I’m thrilled to have JF Ridgley here today–and she’s brought so much with her!
Thanks so much for agreeing to be with us today!
It’s fantastic being here, Becky. Thank you.
Tell us all about your main characters—who are they? What makes them tick? Most importantly, what one thing would they need to have with them if stranded on a desert isle? 😉
Ah, my main characters…
Gnaeus Julius Agricola is the main character of his Agricola series. He’s all historical Roman and is very proud of that, as well as his family’s history. However that is thwarted by his love for a beautiful Iceni daughter Rhianna. It is because of this love that he actually did spend most of his career with the Roman Legions of Britannia. My question was why? I think I figured out a darn good reason. It all starts here in Red Fury Revolt.
Another main character in Revolt is the Iceni queen Boudica. Many refer to her as Boudicca but after years of research, I agreed with Graham Webster and stuck with his spelling of her name. But the woman hasn’t changed a lick…She is one of the most dynamic women of history. Two hundred thousand warriors followed her as she tried to run Rome off her lands.
Well, Julius would only want for one thing…the Valeria Victrix–the Twentieth Legion. Together, they would find a way home under his leadership.
Boudica, now, she would definitely miss her green homeland. But I would think Boudica would need a big knife–to cut down trees and make a boat to get back home.
They certainly sound intriguing!
Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
I was snooping through a used bookstore in Annapolis, MD and found a book with an amazing woman who had the audacity to think she could run Rome out of Britannia and truly did lead a massive army of warriors to do so–Boudica. The Celts respected the role of their womens and figured (much like the Native Americans) that they had as much to lose as their men. It wasn’t until later that some of this attitude changed.
She’s definitely inspirational 😉
How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?
Oh dear, writing…well it seems forever, but I have to say going on twenty years. It’s truly a journey. What inspired me was my Eighth grade class who said, “Ms. Ridgley, you need to write that book.” And I did. Only it’s my first-born book of 250,000 words and really needs editing. I just hope I inspired them to pursue their dreams too.
That’s fantastic! I’m sure you did 🙂
What do you like best about being a writer? What is the most challenging part?
I’m always somewhere in Ancient Rome. Okay, I do dabble in the present world a bit now and then- writing that is. However, I’m more comfortable writing about the ancient world. As my mother said once, “Times change, but people don’t” And that is so true. What amazes me is that man has never been kind to man, but there have also been brilliant, wonderful, kind people throughout history. Their stories need to be shared too.
Most challenging…Learning this craft and editing. Writing is so much more than just sitting down and typing out a story. And editing, which is endless. However, to watch my stories develop and grow is almost as fascinating at watching your kids grow up. Those newborns/first drafts do grow up to be beautiful children/books who, hopefully, go off to ‘wow’ the world one day.
Great analogy! Hopefully the stories don’t ever cause your car insurance to go up, though (can you tell I have teenagers?)
What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?
Right now, I’m working on too much. However, the first challenge is my mature contemporary romance 18 Wheeler (dedicated to Spike–our nephew and a trucker). It’s in its second edit stage. “Is love sweeter the second time around?” I would love to have this out this summer. The second book of my Agricola series, Red Fury Rebellion, is out at the end of the year. It’s drafted, but of course, I have many changes to Domitia in this one.
Wow—so much going on—fantastic!
What authors and/or books have inspired you?
There are so many authors who have inspired me that I can’t name them all, and it’s not only in my genres that I have found them. Denise Grover Swank inspired me to go Indie. After so many years of rejection, I knew that God brought her into my life for that reason. As for Rome, there are so many Roman writers I love, but James Mace has influenced me a great deal. He writes great battle scenes, real life in the Legions and puts all of it in a well-told story. Much like Bernard Cornwall, who can make you taste sweat and gunpowder.
I’m always looking for more good historical fiction writers—I’ll have to check them out!
What are you currently reading? What are your thoughts about it so far?
Atlas Shrugged. That is my mother’s favorite book of all time and I am seeing why. I think everyone should read it, starting with Washington DC. In addition, James’s latest book. (Soldier of Rome – Vespasian’s Fury) And friends’ books. They all lay open on my Kindle app.
I haven’t read Atlas Shrugged yet…
If you had to “sell” this book in a single Tweet, what would you say?
An Iceni queen Boudica and a Roman tribune Julius Agricola revolt against Rome’s control. Find out why and what brings Julius back to Britannia over and over again in Red Fury Revolt?
Again, thank you, Becky. You are a dear.
Thank you, JF!
Keep reading to find out for more about JF and her new book…
Ms Ridgley loves the ancient world. Even after years of researching and many trips to the sites of her stories, she is still fascinated by what she can use for her next story. One thing she does enjoy more is bringing this world to life in her award-winning stories of power, greed, violence, and love.
Publication Date: January 31, 2015
R Pride Publishing
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Book One, The Agricola Series
This is where it starts… book one, Red Fury…Revolt
Camulodunum! Londinium! Verulaneum!
Three towns writhe under the Iceni queen’s wrath, as she leads her warriors intent on destroying all things Roman – be it Roman temples, Roman villas, or entire families sympathetic to Rome. At stake is Suetonius Paulinus’s reputation. With only 80,000 legionaries, will he destroy Boudica or will he endure the disgrace in Rome for losing–to a woman?
Julius Agricola-Rome’s tribune, and Rhianna-Boudica’s youngest daughter, become ensnared in this horrific historical revolt against Roman injustice. Just as Julius and Rhianna reveal their love to each other, they are hurled back into the harsh reality of their differing worlds that are determined to destroy each other.
Who will survive?
Book two in the Agricola series, Red Fury Rebellion, coming 2016!
…The beat of distant drumbeats and the clank of metal carried over the nearby ridge. People’s attention shifted from Prasutagus’s funeral stanchion to the standard of Rome’s tax-collector slowly appearing with each stride. A soldier covered with the hide of a silver wolf marched into view. He carried before him Rome’s banner embroidered with gold letters ‘LEG II AUG’ that hung on the elegant staff.
Behind him glided a column of soldiers appearing over the grassy hilltop like a long, metal-scaled snake. Row after row of gleaming armor marched in unison, each man carrying a blackened javelin in one hand and, in the other, a red rectangular shield with yellow-winged pattern. Their swords called gladius banged against hips as their long red capes swayed with each measured step.
Like eyes of this silver serpent, two officers on horseback rode behind the standard. A black-crested helmet hid one man’s face while the other held his red-crested helmet under his arm. The bareheaded officer lifted his free arm.
In that same breath, the black-crested officer shouted, “Consiste!”
A trumpet sounded and the serpent’s body halted.
All watched as the bareheaded officer slid from his horse, handed his helmet to a foot soldier, and strode up the rise toward the stanchion. Rhianna’s mother’s sharp glower followed each step until the Roman halted before her. The Iceni people stirred restlessly as the silence thickened like thunderclouds between the leaders.
“Who are you, Roman, to intrude this day?” Boudica demanded.
The man tore his attention from the mound of gifts to focus on her mother. “Decianus Catus. Procurator of Rome.”
“If you come to honor my husband, you are welcome. If not, I demand you leave.”
“Demand?” A glimmer of mirth lit in his eyes. “And you…are his wife?”
The procurator lifted a hand, a finger pointing skyward. It flicked. “Tribune.”
The black-crested officer dismounted and then motioned to another soldier with a white crest crossing his helmet. “Centurio. With me.”
Both joined the procurator on the rise.
“Circle the men around the stanchion,” the procurator ordered.
The tribune hesitated. Even the white-crested soldier shifted as if uncertain.
“You heard me, Tribune. Give the order.”
The tribune’s red cape whipped around his leather sandals as he whirled to the white-crested soldier. “Centurio, circle the men.”
The centurio raised the first two fingers of each hand and pointed between the stanchion and her people. One hand circled to the left and the other to the right. The serpent split and surrounded the rise where Rhianna stood with her mother and sister as it separated them from the others coiling in anger like angry dogs.
Her father’s first man jerked his sword arm across his chest. “Wait.”
Beyond the circle of red shields, Rhianna saw the Iceni warriors bristle. Wives halted husbands with a hand to an arm. Children hid behind their mothers’ skirts, whimpering.
Morrigan stepped forward.
Mergith caught her wrist. “Morrigan, Churl said to wait.”
Her sister braced, as everyone focused on the smirking Roman.
“I regret to find the leader of the Iceni dead,” the procurator said loud enough for the gods to hear. “Still, I have orders from Rome to collect payments on loans granted to the Iceni.”
“We owe nothing to anyone,” Boudica said equally as loud. “Not even to Rome.”
“Records show your people owe much for the loans that built Camulodunum.”
“Camulodunum?” Her mother shrieked laughter. The Iceni joined her mirth and then silenced when she continued. “We owe nothing to your designs except for what my husband granted your emperor.”
The procurator relaxed back on one leg. “What has the leader of the Iceni… granted Rome?”
Frigid air formed in the silence. Rhianna watched as her mother’s fists opened and closed at her sides. She could only wonder what thoughts were searing through her mother’s mind.
Finally Boudica spoke. “Prasutagus grants half of the Iceni wealth and no more to this Nero.” Her hand flicked as if throwing a tidbit to the Roman.
“And you have papers proving this agreement?”
“Proof? We have no need for proof. Our word is law. Is not Rome’s word equal?”
“No papers?” Laughter bellowed from the procurator’s lips. “Tribune, they expect us to accept the word of a Britanni woman who calls herself their queen.”
The tribune’s attention set on the arrogant Roman and then scanned the rise as if in disbelief. It settled on her, locking with hers until the tribune tore his away.
Rhianna staggered from its intensity, gasping for air.
The tribune said something to the centurio who motioned to six soldiers to leave the ring to come up to stand beside her, Morrigan and Mergith. Their presence threatened every nerve in her body.
“Agreed! Half of the Iceni wealth now belongs to Rome as well as the loan payments owed,” the procurator announced.
“How dare you!” Her mother scooped a handful of dirt and hurled it into the Roman’s face.
“By word of Rome I dare.” The procurator backhanded her mother, twisting her aside like a bent tree.
As if struck, Rhianna hand flew to her cheek as if she had been the one slapped.
In that same instant, soldiers braced behind their shields. The points of gladii flashed into view, glinting like metal teeth.
“Curse you! Curse Rome!” Boudica screamed and then coated the Roman’s face with spit.
Cheers and laughter roared up through the Iceni as the procurator slowly lifted the edge of his red cape and wiped his face. The cape dropped and his finger rose.
“Flog her.” …
Praise for Red Fury Revolt
“…Ms. Ridgley has done very well at telling her story, while being respectful to the events that devastated Britannia, and even shook the Roman Empire itself, in 60 to 61 A.D.” – James Mace, Author of ‘Soldier of Rome – The Artorian Chronicles’
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4 Copies of Red Fury Revolt
4 Red Fury Revolt Branded Coffee Mugs
$25 Amazon Gift Card
Iceni Pendant (like the one featured on the cover!)
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Red Fury Revolt Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, March 2
Spotlight at The Maiden’s Court
Tuesday, March 3
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Thursday, March 5
Guest Post at The Reading World
Saturday, March 7
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight at Curiouser and Curiouser
Sunday, March 8
Review & Excerpt at A Virtual Hobby Store and Coffee Haus
Monday, March 9
Interview at A Virtual Hobby Store and Coffee Haus
Tuesday, March 10
Interview & Excerpt at Becky on Books
Wednesday, March 11
Review at Deal Sharing Aunt
Thursday, March 12
Interview at Curling Up With A Good Book
Friday, March 13
Review at Genre Queen
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book