1. What flavor is your writing?
The combination of a chocolate energy bar with a pinch of cayenne might best describe my novel’s flavor. My story is fast-paced with more dialogue than narrative (although there is enough narrative for imagery and internal dialogue). I like action and conflict to keep the story fresh and some red-hot spice to make the plot tantalizing.
2. If this book were made into a movie, who would you cast to play the characters?
I’d cast Chris Hemsworth (Thor) or Matt Barr (Sleepy Hollow) to play my barbarian hero, Garic. The Italian actress, Catarina Murino (Casino Royale) I think really exemplifies my heroine, Arria, a Roman senator’s daughter. If I had to choose an American actress, I might cast Michelle Trachtenberg (All My Children).
3. What is your favorite scene in On the Edge of Sunrise?
My favorite scene involves my heroine, Arria, being accompanied to Cambria, a Roman fort town, by the hero, Garic, a Frank warrior noble who has just saved her from a renegade group of barbarians. As they enter the city gates, they come upon a slave auction. Arria sees that in order to help save a mother and her child from slavery, she must buy them. Garic, encourages her and offers his help. The attraction between Arria and Garic has grown throughout the journey, and they share some tender moments. But just as they express their love, the commander of the Roman fort, Arria’s betrothed, interrupts them.
4. What are you reading now, or what books do you have in your TBR pile?
I just finished, The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan and Helen Hollick’s The Sea Witch, book one in her series about the pirate, Jesamiah Acorne. I’m currently reading, The Queen’s Knight: The Lionheart Chronicles by J.L. Gorman, and on my TBR pile is Angelopolis by Danielle Trussoni and Roma by Steven Saylor.
5. What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on book two in my Long-Hair Saga series, a romantic historical with elements of mystery and suspense.
You can find out more about Cynthia at these links:
The year is AD 450. The Roman Empire wanes as the Medieval Age awakens. Attila the Hun and his horde conquer their way across Europe into Gaul. Caught between Rome’s tottering empire and Attila’s threat are the Frankish tribes and their ‘Long-Hair’ chiefs, northern pagans in a Roman Christian world, and a people history will call the Merovingians.
A young widow, Arria longs for a purpose and a challenge. She is as well versed in politics and diplomacy as any man … but with special skills of her own.
The Emperor Valentinian, determined to gain allies to help stop the Huns, sends a remarkable envoy, a woman, to the Assembly of Warriors in Gaul. Arria will persuade the Franks to stand with Rome against Attila.
When barbarian raiders abduct Arria, the Frank blue-eyed warrior, Garic, rescues her. Alarmed by the instant and passionate attraction she feels, Arria is torn between duty and desire. Her arranged betrothal to the ambitious tribune, Drusus, her secret enlistment by Valentinian as a courier to Attila the Hun, and a mysterious riddle—threaten their love and propel them into adventure, intrigue, and Attila’s camp. Rebels in a falling empire, Arria and Garic must find the strength to defy tradition and possess the love prophesied as their destiny.
Enjoy this excerpt from On the Edge of Sunrise:
The sun was above the horizon. The thick sounds of groaning men filled the camp. Some retched over sprawled and unconscious bodies; others limped back to their tents.
Garic alone knew where Arria rested and this excited him. He knelt by her side and listened to her soft breathing. He gazed at her for a moment, then bent and kissed her. Arria stirred beneath his touch and her eyelids fluttered. Her right arm glided gently upwards and rested on his neck. Arria’s lips responded with a fervor Garic never expected, nor could he resist. “Don’t let go,” he said huskily. “I want to hold you.” His lips brushed Arria’s ear as he spoke, making her powerfully aware of his accented speech. His words and touch moved her, and she began to cry.
“Why do you weep, woman? No harm will come to you—while I am with you.”
“I was afraid, but anger came over me when I saw Samuel attacked. I couldn’t let him be hurt … or die. Is he alive?”
“I’ve sent Vodamir to find him. You are as Vodamir says, a woman warrior, a Valkyrie who will fight beside her man.” Garic could barely control himself. He was exhausted, but lying beside her made him feel stronger. He knew they must return, but he couldn’t pull himself away. Her arm around his neck, Arria blushed as he gazed into her eyes.
Garic continued. “Pray to your Christian God there are no deaths. Drusus will be as difficult in this matter as Luthgar.”
Arria sighed. She brushed her fingers across one gold armlet, then across the soft blond stubble covering his jaw.
“Was I dreaming or did you kiss me?” she asked.
Garic caressed the corner of her smile with his thumb and smiled back. “Was I dreaming or did you kiss me? Or perhaps we both kissed, my lady,” Garic moved closer, his lips inches from hers. “But dream or kiss, it was our destiny.”
“Then kiss me again, so I am sure,” she whispered in his ear.
Garic’s ardent kiss found its haven, a place where pain washes away. Arria’s fingers tangled themselves in his hair and he kissed her deeper. The spark between them was fierce; he knew he loved her. He wanted her by his side and in his bed. “Arria, do you want me?” he asked, his voice husky with desire. His fingers stroked her temple and he searched her eyes. “Tell me,” he repeated softly, brushing his lips over hers, then kissing her again, hungry and urgent. “Mellitula, I must know.”
“Why do you call me “little honey?” she asked softly.
“My heart names you,” he replied and kissed her again. “Our path is dangerous, so I must hear it from your lips. Do you want me?”
Intent on her answer, Garic failed to notice the approaching footsteps.
On the Edge of Sunrise is available for pre-order at Amazon.
Cynthia Ripley Miller is a first generation Italian-American writer with a love for history, languages and books. She has lived, worked, and travelled in Europe, Africa, North America and the Caribbean. As a girl, she often wondered what it would be like to journey through time (she still does), yet knew, it could only be through the imagination and words of writers and their stories. Today, she writes to bring the past to life.
Cynthia holds a master’s degree and has taught history and teaches English. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthology Summer Tapestry, at Orchard Press Mysteries.com and The Scriptor. She has reviewed for UNRV Roman History, and writes a blog, Historical Happenings and Oddities: A Distant Focus.
Cynthia has four children and lives with her husband, twin cats, Romulus and Remus, and Jessie, a German Shepherd, in a suburb of Chicago. On the Edge of Sunrise is the first in the Long-Hair Sagas; a series set in late ancient Rome and France and published by Knox Robinson Publishing.