25 July 2010

Guest Author: Carla Capshaw

This week on Excerpt Thursday we're welcoming back Steeple Hill Love Inspired author Carla Capshaw as she celebrates the release of her latest historical romance, THE PROTECTOR, set in ancient Rome. THE PROTECTOR is the sequel to her double-RITA nominated debut, THE GLADIATOR, which we featured last year. RT Book Reviews gave THE PROTECTOR four stars and writes, "The Protector is a heartfelt love story. Fans of this era and of Rome will not be disappointed."

Former merchant turned slave and gladiator trainee, Quintus Ambustus will do almost anything to earn his freedom. Enslaved for his faith in Christ, he hopes someday to find a Christian woman to marry and share his life. A friend of Quintus's master, Adiona Leonia is one of wealthiest, most beautiful women in Rome. She has good reason to despise men and has vowed never to wed.

Although each of them is attracted to the other, they're determined to fight their feelings. But when an attacker threatens Adiona's life and Quintus is made her protector, neither can resist their fascination. As Adiona learns to trust, first Quintus, and then his God, Quintus learns the Lord's gifts sometimes come in the most unexpected packages and in ways he never dreamed possible.

Your new book, THE PROTECTOR, is set in Rome, 81 AD. How much research did it take to be able to get a feel for that era in time?

I've always loved learning about ancient Rome. The people and art fascinate me. When I wrote THE GLADIATOR, the prequel to THE PROTECTOR, ancient Rome seemed a natural fit for me to use as a setting because I already knew something about it from previous studies. I went to Italy for three weeks, read up on specifics like the workings of the Coliseum and watched hours of History channel specials on the period.

Can you tell us little about THE PROTECTOR.

THE PROTECTOR is a sequel to my first published novel, THE GLADIATOR. The hero and heroine are Quintus and Adiona. 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's trying to earn his freedom and return to his hometown to make sure his son, who died just before Quintus's trial, received a proper burial, since funeral rites were paramount to first century people. 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 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.

Your stories bring together people from vastly diverse worlds who seemingly will never find spiritual or emotional accord, much less romance. What is the impetus behind this approach? What do you hope to accomplish with your themes?

As a reader, I need big conflicts to keep me interested. The same with my writing. I figure if a story isn't interesting no one will get anything out of it, so I do my best to make it compelling from beginning to end.

You write about eras other than ancient Rome, specifically the Revolutionary War period. Will you be writing about other eras, as well?

I hope so! The best part of writing for me is getting to learn about other eras through research and travel to those locations. I'm always thinking up new plots to go along with whatever time I'm interested in at the moment. Right now, I'm working on the third and final story in my Roman series. Once I'm done, I plan to work on a new Victorian series I've been dreaming up.

What else would you like to say to your readers?

Just that I appreciate them and that I love to hear from them. They can reach me at Carla@carlacapshaw.com or visit my website to find my links to most of the social networks like Facebook and Goodreads.


Would you like to win a signed copy of THE PROTECTOR? Just let us know! Leave a comment or question for Carla, and I'll draw a winner at random in one week. Void where prohibited. Best of luck, and good luck to Carla next week when the RITA awards are announced!