Character Interview with Julius Brutus Caesar

An interview with one of the heroes of Brass Legionnaire, Julius Brutus Caesar.

(As part of my ramp up to publish day in mid-May, I’ve embarked upon a mission to introduce readers to my characters and the world they live in. These are their stories. Dun dunn)

Our hero at work.

D.O: Good afternoon Julius, welcome to my humble abode.

J.C. Thanks for having me. It’s good to get out of Brittenburg sometime.

D: Glad you could make it. I’ve got some great questions for you today.First and foremost, any history behind your name?

J: I knew you would ask that one. Actually yes, my parents did name me after that Julius Caesar. You know him, savior of the Empire, ancestor of the dynasty, most successful general ever, that sort of thing.

D: But what about the Brutus part?

J: Mom thought it was important to recognize the savior of the great emperor as well. After all, Brutus did take the knife intended for Caesar after warning his legions about the impending assassination attempt. So there’s my name, Julius Brutus Caesar. And believe me, there’s been a rare few moments to thank them for that. You wouldn’t believe the amount of teasing a boy gets for having such a name.

D: I can only imagine. Glad to see you made it through that. Tell me about your family. Did they like you joining the legions?

J: Ha, dad was livid when I told him I was signing up. Mom had to talk him down. I think that my argument about sending my sister, Marciena, to school with my signing bonus might have helped win him over. Of course, Mom arguing about how it was a peacetime army definitely helped too. Don’t think they foresaw the… troubles later.

D: I would ask about that, but then there’d be no point of reading the book!

J: Well, only if people aren’t interested in a tale of awesome adventure, drama, battles, espionage, assassination and revolution, then I guess you could ask, but hopefully people like those things.

D: Tell me about your commanding officer, Tribune Constantine Tiberius Appius. What do you think of him?

J: The tribune? He’s a good guy, once you get to know him. Honestly, at first, we all thought he was some puffed up buffoon from the capital. Nice clothing, trying to act all friendly when it was actually just really awkward, you know.

D: Actually I don’t, but I’ll take your word on it.

J: Yea? Well he may have been an odd ball at first, but he certainly wasn’t as bad as some of those other officers you hear about in the broadsheets or in the mess hall. The ones who get their soldiers killed. The tribune’s a really good man to have in a fight. He doesn’t shirk from danger, regardless of his background. If I had a denarii for every time I had to save his behind from danger…

D:Speaking of danger, what are some of the dangers you face in this book?

J: You trying to give away the whole book? Gah! And you’re the author too! Well, suffice to say that we get tapped to be testers of a ‘new type of war’ experiment that gets tested a lot sooner than it was expected too. Definitely an odd feeling to be lugging your sword and shield onto your average military dirigible, but it’s also an awesome feeling when you finally are able to – wait a second! I’m giving the story away!

D: That’s it? Nothing more!?

J: If you really want to learn more, you’ll have to subscribe to the blog and wait for details about the release date. Or you can download the first chapter here for free. The book is coming out sometime in May for goodness sakes!

D: Well there you have it folks, an interview with one of the heroes of Brass Legionnaire, Julius Brutus Caesar. Check back in soon, as we’ll be interviewing the legionnaire’s commanding officer, Tribune Constantine Tiberius Appius, sometime this week.

Turning Points

As a writer (And avid reader) of alternate history novels, I’ve often been asked why I read this ‘what if’ genre. I think the best way to answer it is to simply say ‘Have you ever wondered ‘what if?’
What if I was a police officer, or a medic, or a doctor, instead of a teacher? What would be changed? Who would have my job? Whose world would be turned upside down, for better or worse? Who would I have met/not met? How many of us ever wonder how the world would be different if one little thing happened? This is a ‘turning point’ or life change, or ‘point of divergence’ as some people say.

So what makes a good turning point?

I put forward three rules for good turning points.

1. It must be believable (makes sense in the story context).

2. It must be reasonable (COULD actually happen based on technology, characters, etc)

3. The results must be possible based on the outcome of the event.

Let me give you a good example. In my story, Brass Legionnaire, I have two main points of divergence. The first is the rescue of Julius Caesar by Brutus. The change is that Brutus loved Caesar (True in real life) so much that he was willing to forgive the general’s ambitions to save his life, rather than kill him for the sake of the republic.

Believable? Yes, I think so (so do several professors I’ve talked to over the years, remember, it was a big surprise to Caesar at seeing Brutus among his assassins)

Reasonable? Yes, hasn’t love for friends, family, or significant other driven you to do something a tad bit crazy? This is just asking Brutus to put his friend above the needs of the republic, a stretched, but still reasonable, idea.

Outcomes: Well, the assassins get turned in, Caesar gets his Emperorship, and the Empire gets off to a roaring start, rather than suffering through a few years of civil war at the hands of Augustus (Octavian) and the rebels. With security and stability, plus respected and talented military and economic leadership, the foundation for our world has been set.

So what is my point? Great authors create realistic and possible worlds by making their turning points believable and possible. Some of my favorites are Harry Turtledove and S.M. Stirling. Mr. Turtledove, in particular, creates beautiful portrayals of worlds that have undergone one major change, but it throws off the entire course of history. See ‘Opening Atlantis’ for a great example.
Let me know what you think!

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