Já sabem que Steven Saylor é um dos meus autores preferidos e portanto, podem imaginar como é que eu fiquei =)
Mas vou deixar-me de blá blá blá e partilhar convosco a entrevista a Steven Saylor.
Your books are focused on Ancient Rome, how did you become interest in this period?
I grew up far from Italy, in a small town in Texas. But the movies when I was a boy (in the 1960s) were saturated with ancient Rome, from Spartacus, Ben Hur, and Cleopatra to the peplum movie made in Italy starring Steve Reeves as Hercules. (Bodybuilders were very uncommon then.) I think many people still become interested in Rome from movies and TV. At university I studied history, including Rome. But it was after my first trip to Rome in my late twenties that I became truly obsessed with knowing more and more about the ancient world, especially Rome. I am still obsessed, and there is always more to discover.
How did you get the idea for the first book Roma Sub-Rosa – Roman Blood?
At the time I first visited Rome, I was also obsessed with Sherlock Holmes; I read all the stories and novels straight through, in the order in which Doyle wrote them,—the reading experience of a lifetime. Arriving back in California from that first trip to Rome, I craved a novel that would combine ancient Rome with detective fiction, but in 1990 no such book seemed to exist. So I had to write the novel I longed to read—that is how many first novels come to be written. My inspiration was an actual trial oration by Cicero, defending a man accused of murdering his father. Behind the scenes of that the murder case there was a vast spider’s web of political intrigue and conspiracy reaching up to the most powerful man in Rome—wonderful material for both a historical novel and a detective novel.
Did you inspired in someone to create Gordianus? How as the name come about?
I wanted a name not common in Rome at the time (where the same names occur over and over). It’s from the Gordian knot that posed a puzzle to Alexander the Great: it was so complex that no man could unravel it. So Alexander simply cut it with a sword, just as Gordianus often sees straight to the hidden causes of the crimes around him. I paid homage to Sherlock Holmes in the very first chapter of Roman Blood, and then set about inventing my own character, who continues to evolve after many novels. I am still getting to know Gordianus, just as I am still discovering myself. He can still surprise me.
In each book we always have a historical event, which was the most enjoyed to writing?
A special joy was the research for The Seven Wonders, in which young Gordianus travels to each Wonder, solves a mystery there, and also has a new erotic experience—so important to a young person traveling the world. Researching the Wonders was a lot of fun, and a special challenge, since I wanted to make the details accurate for the exact year of his journey, 92 B.C. The Great Pyramid, the Lighthouse of Pharos, and all the rest continue to fascinate us.
And the most difficult one?
Perhaps Wrath of the Furies, which is based very closely on an actual event, the secret plot of King Mithridates of Pontus in the year 88 B.C. to practice “ethnic cleansing” in Asia Minor by killing tens of thousands of Romans in a single day, by surprise. I can not call that research “fun,” because the subject is so grim, a challenge even the the youthful optimism of Gordianus. But despite its importance, this event has never been the subject of a novel or movie (at least not in English), so I wanted to recreate the people and places and events as faithfully as I could. Despite the grim subject matter, I think the book is very fast-paced and full of action and surprises.
Each time I read a Gordianus’ book, I always get the feeling that it would give an excellent movie or TV series. As the Roma Sub Rosa series writer, which actor would you like to see to perform Gordianus?
The real answer: I would choose whichever actor is capable at this moment of getting film producers to invest a great deal of money in such a project. Who that “hot” actor is changes from year to year. I never visualize a real person or actor when writing about Gordianus, and he ages many decades over the course of the series, so is this the younger Gordianus, in his teens, or Gordianus in his sixties, at the time of Caesar’s assassination (the novel I am writing right now)? I suspect there are any number of fine British actors who could be plucked out of Game of Thrones to play the role.
Did you imagine only write about Ancient Rome or are there other periods / civilizations that you would like to explore?
Rome is endlessly fascinating and has such a wide audience; I am lucky that I set my first novel in a time and place that interests so many people in so many countries. Moving away from Gordianus to my novels Roma and Empire has allowed me to explore Rome from prehistory to the time of Hadrian; I hope to write a third novel in that series. There are a few tales from Byzantine (Late Roman) history and also from Ancient Greece that intrigue me…but I don’t want to reveal even a hint, for fear that someone might be inspired to write those stories before I can.
If you could meet three writers (alive or dead) what would you ask them?
Homer: how many fingers am I holding up? (Seriously: was Homer blind or not?)
Tolstoy: how did a mere mortal write War and Peace?
E. M. Forster: would you marry me?
I would like to thank Steven Saylor for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions. I’m thrilled about the Portuguese release of Wrath of the Furies.
So am I! And thank you for this opportunity. May I also invite your readers to my web site? It’s easy to find: stevensaylor.com.
Podem encontrar, aqui pelo blogue, algumas publicações, quer de opiniões dos livros de Steven Saylor, também sobre o autor.
Links de opinião dos livros de Steven Saylor: