NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)
Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
More Answers from Michelle Moran!
Many of us are impatiently tapping our toes waiting for the release of THE HERETIC QUEEN next Tuesday. Until then, here is another tidbit from Michelle:
What kind of research did you do? Do you listen to any type of music while writing? Did any other authors influence you and this book?
I'll bet that last answer was a bit more than you bargained for, huh?! I'll try to keep this one short ;]
For research, I try to visit the actual location where the novel is taking place (in this case, Egypt). Then I buy as many books on the subject as possible and try to recreate - in my own mind and on paper - the world my characters are living in. I also have some very gracious contacts in the archaeological world whom I can turn to if I get stuck.
I have to admit, I don't really listen to any music for inspiration. I like total silence when I write. I also try not to read too much fiction set during the time period I'm writing on. There are two reasons for this.
One of the reasons is that Egyptian fiction has never really appealed to me (ironic, I know). A great deal of fiction set in ancient Egypt feels “heavy”. The dialogue seems stilted because the author is attempting to make it sound old (which seems silly, since the dialogue isn’t going to be accurate anyway. Firstly, we don’t know the rhythm or cadence the ancient Egyptians used, and secondly, they didn’t speak English!). Also, a lot of fiction set in places like Rome and Egypt focuses on the lives of men. The books are filled with war or male-dominated politics, and that’s simply not what I’m interested in.
I want to know about women’s lives. That’s not to say there aren’t any politics in my novel. Harem politics could be just as heated and dangerous as politics in the Audience Chamber. And that’s also not to say that there aren’t any battles. After all, Ramesses took his principal wives with him to war. But I want to hear about the experience of everyday life and war from the women. What was it like for them? What did they see, and hear, and do? So that’s one reason I didn’t read Egyptian fiction before writing my own. However, my primary reason had to do with my own writing and research. I didn’t want to be influenced by another author’s take on events or their approach to the ancient world.
But now that I’m finished writing on ancient Egypt and my next book will explore Imperial Rome, I’m eager to start looking for Egyptian fiction with strong female leads. Any suggestions are most welcome!
(Lezlie raises her hand. . .) I have a suggestion!! Pauline Gedge's Child of the Morning, about Queen Hapshetsut, Egypt's only female pharaoh, is one of the best books I have ever read. Also, there is a really old one called I, Cleopatra by William Bostock that is worth the search at the used bookstores to find. Do any of you know of others?
If you have a question for Michelle, post it in the comments at Michelle Moran Q & A. And if you haven't gotten in on the Michelle Moran Giveaway yet, there are still a few days left! The drawing will be held Monday and the winners announced on Tuesday, September 16, the release date of THE HERETIC QUEEN.