, even miscreant Romans, conflicted of crimes, would become a slave. Slavery was extremely bad then, used as expendable lives. Even gladiators for the most part were slaves though a few freemen fought in the games to earn coin enough to get out of debt, selling themselves to the gladiatorial schools for a couple of years to do so though the price tag could mean they died in the games instead of leaving a free man. Gladiators, though, were the ‘rock stars’ of the period. Successful champions had a following of fans, mostly women. Roads to the arena often were lined on game day with vendors selling items for purchase on those favored, like pictures, trinkets used by them, vials of their blood (blood of a champion was thought to cure ills like infertility, epilepsy, etc.) and other goods.
It is a fascinating time, full of intrigue and mystery. Come and get a taste of long ago, in Ancient Rome with Marcus and Gustina in Love & Vengeance!
Rome 108 A.D., under the Emperor Trajan, is the center of the civilized world. It is a time of sophistication and decadence, a brutal world to their conquered.
Marcus, a Roman citizen sentenced to die as a gladiator, accused by his wife and brother for a crime he did not commit. Yet death eludes him and he rises to become champion of the sands. The title he does not want. He seeks revenge but his victories in the Colosseum bestow monetary rewards he can use to save a beautiful slave, Gustina, from certain death by the beasts. She gives him a taste of love in a world full of lies, betrayal and murder.
But his overwhelming desire for vengeance, for blood and the kill, brings a higher price tag – can he satisfy the demon inside him and face the truth? A truth that will kill the woman he loves?
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Y4BzhU (paperback)
Gustina stood before him, terrified, angry and numb. As the door shut behind her, fear coiled down her back but she refused to acknowledge it. He was just another man. Like the rest. No better and no worse.
Ah, but he’s so much better looking, her mind teased. Still dressed in the pure white linen cloth, the folds placed so precisely over his cock, his skin weathered from hours spent outside in the sun, muscles rippling over his chest and stomach, he was a god. Apollo or maybe even Hercules. His bare feet rested on the dirt floor, corded tendons and contours ran up his legs. She couldn’t tear her gaze from him. He knew it, just sat and drank her in.
The puckered seam stood out on his chest and the scrape above it. His lower lip puffed slightly, as if he’d been beaten, but it was hard to tell when his square jaw ticked. Those brown eyes, dark, desire brewing at the surface.
The pull to him came from deep within. Her heart skipped a beat, the air in the cell became heavy and she couldn’t breathe. She tried to swallow but her mouth was too dry. Heat spiraled inside her, deep, pooling in her lower stomach. A small voice inside her screamed and fought for control—a control she could no longer maintain.
He exhaled, and she realized his tension matched her own. Strange, for this gladiator, this champion of death, to be tight because of her. That realization gave her strength to struggle from this quagmire of desire. Until he stood and took a step closer.
“I was sent to pleasure you,” she stated as brusquely as she could. Even she heard her voice hitch.
He smiled. Warm and intoxicating, with dimples. She felt like she was drowning.
“Truly?” he asked, his voice rich, deep and smooth like good wine.
“Yes,” she whispered. “Dominus said I am to see you satisfied.”
He laughed. Her toes curled at the heat rolling off him, covering her. “And what do you want?” His seductive voice broke her defenses and lulled her into his arms. He bent his head to kiss her.