21 April 2013

Guest Blog: Georgie Lee

This week, we're welcoming author Georgie Lee, once again with her latest title, Mask of the Gladiator from Carina Press.   The author will offer a free copy of the book to a lucky blog visitor. Here's the blurb:

Livia Duronius is driven to seek out a gladiator after watching him triumph in the Colosseum. His touch arouses a sense of hope she hasn't felt since Rome fell under the tyrannical rule of Caligula—and her late husband betrayed her. Though in danger of losing more than her heart, she vows to see him again, even after she learns her uncle has arranged her marriage to a senator.

Senator Titus Marius cannot resist indulging in a passionate encounter with the veiled woman who waits for him after the games, though he faces execution if his true identity is discovered. Bound by honor to wed another, and embroiled in a plot to free Rome from madness, he never expects to see the mystery woman again. 

When the fates reunite them in the marriage bed, Titus vows to protect Livia at all costs—even from the lecherous eyes of the emperor...

**Q&A with Georgie Lee**

What gave you the idea to write a romance set in ancient Rome? 

The idea for Mask of the Gladiator first came to me while I was reading a book on the lives of the Roman emperors. Something about Caligula’s demise, the real PG version, not the XXX version that has also survived the ages, caught my attention. The story wouldn’t let go until I’d crafted it into a tale in which regular people get caught up in the life and death events of their era with a great romance and sex thrown in because hey, after all, this is Rome.

Was the story an easy one to write and how long did it take? 

It didn’t take me long to write Mask of the Gladiator but it took me a while to rewrite it. I had to do a lot of research on ancient Rome to get the setting and historical facts surrounding Caligula’s assassination, which is central to the plot, correct. Then, when I first submitted the manuscript, I received a revise and resend letter. I agreed with my editor’s suggestions but it took a while to process it all and rework the story. The suggestions made the story more powerful and I love the finished version.

Was it difficult doing research for Mask of the Gladiator? 

The Romans, thanks to the length of their empire, left a lot of material, both written and physical about their lives. This wealth of information on the ancient Romans made research both interesting and easier. Thanks to surviving statues of Caligula, I was able to base my descriptions of the emperor on his busts instead of having to extract details from ancient sources, most of which were not flattering. For details on Caligula’s assassination, I turned to Justinian and Suetonius. Their accounts, though not exactly first hand, are well fleshed out, if not blatantly exaggerated in a few spots. I incorporated details from their stories into my story while adding a few of my own in order to better weave the main characters, Livia and Titus, into the historical events. In regards to the daily life of the nobility, there were endless resources available from the excavation at Pompeii to modern research books detailing the archeological evidence. 

Is there any music you listened to while writing Mask of the Gladiator? 

I listened to soundtracks from different historical movies when I was brainstorming certain scenes. The theme song from 300 is a great one to listen to while reading Mask of the Gladiator, as well as Gladiator, and King Arthur.

Tell us a little about you. Are you a plotter or a pantser? 

I used to be a pantser, but now that I’ve sold to Harlequin Historicals, I sit down and write a summary and work on my characters before I get too far into a story. I usually start with a specific scene in mind and then build the story out from there. Having a summary really helps me make the best use of my writing time.

What is something unusual about you that readers would be surprised to know? 

I once took classes in how to read and speak ancient Egyptian. For a time, I could read some hieroglyphics, but I’ve since forgotten most of what I learned.

Thank you for joining me today and thanks to Unusual Historicals for inviting me.


A dedicated history and film buff, Georgie Lee loves combining her passion for Hollywood, history and storytelling through romantic fiction. She began writing professionally at a small TV station in San Diego before moving to Los Angeles to work in the interesting but strange world of the entertainment industry.

Her first novel, Lady’s Wager, and her contemporary novella, Rock ‘n’ Roll Reunion are both available from Ellora’s Cave Blush. Labor Relations, a contemporary romance of Hollywood, and Studio Relations, a love story set in 1935 Hollywood, are currently available from Montlake Romance. Look for her Regency novella, Hero’s Redemption from Carina Press in July 2013, and her Regency novel, Engagement of Convenience, from Harlequin Historical on October 2013.  

When not writing, Georgie enjoys reading non-fiction history and watching any movie with a costume and an accent. Please visit  www.georgie-lee.com for more information about Georgie and her novels.

Social Media Links

Twitter: @GeorgieLeeBooks

Website: www.georgie-lee.com