Interview with Linnea Tanner, Author of Skull’s Vengeance

19 Oct 2022

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Skull’s Vengeance?

The legacy of warrior queens in ancient Britain and in Irish mythology inspired the primary protagonist, Catrin, in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. I was fascinated with the historical account of Boudicca, a Celtic warrior queen who united the Britons in a rebellion against the Romans in AD 61 and almost expelled them. Roman historians describe her as a powerful druidess who sacrificed some of her victims to the war goddess, Andraste.

I was also fascinated with the legacy of Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony) who was known for his tragic love story with Cleopatra and their subsequent downfall. Mark Antony’s son, Iullus from another marriage, rose politically in the imperial court of Augustus Caesar. Tragically, Iullus was forced to fall on his sword after being accused of treason for having an affair with the emperor’s only daughter, Julia. Iullus’s son, Lucius Antonius, voluntarily exiled in Gaul (modern-day France) to avoid the same fate.

Very little is known about Lucius Antonius. Some historians surmise that he might have been the father or grandfather of the famous Roman general, Marcus Antonius Primus. The tragic legacy of Mark Antony and his descendants inspired me to create Marcellus, the son of Lucius Antonius. One of the burning questions I wanted to answer is how Lucius would react if his son fell in love with a powerful foreign queen in Britannia and went down the same tragic pathway as his forefathers.

One of the fantastical elements in “Skull’s Vengeance” is inspired by the Celtic belief that the soul resides in the head. The druids considered the human head to be the temple of the soul. As with so many aspects of the Celtic warrior’s life, taking an opponent’s head in battle, preferably in single combat, had a mystical significance. To possess the enemy’s head was to possess his soul. The concept that magical powers can be summoned from souls entrapped in each of their skulls is explored in “Skull’s Vengeance.” Catrin’s half-brother, a shapeshifter and druid, uses dark forces from the skulls of family members he has killed to destroy enemies on the battlefield.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of Skull’s Vengeance, what would they be?

“I am Woman,” by Helen Reddy.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

I enjoy reading historical fiction, historical romance, historical fantasy, and epic fantasy. These genres are the same as I write.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

The books at the top of my TBR pile include: “Minotaur’s Lair” (Servant of the Gods Book 3) by Luciana Cavallaro; “Death in the Triangle,” by John Podlaski; “Son of Anger: A fast-paced Viking Saga filled with action and adventure” (Ormstunga Saga Book 1) by Donovan Cook; “The Fortune Keeper” by Deborah Swift; “Caledon” by Virginia Crow; “A Hussar’s Promise,” by Griffin Brady; and “Yossel’s Journey” by Kathryn Lasky.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

One of my favorite scenes to write was from the perspective of Catrin’s evil half-brother, King Marrock. The chapter is entitled, “A Grandfather’s Revenge,” and it foreshadows the powers of Catrin’s dead father whose soul is entrapped in his severed skull. The scene shows another side of Marrock as a devoted father. As he shows his sons the family skulls from which he summons his dark powers, he is distracted by rumbling outside the chamber and leaves them to investigate. Lightning strikes all around him and the fortress he has constructed. When Marrock returns to the chamber to gather his sons, he finds that his father’s skull is missing along with his sons.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

I write all first drafts in longhand.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.”—Nelson Mandela

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

You have the power to seize your dream as your destiny.


Linnea Tanner is the author of the new book Skull’s Vengeance

Connect with Linnea Tanner

Author Site



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