When the publishers asked for a sequel to ‘The Senator’s Assignment’ I was so excited – until I actually thought about it.
I had just finished reading one book only to discover the author kept making reference to events that had occurred in a previous book. It was most frustrating. Too many films and literature expand on previous work, so I was determined my book would stand on its own merit.
I asked myself what the readers liked best about ‘The Senator’s Assignment?’ The reviews tell me they loved the atmosphere; the noise, bustle and smells of the Jerusalem markets; the lofty imposing buildings in Rome, the historical facts and the clashes of the different cultures. Yes! I’d keep those.
And characters? My protagonist, an austere senator by the name of Vivius, was popular but everyone seemed to love a lesser character, Dorio Suranus. A decurion who, having suffered the loss of an arm in battle, had become a womaniser and drinker. I’d always had a sneaking liking for Dorio myself. They would have to stay central to the plot.
Ah! The plot! The reader would want a fresh new plot – but so did I! Then I had it! My first book had taken place a year after the crucifixion, when Tiberius was Emperor of Rome, and who should follow him but the mad and colourful Caligula. Wow! Loads of material there! I began to rake crazily through my historical research notes.
It was only as the plot began to take shape in my head that I discovered a great new character emerging. A gutsy Jewess who wasn’t afraid of these Romans who had barged into her country. I took to her immediately. But to raise her profile I had to release someone else, otherwise I would end up with an excess number of characters. This was the sad part; having to work out who had outrun their usefulness.
Now I was ready to pick up my pen – well open my laptop – and allow my austere senator to step on to my pages. And whoops! A drunken Dorio charged after him. As my fingers pounded the keys, I discovered I knew them so well, I knew exactly what they would do in every situation I opened up for them. It was wonderful falling in love with my heroes again! in ‘The Senator’s Darkest Days‘.