Nancy Jardine joins us on the blog today to talk about her latest release, Agricola’s Bane. Welcome, Nancy!
Author Name: Nancy Jardine
Book Title: Agricola’s Bane
Book Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: Out Now!
Publisher: Nancy Jardine with Ocelot Press
Please tell us a bit about Agricola’s Bane.
Ancient Roman General Agricola thinks conquering northern Britannia will be clear-cut but those wily Caledonians, and even his own deities, play from a different rule book. The Caledonians lost a recent battle but knuckling under just isn’t their style!
What sparked the idea for your book?
It was CFS Book 4 for ages (Celtic Fervour Series) but at the end of January 2018, the publishing contract for Books 1-3 reverted back to me from Crooked Cat Books. Getting Books 1-3 ready for re-publishing included having new cover designs created by a local graphic designer. I asked Karen Barrett (designer) to create a matching set of 4 covers, which would include the 4th unpublished book as a ‘bulk buy’. When I was put under pressure to name Book 4, Agricola’s Bane popped into my head and it was perfect! The cover design was begun in February 2018 but has waited patiently till now to enter the limelight!
Did you have to do any research?
Definitely a YES to the research question! However, I love research so that’s a wonderful thing yet also a negative one, since I can’t stop. There’s always something new to learn that’s fascinating, even if I can’t actually use it all in my novels. There’s almost nothing written about the Caledonian invasions of General Agricola, beyond the writing of the Ancient Roman writer named Cornelius Tacitus, so to be as authentic as I want I have to rely heavily on archaeological interpretations of the era. Readers of the earlier books of the series have written hugely complimentary reviews indicating that they really enjoy the realistic nature of the characters and their settings.
Good to know the research paid off. For you, what’s the hardest thing about writing?
That would be self-discipline, in terms of setting aside enough time for new writing. I’m retired from the day job (primary teaching) but I’m a permanent grandchild minder for at least 2 days every week, with lots of extra drop-in sessions since the kids (4 and 7) are my next door neighbours. Other ‘life’ aspects take up plenty of my time, as does the marketing of my multiple novels, some of which are contemporary mysteries and not historical fiction.
What do you love most about it?
I really love it when the creativity is flowing and my WIP is increasing. I also really enjoy the systematic self-editing process because I love words, and have a relatively large vocabulary which I draw naturally from all the time. I’m saddened to find that some readers feel they don’t want ‘hard’ vocabulary in a story ‑ either because it confuses them, or they need to stop and reach for a dictionary. Personally, I love learning new words via the work of another author!
I’m not consistent with using social media techniques and sometimes find interaction on Twitter, and Facebook, difficult to sustain day after day with hundreds of ‘friends’. However, I try to balance that inconsistency by attending local Craft Fairs where I do signing/ selling sessions of paperback versions of my novels. I also regularly give local history presentations/ and /or talks about my novels to local groups of varying sizes, and really take pleasure in these opportunities to interact directly with my readers.
If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read Agricola’s Bane?
No one knows exactly what made the Ancient Roman legions march all the way to north-east Scotland, because there’s no archaeological evidence of them having created any permanent settlements in the area. Temporary Camp archaeological evidence indicates that the Romans invaded north-east Scotland at least twice with large armies of some 20,000 to 30,000 strong, yet they didn’t stay in the territories very long before they marched south again. (General Agricola c. A.D 84 and Emperor Severus c. A.D. 210)
Agricola’s Bane tells my version of the whys and wherefores of the Roman invasion and retreat of A.D. 84.
(I’ve also a time-travel novel published that is set during the A.D. 210 invasion of Emperor Severus that’s called The Taexali Game)
How has your professional life informed your books?
My university degree is in history and literature and I thoroughly enjoyed teaching history topics to my classes of 11/12 year olds. I rarely had the opportunity to teach the Roman era in Scotland to my senior pupils but when I did, the result of their creative short-story writing was excellent. In fact, I dedicated The Taexali Game to ex-pupils because they had given me the idea for the novel many years before it was published in 2016.
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
I’m a fair weather gardener whose desk overlooks the untidy lawn and shrubberies but when I do get out and tidy up, I enjoy the fresh air and hard work! I try to find a small slot of time every night before sleeping for leisure reading because as an avid reader from the age of 5, I need my ‘fix’ of fiction every day. I also try to read a couple of newspapers every day to keep abreast of what’s happening politically around me. I generally set aside a few hours a week to watch a historical series like ‘Vikings’, or a contemporary thriller series that appeals to me. And apart from the odd short, and sometimes long, holidays I don’t have time for any other hobbies. And I bake regularly with my grandkids – though not always healthy stuff!
Where can readers find you (website, blog, social media, etc.)?
Amazon Author page: http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere
Thank you, Nancy! Agricola’s Bane is available now.
Nancy Jardine writes contemporary mysteries; historical fiction and time-travel historical adventure. Her current historical focus is Roman Scotland, an engrossing pre-history era because her research depends highly on keeping abreast of recent archaeological findings.
A member of the Romantic Novelists Association, the Scottish Association of Writers, the Federation of Writers Scotland and the Historical Novel Society, her work has achieved finalist status in UK competitions.
She lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, with her husband but life is never quiet or boring since her young grandchildren are her next-door neighbours. She regularly child minds them, those days being cherished and laughter filled.
AD 84 Northern Roman Britain
Nith of Tarras aids Enya of Garrigill in the search for her kin, missing after the disastrous battle at Beinn na Ciche fought between the Caledon warriors and the mighty Legions of the Rome. Enya soon has a heartrending choice to make – should she tread Vacomagi territory that’s swarming with Roman auxiliaries to find her brother? Or head south in search of her cousin who has most likely been taken captive by the soldiers of Agricola?
General Gnaeus Iulius Agricola – Commander of the Britannic Legions and Governor of Britannia – is determined to claim more barbarian territory for the Roman Empire, indeed plans to invade the whole island but finds not all decisions are his to make. It increasingly seems that the goddess, Fortuna, does not favour him.
The adventures of the Garrigill clan continue…
You can buy Agricola’s Bane via this Amazon Link: http://mybook.to/ABsherenow