Faith L. Justice’s Sword of the Gladiatrix

I’m so excited when I learn about authors I had never heard of before. Faith L. Justice’s Sword of the Gladiatrix sounds so interesting. I’m eager to read it to find out if it’s as good as I think it is. She stops by today for a super fun interview, plus it turns out she wrote a short story based on the idea behind one of the questions I routinely ask here. To find out which question, the short story, and all about her latest book, including an excerpt that is full of anticipation, keep reading below. You’ll be very glad that you did. At the very bottom enter for a chance to win a copy of the book.

Amanda C. Stone: Good morning Faith! It’s wonderful having you here today.
Faith L. Justice: Hi Amanda! So great to be here.
ACS: Ok I’m going to jump right in and start. You are a super hero! What’s your super hero name and secret talent?
FLJ: I so want to be a Time Lord (kind of a superhero?) and travel all of space and time.
ACS: Oh my gosh! Squee! Love this idea.
FLJ: Reading about history just isn’t good enough. I want to go back in time and meet my characters. Was Nero really as neurotic as he seems? What’s the real Boudica story? We’re not even sure we have her name right. On the other end of the spectrum I could visit alien cultures and see if we ever make it off our rocky home (we better or we’re toast!) The name is a bit tricky. “The Author” is pretentious. “The Lurker” is creepy. Maybe “The Bard” as in storyteller, not singer. No one wants to hear me sing!
ACS: Those are all amazing things to do with your super hero powers. I’m hoping we make it off this crazy planet at some point too. Kind of fantastical to think about. Who would you call for bail money?
FLJ: Definitely my little sister. She’s been there done that. There’s a bit of age difference, but as we got older we got closer. I dedicated my current book Sword of the Gladiatrix to her because she’s fierce, honest, and an inspiration to me. I’d trust her with my life.
ACS: That’s great that you got closer with her as you got “wiser”, as I like to say. Do you have a library card and know where it is?
FLJ: Two—a New York City and a Brooklyn library card. They’re both in my wallet and I use them regularly for research and entertainment. When I was working on my first book Selene of Alexandria, I had a Monday birthday (I hate Monday birthdays!) and thought I would salvage it by taking a day off work and doing something I loved: research at the Main Library in Manhattan (the one with the lions Patience and Fortitude).
ACS: Definitely something that could be fun. Especially given the place. I’ve always loved the Main Library in Manhattan.
FLJ: I arrived bright and early only to find the research library was closed on Mondays. Another Monday birthday ruined! Someday, you’ll have to ask me about my disaster of a thirtieth—another Monday birthday. Suffice it to say it involved gin, chocolate donuts, dancing tights, and my husband’s tie—but no libraries.
ACS: Hmm, might just have to ask for that story specifically next time. Because chocolate donuts and dancing tights? That alone is the beginning of an epic tale. You are on a deserted island and can have only one book with you. What book would it be?
FLJ: The Unabridged Mark Twain—three pounds of book with science fiction, history, travel, social commentary, satire, philosophy, and just good all-round wonderful storytelling. Mark Twain could keep me entertained and thinking for a lifetime. Plus if a ship or plane got close enough it would make a good fire.
ACS: Oh the fun to be had with Twain. *happy sigh* There is magically 25 hours in a day. What would you do with the extra hour?
FLJ: I wrote a short story based on a similar premise titled “Time Again”—a man dies on the day the clocks are moved forward for daylight savings time. He demands and gets from the powers-that-be his extra hour of life. He spent his hour trying to right a wrong. Of course, we all get an extra hour of time in the fall when we switch back from daylight savings time to regular time. I’m afraid I don’t do much with my extra hour but sleep. Maybe next fall, I’ll give it more thought and do something good with the time, like call folks I haven’t seen in a while and tell them how much they mean to me—or eat ice cream.;-)
ACS: Oooh! How exciting that he is given an extra hour to fix something. For those looking for the story, you can find it here: Thank you for stopping by. I loved having you!
FLJ: Thanks for having me, Amanda, and I wish you and your readers many happy hours reading!

From the far edges of the Empire, two women come to battle on the hot sands of the arena in Nero’s Rome. They seek to replace lost friendship, love, and family in each other’s arms; but the Roman arena offers only two futures: the Gate of Life for the victors or the Gate of Death for the losers.

A slave wraps my lower legs with felted wool and straps a gilded greave to my left shin, because I fight as myrmilla. He smells of sour sweat, as do I. I’ve already fought once today, tested fate, and won. The gold sand that Nero favors in the arena still crusts my hair and rasps the skin under my sweat-soaked breast band. I will go again before the ravenous crowds to satisfy their bloodlust. For what? An emperor’s whim? The crowd’s passing fancy? A sacrifice to their gods?

I swallow the bitter gall that surges into my mouth.

Across the room, another slave straps armor on Cinnia, my beloved. She looks at me with pride in her eyes and a brief smile on her lips. We said our goodbyes last night, clasped breast to breast, thigh to thigh, a stolen moment before being sent to our lonely cells. My heart beats an irregular rhythm.

My love. Light to my dark. Fire to my ice.

Cinnia is goddess-given to me; from a land of mists and forests, so different from my country of desert and blistering sun. Without her, I would be dead. Without me, so would she. We have suffered, struggled, lived, and loved. Now we go out upon the sands of the great arena to die. One by her lover’s hands, the other by her own.

It is not the life or death I chose for myself, but it is the one the gods gave me.

About Faith:
FAITH L. JUSTICE writes award-winning novels, short stories, and articles in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has appeared in, Writer’s Digest, The Copperfield Review, the Circles in the Hair anthology, and many more. She is a frequent contributor to Strange Horizons, Associate Editor for Space and Time Magazine, and co-founded a writer’s workshop many more years ago than she likes to admit. For fun, she digs in the dirt—her garden and various archaeological sites.
Twitter: https://twitter@faithljustice

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1 Comment

  1. bn100 says:

    sounds interesting

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