Ralph Jackman was born in Norfolk, England in 1981. He read Classics at King’s College, London, followed by a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Essex where he was tutored by Marina Warner. Actium’s Wake is the culmination of years of study and interest in Roman history, an interest which began when he first read an Asterix book at a very young age. Ralph studied Latin at school, enjoying the code-breaking satisfaction each translation provided and he became engrossed in the society and political structures of the Empire. The inspiration for Actium’s Wake itself occurred during Ralph’s university years. His study focused on the historical period in which the novel is set; the transition, bloody as it was, from the democratic Republic, to sole rule. This shift is one of only a very few occasions in history when a democracy became a monarchy, rather than the other way around. The historical figures of the time provide enthralling characters and the ancient sources assisted Ralph with ample detail about appearances and personal characteristics. The ancient historian Suetonius’ description of Octavian’s blotchy skin and rotten teeth has survived all these centuries. With such powerful characters and the dramatic political backdrop of the civil wars Ralph could not help but be inspired to write a novel which he hopes will bring ancient Rome to life for his readers.