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Friday, September 23, 2011

Welcome Author Cassandra Dean

Hi all! I am so excited to be here, although I had the devil's own time thinking of something to share with all you lovely peeps. Finally, I thought what better than my latest release, Enslaved, available from Decadent Publishing.

I was to teach a slave.

Marcus, a gladiator in my father’s ludus, was compelled to my presence to learn of Rome’s gods, her legends. When first he came, fear consumed me – fear of this silent, resentful slave who burned with his anger.

Time, though, changes much. Marcus softened and I grew unafraid. As we became closer, I grew more than merely unafraid – I grew to love him. Never did I think we would be separated.

I was wrong.

I forced myself to forget. Forget Marcus, forget the almost-smile he gave to me alone, forget everything but my life as it was now. Then, one day, I wandered into a market and spied Marcus, and the truth I had always hidden, thought to forget, was thrust upon me.

I had never ceased to love my slave.

So, Enslaved. What’s that all about? Roman fun times, that’s what!

I've always been interested in Roman stuff, and when I finally got to Europe a few years ago, I was fascinated by the remenants of the empire in Britain. When I got to Italy itself, it was a strange sort of home coming. My uncle-by-marriage is Italian and I grew up with the culture, making tomato pasta sauce every summer, enjoying tortellini, lasagna and ravoli, listening to my uncle’s lyrical accent as he spoke. I hadn’t thought I was that interested in Roman culture, and yet when I got to Europe, I inhaled it. 

When I was inspired to write Enslaved, I was again surprised by how deep my knowledge was of the period. Over the years, I had absorbed so much Roman history without being aware it made the research for Enslaved a sinch. And so, I thought I might detail for you the places I visited in Europe that owed their past to glorious Rome.

Well, duh, Cassandra.  Of course there are remnants of the Roman empire in Rome *shakes head* 

The Forum
The first time I went to Rome (look at me, all fancy with the visiting of the Rome twice), I did a tour of the Forum. A hub of activity in Ancient Rome, the Forum was the place romans gathered to gossip, catch up on the latest news, trade goods and services, and where several temples and the senate was held. It's a fascinating place, old ruins thousands of years old and still standing. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The second time I visited, a friend who was studying to be a tour guide took us through. A personalised tour! Fabulous. :)

The Colosseum
Following on from the Forum (in fact, right next door), the Colosseum is a majestic sight, towering over all other structures of the time.  Did you know they could clear the arena, which could hold 40,000 people, in under 11 minutes? How amazing is that?
To stand in the Colosseum's shadow, to see the marvels of innovation that went into its design and use, really brought home just how innovative the Romans were. Nothing remains of the arena floor and thus you can see straight into the corridors and rooms below the structure, where the Romans kept the slaves, gladiators and animals forced to perform in the arena.  Shade cloths could be erected over the structure, and the Emperor had a private passage from his palace to his seat.

Hadrian's Wall
Now on to other parts of the Empire! Hadrian's Wall once spanned the breadth of northern England, seperating the Roman-conquered land of the south from the land of the northern 'rebels'. It's hard to believe the Romans had such a large empire, spanning a massive part of the then known world. I got to walk along a portion of the wall, seeing for myself the ruins of one of the guardhouses that pepper the wall at intervals. The wall itself was never that high, but I can just imagine seeing such a structure, atop the highest point in the land and manned by the intimadating Roman soldiers, would have quelled even the bravest of people.

Oh, Bath. How I love thee. While Bath is known for Jane Austen, the bath house of Roman occupation is a wonderful attraction. I spent HOURS wandering the museum preceeding the baths themselves, examining all the bits and pieces discovered by archeologists.
The baths themselves are pretty amazing. The Romans had discovered the naturally heated water early on in the piece and constructed a series of bath houses around them. One of the things I most remember is the heated floors, raised with bricks so there was a gap between the tiled floor and the ground which could then be filled with hot air so their poor little tootsies wouldn't get cold!

My big trip to Europe took place before I'd even dreamt of Enslaved, but I have put my memories to good use. You never know where an idea might spring from and it's strange what bits of your life can help you.

I would love to hear about your experiences. Visit me at my website, on Facebook or Twitter and let me know!

WEBSITES to be inserted:
Cassandra Dean website - http://cassandradean.wordpress.com/
Decadent Publishing – http://www.decadentpublishing.com

ENSLAVED purchase links


Adelle Laudan said...

Loely photos Cassandra. I envy your trip and the memories you have. What a blessing to be able to write and visualize exactly where your characters are. Well done!

Decadent Publishing said...

I've been to England, but not these particular parts. Next time!

Love your recollections, Cassie. They add to the enjoyment of your book.

Decadent Publishing

cassandradean said...

Thanks for your comments! I loved travelling through Europe and it's so wonderful I get to relive my trip everytime I write!
Cassandra Dean