A friend of mine, ALISON MORTON, is today publishing her novel, INCEPTIO. I haven’t yet had the chance to read the novel, but I’m sure it’ll be a gripping read. As an introduction to Alison’s novel, I’m going to let you eavesdrop on our conversation. I’m the one in bold font.

Mega congratulations, Alison, on your Publication Day!

Thanks, Liz. After three years of slog – researching, writing, polishing – at last I’ve come to this exciting moment.

As you know, I’ve not yet been able to read INCEPTIO. Would you give me an idea of the story line?

Hunted by a killer, New Yorker Karen Brown flees to her mother’s mysterious homeland, Roma Nova. She breaks up with her new lover, arrogant special forces officer, Conrad Tellus, and finds a career as an undercover cop. But despite her new training and skills, she has to ask for Conrad’s help. The killer has set a vicious trap knowing she will have no choice but to spring it…

That sounds great. I meant to ask you, in the past I’ve heard you describe your novel as an “alternate history thriller”. How’s that different from a normal thriller? 

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 forward into the 21st century. How different would that world be?

Alison in front of the Roman Forum

It would be different all right! What first gave you the idea for such an intriguing novel?

When I was eleven, I was fascinated by the mosaics in Ampurias, a huge Roman site in Spain, and I asked my father, “What would it be like if Roman women were in charge, instead of the men?”

My father replied, “What do you think it would be like?”

Real life intervened in the form of school, uni, career, military, marriage, motherhood, business ownership, move to France, but the idea bubbled away in my mind and INCEPTIO slowly took shape.


Alison as a child, fascinated by a Roman mosaic

The Arch of Constantine, near the Colosseum in Rome, emblematic of all things Roman

A (modern) street in Rome, which is how a Roma Nova city street might look


So what came after writing the novel?

In my enthusiasm, I made the classic mistake of submitting too soon, but the replies were so encouraging that I rewrote the novel and decided to self publish, using bought-in publishing services with high quality professional backing – editing, advice, registrations, typesetting, design, book jacket, proofing, and so on.

What comes next, now that INCEPTIO is out in the world?

I’m working on PERFIDITAS, the second book in the Roma Nova series, which is about betrayal, both personal and professional.

I certainly wish you every success with INCEPTIO, Alison. I love the cover and I love the idea behind it.

Thank you, and thank you very much for letting your readers listen in to our conversation, Liz. If they want, they can find out more about the Romans, alternate history and writing on my blog: I’m also on Facebook at, and they can follow me on Twitter @alison_morton

My official UK launch will be held at Waterstones Tunbridge Wells on 12 March.

And finally, for your benefit, dear readers, you can add INCEPTIO to your bookshelf, virtual or otherwise, by …

going to Amazon UK and Amazon US

The author herself – Alison Morton