The Theodosian Women, Book Two
As Rome reels under barbarian assaults, a young girl must step up.
After the Emperor’s unexpected death, ambitious men eye the Eastern Roman throne occupied by seven-year-old Theodosius II. His older sister Pulcheria faces a stark choice: she must find allies and take control of the Eastern court or doom the imperial children to a life of obscurity—or worse. Beloved by the people and respected by the Church, Pulcheria forges her own path to power. Can her piety and steely will protect her brother from military assassins, heretic bishops, scheming eunuchs and—most insidious of all—a beautiful, intelligent bride? Or will she lose all in the trying?
When and where do you prefer to write?
When I was a busy corporate type and new mom, I wrote whenever and wherever I could grab a few precious moments. I wrote short fiction mostly in airports and hotels. When my daughter started school, I left the corporate life for academia and freelance non-fiction writing. My work schedule became much more flexible, but fiction writing was still catch-as-catch-can. I wrote my first novels mostly in the evenings and weekends when my husband could take over kid duty.
For the last ten years, I’ve been a full-time writer and treat it like a job. I have a dedicated workspace which I love and a regular schedule: writing in the morning, publishing/marketing, etc. in the afternoon. My office gets lots of morning light and is filled with books, plants, and comfy furniture. My two cats come and go and prefer to sleep on the radiator or the futon. I get most of my writing done first thing in the morning—BEFORE I check email or messages. Email is a rabbit hole that I don’t want to fall into before I finish my daily writing.
Do you need peace and quiet when you are writing?
Not necessarily. It depends on the type of noise. I can write through traffic noise, sirens, and helicopters outside my window. I can have music on—if it has no words in English but absolutely no talk radio or TV. Competing words seems to be my downfall. My husband’s office is across the hall and I’m acutely aware of the sound of his voice as he talks with project mates—especially this past year when everyone, who could, worked from home. I literally had to get up and shut both our doors to finish this paragraph.
If you had the chance to co-write a book, whom would it be with?
Oh, my, that’s a question I’ve never been asked before. So many choices! I think I’d be intimidated by some of my favorite best-selling authors like Isabel Allende. I have some friends in a critique group that I could write with, but I think I’d like to write a book with my daughter. She’s brilliantly creative and comes up with these fun imaginative worlds. I haven’t written fantasy or science fiction since before she was born, and I would like to give a try again.
Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?
The ‘bad one’ hands down! I villain named Faith Justice would sneak up on a reader and take them by surprise. Besides, I believe in complicated villains. Their goals just happen to conflict with the protagonist’s. My villains are always the heroes of their own stories.
Who would you like/have liked to interview?
I originally thought I’d like to interview my historical characters—Hypatia, Placidia, Pulcheria, Athenais—but changed my mind. I think I like them as I’ve imagined them and would be disappointed (in them? in me?) to find they were significantly different. So, among all the living and dead I think I’d like to interview Mark Twain—just because I think he would be so entertaining.
BTW, I had the great fortune of interviewing several of my heroes when I was freelancing. I got to interview literary treasure Ursula K. Le Guin twice, which resulted in a cover article for Writer’s Digest and a career retrospective for Salon.com. All my original interview material with everyone I interviewed is available on my website under Readers’ Resources.
Where can I find you when you are reading?
Good weather: on the porch before dinner. Bad weather: in front of the fireplace before dinner. Every day: in bed before I go to sleep.
Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
At work: digging in my computer for research. At play: digging in my flower and vegetable gardens. On vacation: digging in archaeological sites—primarily Roman digs in the UK and Italy.
What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
“It’s real! All the fun research, not-so-fun rewriting, and hated paperwork paid off!”
How do you come up with a title for your books?
Titles for my short stories were always a problem, but titles for my novels seemed obvious. Twilight Empress is about Placidia who ruled over the twilight of the Western Roman Empire as a thousand years of Roman rule stumbled to a close. Similarly, Dawn Empress is about Pulcheria who ruled over the dawn of the Byzantine Empire in the East that lasted for another thousand years. I am having a bit of a problem with the third in the series with a working title of Athenian Maid about Athenais, Pulcheria’s philosopher/poet sister-in-law. I’d like to continue the empress theme but haven’t come up with a good one yet.
How do you pick a cover for your book?
I’ve been very fortunate to work with a wonderful designer, Jennifer Quinlan. She and I talked about the general look of the books and the characteristics of the protagonists. She presented me with several options. I narrowed it down to my top 3-5 favorites and asked my friends, family, and fans for their input. I took their comments into consideration, but it was my choice in the end about what appealed to me and represented my story best.
On a final note, I want to thank you again for hosting me on this blog tour and especially for letting me speak to your readers. Everyone stay safe out there!
Thank you, Faith L. Justice and The Coffee Pot Book Club
About the Author
Faith L. Justice writes award-winning historical novels, short stories, and articles in Brooklyn, New York where she lives with her family and the requisite gaggle of cats. Her work has appeared in Salon.com, Writer’s Digest, The Copperfield Review, and many more publications. She is Chair of the New York City chapter of the Historical Novel Society, and Associate Editor for Space and Time Magazine. She co-founded a writer’s workshop many more years ago than she likes to admit. For fun, she digs in the dirt—her garden and various archaeological sites.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B003FWNP9S
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0917053265
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0917053265
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/0917053265
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B089J6R3YZ
Nook Audiobook: https://www.nookaudiobooks.com/audiobook/1028557/dawn-empress