Florida native Carla Capshaw always dreamed of being a writer and world traveler, she followed her wanderlust around the globe before beginning work on her first novel. A two-time Rita nominee, she's found inspirational historical romance is the perfect vehicle to combine lush settings, vivid characters and a Christian worldview. Currently at work on her next novel, she still lives in Florida, but is always planning her next trip…and plotting her next story. Carla loves to hear from readers. You can learn more at http://www.carlacapshaw.com/. To contact her, visit her Web site or write: Carla@carlacapshaw.com
Narelle: In The Protector, Quintus Ambustus is enslaved because he’s a Christian. How did the Roman’s treat their slaves and Christians?
Carla: From what I’ve learned in my research, Romans enslaved people for a whole slew of reasons. If someone wasn’t born into slavery, he might be carted off if his country or tribe were conquered by the Roman army. Sometimes poor families sold their own children. It also seems it was pretty common for slave traders to buy and sell those condemned to prison or death. As far as how slaves were treated, it most likely depended on who owned them. But even if a master were a fair one, the slave was chattel. Literally, he was considered sub-human and property just as if he were an animal. A master had the right to use, abuse and even kill a slave if he liked. The thing that most people might not realize is that Christians were criminals not for being religious but because they were considered seditious. Romans worshiped their emperors as a god and Christians, of course, believe in Jesus. By refusing to worship the emperor, Christians were declaring their loyalty to something other than the Roman state, which made them traitors worthy of death.
Narelle: What do you find most fascinating about Ancient Rome?
Carla: So many things! They were so emotional and colorful. They were excellent engineers and inventors. They valued art, beauty and music. They were extreme—perfect inspiration for storytelling :-)
Narelle: Please share with us a few of your research tips. Have you visited the settings in your books?
Carla: Yes. I like to visit the places I’m writing about because it gives the imaginary story and people in my head a foundation in the real world. By traveling to Italy to research my Gladiator series or South Carolina to research The Duke’s Redemption, I was able to see the actual places my characters would have seen and touched and experienced. It helps me make my characters more ‘real’ because I can write some of my own experiences through them.
Narelle: Do many real life historical figures play a role in your books?
Carla: Not usually unless it’s to give the reader more clarity on the timeline of the story. To be honest, I don’t think it’s fair to a historical person to make them an actual character in a work of fiction. I’d feel like I was putting words into their mouth or making them act in a way that might not be true to who they were.
Narelle: I love how you create compelling conflict between your hero and heroine in your books. At the start of your stories, it seems nearly impossible for your hero and heroine to overcome all the obstacles in their path and live happily ever after. For example, in The Gladiator, Caros was a once legendary gladiator who murdered Christians in the pits of Rome’s Colosseum, and Pelonia was a Christian who was sold into slavery by her uncle and purchased by Caros. Please give us an insight into the struggles Quintus and Adiona face in The Protector.
Carla: On the surface, Quintus and Adiona are my most unlikely pair so far. Quintus is a Christian who was sentenced to death for his beliefs. While waiting for execution, he was sold to a slave trader, then to a gladiator school. He has to earn his freedom. Adiona is a socialite, who hides a lifetime of pain behind a mask of indifference and a lot of attitude. She has good reasons to hate men and has sworn them off for good. Unfortunately for her, she can’t shake her attraction to Quintus. Quintus is hugely attracted to Adiona, but doesn’t want anything to do with her for several good reasons of his own.
When someone tries to assassinate Adiona, Quintus is made her bodyguard. Adiona has to leave Rome and Quintus accompanies her for protection. Away from the intrigues of Rome and the differences in their social status, they’re finally able to learn the truth about one another and what’s really important to each of them.
Narelle: The Protector is your second Love Inspired Historical release set in Ancient Rome. Please tell us about your upcoming releases. Are you writing more books set in Rome?
Carla: I’m currently on my last Roman book in this series. It’s my last one in this time period for a little while. I hope to start work on a Victorian series next.
Carla, thanks for joining us today. I really enjoyed reading The Gladiator and The Duke’s Redemption. The Gladiator is a double finalist in Romance Writers of America 2010 RITA® Awards in the Inspirational and Best First Book categories - congrats Carla! I’m looking forward to reading The Protector (it should arrive in the mail this week!).
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To learn more about Carla Capshaw and her books, please visit her website.
Narelle Atkins writes contemporary inspirational romance. She resides in Canberra, Australia with her husband and children. To learn more about Narelle, please visit her website.