The Long-Hair Saga
In a grave, on the edge of a Roman battlefield, an ancient sword has been discovered. Legend claims it belonged to King David of Israel and carries a curse—those who wield it will tragically die—but not the chosen.
AD 455. Arria Felix and her husband, Garic the Frank, have safely delivered a sacred relic to Emperor Marcian in Constantinople. But now, Arria and Garic will accept a new mission. The emperor has asked them to carry the sword of King David of Israel to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem where Arria will dedicate it in her murdered father’s memory.
As Arria and Garic travel into the heart of the Holy Land, they face many challenges and dangers. Their young daughter is missing then found in the company of a strange and suspicious old monk. A brutal killer stalks their path. And a band of cold-blooded thieves is determined to steal the sword for their own gains. But when Arria confronts the question of where the sword should truly rest—old friendships, loyalties, and her duty are put to the test like never before. At every turn, Arria and Garic find themselves caught in a treacherous mission wrapped in mystery, murder, and A Sword Among Ravens.
1. When and where do you prefer to write?
I prefer to write in my upstairs office and my kitchen table. I have a nice view of my backyard and a large old tree from both locations. In the summer, I like to write outside on my back porch.
2. Do you need peace and quiet when you are writing?
Yes! I’m having conversations in my head when I’m writing dialogue, and I want to feel immersed in the moment. Any noise, like a loud television or a barking dog, is distracting. I’m an auditory learner, so if there is music playing, it has to be instrumental. Otherwise, I begin to listen to the words.
3. If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
I would write a book with my friend who is a New York Police Department detective. The Big Apple is filled with some unbelievable crime stories.
4. Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?
That’s a tough question. My literary nature is attracted to both. I imagine it might be better to choose the ‘good one’ rather than having your name possibly attached to a villain who becomes popular like Hannibal Lecter, Bill Sykes, or Lord Voldemort!
5. Who would you like/have liked to interview?
Great question! When I was younger, I would have said Queen Elizabeth I. In fact, my daughter’s middle name is Elizabeth because I read books about the queen and viewed her as unique and bold for her time. She believed in herself and stayed strong, and didn’t succumb to the power and influences of men who would take her throne.
However, when considering an author to interview, there are many legendary writers that I admire. I think I would start with Thomas Hardy. One of my favorite stories is Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Hardy was influenced by Romanticism but was also viewed as a Victorian realist writing in the times in which he lived. I always considered his work, especially Far from the Madding Crowd, as intense, romantic, and a bit dark. Perhaps, my first question for him might simply be, “Where do you get the inspiration for your characters?”.
6. Where can I find you when you are reading?
You’ll find me nestled in a wingback chair beside a window in my bedroom.
7. Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
I like to cook, exercise, and watch all types of movies, but especially a streaming or television show based on a historical, mystery, or a romantic adventure novel or series.
8. What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
At first, I assess whether it meets my visual and formatting expectations. But in my next breath, I feel a combination of pride and incredulity that I created a story that’s come to life in a book that others may choose to read.
9. How do you come up with a title for your book?
I actually start with a simple first title drawn from the content of the book. Then I begin to expand on this title based on an idea I’ve had, and I create a list of possibilities. Next, I show these possibilities to a few readers closest to me to see which ones intrigue them. Then, I do a web search to ensure that my two favourite titles are not already in use. Afterward, I step away from these two for a few days, and when I come back to them, the right one seems to jump out at me.
10. How do you pick a cover for your book?
The first two books in my series were traditionally published with a London and New York-based publisher, and so I was only allowed to give a little input, which the publisher was open to and used. However, before book three was finished, my publisher closed. When I decided to republish my books through a new publisher, I requested the ability to use the designer of my choice to recreate my covers, and the publisher agreed.
I tend to look at cover models for artistic ideas that might fit my genre and storyline. I create a few concepts and send them to the designer. She generates several samples that include a binding element for the series. I hang them up in my kitchen, where I can stand back and view them as a painting. I ask a few family members their opinion, and then I’ll choose. If necessary, the designer and I will discuss some final edits (which include the front, back, and spine of the cover), and then she’ll create the finished product.
Thank you, Cynthia Ripley Miller and The Coffee Pot Book Club
About the Author
Cynthia Ripley Miller is a first generation Italian-American writer with a love for history, languages, and books. She has lived in Europe and traveled world-wide, holds two degrees, and taught history and English. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthology Summer Tapestry, at Orchard Press Mysteries.com, and The Scriptor. She is a Chanticleer International Chatelaine Award finalist with awards from Circle of Books-Rings of Honor and The Coffee Pot Book Club. She has reviewed for UNRV Roman History, and blogs at Historical Happenings and Oddities: A Distant Focus and on her website, http://www.cynthiaripleymiller.com
Cynthia is the author of On the Edge of Sunrise, The Quest for the Crown of Thorns, and A Sword Among Ravens, books 1-3 in her Long-Hair Saga series set in Late Ancient Rome, France, and Jerusalem. Cynthia lives outside of Chicago with her family, along with a cute but bossy cat.