19 September 2010

Guest Author: Christina Phillips

This week on Excerpt Thursday we're welcoming Christina Phillips, whose steamy new release from Berkley Heat, FORBIDDEN, is set Wales during the Roman Empire!

He was a master of seduction--but no match for the magical allure of the woman he wanted most...

Carys knew from the moment she first spied on Maximus in his naked barbarian glory that he was a dangerous Roman centurion--his taut, battle-scarred flesh marking him as a fearless warrior. But her desire for him was as undeniable as it was illicit.

Charged by his emperor to eliminate a clan of powerful Druids in Britain, Maximus never expects his mission to be thwarted by the clan's ethereal princess, Carys, his daring voyeur. Falling under her spell, he doesn't realize her true heritage--until he captures her heart as well as her body.

As Carys's loyalties are twisted, and freedom is no longer her single-minded obsession, an avenging former lover threatens to crush Maximus's people into oblivion. Now Carys and Maximus must overcome the devastation of war and face the ultimate sacrifice if their forbidden love is to survive.

"The heat between these two crosses cultural boundaries, but the real question is whether they can stay together when the world is yanking them apart. Four Stars." ~ RT Book Reviews

"Maximus is pure, raw male and too sexy for words. I could understand why Carys was enthralled with him and wanted him despite being her enemy. I am also a sucker for star-crossed lovers and a really evil villain. It made this book very thrilling as I hoped Maximus and Carys would be able to evade Aeron's nefarious plans and end up happily together." ~ Bookaholics


Thank you for having me here on Unusual Historicals today! I'd like to chat a little about the background information on my recent release, FORBIDDEN.

When and where is FORBIDDEN set?

My debut release with Berkley Heat (out this month) is set in AD 50 in Cymru (ancient Wales). My inspiration for this story came while I was tackling some admin one night--a fully formed vision appeared in my mind of a Roman centurion and his Druid priestess lover, who had been cursed to an eternity apart by the villainous High Druid.

I'd never written a historical before, but that scene wouldn't leave my mind. My Roman hero haunted me (not that I'm complaining!!) and since I always enjoy a challenge when it comes to stretching my writing muscles I decided to spend some time with Maximus and Carys.

Why chose Wales?

The reason I chose Wales as my setting was because of its links to the Druids, and the fact the Isle of Anglesey--then known as the Isle of Mon--was the Druid stronghold. I wanted the odds stacked overwhelmingly against Maximus and Carys being able to declare their love for each other and having her a Druid--and a Druid princess at that--fit perfectly.

Claudius, the Roman Emperor at the time, hated Druids with a passion and wanted all trace of them wiped out across his Empire. Couldn't be better for the purposes of my plot! I now had historical back up for my Romans' determination to hunt down and eliminate the elusive clan of Druids who had escaped them during the initial invasion.

Why Druids?

While there's plenty of written and archaeological evidence when it comes to the Romans, there's not so much when it comes to the Druids. Caesar explains this lack of documentary evidence when talking of the Gaulish Druids: "they consider it improper to entrust their studies to writing." And the written accounts we do have of them are invariably from the Roman viewpoint--so there's likely to be some prejudice going on there!

I read and researched as much as I could find about Druids of that period. 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. But there's little detail as to their daily lives and so in the end I let my imagination run wild within the context of the world we know they inhabited.

What are you working on now?

I'm currently working on another ancient historical romance set in a different century, and also hope to write two more stories in the "Forbidden" series. Be sure to visit my blog for regular updates! You can also find me on Twitter and on Facebook.


Thanks so much for stopping by today, Christina! Readers, if you would like to win a copy of this steamy historical treat, leave a comment or question for Christina. What would you most like to know about Wales and Druids in the ancient times? Are gladiators and Roman warriors appealing to you as romance heroes? I'll draw a winner at random next Sunday. Void where prohibited. Best of luck!