Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Write Like An Egyptian with Guest Blogger Jean Adams

The Book Boost welcomes Egyptian romance author Jean Adams to the blog.

She's answering the question...Why ancient Egypt?

Here's what she had to say...

Egypt has been my passion since I first saw The Ten Commandments.

Yes, I know that wasn’t what the film was about, but for me, it was. After seeing that movie, I devoured anything and everything to do with Egypt, and the more I read, the deeper in love I fell.

Later, when I discovered the joy of writing, and had realised that time travel was an option, I decided that one day, I would write a time travel set in ancient Egypt.

But which time period?

It took me a long time to write Eternal Hearts and a lot of soul-searching to find the right time for the story. There was, after all, more than 5000 years of the culture to choose from. I still have trouble getting my head around the fact that their civilisation existed for 3000 years longer than ours has.

I finally boiled it down a choice of two eras and two of Egypt’s most famous queens.

Cleopatra, not particularly beautiful by all accounts, but said to have a lovely voice that could charm men into falling on love with her—Julius Caesar and Marc Antony in particular.

Or Nefertiti, still regarded as one of the most beautiful women who ever lived, and whose face has haunted men for centuries.

Since there were more than 1000 years of history between the two women, you can see my dilemma.

But, hey, it was a time travel. Why not use both? After several false starts, I finally realised the idea wouldn’t work. I wanted to do justice to the Egyptians. And I wanted to get it right.

When I finally made up my mind, two years after the initial concept, I settled on Nefertiti and the story fell together easily. Maybe I was a little scared to tackle such a vast subject, since very little of their daily life is recorded. It was merely a case of piecing together what we know and guessing the rest, while keeping the integrity of the period intact. For instance, no coloured dyes, no silken garments, and no camels. They came much later.

I have used real events, as far as we know them, and real people. Pharaoh Akhenaten and Nefertiti, of course, are real. Rahotep and Nofret were really married. I’m sure they would be happy to know they’re still married 3000 years later. Rekhemire was a real vizier. Everyone else is imaginary.

My advice to anyone who wants to tackle such a big historical subject like Egypt, is don’t let your lack of knowledge stop you. Write the romance first. You can research and fill in all the details you want later. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you, either.

Now, I’m so happy with Eternal Hearts that it has inspired me to write a historical trilogy that has nothing to do with time travel. It’s going quite well.

Will I sell it? Who knows? Who cares? Like Eternal Hearts, I’m writing it for me.

Which is all we can do. Anything else is a cherry on the top.

A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks for the history lesson, Jean. I would love to take a class on the Egyptian culture. I, too, am very fascinated by the subject. Your book sounds wonderful and I cannot wait to check it out. Please, tell us more!


She found the love of her life, 3000 years too late.

When Alexandra Kelly returns a broad collar to Egypt she is swept through a time portal into a breathtaking, yet terrifying journey to a land of majesty and splendour, the land of the pharaohs.

Death is Lord Khafra’s fate if he embarks upon his dangerous quest. Can Alex’s arrival disrupt his plans and save him from his fiery date with death?

Together they find love and face terrible danger and hardship but the sexy charioteer could make any woman believe the gods were smiling on her.

But at the next full moon Alex must leave Egypt to return to the 21st century and Khafra will have been dead for thousands of years..


Khafra’s face looked grim and ashen. “Abana. I am under arrest. For treason.”

Alex jumped to her feet “Treason? Dear God, no!” That’s the death penalty.

As soon as she’d heard hoofbeats galloping through the streets in the middle of the night, Alex had sensed something was wrong. The pounding on their door confirmed her fears. Now her roiling stomach turned inside out and back again as fear loomed large and terrifying.

“They say I have conspired to kill the king.” His voice was grave.

“But you’re not involved in . . .” Her voice rose shrilly as hysteria grew. “Tell them.” She could see by his drawn face and tight lips this wasn’t good.

“I must prove to the king I am innocent of this crime, and I must do it without implicating my father.”

“Can you?” She held her breath.

He shook his head. “I know not,” he choked out.

Stricken, she ran to him and threw her arms around his neck. “I won’t let them take you. You’ve done nothing wrong.” A futile gesture as one of the king’s charioteers roughly unhooked her arms and pushed her away from Khafra.

He straightened his spine, squared his shoulders. “I must go with them now, sweet love. Try not to worry.” His bravado was for her benefit but he couldn’t disguise the fear in his eyes.

“What if you’re found guilty?”

“Pray to Ma’at that I can prove my innocence,” he said, his expression solemn.

Dear God, what if they found him guilty? Put him to death? How did a man prove he had no part in plots to kill the king? Her panic grew. “But what if you can’t? What if . . .?” He merely lowered his gaze and she couldn’t finish. Lifting her chin she fixed him with a look of determination. “I’m going with you.”

When he attempted to step toward her, the king’s guard stopped him. “No, Abana. You cannot help me.”

“I can’t just wait around here while they accuse you of heaven knows what. I’ll beg for your life if I have to.”

“They will not understand you.” He lifted his hand to cup her cheek. “I promise I will return.”

“You’d better.” She gave a frightened laugh and watched helpless as the guard bound Khafra’s hands behind his back.

They led him away. Proud head high, bearing erect, Khafra walked between two guards, looking so vulnerable.

Grief-stricken, she followed them into the courtyard. Three chariots waited—one for the prisoner and his guard, the other two each bore two men as escort.

Like a common criminal, Khafra was shoved into the leading chariot.

He managed to turn and face her, a grim smile on his lips. “Abana, my heart-mate, always know I will love you into eternity.”

Eternity didn’t sound too good to her right now. Tears spilled down her cheeks. “As I will you, my love,” she called. But her voice was lost in the sound of clanking bridles and chariot wheels as they drove through the gateway in single file. Then he was gone, swallowed up by darkness.

She was alone in Egypt.

Want More Jean?

Visit her website:
Watch the trailer for her book. Click here!
Pick up your copy of her book today. Click here!


Miriam Newman said...

Jean, I share your fascination with Egypt even though I have never attempted to write anything based there. Kudos to you for tackling such a huge challenge. What an intriguing era.

Gossip Cowgirl said...

I agree with Miriam. I am fascinated by the topic, but have never written about it. I did write about ancient Rome, but it seems like that might be more well-known than Egypt. I certainly had no problem finding resources.

Anyway, looks like you have an interesting concept. Thanks for letting us know about it. :-)

Unknown said...

Good on you Jean for writing something you're so passionate about. I wonder how Cleopatra etc would feel knowing they're life stories are still talked and written about today.

Lovely excerpt.

Jane Beckenham

Donna Caubarreaux said...

I can understand your facination with Egypt. When I went to the NYC Metropoliatian Museum of Art and walked into the Egyptian room and saw a wall from a temple, I was speechless. The power of their artwork and the precision of their stonework was mind blowing. Just moving my fingers over the the wall gave me goosebumps. It's the only time that something like that display ever affected me.
I'll need to find your book!!!

Abby Gaines said...

What a fascinating time period, Jean! Congrats on your book release.

Toni Kenyon said...

Jean, how wonderful to have written and published a novel about a time period you have such a fascination with. Well done.