Welcome to the Riptide Publishing / Lisa Henry blog tour for He Is Worthy, part of the Warriors of Rome collection now available. The collection is available for pre-order here, as a collection or individually, and all pre-orders enter you in a drawing to win a Nook Simple Touch. So let's get right to the fun today....
Thanks for having me on Words of Wisdom! It’s great to be here. I was really worried I couldn’t think of anything to write for this guest post that was related to Ancient Rome in any way…then I ended up talking up Papua New Guinea instead. So rather than try and explain that thought process, here goes:
I’m sitting in front of my computer, trying to write a blog post that has something to do with Ancient Rome. The shelves behind me are stacked with reference books. A lot of them are about Rome. A lot of them are about Victorian England. A lot of them are about the First World War. A whole shelf is devoted to the Pacific. I don’t know why I’m drawn to these subjects over all others. I can’t answer that any more than I can tell you why I like green over blue, or strawberry milk over chocolate.
I love history. I haven’t always loved studying history—that came much later—but I’ve always loved the retelling of it. When I was a kid, I devoured stories. Still do, in fact. And you know what? History is every story ever told, all of them just waiting to get discovered.
I spent a few years growing up in Papua New Guinea. This doesn’t have much to do with Ancient History, but maybe everything to do with storytelling. New Guinea has a tradition of oral history. When my family first moved there, I was too young to go to school. I spent my days wandering the neighbourhood wearing only my underpants, a banana leaf on my head to keep the rain off, scrounging food off the neighbours. My parents were so proud.
My roaming companion and best friend Oplika Spot lived down the street. He was a dog. He lived next door to my sister’s friend Diane. Diane lived with her parents and her grandma. Grandma used to cook over a fire pit in the backyard. She was from somewhere up in the mountains—I never figured out exactly where, because she didn’t speak much English and my Tok Pisin wasn’t great at that stage—but Oplika Spot and I spent hours each day with her. I peeled cooking bananas and Oplika Spot watched the fire, and we both listened to the stories that she told. My favourites started with “Wanpela taim…”
Once upon a time…
It might seem a long way from New Guinea to Ancient Rome, but it’s not really. Stories lead to stories lead to stories.
I used to sit on the back stairs of our house and stare up into the mountains. They were covered with such thick jungle that you couldn’t see anything except the tangleddark green canopy of trees. Clouds clung to the mountaintops. I used to think they were made there in some underground factory inside the mountains and then pumped out into the sky. There was one mountain in particular that was always wreathed in cloud.
“That’s not a cloud, that’s smoke,” my mum told me. “Mount Bagana is a volcano.” We watched it for a while, and then she said, “The Romans had no word for volcano.”
My first Roman story, told to me on a cloudy tropical day while thunder—and Mount Bagana—rumbled in the distance.
Mum told me everything she could remember about Pompeii, and I soaked it up.
A few days later I sat in Diane’s backyard, wearing my banana leaf to keep off the rain, and told Diane’s grandma all about these people from wanpela taim who didn’t even know what a volkeno was until i go KABOOM!
And Diane’s grandma clicked her tongue and shook her head at the Romans’ignorance, and gave me and Oplika Spot some roasted taro to share.
Rome, 68 A.D. Novius Senna is one of the most feared men in Rome. He’s part of the emperor’s inner circle at a time when being Nero’s friend is almost as dangerous as being his enemy. Senna knows that better men than he have been sacrificed to Nero’s madness—he’s the one who tells them to fall on their swords. He hates what he’s become to keep his family safe. He hates Nero more.
Aenor is a newly-enslaved Bructeri trader, brutalized and humiliated for Nero’s entertainment. He’s homesick and frightened, but not entirely cowed. He’s also exactly what Senna has been looking for: a slave strong enough to help him assassinate Nero.
It’s suicide, but it’s worth it. Senna yearns to rid Rome of a tyrant, and nothing short of death will bring him peace for his crimes. Aenor hungers for revenge, and dying is his only escape from Rome’s tyranny. They have nothing left to lose, except the one thing they never expected to find—each other.
You can buy He Is Worthy or read an excerpt here.
Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house a long-suffering partner, too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.
Every comment on this blog tour enters you in the draw for a copy of Lisa's two previous eBooks—Tribute and The Island—and a $10 Riptide Publishing credit.
-Giveaway is OPEN TO EVERYONE.
-To be entered, leave a comment, along with your email addy.
-A winner will be chosen randomly from all comments made throughout the tour, so the more you comment the greater your chances of winning. A list of all participating blogs can be found here.
-Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM CST on 11/18.