#BlogTour #DamppebblesBlogTours @damppebbles / #QandAs : Double Identity #DoubleIdentity – Alison Morton @alison_morton

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘Double Identity’ blogtour, organized by Damppebbles Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Alison Morton writes award-winning thrillers series featuring tough, but compassionate heroines. She blends her deep love of France with six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, historical, adventure and thriller fiction. On the way, she collected a BA in modern languages and an MA in history.
“Grips like a vice – a writer to watch out for” says crime thriller writer Adrian Magson about Roma Nova series starter INCEPTIO. All six full-length Roma Nova thrillers have won the BRAG Medallion, the prestigious award for indie fiction. SUCCESSIO, AURELIA and INSURRECTIO were selected as Historical Novel Society’s Indie Editor’s Choices. AURELIA was a finalist in the 2016 HNS Indie Award. The Bookseller selected SUCCESSIO as Editor’s Choice in its inaugural indie review.
Now Alison continues to write thrillers and drink wine in France with her husband.

Other works
The Carina strand
INCEPTIO where New Yorker Karen Brown is thrown into a new life in mysterious Roma Nova and fights to stay alive with a killer hunting her
CARINA, a novella, Carina’s first mission abroad. What could go wrong?
PERFIDITAS, six years on, where betrayal and rebellion are in the air, threatening to topple Roma Nova and ruin Carina’s life.
SUCCESSIO, where a mistake from the past threatens to destroy the next generation.
The Aurelia strand
AURELIA, in late 1960s Roma Nova, Aurelia Mitela battles her life-long nemesis, silver smuggling and is forced to choose between her love, her child and her country
NEXUS Mid 1970s, London, where a simple favour for a friend becomes a chilling pursuit across Europe
INSURRECTIO, where Aurelia Mitela struggles against a manipulative tyrant grabbing power. But it may already be too late to save Roma Nova…
RETALIO, a classic tale of resistance and retribution – the endgame between Aurelia and Caius

Extras
ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories from AD 370 to the present

Contributions
‘A Roman Intervenes‘ in 1066 Turned Upside Down
How Galla Mitela, Roma Novan imperial councillor, attempts to stop the Norman invasion of England. One of a series of possible alternative outcomes of 1066.
‘The Mystery of Victory’ in Rubicon (HWA/Sharpe Books)
What did happen to the Altar of Victory in the dusk of the Roman Empire?
‘The Idealist’ in Betrayal (Historical Fictioneers, 2020)

Non Fiction
Military or civilians? The curious anomaly of the German Women’s Auxiliary Services during the Second World War.
The 500 Word Writing Buddy: 35 Inner Secrets for the New Writer

Social Media:
Alison’s Roma Nova site
Facebook
Twitter 
Alison’s writing blog
Instagram 
GoodReads
Alison’s Amazon page
Newsletter sign-up

Synopsis :

Deeply in love, a chic Parisian lifestyle before her. Now she’s facing prison for murder.
It’s three days since Mel des Pittones threw in her job as an intelligence analyst with the French special forces to marry financial trader Gérard Rohlbert. But her dream turns to nightmare when she wakes to find him dead in bed beside her.
Her horror deepens when she’s accused of his murder. Met Police detective Jeff McCracken wants to pin Gérard’s death on her. Mel must track down the real killer, even if that means being forced to work with the obnoxious McCracken.
But as she unpicks her fiancé’s past, she discovers his shocking secret life. To get to the truth, she has to go undercover—and finds almost everybody around her is hiding a second self.
Mel can trust nobody. Can she uncover the real killer before they stop her?
A stunning new thriller from the author of the award-winning Roma Nova series, fans of Daniel Silva, Stella Rimington or Chris Pavone will love Double Identity.

Purchase Links:
Amazon
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Publishing Information:
Published in paperback and digital formats by Pulcheria Press on 7th January 2021.

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I write thrillers featuring tough, but compassionate heroines, until now set in an alternative modern day Roman mini-state, Roma Nova. Several of six full-length novels, two novellas and collection of short stories have gained awards and been Amazon #1 bestsellers. But now, with Double Identity, I’m switching away from alternative history for a little while and turning to crime…
Although I’ve worked with words all my life – translation, government papers, reports, corporate documentation, magazine editing – it was only when I went to see a beautiful but badly written film that I was seized with the idea that I could write something better. I’d had all kinds of ideas swirling around my imagination for decades bursting to escape. After a three-year ‘apprenticeship’ of classes, conferences and mentorship, the first Roma Nova thriller came out in 2013.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
Growing up, I read anything and everything adventurous and/or historical including the Narnia books by C S Lewis, Leslie Charteris’s The Saint series, the Angélique stories by Sergeanne Golon, The Prisoner of Zenda (Anthony Hope). I graduated to James Bond, Modesty Blaise and the John le Carré spy stories and historical mysteries like Lindsey Davis’s Falco and Steven Saylor’s Gordianus series. As for crime and thrillers, J.D Robb, and for modern spy thrillers, William Boyd, Daniel Silva, Stella Rimington and Chris Pavone.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I didn’t include Robert Harris in the question above because his ‘Fatherland’ alternative history thriller had a unique influence on me. His historical fiction is equally gripping. He writes in a succinct style with a terrific sense of both place and pace.Yes, his brains would be well worth picking.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I’d love to sit down with my new heroine, Mélisende, or Mel as she calls herself when speaking English. She has a French father and English mother and, like me, has served in the armed forces. But it would probably be over a glass of our local Poitou white wine rather than tea.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Not as such, but I do drink industrial amounts of tea! Oh, and I write in complete silence.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
It starts with the characters who run around in my head demanding to be let out. Then I throw a lot of trouble at them and watch how they react. I’m a big fan of exploring ‘what if’ which is where my Roma Nova stories came from. I’m a bit of a fidget myself, so my stories tend to be more active than passive.
Double Identity came from the idea of dual nationality and crossing cultures. Mel thinks and speaks in French or English, switching from one to another as necessary. However, sometimes, she’s not completely sure which identity she’s inhabiting. Giving my heroine a background in rural Poitou in western France was easy – I live there myself!
Should people be worried? Haha! They’ll have to read Double Identity to find out…

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m 15% plotter, but 85% pantser. I scribble down a line for each of the inciting incident, the three crisis points, the ‘dark moment’, the climax and resolution, as a skeleton, then dive in.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Persist and don’t skimp on quality. Hone and polish your work until you are completely sick of it. If publishing independently, collect a series of beta readers around you and/or a critique partner, get a professionally designed cover and ALWAYS have your work edited.

What are your future plans as an author?
Currently, I’m writing a sequel to Double Identity, but I’ve also started on a new Roma Nova novel. But given the initial favourable comments by readers to Double Identity, I think the sequel to it will come first!

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Of course! Here’s the very start…

Mel shivered. A cold breeze drifted over her bare backside. Dieu, the window must be open. Stupid in late November in London. But windows had been the last things on Mel’s mind last night.
Still drugged with sleep, she stretched out her hand towards Gérard’s face. His eyes were closed, the lashes resting on his pale cheeks. Too much time indoors, Mel thought and smiled. In his early morning relaxed state, Gérard looked more like a boy of seventeen than a man of thirty-seven.
Her eyelids were so heavy. She closed them. After a few seconds, she realised she wasn’t tired, just thick-headed. Opening her eyes again, she blinked hard then tugged on the duvet to cover them both against the too fresh air, but it was trapped under Gérard’s body. Never mind, she could think of a much more pleasurable way to warm up than hiding under the bedclothes. She stroked his skin with the tips of her fingers sliding over the fine brown hairs on his shoulder, then down his chest and over his stomach towards…
He didn’t stir.
He was cold. Stone cold.
No.
Then the smell hit her.
She sat up. The world spun around her. She shot her hand out onto the mattress to steady herself, then knelt beside him. Not wanting to, but knowing she had to, she stretched out her hand, two fingers close together, for the side of his throat. Nothing. She pressed harder, desperate for a sign. But he was too still and too pale. And the blue lips…
Dieu, no. Not her Gérard. Not clever, witty, vibrant Gérard. He couldn’t be gone. But she’d confirmed enough dead bodies during her military life, the last only three weeks ago in a blazing desert wadi in Africa. She sat back, shivered and pressed the palms of her hands into her eye sockets. The sourness ran up her gullet. Clamping her hand over her mouth, she stumbled to the bathroom and threw up in the pan.

***

Ambulance. She must call an ambulance.

***

She sat on the toilet seat and gulped down water from the plastic tooth mug. In the bedroom, the green-uniformed man and woman were examining Gérard. Through the gap of the almost closed door, Mel could hear them mumbling to each other. After a few minutes, they stopped talking. They were making a call, giving the hotel name.
The woman came into the bathroom. Her calm face didn’t seem as sympathetic as it had been earlier.
‘What is it?’ Mel asked.
‘We’ve had to call the police. We’ve found something and there are marks on the deceased’s body.’
‘What? Let me see!’ Mel said and leapt up.
The woman held out her plastic-gloved hand.
‘No, stay here, and don’t wash. The police will want to talk to you.’

***

‘What sort of a name is Mellysand?’
She clutched the bathrobe tighter and braced her legs to steady her balance. This was surreal. Gérard was dead and they suspected her. Why? How was she supposed to have done it? She shook her head which seemed full of mush thumping to escape.
‘It’s pronounced “Mél-i-send-uh”,’ she said. ‘And it’s the name I was given by my parents.’
‘Not very English, is it?’
Le bon Dieu save me from these parochial Brits, she thought. And this cop was even worse than most. He didn’t look like one either in his jeans, tan leather jacket, unshaven and with a single earring. But his warrant card looked genuine, and the two uniformed police outside had let him in.
‘You got any ID?’ he barked.
Mel pulled a pale turquoise and blue card with her photo and signature out of her purse and offered it to him.
‘French?’ He frowned, flicked it over to the other side, then back. ‘You don’t sound very French.’
‘That’s where I was born. My mother is English.’
‘What are you doing here?’
‘Visiting friends and doing some shopping.’
‘I’ll need a list of those friends and dates.’
‘Why? Am I under suspicion?’
The cop looked down at the bed, duvet pulled back, bottom sheet stained by body fluids.
‘When there’s a dead man in your bed and you were presumably the last person to see him alive, let’s say you’re at least a person of interest.’

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Alison Morton.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

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P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @annecater / #Excerpt : Aurelia #Aurelia – Alison Morton @alison_morton @PulcheriaPress #RomaNovaSeries

– ‘The Magic Of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Aurelia Blog Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Aurelia’ blogtour, organised by Random Things Tours.
To promote Alison Morton her book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Alison Morton Author PicAlison Morton writes the Roma Nova thriller series featuring modern Praetorian heroines. This springs from a deep love of Roman history, six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, adventure and thriller fiction.
All six full-length novels have received the BRAG Medallion. SUCCESSIO, AURELIA and INSURRECTIO were selected as Historical Novel Society’s Indie Editor’s Choices. AURELIA was a finalist in the 2016 HNS Indie Award. SUCCESSIO featured as Editor’s Choice in The Bookseller.
A ‘Roman nut’ since age 11, Alison has misspent decades clambering over Roman sites throughout Europe. She holds an MA History, blogs about Romans, social media and writing. Oh, and she gives talks.
She continues writing, cultivates a Roman herb garden and drinks wine in France with her husband. To get the latest news, subscribe to her free newsletter https://alison-morton.com/newsletter/.

Twitter
Facebook Author Page

Synopsis :

• Paperback: 286 pages
• Publisher: Pulcheria Press (22 Jan. 2019)
• Language: English
• ISBN-13: 979-1097310165
• ASIN: B07MGJ6MJJ

Aurelia Cover1960s Roma Nova. Retrained as an undercover agent, ex-Praetorian officer Aurelia Mitela is sent to Berlin to investigate silver smuggling, but barely escapes a near-lethal trap. Her lifelong nemesis, Caius Tellus, is determined to eliminate her. When Aurelia is closing in on him, he strikes at her most vulnerable point – her young daughter.
A former military commander, Aurelia is one of Roma Nova’s strong women, but she doubts in her heart and mind that she can overcome her implacable enemy. And what part does the mysterious and attractive Miklós play – a smuggler who knows too much?

Fourth in the Roma Nova thriller series, where Roman fiction is brought into the 20th century through an alternative history lens and first of the AURELIA trilogy. INSURRECTIO and RETALIO complete the trilogy.

Amazon

DURING THE BLOG TOUR – THE PRICE OF THE EBOOK OF AURELIA WILL BE REDUCED TO 99 PENCE/CENTS

Excerpt :

First chapter

I left my side arm in the safe box in the vestibule and walked on past the marble and plaster imagines, the painted statues and busts of Mitela ancestors from the gods knew how many hundreds of years. Only the under-steward was allowed to dust them; I’d never been permitted to touch them as a child.
My all-terrain boots made soft squelching sounds as I crossed the marble floor. This was the last private time I’d share with my mother and daughter for three weeks. A glance at my watch confirmed I had a precious hour.
Through the double doors, the atrium rose up for three storeys. Light from the late spring sun beat down through the central glass roof onto luxuriant green planting at the centre of the room like rays from an intense spotlight. My mother disliked the vastness of the atrium and had partitioned a part of it off with tall bookcases, to make a cosier area, she said. Unfortunately, because of the almost complete square of tall units with only a body-width entrance at the far corner, and the way the shelving inside was arranged, you couldn’t see who was there until you were on top of them. I’d been trapped by some of my mother’s tea-drinking cronies more than once.
My mother, sitting on her favourite chintz sofa facing the entrance, looked up as I appeared in the gap. Two tiny creases on her forehead vanished when she stood and walked towards me with her arms extended. She greeted me with an over-bright smile.
‘Aurelia, darling.’
I bent and kissed her cheek in a formal salute then looked over her shoulder to where my daughter, Marina, was sitting quietly on the sofa. She was twisting her hands together and glancing in as many different directions as she could.
‘Marina, whatever is the matter, sweetheart?’ I strode over and crouched down by her. She stretched her hand out to grab mine and pointed at the chair in the far corner.
Caius Tellus.
Hades in Pluto.
‘Aurelia, how lovely to see you,’ he said in a warm, urbane voice.
Taller than his brother Quintus who nearly topped two metres, Caius was well built without being overweight. Sitting at his ease, one leg crossed over the other, he ran his eyes over my face and body. His hazel eyes shone and his smile was wide, showing a glimpse of over-white teeth through generous lips. Nothing in his tanned face with classic cheekbones would repel you on the surface. Others considered him very good-looking with almost film star glamour and charm. I knew better what kind of creature lay underneath.
Even as a kid he’d had a vicious streak; I’d never forget his hand clamping my neck, forcing my face down into the scullery drain, him saying he’d drown me in filth. I’d retched and retched at the smell of animal blood, the grease and dirty water. In the end, the cook had found us and hauled Caius off. I’d crouched there sweating and trembling; only horseplay, Caius said and laughed. The cook had given him a hard look, but the other servants were won over by Caius’s boyish smile. But when he’d stuck his hand up my skirt and tried to force me at Aquilia’s emancipation party, I’d kneed him in the groin so hard he couldn’t stand up for hours. I’d been in the military cadets for a year by then. But the others, woozy from wine and good spirits, gave him more sympathy as he writhed around on the terrace, playing to the audience.
After I joined the Guard at eighteen, I hardly saw him except at formal Twelve Families events and even there, he’d smarm his way to the head of the food queues or make a beeline for the most vulnerable in the room, be it male or female. He was a taker in life, a callous one. I loathed him with all my heart and soul.
I stood up, shielding Marina behind me.
‘Dear me,’ he said, ‘are you off playing soldiers again?’
I should have been given top marks for not slapping the smirk off his face.
‘Caius,’ I said, keeping my voice as cool as possible. ‘We’re having a private family lunch before I go on an extended operation, so I hope you’ll excuse us.’
My mother cast a pleading look at me. I closed my eyes for a second. She’d invited him to join us. How could she have?
I chewed my food slowly to try to reduce my tension. I was irritated Mama had chosen the breakfast room – a private family place – to eat in rather than the formal dining room. The servants flitted in and out with the food, and I said very little except to Marina, who ate very little.
‘Aurelia, you’re quieter than usual. I hope nothing’s wrong?’ my mother said too cheerfully.
Before I could answer, Caius intervened. ‘She does look a little pale. Don’t you worry, Felicia, that she takes on too much sometimes?’ He tilted his head sideways and pasted a concerned expression onto his face.
I speared a piece of pork and sawed through it like a barbarian, scraping the plate glaze below. I knew Caius was trying to make me rise to his bait, but I refused to play. At least my work as a Praetorian soldier was serving the state. He served himself with his gambling and whoring. He put in just enough hours at the charity committees he nominally sat on to appear to be contributing to Roma Novan life.
My mother smiled at him. ‘Yes, I do wonder. She was so exhausted after that last exercise abroad. You really understand, don’t you, Caius?’
He extended his hand and grasped hers and smiled. I was nearly sick.
‘“She” wasn’t exhausted,’ I cut across. ‘It was food poisoning, as you know very well, Mama. And it was all over within thirty-six hours.’
Caius smiled at me this time, but it didn’t reach his eyes. ‘Your mother’s right, you know. You have a duty to look after your rather, er, small family.’
I stood up and threw my napkin on the table.
‘The day I need you to teach me my duty doesn’t exist, Caius. Keep your nose out of my family affairs.’ I held my hand out to Marina, but fixed my gaze on my mother’s face. ‘I’m sure Nonna will allow you to leave the table now, Marina. We’re going for a walk outside in the fresh air.’
My mother gave a brief nod. I caught Caius’s second smirk out of the corner of my eye.
One of these days…

Aurelia Series

The Magic Of Wor(l)ds