I have here with me today the author of Asha in Time, a truly awesome book. You can find my (glowing) review here.
She was special. Her parents knew that; though it was not her sable hair, her wide amber eyes, but the fact that she had memories of things she could not possibly know. She remembered the palace of ancient Thebes, the palace pharaohs and queens had walked in. Finally, on her thirteenth birthday, she would find out where her memories were born. She would return to ancient Egypt to get her answers, but she had no idea that he was waiting for her.
She’ll have to use all her wits and wiles to find her way in Egypt and into his heart without destroying herself.
Without further ado, here’s the interview!
1. Describe your novel in 140 words or less, Twitter style.
Young adult time travel story that explores what it was like to grow up in ancient Egypt, in doomed Troy, and even in the modern world and the similarities between.
2. What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Thirsty for knowledge.
3. Have you always had an interest in ancient Egypt? Have you visited Egypt before?
I have always had an interest in ancient Egypt and especially her women. The first time I heard about Solomon’s Egyptian wife, I was hooked. There are so many strong female characters in the history of Egypt, women who rewrote the script on feminine behavior and expectations. Aside from wanting to write about them, I wanted to learn everything I could about them since they were examples of the political, social, and global power women can have. I really wanted to investigate that power and those expectations in Asha in Time.
I’ve never been to Egypt, but I’m absolutely itching to go. It has been on my “places to see” list (and yes, that is an actual paper list my husband and I reference often) since I was nine years old. Yet, most of my life up until this point has been dedicated to school. Now that I’ve graduated with the degree I wanted, I hope to be able to go soon.
4. I hope you can go, too! Your writing is quite impressive, and has a polished touch to it. What has your journey towards becoming an author been like?
In one word- lifelong. I’ve always written, including short stories and poetry as a child. Mostly, it was unexciting pieces of writing. My mother has held onto all of the notebooks and journals I had as a kid, and when I flip through them I’m amused by how truly terrible they are. Yet, all those stories that will never see the light of day were a stepping point to get to where I am, and I’m still learning and growing everyday as a writer. When it comes to character development and plot flow I’m still learning and trying out new things to see what fits my voice best.
Thank you so much for saying that my writing is impressive! I still feel like a literary newb some days.
5. Asha in Time is clearly a huge effort research-wise, and I don’t think it was easy to find such accurate and detailed information on ancient Egyptian life. How did you manage?
It took months to find enough information to even begin writing the main chapters of the book. I took a break between the first few chapters that take place in the modern world and the ones that came after to research. I searched online databases, read collegiate essays and theorems on everything from the identity of the Hyksos to the timing of the Trojan war. Plus, I logged on to ancient Egyptian fans sites and discussion boards to see what people were talking about and interested in. There are really great nonfiction books out there such as Barbara Metz’s Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs that were invaluable to me.
Mostly, though, I learned by reading other fiction publications. So many great authors had written about similar time periods in history, and I tried to read all of their books that I could. I think I read four different novels with Isetnofret and Nefertari as main characters and even more where they play a minor role. I wanted to see how other people had envisioned them before I put my spin on it.
6. Wow, that really IS a lot of work. What made you decide to self-publish?
Self-publishing is a really great thing. What I love about it is how hands on the experience is. I worked directly with the cover artist and the editor of my book and had a say in every detail that went into the finished product. Plus, I feel like the line of communication between readers and me is more direct.
7. What books do you have waiting to be read over the summer?
In the young adult genre I’m looking forward to reading Princess of the Midnight Ball. An eBook that’s still on my to-read list is The Lost Queen: Ankhsenamun Widow of King Tutankhamun. Plus, in the adult field I’d really like to read My Enemy’s Cradle.
8. I didn’t even know King Tut had a widow :O What’s next for you, writing-wise?
Right now I’m toying with a few different ideas. There are characters from my first book and from Asha in Time that I would like to revisit eventually. Until I get a clear idea of where I want to go with my next book, I’m enjoying being out of school for the first time and working as a wedding officiant (I write ceremonies too!) in my local area.
Thank you so much, Mandy! I hope you all enjoy her book as much as I did.
Goodreads- Asha in Time – add it to your to-be-read list!