It’s always so exciting to have a new author in the Tearoom. Today’s guest is Ms. Eva Scott, debut author and romance writer, water baby, mother and wife. She and I share a love of research, especially about odd topics, so when I heard about a chance to interview her for her upcoming historical romance release, The Last Gladiatrix, I jumped at the chance to have her visit.
Welcome, Eva! it’s so great to have you at Teatime Romance today. Would you mind answering our traditional question first? Your house is on fire. Which five novels do you grab on your way out?
What an excellent question! Let’s see…would have to be (in no particular order of importance) The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, The House of Pooh by A.A. Milne, Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein and finally I think I’d have to take with me My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. Something for every mood.
You mention on your website (www.evascottromance.com) that your “wall of books” contains “fact and fiction” about a variety of topics, the oldest from the early 1800’s. Dare we ask the topic of that aged text? Is it in a place of honor, never to be touched or do you use it? Might you have used it in any of your works to date or have plans to?
The book in question is called The Complete Angler and was originally written in the eighteenth century (couldnt afford a copy that old!). We have a copy that can be handled while the antique copy is put away in a look-dont-touch box. My husband collects books on angling, the older the better, so I’m not sure I will ever use it in any of my own work. One never knows…. [Note: One translation of this work was available as a free kindle download as of this writing.]
Romance writers seem to come from every background imaginable and yours seems to be no exception. With experience in health care and journalism, studies in archaeology, and now motherhood, you seem to have found a great mix of inspiration for romantic fiction. How did your work and academic backgrounds help you in writing your latest release, The Last Gladiatrix?
I think it helps me with my research. The whole act of researching and cataloging information can be daunting so it helps to have learnt how to do that during my academic career.
The Last Gladiatrix takes on an aspect of culture that’s more often found in science fiction literature: female warriors. How did you come upon the idea of Xanthe, the heroine, being the warrior instead of the more traditional male Colosseum fighter?
I wanted to look at Rome through ‘foreign’ eyes – as we might have seen it ourselves had we visited – so choosing a heroine from a different culture seemed the right thing to do. The legend of the Amazons has always intrigued me and I saw an opportunity to combine ancient Rome with an Amazon. Scythians, Sarmatians and Alans were thought to be the source of the legend of the Amazons mostly because their women fought side by side with the men.
It seems you have a penchant for immersing yourself in research. Your recent novel, The Last Gladiatrix, included research on every aspect of life during the Roman era, from fighting to time keeping, even makeup and beauty regimens. What was your favorite discovery in researching this romance? (I desperately want you to say food, as that’s my current Roman-related obsession, but don’t let me influence you.)
Roman food is fascinating (and not just a little bit horrifying as well). They used a sauce we know well – garum – to flavour their food. Breakfast was the big meal of the day and legend has it a Roman invented the omelet!
Your heroines … woof! So far I’ve discovered a burlesque dancer in T’was the Night Before Christmas, a florist in The Reluctant Wedding Planner, and your most recent, a feisty Roman-era arena fighter in The Last Gladiatrix (not to mention some upcoming works with a tribal queen and a cattle rancher). Good gravy, woman, how do you come up with these crazy awesome roles for your heroines?
I have no idea where they come from. I wake up in the morning and there they are! Sometimes I’ve read an article or seen a documentary and I get to wondering what would happen if I took a woman like that and….The next heroine is an ex-Lido dancer who tries her hand at farming – mostly using Google. You can guess the results.
What can you tell us about your writing process? Typewriter? Computer? Longhand? Wall of sticky notes? Spoken transcription? Do you begin with an idea of where a piece will end or do you just start?
The plotting and scene sketching all takes place by hand in a book dedicated to the task. Then from there its all on the laptop. The plot is a basic framework and sometimes changes – I’m not terribly strict about following it if the characters want to go off in a more interesting direction. Once they appear on the page they can take on a life of their own!
Can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects? What’s next for your writing? Any plans for series work?
I’m currently working on a follow up to The Last Gladiatrix called The Barbarian Bride. It follows the story of Klara, a minor character in the first book. I’m having a ball writing it! As long as people want to know what happened to some of the characters I’ll keep writing Roman romances.
How do you like your tea?
Traditional British builders tea for me! Strong and white.
Is there a question you’d like to ask me or our readers at Teatime Romance?
Do you prefer your heroes blonde or dark? Does it matter at all?
Personally, I prefer my heroes not blonde, which means they can range from sandy-haired to black as sin (mmm!). What about you, folks? Dark, blonde, ginger, other?
ABOUT THE LAST GLADIATRIX:
Captured and enslaved by a Roman legion, Xanthe never expects to end up training for the Coliseum floor, but every night after the day’s march, she is put through her paces by a Roman solider who challenges her, tests her, and excites her.
Titus is drawn to Xanthe, her fire and her spirit, so he breaks one of his rules and brings notice on himself, offering to train her as a gladiatrix to spare her a courtesan’s role. But training her, working with her, soon becomes too much. Titus knows the penalty for taking property that does not belong to him, but how long can he resist?
ABOUT EVA: Eva Scott lives on the Sunshine Coast, in Queensland Australia with her fabulous husband and gorgeous little boy. When she’s not writing romance you can find her out on the water kayaking, fishing or swimming. When on dry land it’s all about the shoes and the coffee.