Tuesday 12 September 2017

In the time of the Theodosians #GuestPost #HistFic @hfvbt @faithljustice

Book Blast ~ Historical Virtual Book Tour Presents....

The Twilight Express 

By Faith L. Justice

Twilight Empress tells the little-known story of a remarkable woman—Galla Placidia, sister to one of the last Roman Emperors. Roman princess, Gothic captive and queen—Placidia does the unthinkable—she rules the failing Western Roman Empire—a life of ambition, power and intrigue she doesn’t seek, but can’t refuse. Her actions shape the face of Western Europe for centuries.
A woman as well as an Empress, Placidia suffers love, loss, and betrayal. Can her strength, tenacity and ambition help her survive and triumph over scheming generals, rebellious children, and Attila the Hun? Or will the Dark Ages creep closer and bring down the Empire?

The Theodosians Are Here!
By Faith Justice

Why do some historical fiction writers (and readers) specialize in the Tudors, or World War II, or medieval Japan? After all, if you put a timeline on the wall and throw a dart, it would make no difference what year you hit—people somewhere would be creating art and culture, innovating in crafts and science, warring over territory and religion, fighting diseases and natural disasters. Down through the ages, people love one another, give birth, and betray each other; work, create, and explore—the stuff of life and fiction.

Like a lot of history geeks, over a long lifetime, I’ve been obsessed by a few time periods. I went through an ancient Greek/Roman/Egyptian phase, American Revolution/Civil War/Expansionist phase, and—yes—a Plantagenet/Tudor phase. During those explorations, I was always drawn to stories of strong women: Sappho the poet, Hatshepsut the Pharaoh, Boudica of the Iceni, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Mary and Elizabeth Tudor. Many of these women were immortalized in Judy Chicago's ground-breaking feminist art exhibit "The Dinner Party" which I attended in 1980. So I was surprised when I ran across a woman whose story I didn't know—Hypatia, the Lady Philosopher of Alexandria. The accompanying Dinner Party catalog made much of the fact that she was a pagan woman mathematician and astronomer murdered by a Christian mob in AD 415.

Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party ~ Wikipedia

I realized I knew next to nothing about this turbulent time period and embarked on a journey to learn as much as I could. The 5th Century was particularly violent: the Huns forced other barbarian tribes west into Roman territory, the Christian Church underwent convulsive birth pangs as it emerged from a century of internal conflict to become a potent political force, and the political power that was Rome stumbled, mortally wounded by internal corruption and external invasion. This was the century of the Fall of Western Rome and the birth of the Eastern Byzantine Empire. For a writer and history buff, it was a treasure trove of untold stories and unexplored history. What was not to like?

As I researched Hypatia's life and times, I came across other remarkable (and little known) women and their stories: Placidia, sister to Emperor Honorius who was captured by the Goths when they took Rome in 410, married their king and ruled the Western Empire for over twenty years; her niece Pulcheria who—at the tender age of fifteen!—proclaimed herself Regent for her younger brother Theodosius II and co-ruled with him for much of his reign; Athenais, a young pagan beauty who captured the heart of “The Most Christian Emperor” and contended with Pulcheria for influence over Theodosius. They were all wonderfully complex, compelling stories of powerful women set in this time of turbulence and change just waiting for a writer to discover them and bring them out of the shadows.

I wrote Hypatia's story in my first novel and Placidia's in my current book Twilight Empress. I hope to have Pulcheria’s and Athenais’ stories out in the next couple of years. When I first pitched my 5th Century novels, I got a lot of enthusiastic praise from agents and publishers, usually followed by, “But no one is interested in this time period. Do you have any books about the Tudors?” I didn’t and probably never will. I'm hoping readers are becoming just a little bored with the Tudors and their era. Maybe they're ready for something different, but equally fascinating: the Theodosians, barbarians at the gates, and the Fall of Rome.

© 2017 Faith L. Justice

Links for Purchase


About the author
Faith L. Justice is a science geek and history junkie, which is reflected in her writing. Her short stories and poems have appeared in such publications as “The Copperfield Review”, “Beyond Science Fiction and Fantasy”, and the “Circles in the Hair” anthology. Faith has published in such venues as “Salon.com”, “Writer’s Digest”, “The Writer”, and “Bygone Days”. She’s an Associate Editor for “Space & Time Magazine”, a frequent contributor to “Strange Horizons”, and co-founded a writer’s workshop more years ago than she cares to admit.

To contact Faith, read her essays and interviews, or get a sneak preview of her historical novels, visit her website at www.faithljustice.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

 Twilight Empress: A Novel of Imperial Rome
by Faith L. Justice
Publication Date: May 12, 2017

Raggedy Moon Books

eBook & Print; 392 Pages
Series: The Theodosian Women, Book 1
Genre: Fiction/Historical/Action & Adventure


  1. What a fascinating post! Thank you for sharing and good luck with the rest of the tour!

  2. What a great post, thank you Faith! And a huge thanks to Mary for sharing this with her lovely readers!

    HF Virtual Book Tours


See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx