Shauna Roberts writes historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and romance. She is a 2009 graduate of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Workshop and was the 2011 winner of the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Older Writer Grant. Before retiring, she was a freelance science and medical writer and editor. Her two historical novels set in ancient Mesopotamia, “Like Mayflies in a Stream,” and “Claimed by the Enemy,” are available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble online. She loves to read and also enjoys gardening, bellydancing, and visiting historic houses. You can find out more at her website, www.ShaunaRoberts.com.
What’s your favorite scene in “Claimed by the Enemy” and why?
One of my favorite scenes occurs after the lowborn hero, Ur-sag-enki, is recalled temporarily to the army to reconquer a city. Afterward, he’s leading his men home, and on a break, he quietly asks his two scouts for advice on wooing a princess of their city. The scouts, oblivious to Ur-sag-enki’s desire to keep his cluelessness quiet, call the other soldiers over for their input. As you can imagine, they have plenty of advice, some bawdy, some silly, some worthwhile. I like this scene because the humor cleanses the palate of the (figurative) taste of odious General Qisim of earlier scenes and also because I had fun researching what was considered admirable and attractive in a woman in this time and place.
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
My husband and I buy a Christmas tree ornament each year, usually something handcrafted. Often, it’s an ornament from a place we visited that year or a festival we went to. We now have thirty-two ornaments. Knowing of this tradition, many friends and family members have given us unusual ornaments or made us ornaments. We now have enough special Christmas ornaments to cover the tree without having to use any generic ornaments.
If a reader curls up with your book on a cold, winter night, what’s the perfect seasonal beverage you’d recommend?
I recommend the reader drink what all the characters are drinking: room-temperature beer. For nondrinkers, I suggested cider heated in a pot with cloves, a cinnamon stick, and a chunk of fresh ginger. It has nothing to do with ancient Mesopotamia, but it is what I enjoy drinking in winter.
What are you working on next?
I’m writing the first of two contemporary romance novels set in France. The heroines are American twin sisters who work together, one as a travel writer and the other as a travel photographer. The first book is set in the beautiful wine country around Bordeaux, where the free-spirited writer sister meets the stick-in-the-mud manager of a vineyard.
Claimed by the Enemy
By Shauna Roberts
Crown Princess Nindalla knows the terrifying power of Sargon of Akkad’s army: Ten years ago, it destroyed her home city and killed her parents. Now the nightmare is happening again. The Akkadians conquer her new home, Susa; make her a widow; and strip her of her rank. Nindalla vows to protect her children from her enemies by any means necessary, including marrying whoever can shield them best. With plots swirling around her, can she trust her instincts to tell friends from foes?
Farm boy Ur-sag-enki was forced to become a soldier in the Akkadian army ten years ago after it destroyed his home and left him with nothing. When the Akkadians conquer Susa, he is awarded its governorship. He looks forward to settling down to the normal family life he craves. First, though, he must keep control of Susa despite enemies who exploit his inexperience, and he must gain legitimacy by persuading beautiful former princess Nindalla to marry him. But can he win her heart when it was his hand that struck down her husband?