A message from the author:
I think journalists are drawn to fiction, in part, because of the strictures of their own medium. Journalism is almost always information driven, and a news or feature story is only as good as its sources. While fiction—especially historical fiction—relies on information and research, its character sources are fictive. For the journalist who turns to fiction it is rather liberating to have sources say exactly what one wants them to say (and if you decide to change their words you don’t have to phone them back). Of course, as all fiction writers discover, characters—once created — take on a certain life of their own. They will, on occasion, dig in their heels and refuse to say what you want them to say (just like real sources).
I have always had a certain passion for the ancient Romans, in part because my father thought that reading Edward Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” when I was a young teen would be good for me (at the time I was not convinced, but my father was a persuasive man). Later, as I studied anthropology, I became
interested in Roman social structure. Writing about military affairs kindled my interest in the Roman Army: much of modern military organization was invented by the Romans. Why the “Middle Empire?” Because in many ways this little understood period parallels the experiences of modern empires, including the U.S.
The focus on Hispania (Rome’s name for the peninsula) comes from a trip I took to Spain in 2000. Driving toward Segovia, I got lost and ended up stumbling upon a Roman city in the middle of nowhere. The image of those ruins amidst the rolling hills of the Meseta stuck with me, and I began writing Hispania in 2003. I have condensed some history here and there in the series, and, of course, my major characters are fiction, but the books are as accurate as I could make them. Yes, the Lusitanians were fine horsemen. Yes, there were four Mauri (the Greek name for the Berbers) tribes. And the Franks might well have taken Tarraco.
I invite you to read on with me!