Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Interview with Author Ben Kane & Giveaway of Spartacus Rebellion

I'm excited to share this interview with Ben Kane, the author of the Spartacus series.  I'd previously read and reviewed the first three books in the series.  The latest book, Spartacus Rebellion, has just come out.  

Publication Date: May 14, 2013
St. Martin's Press
Hardcover; 464p
ISBN-10: 1250012775

Spartacus has already done the impossible—not only has he escaped from slavery, he and his seconds have created a mighty slave army that has challenged Rome and defeated the armies of three praetors, two consuls, and one proconsul. On the plain of the River Po, in modern Northern Italy, Spartacus has defeated Gaius Cassius Longinus, proconsul and general of an army of two legions. Now the road home lies before them—to Thrace for Spartacus, and to Gaul for his seconds-in-command, Castus and Gannicus.

But storm clouds are gathering on the horizon. One of Spartacus's most powerful generals has defected, taking his men with him. Back in Rome, the immensely rich Marcus Licinius Crassus is gathering an unheard-of Army. The Senate has given Crassus an army made up of ten legions and the authority to do whatever it takes to end the slave rebellion once and for all.

Meanwhile, Spartacus wants to lead his men over the Alps and home, but his two seconds have a different plan. They want to march on Rome itself and bring the Republic to its knees. Rebellion has become war. War to the death. 

I thought that it would be a great time to touch base with the author.  He's been kind enough to spend time to talk about his writing.  Please welcome Ben Kane!

(1)  Your first Spartacus novel developed into a whole second book. Was this something that you'd planned when you wrote the first book?

(Please can the question be rephrased as above or similar? Otherwise it implies that there are more than two books. Thank you.)

Initially, I sold the idea of one Spartacus novel to my UK publishers. Once I had begun it, I found that the story itself was bigger than I had imagined. I realised at about 100,000 words of the first book that there was no way on this earth that I could finish Spartacus’ story within 30-40,000 (the amount that was left if my novel was to come in at normal length) – without having to cut loads of wonderful detail about what he’d done. I rang my editor and asked her if I could write a second book, to finish the story. I’m happy to say that she gave me the green light, which freed me up to pen the second volume. I wrote both books in a frenzied twelve month period.

(2) How have you adjusted to expand the adventures and keep the main characters and relationships throughout?

It was easy, I am glad to say. Spartacus did so many amazing things in the two years of his rebellion that I had no trouble keeping him and his fellow characters very busy indeed. Having two novels to write also meant that I had more time to develop the character of Ariadne, his wife, which I really enjoyed doing. It’s unusual for ancient texts even to tell that he had a wife, let alone that she was a priestess of Dionysus, the god of wine and ritual mania. he moment that I read those details, I knew that Ariadne also had a great story to tell.

(3) What are you currently working on?  Would you like to tell us a bit about projects that you have brewing?

Currently, I am writing Clouds of War, the third in my Hannibal series. Enemy of Rome, the first book in this series will be published in the USA next year. It’s a series that opened a year before the outbreak of the Second Punic War (218-201 BC), which details the stories of characters from both sides of the conflict. Originally, I just planned to write a trilogy, but the sheer scale of the war and my publishers’ backing means that I’ll write at least five if not more books about it. Before I write the fourth one, however, I plan to start a new series, set during the Hundred Years’ War, which took place between England and France from 1337 – 1453. After that, I have plans to return to Spartacus’ boyhood, as well as to write about other time periods that I won’t mention just yet.

About the Author

Ben Kane was born in Kenya and raised there and in Ireland. He qualified as a veterinary surgeon from University College Dublin, and worked in Ireland and the UK for several years. After that he travelled the world extensively, indulging his passion for seeing the world and learning more about ancient history. Seven continents and more than 65 countries later, he decided to settle down, for a while at least.

While working in Northumberland in 2001/2, his love of ancient history was fuelled by visits to Hadrian's Wall. He naïvely decided to write bestselling Roman novels, a plan which came to fruition after several years of working full time at two jobs - being a vet and writing. Retrospectively, this was an unsurprising development, because since his childhood, Ben has been fascinated by Rome, and particularly, its armies. He now lives in North Somerset with his wife and family, where he has sensibly given up veterinary medicine to write full time.

To find out more about Ben and his books visit

 To celebrate Spartacus Rebellion's release, the publisher and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours have sponsored this giveaway of 1 copy of Spartacus Rebellion.  Enter the giveaway below - the giveaway ends on June 15, 2013.

To enter the giveaway, please comment below and share what book you're looking forward to reading this summer.  For an extra entry, tell us about a book that you loved recently and why.  Contest ends on June 15, 2013.

(1) You must be a follower of the blog to enter.
(2) Limited to U.S. residents only.  
(3) Maximum of two entries per household.

Want to learn more about Ben Kane, Spartacus and the latest book in the series?  Want more chances to win your personal copy of Spartacus Rebellion?  Check out the tour schedule and/or follow #SpartacusRebellionTour

Link to Tour Schedule:
Twitter Hashtag: #SpartacusRebellionTour

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