Beautiful Books: Introduce Your Novel

Well, reader-people, I'm back. You may have probably didn't notice that I no longer have stuff up about my other books. That is because, not only am I focusing on Hounds and Jackals (pendant's new name), but a lot of those other stories just aren't really there any more. They don't need to be written, and they probably won't be. I also don't have any sort of word-count thing for H&J, because I no longer have the slightest clue how long I want it to be, or how long it should be. So much has changed, I am basically on a first draft now, and setting word-count goals for first drafts is not something I consider to be a good idea. would I come up with a goal? I have no clue. 
Because of the new story for Pendant, that title no longer applies, and also is part of a different time in this book's life. It dies with the stupid piece of jewelry for which is was named. I am now calling it Hounds and Jackals, for reasons which I can't explain but will make sense if you read the finished book in about seventeen years. And yes, I think this plot will stay for the million years it will take me to finish, because I have a feeling of permanence and finality about this that I never had about the old one. It fits in a way that 'pendant' never did. It feels right. And satisfying. And also I never want to go through a change like this again. It was so obnoxious, and even though I know the time with 'pendant' wasn't wasted, it's hard to shake the feeling that it was. That said, here is your proper introduction to Hounds and Jackals (name is not set in stone yet, but I'm liking it more and more every day).

What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

This is going to sound odd, but I was reading a murder mystery by Agatha Christie, set in ancient egypt, and I suddenly decided that I should write a book and set it in ancient egypt. I then went on to shamelessly steal two of her main characters names. I mostly credit Eloise Jarvis McGraw as my REAL inspiration though. Specifically, her book "Mara: Daughter of the Nile". It was through her that I came to love ancient egypt without thinking about the more academic aspects of it. The idea for Pendant began in 2011 I would say, with reading Mara, and just wishing I could further inhabit her world. I then created a sort of...random story with unnamed characters that mucked about in my head until I read Christie in 2012, and began scribbling about 1 minute after the completion of her book. Pendant has been through alot in the past 4 years, until, about five months ago, I suddenly began forming an entirely new story and plot. In August of 2016, Pendant officially transitioned into a completely different book, which I am now calling "Hounds and Jackals" officially, but usually end up relapsing into 'pendant'.  This can become rather confusing in the course of conversation, because they aren't really the same book, and yet they are. 

Describe what your novel is about!
Okay...*deep breath*...Hounds and Jackals is set in Egypt's 18th dynasty, under the reign of Amenhotep III, a time of peace and gratuitous wealth and prosperity for Egypt. Kush, one of Egypt's dependant provinces (countries, states?) is in a state of rebellion, and is moving to overthrow the king. The kushite rebellion is funded by an unknown source, almost certainly by one of Egypt's supposed "allies". While the rebellion itself poses no great threat to Egypt's excellent military, the possibility of one of the neighboring kingdoms preparing to go to war, is of more concern. Pharaoh, along with his loyal court and wife, Tiye, have dispatched spies to Kush to discover the identity of the kushite's allies. The story is told through two main plot lines: that of the spies (Reniseb, Ukani, Tseskos) in Kush; and that of Egypt's leaders (Amenhotep, Tiye, Nefru and others) at court, and the corruption and lies found there. 

What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

Introduce us to each of your characters!
Oh there are too many. How about a few adjectives for the main ones instead? 
Tiye: Beautiful, Tall-ish, Pointy, Clever, Harsh, Caring, Loyal, Resourceful 

Amenhotep III: Strong, Noble, Heroic, Kind, Gentle, Humble, Good

Ukani: Arrogant, Harsh, Pragmatic, Unfeeling, Mistrustful, Clever, Talented, Resourceful 

Nefru: Stern, Pragmatic, Suspicious, Noble, Responsible, Intelligent 

Tseskos: Gorgeous, Exotic, Loose, Sarcastic, Pragmatic, Gentle, Nice 

Sefkh: Good, Gentle, Kind, Loyal, Loving, Intelligent, Quick-witted, Noble, Handsome 

How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)
Ooh, I should try howling. I do some internal howling, I admit. I kind of hate word vomit, but it ends up being the best for me, because if I get to caught up in minute details of historical accuracy I never get anywhere. I am a slow writer, and if I spend too much time thinking about "what I am going to write" I also never get anywhere. I tend to just sit down and say, I must write what happens next, and choose a POV, and then see what happens. Usually it ends up being pretty decent, and then is marked as "completely rewrite this" within 24 hours. It's not so much that my plot changes, it's just that every tiny little decision, like the direction of someone's window, or the order of two scenes, can mean a rewrite. Continuity is hard. 

What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
Is there anyone who hasn't said "finishing it"? Because I am really excited for it to be done. A) because it will be such a relief and feel amazing and B) because I want to see what it will look like. I'm really curious. Within the novel itself, I'm really looking forward to further exploring the relationship between Amenhotep and Tiye, and then everything to do with Reniseb. Now that she is younger and less annoying, she is actually kind of adorable. 

List 3 things about your novel’s setting.
Egypt's peak of general awesomeness 
Tiny historical details everywhere because they make me happy, even though I am only using history inasmuch as it is convenient to me. (except when I go insane and redo a bunch of stuff because of one historical fact that I recently discovered.....SOOOOO convenient.)

What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?
Um, just one character? Okay, Tiye is SORT OF my main character. Her goal is to make Egypt as safe and wonderful and successful and happy and great as she possibly can, and to make Amenhotep happy to the best of her ability. In her way is a rebellion, and the discovery that there is a kushite spy in her court, as well as an assassin trying to kill her firstborn son. To say the least, she is rather miffed about the attempt on her son's life. 

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
Tiye doesn't really change too much. She becomes slightly more trustful. More empathetic, and more willing to rely upon others. Other than that, not much happens. She gets what she wants in the end. She achieves her goal. For her, everything works out quite splendidly. For certain others, not so much, but for Tiye everything is lovely. It's kind of annoying really. 

What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?
It sounds so cliche, but I'm going to go with friendship/loveship (now a word); the realization that one can't do things alone; revenge is bad (don't do that); and perhaps the fact that even the worst of people can be redeemed, and even the cruelest of villains (provided they are human) are to be pitied rather than hated (or is that just me?). You know what else is cliche? The word cliche. Really, it is more of a study in different people and the way that things affect them, because I find that fascinating. 
As for feelings, sad? I want people to finish thinking this "yay, that worked out well, I'm sad it's over, Ukani is terrible but he seems like maybe he's on the path to becoming less horrid,  and after all that he still turned out to be on the good side (dang). And Tiye an Amenhotep, adorable. Nefru is not such a wet blanket as I thought he was. Tseskos turned out way more compassionate than I would have thought, and OH MY GOSH WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO RENISEB, WHY????????"

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  1. Wow, very cool!
    Oh, and I've nominated you for a Q&A Tag:

    1. Lovely, I'm rather short on time at present, so it may be a while before I get around to this tag, but I won't forget about it.

  2. I was once told that in researching for historical novels, one should learn everything possible about their subject and then FORGET EVERYTHING. It's really scary. But wow, I've only read one other Egyptian historical fiction, though I think interest is picking up. Story ideas can come from the oddest places!

    Elisabeth @ Inkspelled Faery

    1. At one point, I was actually planning on giving pendant up for years and turning to another book, because it just wasn't working. And ultimately what made me turn back was not the fact that I missed the book, but that I couldn't bear to leave Egypt behind. So it was reborn as H&J. And I think I needed to learn that before I could continue. It taught me to love my setting for itself, and not just because I HAD TO read about it.


    1. Thank you so much! You have probably already read Mara: Daughter of the Nile, by Eloise Jarvis McGraw, but if not....YOU MUST. It's really good. She also wrote a book called Pharaoh, that is also set in ancient egypt, and is longer and generally amazing. It's rather hard to get a hold of though. For some strange reason it didn't make it past a first edition, but a largish library would probably be able to get a hold of it for you.
      *modest cough* I myself am the proud owner of a first edition copy.