Novel Pastimes: Good morning, Eleri. So nice to have you with us. I know it isn’t easy to get time off from working in the Fortress of the Britons.
Eleri: Thank you. God’s greetings to you this morning. May I correct your pronunciation of my name?
Novel Pastimes: Certainly.
Eleri: It’s Ah-LAIR-ee
Novel Pastimes: Very good. So where were you before you came to the fortress of the chieftain Coroticus in Roman Britain?
Eleri: I was a slave in the household of Lorcan, in Eriu, until the day I was abducted by pirates on a slaving raid and taken back to Britannia, where I was born.
Novel Pastimes: And where exactly were you born?
Eleri: In a small village called Maia, at the far western edge of Hadrian’s Wall.
Novel Pastimes: Who were your parents? If you don’t mind my asking?
Eleri: My father was Rogatos, a Roman British decurion. My mother was Deira, one of the Deer people of the Carvetti tribe, a branch of the Brigantes. I never saw them again after I was abducted and sold into slavery in Eriu.
Novel Pastimes: By Eriu, you are referring to Ireland?
Novel Pastimes: And how did you end up in Roman Britain?
Eleri: I was abducted by British pirates on a slaving raid, on the same day that Patrick baptized me.
Novel Pastimes: What education have you had? Did you have a favorite subject?
Eleri: My father taught me some simple Latin as a child. I never went to school, until my master Coroticus graciously sent me to Whithorn to receive instruction in Latin at the monastery there, under the supervision of Father Ninian.
Novel Pastimes: Are you married, or dating anyone?
Eleri: What is dating? I am not married. Slaves generally do not marry.
Novel Pastimes: Who do you most admire?
Eleri: Patrick, who led me to salvation in Christ, Viventius and Mavorius, my teachers at Whithorn. And Father Ninian, my mentor.
Novel Pastimes: Is there anything about your life you would change if you could?
Eleri: It depends on what period of my life you are speaking about. In the beginning, I would have given almost anything to return to Ireland and my mistress, Ciara. She was with child when I was abducted, and I have no way of knowing if all is well with her.
Novel Pastimes: That sounds difficult.
Eleri: It was, until Viventius pointed out to me that I will see her in the next life, when all Christians are reunited in heaven with Jesus.
Novel Pastimes: What are your duties in the fortress of the Britons?
Eleri: Maid, cook, and I read letters for Coroticus.
Novel Pastimes: Do you have any enemies?
Eleri: Coroticus was my enemy in the beginning. No longer.
Novel Pastimes: What can you tell us about Coroticus?
Eleri: He has an imposing, formidable appearance, and doesn’t suffer fools gladly.
Novel Pastimes: He sounds a bit scary.
Eleri: He certainly can be.
Novel Pastimes: If you don’t mind me asking, how did you get that scar on your wrist?
Eleri: It’s a brand on the underside of my wrist with the Latin letters CQ, for my master Coroticus Quintillius. It marks me as his property.
Novel Pastimes: Wow! That must have hurt.
Eleri. It did. I swooned from the pain. But there are worse brands. There is a slave in the fortress with FVG branded across his forehead, for ‘Fugitivus,’ to mark him as a runaway slave.
Novel Pastimes: What would you say is your strongest and weakest character trait?
Eleri: I work hard to please my master. Sometimes, however…I have trouble controlling my tongue. It’s gotten me into trouble several times lately.
Novel Pastimes: What is your greatest fear?
Eleri: I fear being sold again.
Novel Pastimes: Let’s talk about something a little more fun. What collections or hobbies do you have?
Eleri: I don’t know what you mean by hobbies. Slaves don’t collect anything. But I do possess a wax tablet and stylus, a gift from Ninian. And a parchment with a verse he wrote for me.
Novel Pastimes: Favorite food?
Eleri: The honey and poppy seed pastries Tarian the cook makes are my favorite things to eat. And wild boar stuffed with dormice is quite nice, if there’s any left over after the master’s feasts.
Novel Pastimes: Books?
Eleri: I do not own any books. That would be unlikely for a slave. But since I have learned to read Latin, occasionally I can read one of my master’s scrolls.
Novel Pastimes: Favorite color?
Eleri: The tunic of purple silk that Primus bought me in the market at Luguvalium has a very pleasing color.
Novel Pastimes: Best way to spend a weekend?
Eleri: Slaves never have a day off.
Novel Pastimes: Most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?
Eleri: I can think of several humiliating moments in my life. Standing naked on the auction block and being whipped in front of the household of Coroticus.
Novel Pastimes: What is your relationship with God?
Eleri: My relationship with God has been the saving grace of my life.
Novel Pastimes: What is your overall outlook on life?
Eleri: In all things I try to trust that the Lord knows what He is doing.
Novel Pastimes: What do you hope your readers will learn from your story?
Eleri: That I am a weak and vulnerable girl who chose to walk out her faith in difficult circumstances, trusting that the Lord would work out all things for good in my life.
Thanks for joining us today, Eleri!
Renee Yancy is a history and archaeology buff who works as an RN when she isn’t writing historical novels. She traveled to Ireland, Scotland, and England to research the sites in her first ancient historical. She loves most periods of history but has a special love for the ancient civilizations of the Irish, the Egyptians and Roman Britain.