I have often wondered why it took the Romans some10yrs to occupy Wales. The involvement of Caradog in its resistance is recorded in history, but I wanted to twist that idea and make Caradog a more convoluted character.
Also, I loved the idea of this story being about conservation; The Winter Forest would have been a fabulous asset, with its lumber, lead, gold & silver, and of course, coal (burning rock). Assets that the Romans desperately sought but somehow didn't manage to fully exploit until nearly a decade after their invasion. And even then, they were rather slow to see the real potential in coal!
I could see a great story therein. One in which I could meld folklore and fairytale with accepted history.
Throughout, I've used language that I considered romantic and yet approachable. I've deliberately use names that evoke magic, such as Elfydd for it's old Welsh associations with land and earth, as well as their leader, Druwyff, who uses the idea of magic to discourage outsiders from entering his domain.
However, there are no monsters or elves in this story. Rather, I've tried to paint a picture of a people who far more sophisticated than history would have us believe. They were smart, they loved food and alcohol, and fine textiles and clothing, and they were desperate for trade, but ignorant of the dangers that confronted them in the form of the Roman Empire.
The idea that salvation would present itself in the guise of Offa, a Roman through and through, seemed like the perfect juxtaposition to establish the dynamics for a story that reflects an important part of British history.
I hope you enjoy reading book one just as much as I did writing it!