RISE OF THE WOLF was the natural extension of the story of Mark of the Thief, the first book of the series. However, since Nic experienced the amphitheater (Colosseum), I really wanted to take readers to a different part of Rome, and the chariot races seemed like the best possibility. In Rome, the chariot races were on the scale of the Superbowl. Nearly 1 in 4 Romans in the city attended, and most had a favorite faction (charioteers raced as one of four team colors). The fandom was so intense that sometimes Romans would hammer curses into lead tablets and then bury them beneath the chariot track, hoping that if for some reason their God didn’t grant the curse, at least the tablet might trip another rider’s horses. With so much excellent material, how could I not love writing this book?
What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?
The series has taught me a ton about research. We know so much about Ancient Rome, so many details in all aspects of life. I’ve always enjoyed research, but I respect the process more now than I did before. One thing I learned is to not make assumptions about anything. For example, I knew the gladiators fought on a sand floor (sand helped soak up their blood), so I originally wrote the gladiator scene with regular sand. Then I happened upon a tidbit of information about the yellow sand in the amphitheater. Yellow? So after digging further, I discovered they’d sometimes, if it was a more notable event or execution, they might add crushed jewels into the sand so it would sparkle. From that experience, I learned to ask questions even about the details I thought I knew.
What are you working on now?
I’ve always got my fingers in a handful of different projects, all of them at different phases. Right now, I am in the middle of edits for Mark of the Thief 3 (it’s sort of kicking me right now, but I’m determined to win!), outlining a new project I haven’t been able to announce yet, trying (unsuccessfully) to ignore a passion project that keeps knocking at my imagination, and then a whole other something I really can’t announce yet. But it’s all very exciting and fun and ensures it’ll be months until I can expect a reasonable night’s sleep! ;-)
ABOUT THE BOOKRise of the Wolf by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Nic may have escaped enslavement in the mines outside of Rome, but his troubles are far from over. The Praetor War--the battle to destroy Rome from within--is in full force, and Nic is caught in the crossfire. The secretive Praetors are determined to unlock a powerful amulet--one sure to bring the empire to its knees. Worse, the Praetors believe Nic holds the key to finding this amulet, and they will stop at nothing to steal it, even if that means harming the people Nic holds most dear.
When the Praetors capture Nic's mother, Nic knows he must do anything to save her. He challenges the Praetors to a chariot race. If he wins, they will release his mother. But if he loses, he must hand over a magic that will certainly destroy Rome and end his own life. Can Nic once again harness his magic and gather the strength to defeat his enemies? Or will he lose his mother and bear witness to Rome's destruction?
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ABOUT THE AUTHORNew York Times Bestselling author, Jennifer Nielsen, was born and raised in northern Utah, where she still lives today with her husband, three children, and a dog that won’t play fetch. She is the author of The Ascendance trilogy, beginning with THE FALSE PRINCE; the MARK OF THE THIEF series, and the forthcoming A NIGHT DIVIDED. She loves chocolate, old books, and lazy days in the mountains.
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