Interview with Aurelia Mitela from Retalio by Alison Morton

Welcome Aurelia Mitela and a huge thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

A pleasure to be here

1) Tell us a little about yourself. And what you are doing right now?

At present, I’m in exile in Vienna. I was Roma Nova’s foreign minister and senior imperial councillor but a ruthless dictator, Caius Tellus, has seized power there. Juno knows, Roma Nova has survived for fifteen hundred years since the break up of the Roman Empire, but now…. Caius put three bullets in me and left me for dead, but thanks to my faithful lover and life companion Miklós, I’m recovering.

But I’m weeping for my people suffering under Caius’s brutal regime and I’m determined to overthrow him and liberate them.

2) Who is the least favourite person in your life right now? Why?

Easy question! Caius Tellus. We go back a long way. We’re both in our mid-forties now, but when we were children he bullied me and I always fought back. He spat on my cake, shoved my head down the kitchen drain, humiliated me in front of others whenever he could and when I was sixteen, he tried to rape me. He hatched a plot to ruin the silver trade – Roma Nova’s life-blood and murdered a fellow criminal. I caught him and sent him to prison for that. But he got out early “for good behaviour”.

I remember giving a young Praetorian Guard lieutenant a briefing on Caius: “He’s charming, manipulative and a complete bastard. He has natural sexual charm and the instincts of a predator. Unfortunately, he’s intelligent with it, but somehow, the Fates forgot to give him the least sense of good and evil when he was born.” (AURELIA, Chapter XXVII)

3) Have you ever started or been part of a revelation? If so what was it all about? Did you get the results you were hoping for?

A revelation? Ha! How many do you want? My early professional life was as an officer in the Praetorian Guard Special Forces so I was often involved in undercover and special mission work. Then I went to work as, let’s be honest, a spy for the foreign ministry. Surprising what people get up to in their private lives! But revelations? When I found out what Caius did to my daughter… Sorry, that’s too painful to talk about.

4) Do you speak other languages? If you do could you type a sentence in that language? 

As a Roma Novan, my mother tongue is Latin – we’re very proud of our Roman heritage.

Two things are on my mind at present:

Hic manebimus optime  (We are determined to stay here come what may.)

Ex nihilo nihil fit (Nothing comes from doing nothing.)

When I left school, I spent a year in the north in the university in Berlin, so my Germanic’s pretty reasonable.

Wenn man in Zentraleuropa wohnt, muß man mindestens ein Paar Wörte deutsch lernen.  (If you live in Central Europe, then you should learn at least a few words of Germanic.)

Thanks to my British tutor from when I was younger and using it in my international work, my English is fluent. I hope I haven’t made too many mistakes answering your questions!

6) If you could swap places with a fellow person you are with or have met, who would it be? And why?

It would be so easy to catch a plane, go to the United Kingdom or the Eastern United States with my daughter and husband and become another ex-European aristocrat in exile. No, I don’t want to become that person. Nor do I want to shuffle off my responsibilities or duties onto anybody else. Sometimes, though, it would be easier to be a simple soldier like Atrius or Calavia, just carrying out orders.

7) What is your life like right now? Do you have an important message you’d like to convey to others?

With the mistakes I’ve made, like not believing Caius could overturn a fifteen hundred year system, I’m not in a position to give anybody advice. Well, the only thing you can do is carry on believing in what you think is right, have hope and be persistent.

8) What do you believe your main purpose in life is? And how far will you go to achieve it?

Apart from caring for my beloved daughter, Marina, my purpose in life is to serve my country and its ruler, the imperatrix. But sometimes it’s hard, truly hard. I thought my brain would burst along with my heart when I was trapped in a Berlin courtroom on trial for a murder I didn’t commit with the thought of not seeing my daughter for twenty years.

10) Have you had any scary moments? Are you scared now? Tell us what happen or why you feel like this?

Don’t take this wider, will you, but the one thing I’m scared of is failure. I was a special forces soldier used to dealing with enemy in fairly tense situations. I’m not scared of walking down a dark street if that’s what you mean. But I’m frightened in my soul that I won’t be able to defeat Caius permanently, or bring back freedom to Roma Nova, or get everybody home safe.

11) Have you ever done something unforgivable to anyone? If so why? Was it revenge?

Yes, but it depends on how you judge “unforgivable”. When I arrested Caius fifteen years ago for murder, I deliberately smashed his face hard to ruin his good looks. I told myself it was to pacify him – he’s very strong – but it was to wipe the smirk off his face when he was threatening to strangle my daughter.

Thank you, Aurelia Mitela, for taking part in this interview. It has been a pleasure getting to know you.


Early 1980s Vienna. Recovering from a near fatal shooting, Aurelia Mitela, ex-Praetorian and former foreign minister of Roma Nova, chafes at her enforced exile. She barely escaped from her nemesis, the charming and amoral Caius Tellus who grabbed power in Roma Nova, the only part of the Roman Empire to survive into the twentieth century.

Aurelia’s duty and passion fire her determination to take back her homeland and liberate its people. But Caius’s manipulations have isolated her from her fellow exiles, leaving her ostracised, powerless and vulnerable. But without their trust and support Aurelia knows she will never see Roma Nova again.


Alison Morton bio (RETALIO)

Alison Morton, writes the acclaimed Roma Nova thriller series featuring modern Praetorian heroines. She blends her deep love of Roman history with six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, adventure and thriller fiction.

The first five books have been awarded the BRAG Medallion. SUCCESSIO, AURELIA and INSURRECTIO were selected as Historical Novel Society’s Indie Editor’s Choices.  AURELIA was a finalist in the 2016 HNS Indie Award. The sixth, RETALIO, is out on 27 April 2017.

A ‘Roman nut’ since age 11, Alison has misspent decades clambering over Roman sites throughout Europe. She holds a MA History, blogs about Romans and writing.

Now she continues to write, cultivates a Roman herb garden and drinks wine in France with her husband of 30 years.


Social media links

Connect with Alison on her Roma Nova site:

Facebook author page:

Twitter: @alison_morton

Alison’s Amazon page:

Buying link for RETALIO (multiple retailers/formats)

RETALIO book trailer:

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