Why am I so attracted to setting my stories in a paranormal version of ancient Egypt?
Two historical novels were a big influence on me when I was young – Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw and Shadow Hawk by Andre Norton. I loved the idea of times past and the exciting things that happened to people then.
And then one day I stood by the side of King Tutankhamen’s sarcophagus, gazing down into the eyes of the boy king, as depicted in the amazing golden mask…Years ago when things were much less formal, my employer at the time was a major sponsor of the King Tutankhamen traveling exhibit and I got to spend an hour virtually alone in the museum. Obviously I wasn’t allowed to touch anything, not with burly guards at every turn, but I could literally stand right next to the items and look my fill, unimpeded by plexiglass.
The golden funerary objects were stunning but I was equally fascinated by the everyday possessions and furniture in the exhibit, all created with fanciful and amusing details. Everything I saw spoke to me eloquently of the ancient Egyptian people who believed so fiercely in their gods and the promised Afterlife. I had the feeling of stepping back in time for a moment.
And the jewelry! Can we just say I craved all of it?
So when I’m writing about my characters, I can close my eyes and put myself back in that museum room, surrounded by the actual trappings of ancient Egyptian life.
I’m irresistibly drawn to their pantheon of gods, each with so many aspects and unique characteristics, some anchored to one specific place and time, others more universally worshiped. It’s intriguing as an author to imagine how these Great Ones of Egypt would interact with the characters, from Pharaoh to the lowliest baker’s apprentice. What if all the things the Egyptians believed were true? What if you could find yourself singing for the Crocodile God or fighting alongside Horus the Falcon? Receiving advice and comfort from Hathor? Being judged by Lady Ma’at and Anubis? Petitioning Osiris and Isis for help?
And the adventures – and romance – begin there….