My love affair with ancient Rome began with Asterix and Obelix and progressed when I read Rosemary Sutcliffe's "The Eagle of the Ninth" and Alfred Duggan's "Winter Quarters". Those two writers had a huge influence on me and after seeing the majestic ruins of the ancient forum in Rome I knew that this was the period I wanted to write about. I have not looked back. Now, the more I learn about ancient Rome, the more I see her influence reflected in modern life, from law to language, place and country names to the football stadiums of today. The soundness of many Roman ideas and concepts has stood the test of time and we should respect the ancients for what they achieved. The Greeks may have been thinkers but the Romans were doers! The Romans were an immensely proud people but they were always happy to copy and adopt other peoples good ideas. It is this quality that makes them so likeable and so enduring. The Romans would have had no problems adapting automobiles for military use. God forbid what they would have done with a mobile phone.
I didn't end up becoming a Marine or a Jedi Knight. After leaving Holland in 1991 for a place at Lancaster University in the UK, I decided to use my summer and Christmas holidays to hitchhike around Europe and bring medicines to the UNHCR in Zagreb which was then embroiled in civil war. I still vividly remember sitting in my small tent on the hills just outside the city and seeing the anti aircraft gunners celebrating the start of the new year. After my idealistic phase had run into that great barrier - lack of money, I decided to get a job and joined financial publishing house Euromoney Institutional Investor as a conference sales man and had a ball of a time. British working culture is fantastic and I know many people who met their husbands and wives at work. My first Roman historical fiction novel, The Shield of Rome, took two years to write and was completed in 2011. Since then I have published nine more books all set in ancient Roman times.
I live in London, one of the greatest cities on the planet, a town the Romans would be proud of, if only they could see what their once humble port has become.
Please do contact me if you have any questions about my books or would like to have a chat about the ancient world.
William Kelso, London, 2017
My name is William Kelso and I am a full time author specialising in ancient Roman and military historical fiction. I have always wanted to be a writer and story-teller. It was my childhood dream, that and being a pilot, a Royal Marine and a Jedi knight. I grew up in the Netherlands, an expat with British parents and one distant ancestor who fought against Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815. The Netherlands in the 1970s and 80s was an amazingly liberal place with a great passion for football.
As a child growing up just north of Eindhoven it was impossible to get away from the reminders of World War 2. The town where I grew up, Son en Breugel, straddled Hells Highway, the main road that was used by the allies during Operation Market Garden in September 1944. Indeed the US 101st Airborne had dropped in on the fields where I often played football. The Dutch are very thankful for that liberation. They commemorate it everywhere, in street names, square names, names of bridges, liberation day (5th May) and through memorials, one of which, the Joe Mann memorial was close to where I lived.