My love of Egypt started long ago, while poring through the beautiful books my librarian mother had collected through her interest in ancient art. That love has continued for most of my life, resulting in three degrees in archaeology and Egyptology. After giving up the life of Indiana Jones to be a mom, I became a writer . . . the next best thing. Okay, in some ways it’s even better. No endless trips in planes and bumpy Land Rovers, no sand and flies getting into everything, no terrorists threatening to blow up your hotel, and, hey, you get to work in your jammies.
This week is the release of VAMPIRE SHEIKH (Feb 2011) , the last of my Egyptian trilogy from Harlequin Nocturne, called IMMORTAL SHEIKHS.
I have to admit, this book is my favorite. I’ve loved writing this trilogy in a way that went far deeper than just adoring the characters and losing myself in the fantasy—-though that was certainly true. Writing these books, LORD OF THE DESERT (Aug ’10), SHADOW OF THE SHEIKH (Nov ’10), and now VAMPIRE SHEIKH, has been like coming home to old (very old!) friends. Especially this last one.
The hero, Seth, is an immortal demigod, servant of the ancient god Set-Sutekh, keeping the house of his god thriving even in today’s modern world when most of the ancients have long since vanished. This is a strangely interesting parallel to what happened in Pharaonic times, during an era archaeologists call the Intermediate Period. This was a time of vast social, political, and religious upheaval and breakdown, and the literature of the times reflected the deep pessimism and uncertainty experienced by the aristocracy of the day. The phrase “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you may die,” originated from Egyptian writings of this era.
Which naturally influenced my portrayal of my hero, Seth. As a nobleman from the Old Kingdom, the dawn of Egyptian history, he has experienced the collapse and demise of civilization around him many times before. But this time it’s different. This time it is his own beliefs, and his own existence, which are threatened with annihilation. His salvation comes in a totally unexpected form—-by falling in love.
Seth is one of the most fascinating characters I’ve ever created. I even took a fun liberty . . . I made him the original author of one of the classic pieces of Egyptian literature from ancient times, called The Man Who was Tired of Life: The Conversation of a Man with His Ba (ba means soul). I figure the copyright ran out long ago, so surely no one would mind.
Oh, and did I mention that Seth is a vampire?
When I was on my first archaeological expedition to northern Sudan (which was part of Egypt in ancient times) I stayed in a tiny village on the Nile. The area around this village was rumored to be home to the most vampires in all of Africa. When I found this out, you can imagine how freaked out I was. Luckily (or maybe not?) I never encountered one.
Trust me, I’m no vampire expert. But when my editor suggested I make Seth a vampire, I remembered that village (who could forget!), and thought how interesting it would be to incorporate the incredibly sexy archetype of the vampire lord into the ancient Egyptian pantheon. So I took the few references I found to vampirism in Pharaonic times and shaped them into a plausible addition to the existing mythology, which I then used to build the paranormal world in the IMMORTAL SHEIKHS trilogy.
I think these combined elements make the stories really unusual and interesting. And when you combine all that with three very hunky shape-shifting sheikhs and three sizzling hot romances, I’m hoping the result is something my Nocturne readers really enjoy!
I had an incredible time conceiving and writing the IMMORTAL SHEIKHS trilogy. I hope you’ll let me know what you think!
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