I’m very excited to welcome Christina Phillips to my blog today. Her new book FORBIDDEN will be released Tuesday, 7th September. FORBIDDEN is an Ancient Historical Romance that’s hotter than hot. I’ve always been a bit of a history nut and the Romans just seem to encapsulate the essence of powerful warriors. Christina’s hero, Maximus, leaps off the page, sword raised, just begging to be taken home 🙂 He’s gorgeous! I can’t wait to read the whole book… sigh…
Christina, a quick google search reveals there aren’t many Ancient Historical Romances out on the shelves. (I did find a wonderful B&B in the heart of Rome called Ancient Romance as a bonus!) The term sums up your writing perfectly. Can you tell us about the era in which you’ve set Forbidden?
Hi Helene, thank you so much for having me on your blog today and for that absolutely fantastic introduction! I would be delighted to tell you a little about the era in which FORBIDDEN is set.
The year is AD 50. The Romans have occupied Britain for the last seven years, but have their eye on conquering the western peninsula and claiming the rich mineral deposits of Cymru (modern day Wales). The Roman Emperor, Claudius, was also obsessed with eliminating all trace of Druids throughout his Empire which as it happens fitted in with my plot perfectly!
(I love the sound of that B&B in Rome!! I wonder if I could visit and claim it as a tax deduction for research??)
I think you definitely should visit the B&B and there’s no way the taxman could prove it wasn’t research 😉 Was history your favourite subject at school? Where did the passion for ancient Rome come from?
I did love history at school, and along with English it was my favourite subject. Although having said that I never got very excited by the Agricultural or Industrial Revolutions! But give me the Tudors, the Plantagenets, Saxons, Vikings and Romans and I was enthralled. Given how much I loved reading historical novels while I was growing up, you’d think I would have gravitated towards writing them a lot sooner than I did (it took me nine years of writing with the aim of publication before I realized!!)
I was born in England, so was lucky enough to visit lots of fabulous historical sites as a child (not that I appreciated them at the time. I could kick myself now!) I’d always been fascinated by the Romans, and remember watching I, Claudius as a very young child and being completed captivated/scandalized by it all!!! But it wasn’t until very recently I decided to try and write a book set in that era and the reason I did was because Maximus and Carys (and the deliciously bad villain, Aeron) literally fell into my head one night and refused to go away!
Concentrating with a head full of gorgeous men must have been very difficult…How much real history drives the direction of your story?
The books in the Forbidden series do incorporate a thread of what I like to call “earth magic” – my Druids believe in thepower of their gods and goddesses and when those deities are crossed then watch out world. However, when it comes to actual dates and events I tried very hard to stick to known facts.
For instance, the Romans first invaded Cymru in AD 50, so that’s the year I set my book. They faced fierce and ongoing resistance from the local tribes and happily for me this fit my purposes (this continues in Captive, book two in the series). Wales, and especially the Isle of Anglesey situated off the north-west coast, were known Druid strongholds which again was perfect for my plot.
I lived in North Wales for a few months and was captivated by the wild beauty – perfect setting for your stories. I love your Historical Bits and Pieces page on your website. You clearly did a lot of research for your story. How did you approach that? Was it organic or more systematic?
Thank you, Helene! With the research, a lot of it was organic but with things like the hierarchy of the Roman Legions I researched that before I started, just so I had it straight in my own mind, even if little of it made it onto the actual page. I researched the Celtic gods and goddesses and the little we know of the Druid culture. And there’s the thing – we don’t know that much about the Druids because all their knowledge was handed down through oral teachings. So I managed to have a lot of fun there!
Call stories are always inspirational. What was yours?
I’d been writing for nine years before I sold a couple of erotic novelettes to The Wild Rose Press. It was funny, because until then I had never written a short (or an erotic) story, but the combination of a darker premise combined with the erotic element seemed to hit the right note. After I sold my second novelette I decided to push myself by writing a full length erotic romance and just to make things nice and complicated I’d set it during the first century AD – my first historical!
It took nine months to finish Forbidden. I sent queries out to twelve agents, and a month to the day I queried my agent she offered representation. I didn’t sleep at all that night!!
Three months later we had a two book deal from Berkley Heat.
What a wonderful story, Christina!! How have you found the publishing process since then?
Honestly, it’s everything and more than I dreamed about. And even on the bad days, when all I want to do is crawl under a rock and hide, I soon make myself snap out of it. Because really, this is what I’ve been working towards since April 1999 and I’m determined to enjoy every step of the journey as much as I can possibly can.
Where to next?
I’ve just finished a historical romance set in a different century that I’m very excited about. I have everything crossed that might be the start of a new series. I’ve also written two outlines for two further books in the Forbidden series, and we’re waiting to hear back on them.
Good luck with those submissions, Christina!
And for one lucky visitor, Christina is giving away a copy of FORBIDDEN. Tell us who your favourite Ancient Hero is and go into the running!! Alexander the Great gets my vote:-)
We’ll announce the winner Friday night 3rd September.
Click on the trailer below for details of Christina’s Blog party for the launch of FORBIDDEN – It’s tomorrow on the 1st September so make sure to drop round and join in the fun.
Born in the UK, Christina met her very own hero when she was just fifteen, was married at twenty and went on to have three wonderful children. To get her through her driving test after baby #2 was born, she wrote a couple of romances to keep her mind off reversing round corners. It turned out to be a very good diversionary tactic but unfortunately all she received in the mail were form rejections from Harlequin Mills and Boon (she did pass her driving test though, so there was some method in her madness).
“After moving to Australia in December 1998 she decided to get serious about her writing and joined the eHarlequin community. It was there she hooked up with her fabulous CPs. These girls not only help keep her sane but share her love of gossiping on IM, drooling over hot heroes and wearing glittery tiaras at romance conferences.
Christina is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia, RWA Paranormal Group, RWA Historical Group and RWNZ. She is also a part of the editorial team for the RWA’s monthly newsletter, Hearts Talk.”
32 thoughts on “Forbidden”
Yikes, Cathy, that sounds painful 🙂 And seeing as how I was several days late all too frightening.
—and if it’s not done by sunrise I’ll cut your Balls off! 🙂
Helene, thank you so much for hosting me this week! And thank you to everyone who stopped by for such a lovely chat 🙂 We’ll be picking a winner for a copy of FORBIDDEN later today!
Hmm, Alice, the Spartans were very impressive warriors! I didn’t see The 300 but Gerard Butler would make a fine King Leonidas 🙂
Off to Christina’s launch party now to see what’s going on.
Hi Louisa! thanks for dropping by. I love Wales and have been lucky enough to visit several times – we used to holiday there when I was a child, and then when I was 18 we stayed on the Isle of Anglesey. I’d love to go back again!
Hi Alice! Oh yes, got to agree with Leonidas. And lol, I hadn’t come across the 6-pack toten before but it totally fits the gorgeous Gerard!! Thanks for stopping by!
Helene, thanks so much for having me over this week! It’s been such fun chatting about hot heroes 🙂 One of my fave subjects in fact!!!
Great interview H & C.
One of my favourite ancient heroes would have to be the Spartan King Leonidas (IMO very ably played in ‘The 300′ by 6-pack toten’ Gerard Butler!).
Christina, thanks for being a wonderful guest. Can’t wait to read more about gorgeous Maximus. Enjoy FORBIDDEN’S launch party today!
We’ll leave the blog open until Friday before we announce the lucky winner.
For more chances to win fab prizes drop by http://www.christinaphillips.com 🙂
Hi Louisa, thanks for dropping by! With your Welsh ancestry you’ll love FORBIDDEN:-)
One of the things that drove me nuts when I was studying Anc Hist at school was the way different cultures had different names for the same hero…. Ulysses/Odysseus same persistent guy with brains, guile and a whole lot of honour plus a wife he clearly loved. It used to do my head in at exam time…
Sue, Sean Connery is gorgeous- ageing gracefully into Ancient Hero:-) Thanks for visiting!
Eleni, Odysseus and his Trojan Horse – a very clever hero as well as persistent! And you’re off to WorldCon!!! Have fun 🙂
Great interview, ladies. Thanks Pixie Sister for bringing another great unique historical author to my attention. I LOVE the Romans. And as a woman of Welsh ancestry (my father was three quarters Welsh and a quarter English) I have always been fascinated with the history of that wild and wonderful country.
I have to go with Ulysses. Smart, trying his best to get home to his wife, looked after his men as best he could. Definitely hero material!
Hi Eleni! I love Odysseus, and still remember my utter shock when, as a child after first hearing the story, I discovered it took him 10 years to get home! For some reason that always stuck in my mind – probably because 10 years is an impossibly long time when you’re only ten!! Thanks for dropping by, have a fab time at WorldCon4!!
Lovely interview ladies!
I’ve always loved Odysseus – smart, athletic, and trying to get back home. I remember seeing Amand Assante play him a few years back. *Sigh*
Hahahah, Sandy, I’m still giggling that you thought I meant Clive James! Though I can definitely see him in The Life of Brian!!!
Hi Sue! Ooh yes, Sean Connery and that yummy accent… lol on him being an ancient hero!!! I like that 🙂 Thanks for dropping by!!
Hi my favourite hero is Sean Connery – I think he is old enough to be called an ancient Hero now 🙂
Definitely more Life of Brian!
In fact, I can just see Clive James in Monty Python’s the life of Brian.
No, CJ doesn’t have the JC look, but I bet he could talk the Romans around or at least have them in fits of laughter! 🙂
Ah, Bacchus, the grape-haired one.
Snort! Clive James would be a very droll JC, but the bald patch, the paunch and those ears just wouldn’t work for me 😀
Oh Lord, I just had a senior moment, Christina. You said Clive Owen and I pictured Clive James! LOL. I thought, nah and then I realised Clive OWEN, oh yeah!
Anita, Hercules was always one of my favourites! Our dog is called Zeus because of my obsession with Greek mythology… He was the bossiest little staffy in the litter 🙂
Sandy, we can talk about your favourite historical food if you like? One of those Bacchus inspired feasts perhaps???
And yes, Christina, Clive Owens would do a fine job if playing Jesus! The man has presence!!
Hi Anita! Well I don’t think we can go wrong with Hercules!!! And I bet he could give Maximus a run for the money with his biceps too *hehehehe!!!* Thanks for stopping by!
Hi Sandy! I absolutely agree with you. Jesus Christ is the ultimate hero – a man who wasn’t afraid to stand up for what he believed in, despite the prejudices of his time. I can totally see Sam or Brad playing him (in fact I can see Clive Owen playing him!) Thanks for your good wishes!
Hi Christina and Helene,
Good luck with your historical submissions Christina. This is going to sound terribly pious – it isn’t meant to be, but my favourite hero from those times would be Jesus Christ. Not because he’s purported to be the son of God, but because of his qualities as a man. Definitely a man before his time, a man of vision, passion and compassion. I wonder if Brad or Sam would consider playing that role?
Helene, this is a sad state of affairs! You do realise that every blog you’ve had pertaining to food has gone ballistic and here we are talking heroes and, well, let’s say things could improve. Deary, deary me.
Oh my! I’m with you on the arms, Anita, especially Christina’s hero.
Hi Christina and Helene, it’s hard to choose one but of late I’ve been reading (over and over) the children’s version of Hercules to the kids. So he’d have to be my pick at the moment.
Although, your ancient hero on your Forbidden cover is pretty hot, Christina (I’ve always had a thing for arms ).
Helene, it does!! although I still find those scenes very emotionally draining they don’t take me as long to actually write now as they used to. Which is probably just as well!!
Hi Kylie, what a good question! Sam Worthington would be perfect as Maximus 🙂
Christina, does the erotic romance get less exhausting the more you write? All sounds very physical… I’d need to sit down with a long cold drink and the aircon on full blast after all that action…
Kylie, when I started writing eleven years ago my love scenes were very sweet, but with every book I wrote those scenes got progressively hotter.
About four and a half years ago, round about the time I began writing paranormal romance, the bedroom door never closed 🙂 So my fabbo CPs suggested I try writing an erotic romance.
I resisted for about five minutes (since I had always maintained writing erotic romance was far too exhausting) but when I actually sat down to write “Foretaste of Forever” as an erotic romance (prior to that it had been a very short story I’d written based on a recurring dream) I discovered I *loved* it.
I also love how they’re releasing movies about the ancient heroes – and I wouldn’t say no if they wanted to cast Sam as Maximus!!!!!
Helene, thank you so much for having me over today!
Hi Linda! Thanks for stopping by! Ooh yes, I definitely agree with Achilles, and as luck would have it Brad Pitt in that role is stopping by for the party later in the week!!!
Hi Tracey! Thanks for popping in – it’s very exciting! 🙂
Hi Helene & Christina, great interview! I’m always interested in the authors who might have influenced you as a writer. Christina, you mentioned not ever having written erotic romances until the short stories – how did that come about? Was there someone/something that influenced you? Was it an “easy” fit or did your style progress the more you write in this genre?
As for ancient heroes – I love that they’re releasing movies about some of them ie. Achilles, Perseus, Paris, Hector, Hercules, Iolus, Ares etc. Have to admit in its time I did enjoy the tv series of Hercules and loved Ares in Xena, but Sam Worthington as Perseus (or him as any other character for that matter) is my new favourite.
I wonder if they’ll ever make a Celtic legend based movie?
Ah yes, Linda, Brad was a wonderful Achilles!! Those biceps were stunning 🙂
Hi Tracey, it’s very exciting!!!
OMG – it’s almost here – so very excited.
My favorite ancient hero would be Achilles, probably because of Brad Pitt in Troy.
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