In AD121 the Twentieth Legion of Rome stands at the northern frontier of Britannia. Forgotten, neglected and dour in spirit, they must still do their duty for an Empire whose meaning is becoming lost to them.
As the lives of the local Teviot family intertwine with the legion, relationships of love and bitter anguish unfurl. Will the invading army push north? Will the disputing native tribes unite in an uprising? Can Marcus be with Jolinda?
When peace is fragile, friendships count for everything…
There were two main pieces of inspiration that led to me writing Wall of Stone: Simon Scarrow’s Roman Eagle series with the charismatic characters Cato and Macro…I had long since been in love with the pair of them…and a family holiday to Hadrian’s Wall.
I’d had a notion to write a novel for a while and knew I wanted it to be about the different types of relationships we experience during our lives: friendship, kinship, comradeship, love, good and bad. I’d had some encouraging success in gaining an award for a short story (the personification of a snowflake as it happens; strange but true!) but was struggling to increase my word count beyond essay length. I just didn’t know what to write about!
Then came the family trip to Hadrian’s Wall and my writing stars aligned with all the mosaic pieces falling in to place. The visit north was itself inspired by my love of reading the tales of Cato and Macro, and it happened to coincide with a frustrating wait for another book in the Eagle series (come on Mr Scarrow, bash them out each week please!!). I was already toying with the idea of creating my own legionaries to love, yet had no real inspiration for a plot.
So with the folding camper loaded, we headed to Northumberland. Being of a thrifty nature, I was determined to get good use from our English Heritage family ticket during our holiday. We did. There are so many wonderful visitor attractions in the area giving an insight in to life in Roman Britain. Seeing the vast remains of the forts, reading the information boards, studying the artefacts in the museums, a bathhouse, a temple, tombstone inscriptions and The Wall, that beautiful, enigmatic, ruin of a wall.
We got value for money from our ticket all right. To the point where my men, well one man and two boys at that stage, were groaning at another Roman fort, another Roman museum, another walk along the remains of the great wall. I could not get enough of the place, and with no new Cato and Macro adventure to entertain me, I chose to read a factual book about the building of Hadrian’s Wall and the differing opinions of the reasons for its existence. It is rare for a non-fiction book to hold my attention. I’m okay with looking up specifics when I need information, but find it difficult to keep a focus from cover to cover. Not so on this holiday!
It seems I stumbled on the secret of writing historical fiction and the solution to my inability to write more than a short story. It’s obvious to me now and a little embarrassing that it took me so long to work it out! Research! Build a framework of facts and weave the fiction through them.
By the time I arrived back home, I knew where my novel would be set, in time and place. I had the beginnings of my framework, my lattice of facts, and from that came my characters, delivered to me with a ready-made conflict. A local Brigante family whose lives would unavoidably intertwine, for good and bad, with those of the invading Roman legionaries.
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Meet Heather Robinson
Heather Robinson is a novelist and short story award winner from Wiltshire, UK. Her academic background includes a Bachelor of Science degree with most of her working life spent as an Administration Manager locally. She is also a qualified and experienced radio presenter, hosting a weekly show for Warminster Community Radio. Proud parents of two boys, Heather and her husband Graham share a passion for live music, hiking and motorcycling.
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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heather-Robinson/e/B01N9S07M2