It’s May, which means my gorgeous book Love & Romanpunk is officially released! Yes, there were copies of this floating around Swancon last weekend, but those were extra special early copies that were available thanks to my wonderful publisher, Alisa.
Words cannot express how proud I am of this book. It’s really only the last few years that I have started thinking of myself as a short story writer as well as a novelist, and finding my feet as far as the kind of short fiction I really want to write. When the Twelve Planets project gave me the opportunity to write four stories of any length I liked, I knew I wanted them to connect to my obsession with Roman history. Luckily for me, Alisa was hard-nosed enough to pick out the two stories I had written that she loved, and kick the others to the kerb. “More like this, please.”
Possibly she didn’t say please. *grins*
So I was pushed harder than I ever have been with my short fiction, to bring this collection together. And I love it to bits. It’s made up of so many things that I love: the history of the Caesars, unreliable and secret histories, manticores, lamia, historical recreationists, and snark. I am so glad I got to do something with the sneaking suspicion I had, all through my doctoral studies, that the sisters of Caligula might have been superheroes. My influences are as wide and varied as Robert Graves, Mary Shelley and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
And I discovered an eternal truth: that if you put Livia and Agrippina in the same book, only one of them gets to be the hero.
Ah well, I’ll give Livia a book of her own, one of these days.
Nearly ten years ago, I went to Rome and spent a month walking on those old streets, hunting out statues of the imperial women of the Caesars, in research for my thesis. That one month of my life has probably proved more inspirational to my work than any other. It is present in every book of the Creature Court trilogy and it was present here, as I wrote these stories.
Did I mention there are manticores?
Let us begin with the issue of most interest to future historians: I did not poison my uncle and husband, the Emperor Claudius. Instead, I drove a stake through his heart. In my defence, several of my close relatives have been vampires, and I have had little occasion to kill any of them. Claudius was a special case.
Special thanks goes to Amanda Rainey, who created such a marvellous cover and did the layout etc. on a very short time frame, and also to Helen Merrick, who wrote an amazing introduction. And of course, the book would not have happened without the commitment, energy and vision of publisher Alisa Krasnostein, of Twelfth Planet Press. I am very fortunate to be friends with and supported by such amazing, intelligent and talented women.
You can order Love and Romanpunk from the TPP webstore, individually or as part of a subscription to the Twelve Planets series of collections.