I am so excited to have historical fiction author, Elisabeth Storrs on the blog today to tell us about her inspirations behind her latest book…
Call To Juno
"An elegant, impeccably researched exploration of early Rome and their lesser known enemies, the Etruscans… Elisabeth Storrs weaves a wonderful tale!"
Kate Quinn, author of The Empress of Rome Saga
Four unforgettable characters are tested during a war between Rome and Etruscan Veii.
Caecilia has long been torn between her birthplace of Rome and her adopted city of Veii. Yet faced with mounting danger to her husband, children, and Etruscan freedoms, will her call to destroy Rome succeed?
Pinna has clawed her way from prostitute to the concubine of the Roman general Camillus. Deeply in love, can she exert her own power to survive the threat of exposure by those who know her sordid past?
Semni, a servant, seeks forgiveness for a past betrayal. Will she redeem herself so she can marry the man she loves?
Marcus, a Roman tribune, is tormented by unrequited love for another soldier. Can he find strength to choose between his cousin Caecilia and his fidelity to Rome?
Who will overcome the treachery of mortals and gods?
There would be few people who haven’t heard of the famous siege of Troy. The exploits of the heroic Achilles, Hector, Agamemnon and Menelaus have been retold for thousands of years. So too the infamy of Helen and Paris, the lovers who sparked the war.
However, there was another siege that lasted a decade. A conflict known only to those who are aware of an obscure episode in Roman history. It was a war fought between Rome and the Etruscan city of Veii. However, unlike the Greeks who sailed over the sea to battle the Trojans, the Romans only ventured twelve miles across the Tiber River to attack the Veientanes. Yet despite being close neighbours, the enemies were from opposing worlds so different were their customs and beliefs. For the nascent Republican Rome was austere and insular compared to the sophisticated Etruscans with their vast trading empire. And while Roman women were second class citizens, Etruscan women were granted independence, education and sexual freedom.
My interest in these contrasting civilisations was piqued more than 15 years ago when I discovered a photo of a 6th century BC sarcophagus depicting a life size couple embracing on their bed. The casket was unusual for that period because women were not usually commemorated in funerary art. Discovering more about the ancient society that portrayed such tender affection led me to the world of the Etruscans and the Tales of Ancient Rome.
As in the Iliad, the fates of the characters in my saga are entwined around those of two lovers who are blamed for starting the war: the Roman treaty bride, Caecilia, who comes to love an enemy nobleman, Vel Mastarna, whom she is forced to marry in The Wedding Shroud. Ultimately Caecilia must determine where her loyalties lie: her birthplace or her husband’s city. Yet her decision to forsake Rome in The Golden Dice means she is perceived as an enemy by the Veientanes while knowing that, if Veii should fall, the Romans would execute her as a traitoress. In Call to Juno, Caecilia must summon even greater reserves of strength at the height of the siege to prove her loyalty to Mastarna’s people, and ensure the survival of her family.
The Golden Dice and Call to Juno continue Caecilia’s journey which begins in The Wedding Shroud but I’m sure readers will have no problem in following the plot whichever book they pick up first as I wrote each as a standalone novel. And to ensure both sides of the war are recounted, I introduced Pinna, a Roman tomb whore, into The Golden Dice. She is reduced to using coercion to escape her grim life but in the process falls in love with the Roman general who is besieging Veii. By following Caecilia and Pinna’s tales, the reader will not only learn about the battles fought between the warriors they love, but also understand the trials these women face in order to protect themselves and all those dear to them. Who will survive the treachery of mortals and gods?
About the author
Elisabeth Storrs has long had a passion for the history, myths and legends of the ancient world. She graduated from University of Sydney in Arts Law, having studied Classics. Elisabeth lives with her husband and two sons in Sydney, Australia, and over the years has worked as a solicitor, corporate lawyer and corporate governance consultant. She is one of the co-founders of the Historical Novel Society Australasia.
Feel free to connect with Elisabeth through her website or . You can find her on Facebook, Twitter @elisabethstorrs, Bookbub and Pinterest. Subscribe to her monthly Inspiration newsletter for inspirational interviews and insights into history - both trivia and the serious stuff! You’ll receive a free 80 page short story, Dying for Rome: Lucretia’s Tale.