Friday 1 March 2013

Launch of Inceptio by Alison Morton!

Today Alison Morton is visiting to talk about her novel, Inceptio. I know Alison from the Romantic Novelists' Association and we often chat on Twitter.

Thank you very much for welcoming me to Neetswriter’s Blog, Anita.

My debut novel, INCEPTIO, is published today, the end of three years of slog – researching, writing, and polishing. It’s a thriller, so it’s doubly exciting. You’re writing history with your latest work in progress The Painting so I think you’ll understand about inspiration and the long haul.

What inspired you to write Inceptio?

An eleven year old fascinated by the mosaics in Ampurias (huge Roman site in Spain), I asked my father, “What would it be like if Roman women were in charge, instead of the men?” Maybe it was the fierce sun boiling my brain, maybe it was just a precocious kid asking a smartarse question. But clever man and senior ‘Roman nut’, my father replied, “What do you think it would be like?” Real life intervened (school, uni, career, military, marriage, motherhood, business ownership, move to France), but the idea bubbled away at the back of my mind.

I’d play with words much of my life - playwright (aged 7), article writer, local magazine editor, professional translator and dissertation writer. But I came to novel writing in reaction to a particularly dire film; the cinematography was good, but the plot dire and narration jerky.

‘I could do better that that,’ I whispered in the darkened cinema.

‘So why don’t you?’ came my other half’s reply.

Ninety days later, I’d completed the first draft of INCEPTIO, the first in the Roma Nova thriller series.

Of course, I made the classic mistake of submitting too soon, but had some encouraging replies. Several rewrites later and I’d had some full manuscript requests, even from a US agent (INCEPTIO starts in New York)! I had replies like ‘If it was a straight thriller, I’d take it on’ and ‘Your writing is excellent, but it wouldn’t fit our list.’

I was (am!) passionate about my stories so I decided to self publish with bought-in publishing services. Using very carefully chosen high quality professional backing (editing, advice, registrations, typesetting, design, book jacket, proofing, etc.), I’ve found it a fantastic way for a new writer to enter the market.

What is the difference between an “alternate history thriller” and a normal thriller?

Alternate history is based on the idea of “what if”? What if King Harold had won the Battle of Hastings in 1066? Or if Julius Caesar had taken notice of the warning that assassins wanted to murder him on the Ides of March? Sometimes, it could be little things such as in the film Sliding Doors, when the train door shuts and Gwyneth Paltrow’s character splits into two; one rides away on the train, the other is left standing on the platform.

The rest of the story, or history of a country, from that point on develops differently from the one we know. In my book, Roma Nova battled its way from a small colony in the late fourth century somewhere north of Italy into a high tech, financial mini-state which kept and developed Roman Republican values, but with a twist. It’s really fun working this out! But you really have to know your own timeline history before you can ‘alternate’ it. The thriller story then takes place against this background.

Stories with Romans are usually about famous emperors, epic battles, depravity, intrigue, wicked empresses and a lot of sandals, tunics and swords. But imagine the Roman theme projected sixteen hundred years further forward into the 21st century. How different would that world be?

What is Inceptio about?

New York – present day, alternate reality. Karen Brown, angry and frightened after surviving a kidnap attempt, has a harsh choice – being eliminated by government enforcer Jeffery Renschman or fleeing to the mysterious Roma Nova, her dead mother’s homeland in Europe. Founded sixteen centuries ago by Roman exiles and ruled by women, Roma Nova gives Karen safety, a ready-made family and a new career. But a shocking discovery about her new lover, the fascinating but arrogant special forces officer Conrad Tellus who rescued her in America, isolates her.

Renschman reaches into her new home and nearly kills her. Recovering, she is desperate to find out why he is hunting her so viciously. Unable to rely on anybody else, she undergoes intensive training, develops fighting skills and becomes an undercover cop. But crazy with bitterness at his past failures, Renschman sets a trap for her, knowing she has no choice but to spring it...

And next? I’m polishing up PERFIDITAS (betrayal), the second book in the Roma Nova series before it goes to the editor.

You can find INCEPTIO on Amazon UK and Amazon US

You can read more about Alison, Romans, alternate history and writing here:



Twitter: @alison_morton

Best of luck with the launch of Inceptio Alison and thanks for visiting!


  1. Happy Launch Day to Alison. I love the sound of this book and will definitely be buying a copy.

    1. Thank you, Georgina for your kind wishes. Yes, it's been a busy publication day, but a happy one. We had a local launch here in France and the rest of the time I've been talking to friends and supporters all over the Internet!

      I hope you enjoy reading INCEPTIO - I certainly loved writing it. And I'm already working on the next in the series...

  2. Now here is a lateral thinker! I very much enjoyed this intro to Alison and her work. Thank you, both. :)

    1. Definitely a lateral thinker, Christina!

      I love out of the ordinary things, facts or people. History is stuffed full of odd things that we never learn about. When you send one of them off on another path as I've done, then the fun begins!

  3. Thank you for your comments Georgina and Christina!
    Alison-Good luck with your UK launch next week and thanks for writing such an interesting post.

  4. I deleted Alison Morton's comment by mistake (apologies Alison), so here it is copied and pasted from the Blogger email:

    Alison Morton has left a new comment on your post "Launch of Inceptio by Alison Morton!":

    My pleasure, Anita. thanks for having me on your blog.