Is it a fantasy?
Is it a romance?
Is it science fiction?
Is it alternate history?
The Seneca Series, particularly Warriors of Seneca, is all these things. Heck, I even left out that it’s also erotic romance, at least in the prequel, Carnal Blessing. (Warriors now available at Amazon and all other outlets.) Note: Carnal Blessing isn’t formally tagged as part of the series because it is erotic romance and the other stories are not..
I didn’t intend to write such a hard-to-categorize book and series. It’s far easier to sell and market a book with a clear genre. If I say “Regency Romance” or “Space opera romance,” readers know exactly what they are getting when they crack the pages. What I wanted to do was write a good story.
But how do you narrow genre down for a romance set in an alternate history where the Roman Empire survived to colonize North America, only to be opposed by a Viking tribe who got there first, not to mention the people who were already there and consider the new arrivals a threat to them? (That we, in our world, wiped out. 🙁
Mostly, I tell people that Warriors is about, Dinah, a woman who wants a home and a family.
The idea for Dinah’s story began before she was created. It started with her hoer. I had the image of a strong, powerful man practicing with a sword. He interested me, this man because he was so insistent on using up all his physical energy practicing with that sword. But while the man was interesting, I decided the sword had to go. Too many stories about swordsmen.
The hero began swinging an ax, a weapon with a greater degree of difficulty, and I realized he was a Viking. First, I needed an opponent for him, some target for all that anger. That’s when I thought about my favorite science fiction series, Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan-verse. Aral Vorkosigan, who is only a lead character in two of those books, is my favorite of Bujold’s characters. What would happen, I wondered, if you took two men like Aral, placed them in opposition to each other, and let them go at it? It seemed like a good basis for a fantasy, so I began to create fantasy societies based on Romans, Vikings (for my ax warrior), and Native American tribes. That gave me one patriarchal society, one semi-equal society, and one matriarchal society.
Then I threw out the fantasy idea out because, hey, why not just make it alternate history and have Romans and Vikings in the same universe? Wouldn’t that be fun? (Likely the fantasy idea was more marketable…) (But DC’s Legends of Tomorrow must have also liked the Romans & Vikings idea because they dropped both into their season finale this year.)
And so my heroine, Dinah, came into focus. Finally. She had to be connected to my Roman leader and my Viking warrior. She had to have a reason to come to the new colony. It was a given that she was fleeing from something, as the book would be about her gaining what she wanted most: a family.
That became the book I wrote, which was my first sale, under the name Dinah of Seneca.
The new version of that story, Warriors of Seneca, is essentially the same one but I’ve become a better writer since that sale and I’ve significantly revised the beginning, for better pacing, overall sentence structure, and made some alterations to a few key scenes.
It’s still not the usual kind of romance or fantasy or alternate history. But the characters have stayed with me all these years and I’ll hope you’ll enjoy their journey.
And part two of the Seneca series will be coming on June 1!
Eagle of Seneca, which takes place 15 years after Warriors of Seneca, begins as a crumbling Roman Empire arrives in an attempt to impose order on its breakaway colony. Ceti, the gawky young engineer from Warriors of Seneca, is now a fully grown, confident man. He’ll step into the hero’s role. The heroine is Sky of the Lenape Wolf clan who must lead the decision on whether to oppose all Romans or side with the Imperials or the colonists.