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Simon Turney is an author of Roman and medieval historical fiction, historical fantasy and Roman children's books.
A born and bred Yorkshireman with a love of the country, he lives in rural North Yorkshire divides his time between staring at a computer screen and charging around the world wherever he can find the breathtaking remains of the classical era. After leaving University, Simon followed an eclectic career path, including car sales, insurance, software engineering, computer network management, civil service and even painting and decorating sales. He has lived in four counties but never strayed far from his beloved Yorkshire.
While struck with ennui at the corporate world in 2003 Simon, a lover of Roman history, decided to combine writing and history with a new look at Caesar's diaries. Marius' Mules was followed two years later by Interregnum - an attempt to create a new fantasy world with a flavour of Rome. Since then, the success and popularity of both has spawned numerous sequels to each work. Simon's portfolio has expanded over the years to include a series set in the medieval era (The Ottoman Cycle), a series of Roman thrillers (Praetorian), and most recently a new series of Roman novels for children.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When will the next book be published?
Currently, 10 Marius' Mules titles are available, 5 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 third book in an as-yet-unreleased collaborative trilogy with Gordon Doherty is in progress, as well as a new series to come through Canelo publishing, and Caligula through Orion in 2018. 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 are based on Caesar's Civil Wars. Rubicon, Rome and Spain were covered this year in book 10: Fields of Mars. Book 11 is due in Summer 2018.
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). 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.