GENRE: ROMANCE ADVENTURE
Suzanne Ravelle lives on a beautiful Island off the South coast of England; closer to France than London.
She is a new UK indie author looking to bring a little drama, escapism and entertainment to those that love a gripping romance; especially ancient world historical fiction.
JDBOOKS has the privilege of an interview with author Suzanne Ravelle
Where do you live and is that the setting for your
I live on the Isle of Wight, which is a small, beautiful diamond-shaped Island just below mainland
England in the UK. My first novel, Her Master’s Slave, is an ancient roman romance. Although the Island
was once inhabited by the Romans and was accordingly known as Vectis, the novel is in fact set in Rome
itself during the despotic rule of Emperor Nero.
How did you come up with the premise of Her Master’s
Slave? Was it something that you experienced?
I attended a 6-week writing course at the local college about 10 years ago and ended up writing a fight
scene that I subsequently decided was set in Rome. About five years on, I turned that piece into a short
story and went on to write another and then decided to start a novel and struck on the idea of a
noblewoman becoming a slave and liked the idea of all the trials and tribulations that could ensue whilst
finding true love, of course, in the process. At the time, I started the novel but lost confidence in my
abilities and never finished it until I picked it up again 5 years later, this Christmas just past at the end of
I’m glad to say, no, I’ve never had the misfortune of being sold as a slave at a local market – although,
mind you, I wouldn’t have minded having to tussle with a man like my hero, Dominicus.
How did you come up with an amazing title?
The title came to me someway through the book. Without wishing to spoil the story, once
Dominicus learns of Aliana’s true identity and the danger she’s in, they decide, for safety’s sake,
she must remain to be seen as his slave – hence the title, Her Master’s Slave.
Your book is an Ancient world historical Romance. What drew you to the genre?
Although I read other genres too, I’ve always had a penchant for historical romance. As a reader,
I’ve always loved the ‘will they, won’t they’ element of romances and to have them set in a time
so completely removed from our modern world and the realities and norms of today just makes
them so much more satisfying and entertaining. At least to me anyway. As for ancient Rome,
again, I just think it’s a wonderful canvas for fantastical tales of heroism, danger, treachery and
valour and adds another layer of drama to falling in love in such a turbulent era.
In one of my blog pieces, I discuss how to approach writing a book, but it is mainly targeted towards those who want to write an Ancient world historical Romance.What advice would you give someone on how to approach writing an Ancient world historical Romance?
Ah, well, to be honest, I don’t feel that I’m qualified to give advice on this really. I’m afraid, I
don’t tend to follow the general rules which recommend the benefits of planning, formulating
and getting to know your characters, plotting and, of course, research. It’s not that I’ve decided
to be a rebel or think I know better, I just simply found that these techniques didn’t work for
me. I wish they did so I’d know in advance where my story was going and what was going to
happen. But, unfortunately, they just don’t. I literally find it impossible to plan the arc of the
story, the subplots or flesh out my characters in advance. My attempts were something
equivalent to what you’d expect from a three-year-old! Instead, I just find writing organically
works for me. I literally start with a concept and a blank page and go from there. I also meditate
before I sit down to write and really find it helps me in terms of creativity and inspiration. Once
the story begins, it literally starts presenting itself to me step by step. Before long, characters I
didn’t know existed start turning up and my existing ones take on a life of their own. When I’m
really in the zone, I can feel quite schizophrenic with everyone talking to me at once! I end up
having to scribble down on paper what they’re saying so I can keep up with them.
As for research, I find reading around the subject matter before I start helps give me a sense of
time and place. Other than that, I tend to research things as I go along if the story requires it i.e.
how long would it take to get to Pompeii then? Did they have taxi’s?
So, in short, I’d say, definitely follow the advice that’s out there, but if it doesn’t work for you
but you have a burning desire to write, find your own way to bring it to life.
Have any of the part of story in Her Master’s Slave been influenced by TV or movie figures? If so, which one(s)?
No, I don’t think so. However, with the current novel I’m writing about a vestal virgin, I can
really picture Angelina Jolie as my heroine, Aquilea. They’re both powerful, yet utterly sexy,
feminine women with minds of their own strong enough to defy convention.
If you could give your younger self some advice about the writing process, what would it be?
I would tell myself to just get on with it. Just believe in yourself more. It’s like walking – take
one step at a time – just put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and make a start; the sooner
What time do you usually start writing and what do you find the hardest part of the writing process?
Until recently, I generally can’t start until late at night and mainly just during the week. My
writing time is mainly from about 9ish after my daughter’s tucked up and I might go to 12pm
and sometimes much later. Again, I can’t plan it and, more often than not, things get in the way
and a week or two goes by without being able to sit down and write. More recently I’ve
managed to reduce my work hours to part time. However, my writing plans went out the
window over the summer hols and now I’m hoping to get back up to speed and use some
daytime hours too now school’s back on.
The hardest part of writing is actually finding time to write. In addition to normal living, the day
job and being a mum, social media is the biggest hurdle to overcome. It’s incredibly time
consuming yet necessary. It’s often my biggest block to writing yet without it, I probably
wouldn’t have a readership. So, it’s very much a catch 22. I often yearn to be writing but it
often has to take a back seat to all these other things.
How has writing changed you?
I have always, always wanted to be a writer. But lack of belief in myself, reality checks, the need
to earn a living and everyone else’s opinion of my dream held me back. I lost my younger sister
a few years ago and then my mum at the beginning of the year. My sister, Sam, finally knew
what she wanted to do with her life just before she died but it was too late to turn back the
clock and start over. As for mum, she never quite took the paths she would have liked to have
taken and so was quite happy to be leaving the struggle behind her when it was time to depart.
My mum had urged me to complete Her Master’s Slave and I did, with miraculous speed, racing
against time. She was still around to see the first draft and it brought her immense comfort and
joy to know I was finally following my heart. Finishing my first novel was one of the most
amazing and most devasting times of my life – she wanted desperately to hold the physical
book in her hand, but it wasn’t to be. I like to think writing now is a way of life. It truly makes
me feel alive and feeds my soul and honours my loved ones to be doing something I love. None
of us know how long we’ve got, so living the best life I can by bringing a bit of fun to others
doing what I love is paramount to me now. Sam and Mum made me see how precious life is.
Writing for me is about making the most of it.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I read when I can. Enjoy walking the dog. Hang out with my daughter (we’re great lovers of
stay-cations and are often out and about on little adventures) and catch up with friends and
all my backed up, recorded tv dramas.