Today I am talking with author Minnette Meador. She has written quite a few books but the one I am talking about in this interview is The Centurion and The Queen. This is a tantalizing historical romance that will captivate you. But now to asking some questions.
First of all, when writing this story, how much research did you do?
Thank you so much for inviting me. I LOVE CTR! Ok, so research…I’ve been studying Roman history since college, but I’m strictly a “closet” historian ~LOL~ I had to do quite a bit of research for this one, especially about Roman occupation of Britannia and the lives of the Breton Celts.
Is there one thing you learned that completely fascinated you?
Many things fascinated me. One was the freedom and rights Breton women had during this time. They were free to choose a man, rule their respective tribes, and lead their people. Discovering that Roman soldiers served for 25 years and could not marry during that time was a bit of a shocker, too, although many of them took common wives and had children. Their sons would not receive citizenship status until the soldier’s term of service was up. Women, of course, could not be citizens at all. This made wonderful stuff for conflict in the book. Romans had a definite attitude about women that I’m sure riled the Bretons no end.
Was it difficult to write about the war between the Bretons and the Romans?
The conflict between Boudicca and her warriors and the Romans was bloody, violent, and conclusive. The most difficult part was trying to show both sides of the conflict…I worked very hard to give a face to both the Bretons and the Romans stationed on Britannia. There are good guys and bad guys on both sides. It was hard to find a balance sometimes as this was a very brutal time in history…I did not sugar coat it. However, the harsh realities of this conflict make the romance even more poignant, I think.
Did you ever just want to give up on this story?
This was one of those VERY rare times when the story smacked into my head all at once (gave me a heck of a headache!) and demanded I write it. I didn’t have time to ever give up on it. ~LOL~
Out of all the characters, did you have a favorite and why?
Marius is my favorite character in the book, although Delia is right next to him. He is definitely an alpha male, strong, certain, calculating, even cold at times, but there is a moral center and deep compassion in him, too. He does his duty, but his duty does not run him. I love that he is upholding the better principals of Rome rather than just blindly following orders. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also drop dead gorgeous, with a body sculpted by 25 years of rigorous training, and Italian! ~LOL~
Do you have a job other than writing?
I am an instruction assistant at my local elementary school. I teach remedial reading, writing, and math in the Resource Room to kids who need an extra boost.
Is there any type of writing that you have not done yet and what is it?
I’d love to write a mystery, but that’s a ways down the list. I’ve got a paranormal, an erotic comedy, and a thriller in the works next.
I noticed that there is going to be a sequel who are the main characters and can you tell us a little bit about it?
The sequel is called The Breton & The General and should be out this summer. It is about the aftermath of the Boudicca revolt when Governor General Suetonius begins the elimination of the Bretons in retribution for their revolt. Marius and Delia find themselves in the middle of the conflict, trying desperately to save the Breton from extinction. Delia’s beautiful cousin shows up and drives a wedge between them that causes Marius to…but I’ve said enough. ~LOL~
Is there anyone dead or alive, that you would like to meet or maybe have met?
Piers Anthony, Spider Robinson, Agamemnon, Constantine, Julius Caesar
Any advice you can give to new writers?
This is always what I tell new writers…my “8 Points.” I’m still learning myself, so this list is constantly growing:
- Writing is 10% writing and 90% editing. Edit 'til you can't stand the thing, then do it three more times. Then have someone else edit it and then go through it three more times after that. You should be there when you start to change words BACK to what they used to be. Here’s a good example; I edited this email for three hours before I was almost satisfied. You know you’re a writer when...you edit your IMs and text messages.
- Get yourself a critiquing partner and a set of beta readers (family does nicely, especially if you have older kids...they do owe you; friends and co-worker are always good). LISTEN to what they have to say and be prepared for criticism. That’s what you don’t pay them for. A critiquing partner is absolutely an imperative and there are lots of groups out there that can help you find one...www.critters.org comes readily to mind, but there are many out there. Check in your genre. Or join a writing class in your community...that’s where my fabulous, wonderful, adorable partner came from.
- Take classes, join associations, join groups, get involved in the writer's community (it's huge) and contribute to it. Harder to do than you think, believe me.
- Be prepared to spend every waking hour on your dream and even some of your sleeping ones. The muse doesn't rest...at least until you need her, which leads me to...
- DON'T RELY ON THE MUSE TO HELP YOU. (S)he will always let you down when you need her/him most. Being a published writer does not take inspiration, it takes dedication. You cannot wait until the art moves you...art is a lazy, drunken sod sometimes and it’s up to you to move it along. Hardest thing to do as a writer is to keep going. There are lots of tips on how to break writer’s block out there. The best advice I ever received? Get off your ass and hit those keys (or move that pen, if you’re a purest) - who cares what you write, just write.
- Be kind, be loving, live well, and treat others well. When you critique someone or even give them an opinion of their work, keep in mind yours is (or will be) in another's hands one day. Creation is a fragile thing and easily destroyed...look at an egg sometime. I know; I shelved writing for twenty years because of a criticism. I regret it to this day.
- You must develop a thick skin for this business...the whole “slings & arrows” thing. Not everyone is going to like your work....not everyone appreciates the hours that went into its creation...not everyone is kind. A gentle grace is needed to be a writer, I think...swear and punch through walls when you get home, but keep in mind it’s only one person’s opinion. You can choose to agree...or not. Did I mention this profession takes a bit of ego, as well?
- There is no reward without sacrifice. When you see your name in print, the paperback crushed in your trembling hands, I promise, it will be worth all the pain. All you have to do then is write the next one...
Anything else you would like to let us know?
Just that I love hearing from readers and getting input. You can always contact me at my email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) . I really appreciate the opportunities here at CTR and want to thank you for all the wonderful support you give to authors. We love you!
Thank you so very much for taking the time to answer my questions. I appreciate it and I hope you have great success in your endeavors. The Centurion and the Queen is a book that will please those that love steamy romance to historical nuts. I was impressed with the balance between the two and recommend this book.