Veronica Scott is the author of Priestess of the Nile, a new Carina Press release set in Ancient Egypt. I love this setting, and I enjoyed Veronica’s book. I was delighted when she dropped by the virtual offices for a chat.
[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Veronica Scott] I grew up in a house full of books & when I ran out of things to read, I started writing my own stories. Two daughters, one grandson, cats!
[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about your book, Priestess of the Nile?
[Veronica Scott] My latest book is also my first published work – Priestess of the Nile, a paranormal romance novella from Carina Press, released on January 23rd as an e book. It will also be coming out as an audio book. Set in Ancient Egypt, around 1500 BC, the book tells the story of Sobek the Crocodile God. Drawn to his abandoned temple on the banks of the Nile by an enchanting song, he’s even more captivated by the sight of the singer herself. Appearing to her as a man, he learns she is Merys, a descendant of his last priestess. Though he desires her greatly, Sobek believes Merys deserves to be more than just his mistress. But the rules that govern the Egyptian pantheon forbid anything beyond a physical joining of a Great One and a human.
Merys is attracted to the handsome stranger, who arouses passions in her that no man ever has. But with no dowry and no hope of ever leaving her village, she dares not dream of the future—or love.
Sobek takes every opportunity to visit Merys, taxing his resolve to leave her pure. When he saves her life, their mutual desire must be sated. But of course in the world of paranormal romance nothing can be uncomplicated, the gods have rules about such romances, the goddess Isis is very unhappy and so the couple face many challenges along the way.
[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Veronica Scott] I used Sobek to solve a black magic issue for Pharaoh in a longer WIP set in the same universe. Then I couldn’t stop thinking about him. There were definitely interesting plot elements in his backstory. So powerful originally, yet overtaken by flashier newcomers. Subject to commands from the later arriving gods, Sobek still faithfully tended to his duties keeping the Nile navigable and flooding as it should. Did he resent his labors? Did he wish for more, for something or someone that belongs to just him?
Sobek is always depicted as either crocodile or half man/half crocodile but one day I just had the flash of insight – he was a shifter. Bingo, so therefore he could take human form if he wanted to. The ancient Egyptians just never saw him do it! But since I now knew the truth, I could write his story. And most importantly for a paranormal romance writer, he could fall in love with the right human woman. It seemed a natural to me that he’d be attracted to a woman who did her best to maintain one of his abandoned temples.
[Manga Maniac Café] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the book?
[Veronica Scott] In the editing process, I had terrific support from my Carina Press editor Alison Dasho but she challenged me in the best ways to add in some more layers of emotion for the characters, put in a few moments for the characters and the Reader to breathe, make the goddess Isis a bit more present…any time you pluck at one thread in a finished book, you disturb something else, so it all has to be done carefully. I think the end result was a much stronger work. I’m very grateful to Alison and learned some good things to apply to the next book in the connected series.
[Manga Maniac Café] How did you research the setting and historical details?
[Veronica Scott] I own a pretty sizable collection of fat reference books on Ancient Egypt, and of course I did extensive online research. I list the major sources on my webpage. Typically I’ll start by searching for one thing, like what a Hyksos warrior’s shield and helmet looked like, for example, or what the size of the largest crocodile ever found along the Nile was, and that leads to more links. The fascinating facts present themselves and if I’m not careful I’ll have spent days, head down in the research, not writing! Since my stories are set in a paranormal version of Ancient Egypt, I may deliberately tweak the facts or introduce an anachronism but I’m making a conscious choice. The Ancient Egyptians didn’t actually use coins, for example, yet I have Sobek offer Merys a coin at one point. The Egyptian economic system of deben is more complicated than I wanted to be in a paranormal romance novella! Also, the pharaoh who is my anchor point for the series is my own invention, loosely based on several real pharaohs, so I’ve gone off the path of strict historical accuracy.
[Manga Maniac Café] What is the most interesting fact you discovered during your research?
[Veronica Scott] The Ancient Egyptians hand raised crocodiles at some of the temples to Sobek, kept them in pools, even dressed them in jewelry for festivals and fed them delicacies. Thousands of these sacred crocodiles were also mummified and sent into the afterlife. I had known the Egyptians mummified cats but had never heard about the crocodile mummies.
[Manga Maniac Café] If you were sucked into a time vortex and ended up in Ancient Egypt, what are three things you would miss the most from your modern life?
[Veronica Scott] 1. Books to read – not sure I’d get the hang of hieroglyphics!
2. Modern medicine – unmedicated migraines are miserable and the Egyptian cure of drilling into the skull lacks a bit in finesse.
3.Chocolate – they definitely didn’t have that and it’s a food of life to me.
[Manga Maniac Café] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Veronica Scott] Sometimes a single picture of a place will set me off – a ruin, a garden, a forest – imagining events that might happen there. One of my SFR’s came from a perfume ad picture, with a mysteriously glowing bottle and a veiled woman. The whole novel started there! My Egyptian tales started with a certain mirror, thousands of years old. My writer’s brain just seizes on something and starts weaving stories. Music enhances my muse and I’m always listening to music on the iPod when I write or edit. Sometimes I let the music shuffle and other times I keep playing one song over and over, depending on what the story seems to need. I work within the paranormal genre mostly, so I keep up with reading the current novels, try to stay aware of trends, but in the end I can only write what appeals to my inner story teller.
[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Veronica Scott] An idea, something to capture the idea (hopefully my laptop but pen and paper do in a pinch) and peace & quiet to develop the idea. Typically I write at my greatgrandmother’s antique drop front desk, on a laptop. I enjoy the link to the past that the desk represents but with the essential modern convenience of the computer!
[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Veronica Scott] I’ll never forget the first science fiction novel I ever read – Catseye by Andre Norton, which my Dad happened to have in the bookcase. I was blown away by the idea of someone creating other worlds and times, and adventures for me to enjoy. I’d read a lot of books before then – series books like Nancy Drew and Rick Brant, nonfiction, historical – but that one launched me into my first search for an author’s entire backlist (trickier to do in those days), and then to find other authors who wrote in the same genre.
[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Veronica Scott] I read a lot, as you might expect! I enjoy all kinds of movies but especially science fiction and action adventure, with a good romantic comedy thrown in the mix. “Top Chef” and “Project Runway” are my must watch reality shows. I’m an NFL football fiend without a team (we have none in LA) so I root for the Packers primarily. I’m really enjoying the new show “Once Upon a Time” every week. I spend time with my grandson doing puzzles and beyblades together (I even have my own, which he insisted I needed)…I like to visit museums. And wow, do I seem to spend a lot of time on twitter!
[Manga Maniac Café] Thanks!!
You can learn more about Veronica by visiting her website and by following her on Twitter.
Priestess of the Nile is available now in eBook. Click the widget below to order a copy.
Thank you Bewitching Book Tours for making this interview possible!