Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Interview with Linda McMaken

You are releasing a new book. What is it about?

My latest book is a very different type of writing for me. The Granite Rose is a drama, I can't really call it a romance although there is a romance within it. It is set in ancient Rome A.D. 98 and historically recounts an accurate vision of the period. The emperor is Trajan and he rules a Rome at its height of power.

Dacia was a real kingdom and its ruler Decabalus was strong, determined and wanted his country free of Rome's rule. There were actually several battles between the two nations, the last one ending in the complete annihilation of Dacia. There is a column still standing in Rome called Trajan's Column that depicts the last battle.

In Romania, (what was Dacia) there is a huge stone monument to Decabalus. It's a rather fascinating moment in history. I took the moment and added a fictional hero and heroine to the mix.

Introduce us to your key characters. Are they patterned after anyone you know?

First is my hero, General Marcus Alexius. He is strong, he is handsome, he is a patriotic Roman general. A battled hardened general loyal to his emperor. Many in Rome think he is in line to be the next emperor, but he has no such delusions.

Sianna Cynara, the royal princess of Dacia is a young, beautiful, headstrong woman. She is too far ahead of her time and pays the price for that on many occasions. Her father is strong, and wants a Dacia that is not obligated to Rome. His method of gaining independence from Rome will cost him dearly.

Both of them have been severely emotionally wounded, Marcus by the murder of his brother, and Sianna by the murder of her mother.

The characters aren't based on anyone, although I had a really great fantasy of Russell Crowe's image floating in my head playing Marcus!

Fun! How about an exerpt to whet our appetite?

Exerpt: Granite Rose
They entered the villa, finding Trajan and Hadrian engaged in a heated argument, ending with Trajan throwing a goblet across the room.

Marcus entered first, keeping Sianna behind him.

"You," Trajan yelled, pointing as he walked toward her. "Dacian, I want to talk to you now." 

"What has happened Trajan?" Marcus asked, keeping himself between the raging emperor and Sianna.

"That barbarian Decebalus killed Longius." He grabbed her arm, jerking her out from behind Marcus. "Why Dacian?"

With Hadrian's help, Marcus wrenched Trajan's hand off her arm. The small struggle seemed to relax Trajan's temper. He stomped across the room. Sianna shuddered. Gods, could her father have betrayed her again? Could he have forfeited her life by killing the Roman?

"She was here, she had nothing to do with his murder," Hadrian pleaded.

"When did you receive word?" Marcus asked, helping Sianna to a chair. "Stay quiet, say nothing, understand?" he whispered to her.

"Tonight." Hadrian handed a rolled parchment to him. "Decebalus states he had him executed seven days ago when negotiations broke down."

"May I read it?" Sianna meekly asked.

"You have no right to read it, Dacian," Trajan yelled across the room.

Sianna stood up, scared and angry. "If my father is being accused of murder, I have every right to find out why." Her temper soared. If her life was already forfeit, she had no reason to hold her tongue.

She took the parchment from Marcus and read it carefully. "This was written by a Roman," she quietly announced.

"It was written by your father," Hadrian corrected her.

"No, a Roman wrote this. The name of our capitol city, Sarmizegetusae, is spelled the way it would appear in Latin, not Dacian." She laid the parchment on a table, pointing out the Latin word to Trajan

"It excuses nothing. Your father is a murderer." Trajan pointed a finger at her, inches from her face. The man who had kissed her hand and thanked her for saving his wife only just weeks ago was gone. In his place was a Roman warrior, a general, an emperor that was about to decimate her country.

"Why would he tell you he killed him? Don't you think he would let you believe he was still alive to get me back? He had no reason to murder this man. Someone is trying to slander his name by falsely accusing him." She was not willing to believe her father would actually jeopardize her life, not this way, not this easily. "Someone with much to gain by a war between our nations is responsible for this." The Dacian traitor, she thought.

"No, Dacian, for this Decebalus and Dacia will pay and will pay dearly." Trajan slammed a fist against a table.

Sianna pulled the dagger from Hadrian's sheath and charged across the room. "Here," she stabbed it into the wooden table, almost piercing Trajan's hand. "If you need a Dacian life to make things equal, take mine." She fell to her knees offering her life.

In an instant, Trajan ripped the dagger from the table, grabbing her hair at the nape of the neck, bending her head backwards, and held the blade tight against her throat.

"Trajan, no." Marcus unsheathed his dagger. Hadrian grabbed his arm. Marcus slung him against the wall. "Trajan."

"Are you scared to die, Dacian?" Trajan was cold, cruel.
 Come back on March 5 for more from Linda.


  1. I love your excerpt, Linda! Brilliant dialogue and I can picture the villain Trajan so clearly in this scene with the other characters.

  2. Thank you so much Diane. I'm so excited you took the time to stop by. This was quite an interesting book to write.

  3. Thank you Diane for you kind compliments. I appreciate you to taking the time to comment. This was an interesting book to write.