First, thank you Caroline, for inviting me to guest post. It is an honor to be included here among so many authors whom I admire and respect.
Like Caroline, I also write about the ancient world for children, though I am “across the pond.” One thing that has always impressed me about Caroline’s Roman Mysteries series is how fearlessly she represents the ugly realities of the times, such as male castration or child abductions by slave traders. American publishers, it has always seemed to me, are more skittish about depicting such harsh realities.
The issue of slavery, in particular, has always been a hot button here in the U.S. and understandably so. Still, I was surprised when one reviewer of my debut novel—Cleopatra’s Moon—wondered why I had not had my main character question the universal practice and acceptance of slavery in the ancient world.
Cleopatra’s Moon is the story of Cleopatra’s daughter, Selene, the only one of the queen’s four children to survive into adulthood. This was the daughter of the most powerful woman of her time, a child whose parents’ committed suicide, whose older brother was murdered, and who was forced to leave a life and home she had always known. The rightness or wrongness of slavery, I believed, would hardly have entered her awareness, let alone her consciousness under those circumstances.
So what was the reviewer’s question really about? I believe it was actually a reflection of my country’s deep discomfiture with our own savage history of slavery and its continuing legacy of institutionalized racism.
But it has made me wonder.
Have other author’s experienced similar challenges or situations?
Have you as readers ever come across a story where it seems evident that the author is imposing a modern or politically-correct view onto history?
Again, thank you for having me here!
Cleopatra's Moon, was published in America on 1 August 2011 to rapturous reviews. Luckily for us, Cleopatra's Moon is also available in the UK. You can find her at www.vickyalvearshecter.com and she blogs at History with a Twist.