2010 Snapshot Archive: Rhonda Roberts

First published at tansyrr.com

Rhonda Roberts has a PhD and worked as an academic specialising in the sociology of knowledge systems in different cultures and historical periods. She trained in Aikido in Japan and now learns Tai Chi near her home in the Illawarra.

1. Your book completely leapt out at me when I saw it on the shelves a few months ago – an Australian series about time travel and Ancient Rome is a marvellous combination! What was it about Ancient Rome that made you want to use it as the backdrop of your first novel?

Years ago I tutored in a university course on the rise and fall of female-centred religions. The one that came closest to taking over the modern world was the Egyptian Isis cult, which spread like a glorious virus throughout the Roman Empire. For a few centuries it was uncertain as to whether the Isiacs or the Christians would win the fight for dominance.

Talk about a great ‘what if’…

My series is about a time travelling detective operating in an alternate past and present. I wanted to explore (among other things) what it’d be like if Isis worship hadn’t been stamped out but just gone underground and then risen again to challenge Christianity in the modern era.

Well that’s one of the reasons anyway… J Ancient Rome is such a rich treasure chest for any writer to raid.

2. Gladiatrix is the first in a series – Kannon Dupree Timestalker – when can we expect the further installments in the series, and what time periods are Kannon heading to next?

Hoodwink, the second book, is set in Hollywood in 1939. It’s finished and I’m now writing the third one. HarperCollins is adjusting the release date for Hoodwink and I’ll post it and more details of the book on my website asap.

3. If you could travel in time just once, which period would you choose, and what would you take on your trip?

I’m torn between wanting to meet specific people in history and wondering about cultures that were more entwined with their habitat.

Sure I’d love to talk to the Oracle of Delphi, Buddha, Christ, and Helen Keller about the meaning of life but I’d also love to visit both the great Sioux nation and the Dharawal people of the Illawarra (where I live) before colonization.

In the end I’d have to choose the future – and I’d take a list of questions. What new solutions do you have? What has hindsight shown we could’ve done better? Are shoulder pads back in fashion…and why?

4. Which Australian writers or work have you most enjoyed reading this year?

This is always a toughie. The spec fiction community here is so diverse and so heavily stocked with talent… and I’m always finding new stuff that impresses. The gold mine of writers at www.ripping-ozzie-reads.com has produced some stunning work this last year and Sean Williams is always amazing…

5. Are you planning to go to Aussiecon 4 in September? If so, what are you most looking forward to?

Oh definitely. (Barring acts of God of course!) The world spec fiction community is knocking on our front door – why would you want to miss that?

What am I looking forward to? The diversity, the unexpected, the flavour, the chats over good coffee, the sudden inspiration about my own work while listening to a great writer talk about theirs… How long have you got?


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