09 June 2013

Guest Blog: Christina Phillips

This week, we're welcoming author Christina Phillips, with her latest title set in ancient times, Betrayed. Join us on Sunday, when the author will offer a free copy of the book to a lucky blog visitor. Here's the blurb:

In 51 A.D., Druid priestess Nimue is injured and enslaved by the hated Roman Legions. Even though she is drawn to her captor, she’s determined to escape and complete her mission for the Briton king and her duty to Arianrhod, the goddess she is bound to.

The tough Roman warrior who captures her is far from the brutal barbarian she expects. His touch inflames her desires and passion burns between them. Though Nimue does not accept her enslavement, her heart surrenders to her enemy. When Arianrhod appears to her in the form of an owl, Nimue knows the union is blessed.

Roman warrior Tacitus is enchanted by the fiery beauty who shows no fear and challenges him at every turn. Though enslaving her goes against his heart, he’s determined to make her his. No woman has ever heated his blood as she does. But when he discovers her true nature as one who actually communes with the gods, his loyalties are torn between his heritage and a woman who could destroy everything he’s ever believed in.

A Romantica® fantasy erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

**Q&A with Christina Phillips**

Thank you for having me on Unusual Historicals today to talk about my Roman/Druid romances set during the first century!

What is BETRAYED about?

BETRAYED is my third book set in ancient Britain which involve forbidden love between the locals and the Roman invaders. It follows on from FORBIDDEN and CAPTIVE but each book is a stand alone and can be enjoyed without having read the other books set in that world.

BETRAYED is Tacitus and Nimue’s story. Nimue, an acolyte of the moon goddess, appeared right at the very end of the second book, CAPTIVE, and she immediately fascinated me. While trying to protect the Briton queen she is captured by her bitterest enemy, but soon discovers the Roman tribune who’s enslaved her is far from the brutal barbarian she imagined. As for Tacitus, he’s never met a woman like Nimue before and has trouble accepting that this beautiful, ethereal woman could possibly be a warrior—let alone one of Rome’s deadliest enemies. I had a lot of fun tying these two up in knots!

Is BETRAYED based on historical fact?

While BETRAYED is pure fiction I have woven some historical facts into the storyline. Caratacus was king of the Catuvellauni tribe in south-east England when the Romans first invaded. After being ousted from his kingdom he travelled west into the mountainous lands of Cymru (modern day Wales) where he spent several years leading the rebellion against the invaders.

BETRAYED is set in the immediate aftermath of the last stand of Caratacus, when he led the rebellious Celtic tribes against the Roman Legions. Caratacus charges my heroine Nimue to save his queen and daughter and this is the mission she is pledged to complete at the start of the book.

Why choose druids?

It was more a case of the druids chose me! Maximus, the hero of my first book FORBIDDEN marched into my mind one night searching for his druid heroine. So then I had to research everything I could about druids, and discovered that there was very little actually out there. Most of the information we have on these elusive people come from contemporary Roman accounts. Since the Emperor Claudius was committed to eliminating every druid from the Empire, it seems fair to draw the conclusion that these accounts were likely biased.

We know they were widely respected as the priests of Celtic society, held responsibilities for lawmaking, were the keepers of knowledge and wisdom and were known as magicians. They were also, according to the Romans, the rallying force behind the rebellious tribes that inhabited Cymru and the Druidic stronghold on the Isle of Mon (now known as the Isle of Anglesey, off the west coast of Wales).

The Romans saw Druidism as a serious menace against the might of their Empire, and Claudius was convinced that as long as Druids remained in Britannia then rebellion and resistance would continue to flourish among the tribes.

Why do you include fantasy elements in your historical romances?

It’s an odd thing, but it wasn’t something I consciously set out to do. I’ve always loved reading paranormal and fantasy books since I was a child and when it came to my Roman/Druid books weaving mystical elements into the storyline came very naturally to me.

So I decided to ignore the references that depicted druids as bloodthirsty savages. In my world the druids are highly educated and live in an equilateral society. But their gods and goddesses are a powerful force to be reckoned with. They have no intention of disappearing into the misty streams of time simply because a new culture and new pantheon have invaded their land.

What other books can we expect from you?

The fourth book set in this ancient world, TAINTED, is due to be released from Ellora’s Cave shortly. Again, this is a stand alone book and is set eleven months after BETRAYED finishes. This time, just to mix things up a bit, my heroine is a Roman patrician who falls in love with a Celtic warrior.

This week sees the release of a dark Regency romance, BLOODLUST DENIED, from Ellora’s Cave. Although the Regency is far from an unusual period in history, my hero is a vampire duke and his heroine is a Maiden of Death who hunts vampires J It’s my sexiest book to date and the first chapter is up on my website.

At the moment I’m working on the second book in my Highland Warrior Chronicles. These books have been acquired by Ellora’s Cave and feature gorgeous Scot warriors and their brave Pictish princesses. The books are set in the ninth century during the turbulent time when both Scot and Viking coveted Pictland. The first book, HER SAVAGE SCOT is with my editor and I’m looking forward to its release!

Learn more about author Christina Phillips:

Read Betrayed at:

Amazon UK   Nook   ARe   Kobo

I have an e-copy of BETRAYED to give away to one lucky commenter on this post. Just leave a comment or let me know – if you could travel back in time, where and when would you go and why?