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:

Ladytink asks:

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?

Michelle Moran:

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.


Amanda said...

Ooo...I've been wanting to read Margaret George's Memoirs of Cleopatra since I really enjoyed her book on Mary Queen of Scots.

You know it's funny. I wanted to be an archaeologist when I was younger so I love Egyptian history but I too have never read any Egyptian fiction. Thanks for the other recommendations!

Lezlie said...

Amanda ~ George's "Cleopatra" book is very good, but for some reason the others I suggested have stuck in my mind more than that one. In fact, I totally forgot about it until I saw your comment! It's well worth the read, though. And hopefully you can find the others, too.


Michelle Moran said...

Ohhh... look at the book cover for I, Cleopatra!!!!

And thank you for the recommendations Lezlie and Amanda. They are being added to the next bookstore shopping list!

Lezlie said...

Michelle ~ Those old covers are great, aren't they? :-)

Ladytink_534 said...

If it was possible, now I'm even more intrigued!

MizB said...

Lezlie -- if you like Ancient Egypt stories, you should also check out the books by Christian Jacq... His "Ramses" series is fantastic (5 books).


Lezlie said...

Hi, MizB! I have the whole "Ramses" set here, I just haven't read them yet. I'm glad to hear I have something good to look forward to! BTW - You were in plenty of time to enter the Giveaway. I'm taking entries until Sunday at midnight.


Anonymous said...

Great book recommendations! Thanks for the interview