Saturday, May 28, 2011

Vote for Phyllis Smith at Amazon - one of my fiction writing pals

I Am Livia, by Phyllis Smith, has made the finals of the 


I've been part of a (mostly) fiction writing group for over five years. I actually haven't had the time to write much fiction (though if you are a Tweedie or in the UFT leadership I write fiction every day) but I try to attend as many sessions of the group as I can.

Brooklyn based author Phyllis Smith joined the group over three years ago. She specializes in novels of ancient Rome. Her meticulous research teamed with her great story telling make for compelling novels. We are so excited to see one of our own reach the finals of this contest. Which is why you have to trust me that this is going to be a breakthrough novel for Phyllis and go to Amazon and vote. Try this link - you have to sign in. Or try this:

It may say Young Adult but Phyllis is in the general fiction category.

Which is the real Livia? The reason I never eat grapes figs
When we started reviewing Phyllis' fictional first person account of Livia, the wife of Augustus, I was thrilled as a fan of the I Claudius series on Masterpiece Theater (I had also read both of Robert Graves' novels when I was in high school - and not as an assignment). I actually bought the entire taped series with the intention of watching all 10 tapes (20 hours) as a marathon retirement present to myself. I still haven't gotten to it.

When I went to Rome a few years ago (my first visit) my wife and I made sure to tour the remains of Livia's house and visit the bust of Livia where I took a "separated at birth" photo.

Among a gaggle of fascinating characters in I Claudius, Livia rises to the top, coming off somewhat as a monster who supposedly killed Augustus by poisonning his favorite grapes figs (thanks to Michael Fiorillo for the correction).

Phyllis informed us that the Graves characterization was totally false. I looked forward to each submission of the chapters over a period of a year. When she submitted the final chapter a few weeks ago I refused to read it. I want the pleasure of reading this baby all at once.

1 comment:

Michael Fiorillo said...

Sorry, Norm, but as another "I,Claudius" fanatic, I must correct you.

It was Augustus' figs that Livia poisoned, leading to one of the most famous lines from the series, in which Livia says (to Tiberious, I believe) "Don't eat the figs."