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Simon lives with his wife and children and a menagerie of animals in rural North Yorkshire, where he sits in an office, wired on coffee and digestive biscuits, and attempts to spin engrossing tales out of strands of imagination while his children drive toys across his desk and two dogs howl as they try to share a brain cell.
A born and bred Yorkshireman with a love of country, history and architecture, Simon spends most of his rare free time travelling around ancient sites, writing, researching the ancient world and reading voraciously.
Following an arcane and eclectic career path that wound through everything from sheep to Microsoft networks and from paint to car sales, Simon wrote Marius' Mules and, with help and support, made a success of it. Now, with in excess of 20 novels under his belt, Simon writes full time and is represented by MMB Creative literary agents.
Simon writes Roman military novels in the form of the bestselling Marius' Mules series based on Julius Caesar's campaigns, Roman thrillers in the Praetorian series, set during the troubled reign of Commodus, medieval adventures in the Ottoman Cycle, following a young Greek thief around the 15th century world, and a series of Historical Fantasy novels with a Roman flavour, called the Tales of the Empire.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When will the next book be published?
Currently, 9 (and a bit) Marius' Mules titles are available, 4 Tales of the Empire. 2 Praetorian novels and 4 of the Ottoman Cycle, as well as a number of short story works and collaborations. The second book in a collaboration trilogy with Gordon Doherty is almost complete, as well as a couple of interesting side projects. A fifth Tale of the Empire, entitled Invasion will be completed over the winter for release by the excellent Canelo. Marius' Mules 10 and Praetorian 3 are both scheduled for 2017. Regular updates are given on my Facebook page and Twitter account.
What is next with Marius' Mules?
Having worked through the events of Caesar's Gallic Wars and filled in the blanks surrounding 51 and 50BC, the next few books will be based on Caesar's Civil Wars. First up: Rubicon, Rome and Spain.
How many books will there be in the Marius' Mules series?
The entire run of Marius' Mules is planned to finish with book 15, which will take place in 44BC.
What about Young Fronto?
I have been asked more than once whether I intend to write anything set when Fronto was younger, such as in Spain with Caesar. The answer to that is: who knows? Perhaps when the series is complete I will be struck by a Bernard Cornwell-esque desire to go back and tell the early stories. Might happen. In the meantime, I have so many projects on the drawing board that I simply can't figure any time I could get to it, so it remains a possibility. I have, of course, covered some of this history in MM9.
Why do you also write fantasy works?
There is something liberating about launching into a project that is based entirely on my imagination and not limited by the definitive events laid out in history. I have thoroughly enjoyed telling the tales in Tales of the Empire, and there is at least one still to come.
Have I thought about writing about (period x) in Roman history?
I have had several suggestions of subjects and periods that I could write about. Some are very good suggestions and I will seriously consider them when the time comes (I have several works scheduled for the next few years). I am always open to suggestions and comments. Periods and situations suggested (that I love) include Constantinian Rome and Roman Egypt. Well good news there: if you have kids, they might like Crocodile Legion, my children's novel set in Roman Egypt, and the trilogy upon which I'm working with Gordon Doherty is based around the era of the Tetrarchy and the rise of Constantine and Maxentius. News on the release of these should follow soon.
Have I read Wallace Breem's Eagle in the Snow?
I have been asked this three times and that has astounded me. And the answer was no. Miraculously, given the high esteem in which the book is held, I had remained strangely unaware of it. This has recently been corrected. During the final stages of writing MM3, I took the time to purchase and read Breem's seminal work. It is an astoundingly emotional ride, I have to say. To those of you who likened Fronto to Maximus in that novel, all I can say is thank you. I can see a similarity myself.
Why are my Kindle titles priced so low, when the paperback list price is quite high?
Very simply, I have no control over the paperback price, which is determined by the publishers, depending upon the size of the book (and most of my books are pretty long.) I do, however, have control over the price of the electronic editions, and I have deliberately set them as low as the publishing system will allow. The reason for this is that I am passionate about both reading and writing, and I believe that books are becoming too pricey. If things continue with the current trend, people will stop reading unless they're quite wealthy, and will rely on TV. I would rather lower the price and encourage people to read.
Did the HBO series Rome influence my writing of Caesar?
I actually began writing Marius' Mules long before Rome came on, but was almost ecstatic to see how well their portrayal meshed with my own view of him. It is, in retrospect, almost as though the MM series is a prequel for the show. In a similar way, since I finished the first novel, I have found echoes of my work in that of others. I guess that's unavoidable, given the closeness of the subject and period.