Earlier this week I was really honored and excited to receive a phone call telling me that Lady of the Nile, my 7th paranormal romance set in ancient Egypt, had been selected as a Finalist in the Romance Writers of America Fantasy Futuristic & Paranormal Chapter’s PRISM Award!
That’s exciting stuff to a writer in the FF&P romance genres…see the full list of Finalists in all categories here. Congratulations to everyone whose book Finalled! Winners will be announced at the national conference in July.
I write my ancient Egyptian tales as a labor of love – not that I don’t love my scifi romance books because I DO and those are my main focus and genre – but the reader audience for ancient world romance tends to be smaller, without much crossover between the SFR genre and this one. I’ve often written about how the YA novel Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw first inspired me to want to write tales set in the far past. I was further inspired by seeing the King Tut exhibit many years ago, which included the amazing golden mask. And then there’s my favorite 1950’s ‘B” movie, ‘Princess of the Nile’.
My titles are an homage to McGraw’s book in fact (“…of the Nile”). I read that novel in elementary school, still have a copy and reread it periodically. (I also named the heroine in Wreck of the Nebula Dream ‘Mara’.) So when I place myself in ancient Egypt it’s a complete change of pace for me from my futuristic stories and a fun challenge as an author.
I try to put myself in the head of a person who might have lived then, and I make sure the gods and goddesses are present and involved in the daily lives of the people, as the ancients believed and hoped they were. As the reviewers at Dear Author said of Ghost of the Nile (itself an award winner): “There’s Egypt and gods and magic and strong men and stronger women and love even beyond death and into the Afterlife. The historic details add spice throughout the story and these definitely aren’t 21st C people in linen kilts.”
My heroes are usually the Special Forces men of their day – Pharaoh’s Own Guard, which is a unit I created (tell me Pharaohs didn’t have their own elite guard forces!) – strong, tough, smart, loyal…and the heroines are priestesses, healers, land owners…in ancient Egypt women could play many significant roles and my women carry on that tradition.
And of course Priestess of the Nile was my first published book, thanks to Carina Press. So the ancient Egyptians have been very good to me as well. I think of the Crocodile God Sobek as my special good luck charm, since he was the hero in that book.
There was even some serious Hollywood interest in making Priestess into a movie! Although that never came to fruition, like so many failed projects in the entertainment world but still…never say never.
I recently received the best compliment ever from a reader, who sent me a message that she’d been to the current King Tut exhibit at an LA museum and was amazed how familiar to her all the items and the various gods and goddesses seemed because she’d read my novels. (My books are set about 300 years after the time of Tut.) That was a fun and deeply satisfying thing to hear as an author! I have a page on this blog devoted to my approach to historical accuracy...I’m not writing ‘historical novels’ but I do my best to infuse the time and place into the books as thoroughly as I can.
Tuya, a high ranking lady-in-waiting at Pharaoh’s court, lives a life of luxury, pageantry and boredom. Khian, a brave and honorable officer from the provinces temporarily re-assigned to Thebes, catches her eye at a gold of valor ceremony. As the pair are thrown together by circumstances, she finds herself unaccountably attracted to this man so unlike the haughty nobles she’s used to. But a life with Khian would mean leaving the court and giving up all that she’s worked so hard to attain. As she goes about her duties, Tuya struggles with her heart’s desires.
When Tuya is lured into a dangerous part of Thebes by her disgraced half-brother and kidnapped by unknown enemies of Egypt, Khian becomes her only hope. Pharaoh assigns him to bring the lady home.
Aided by the gods, Khian races into the desert on the trail of the elusive kidnappers, hoping to find Tuya before it’s too late. Neither of them has any idea of the dark forces arrayed against them, nor the obstacles to be faced. An ancient evil from the long gone past wants to claim Tuya for its own purposes and won’t relinquish her easily.
Can Khian find her in time? Will he and his uncanny allies be able to prevent her death? And if the couple escapes and reaches safety, what of their fledgling romance?