Local novelist Suzanne Tyrpak's debut Vestal Virgin is a suspenseful tale set in ancient Rome. Elissa Rubria Honoria is a Vestal Virgin--a priestess of the sacred flame, a visionary, and one of the most powerful women in Rome. Vestals are sacrosanct, sworn to chastity on penalty of death, but the emperor, Nero, holds himself above the law. He pursues Elissa, engaging her in a deadly game of wits and sexuality. Or is Elissa really the pursuer? She stumbles on dark secrets. No longer trusting Roman gods, she follows a new god, Jesus of Nazareth, jeopardizing her life and the future of The Roman Empire.
In 2001, Tyrpak traveled to Rome with a group of writers, and she fell in love with Italy--Rome in particular. She read a travel book that contained a short blurb about vestal virgins; it mentioned they were sworn to thirty years of chastity and, if that vow were broken, they would be entombed alive. That inspired Vestal Virgin. The six priestesses of Vesta were educated, and therefore powerful, at a time when most women weren't even taught to read.
After writing a first draft, Tyrpak traveled to Rome a second time and hired a scholar who speicalized in the year A.D. 63-64--the timeframe of this story. Very little documentation exists regarding the vestal virgins--to a large extent, they remain a mystery.
Suzanne Tyrpak ran away from New York a long time ago to live in Colorado. Her debut novel is Vestal Virgin, suspense set in ancient Rome, available as a trade paperback and in all eformats. Her collection of nine short stories Dating My Vibrator (and other true fiction) is available on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords. J.A. Konrath calls it, “Pure comedic brilliance.” Her short story Downhill was first published in Arts Perspective Magazine. Rock Bottom is published in the Mota 9: Addiction anthology, available on Kindle. Her short story Ghost Plane was published by CrimeSpree Magazine. Venus Faded appears in the anthology Pronto! Writings from Rome (Triple Tree Publishing, 2002) along with notable authors including: Dorothy Allison, Elizabeth Engstrom, Terry Brooks and John Saul. Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers awarded her first prize in the Colorado Gold Writing Contest, and Maui Writers awarded her third prize in the Rupert Hughes writing competition.
*New York Times bestselling author, Terry Brooks says about her writing: “...a writer of real talent...a promising new voice.”
*New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen says, “Suzanne Tyrpak weaves a spell that utterly enchants and delights. Her writing is pure magic.”