Was Nero the Antichrist who fiddled while Rome burned or an artistic genius trapped inside a Caesar? In an age when Rome rules the world and astrology rules Rome Nero’s young secretary battles the prediction that he will murder the musical messiah he worships.
Will the prediction of murder come true? Humphry Knipe has generously set aside some time to chat with me today about the battle against astrological predictions in Roman times. Humphry, thanks for giving us a glimpse into the world of ‘The Nero Prediction’ today. What sparked your interest about Roman times, and more specifically the real life figure of Nero in consider writing a historical fiction novel in this time?
Having had the good fortune to be in London during the swinging 60’s I was attracted to what little I knew about Nero and his obsession with music and drama – he seemed like a 60’s kind of guy. But the more I read up about him the more references I found to astrology.
*Laughs* You know I’ve always considered Nero to be a man of his time, but I can see how you might be able to place him in the Swinging 60’s. Did you do much reading up on Nero’s life and those astrology references after your initial brush with Nero?
An enormous amount. I even hired a specialist in classical astrology to cast Nero’s horoscope for me and teach me the fundamentals of the art. Soon I was casting the horoscopes of all the principal characters where their birthday is known.
Wow, hiring a specialist is certainly more research than I expected! How did you find the characters develop once you had their birthdays and horoscopes?
Almost all the characters in the book are based on real people and events.
Okay, so it sounds like the characters were more formed around what we know of the events of these people. Would you say that this is correct?
Yes, this is a plot driven novel.
Even though you took the majority of the events and characters from history, did you ever try and inflect a little of your own life into the book?
Certainly – I was very aware of the blindness of belief.
Was the awareness of the blindness of belief the most important thing you want you readers to take away from your book, or was there another point of view that you think is more important?
That magical thinking can be a powerful and dangerous force.
Do you find that you were rewarded personally by delving into the power of magical thinking? Or was there another aspect of the writing process that you found even more gratifying?
The feeling of getting an inside scoop on history and making a contribution to the current and ongoing re-evaluation of Nero who is emerging as a genius born before his time.
Yep, I’d pick the ability to make a contribution to the understanding of a historical figure as more rewarding as well. Now there’s a huge amount of history out there, and I’ve been wondering if you’ve turned your writing mind to a new historical writing project. And if so, can you tell us a little about it?
I’ve just finished Napoleon’s Rosebud, based on my great great grandaunt’s affair with Napoleon on Saint Helena Island.
That’s awesome that you can tie your personal family tree to interesting historical events. What keeps you coming back to write, is it the ability to see into the past or something else?
It’s an addiction!
*Laughs* I love your honesty! Does this addiction manifest into writing schedule or do you find yourself sneaking moments to write at all times?
I write 5 days a week, about three hours every morning.
As you’re writing in a structured way do you also approach the events in plot with a similar structure? Or do you let the events and ending unfold as you write?
I always start a book by working out how it ends.
Do you find yourself using any music to get yourself in the groove on those writing mornings?
The sound of silence.
As you’re not using any outside variables like music to rev you up, how to you work around writer’s block?
Now that’s a strategy that I haven’t heard before, but you learn something new everyday! During those morning blocks of writing, do you also find yourself tackling editing?
Yes, mostly do it myself.
As someone who has gotten your thoughts to market, do you have any advice for other authors?
Good luck. I sometimes think there are more writers than readers.
The readers are out there, but I do agree that sometimes they are tricky to find! One thing that I’m hoping will be less tricky for you to find is answers to our quirky quick fire questions that I like to use to share the sprit of an author with our readers. Let’s kick off the sprit with, what is your favourite quote?
If at first you don’t succeed try something else.
*Laughs* There’s always something new to be done! Who decides what morality is?
I think that is the best answer that I’ve seen so far for that question. Thank you for providing it. What is your favourite ocean?
Where is the line between insanity and creativity?
Read my booklet “The Divine Madness”
Awesome, a prepared answer! I now wonder if you’re also prepared yourself for the next question, what came first, the chicken or the egg?
What came first was the first microorganism to replicate itself.
I see you are not fooled by the chicken origin debate. Why doesn’t glue stick to the inside of the bottle?
Ahhh, that’s the answer. What is your best tip for authors?
The tip of a dagger! It’s murder out there.
*Laughs* Especially when you are living in ancient Rome! What is your favourite word?
And finally, can you share a little more of your writing dream by letting us know your personal favourite quote from ‘The Nero Prediction’?
With a quick upward thrust I fulfilled the prediction.
That kind of sounds like you’re giving away the ending! Humphry, thanks for sharing your relationship with writing and Nero in our chat today, and I hope that we’ve enticed others to investigate ‘The Nero Prediction’.
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘The Nero Prediction ( ASIN: B007SPGPIQ )‘.
Want to find out more about Humphry Knipe? Connect here!