Thanks for having me as your guest today to talk about Lady of the Nile.
I love ancient Egypt and have been fascinated by the civilization and the people since I read Mara, Daughter of the Nile as a kid. My mother also had all the old Time-Life picture books about life in the ancient world and I used to pore over those as well. I hadn’t actually tried writing a story set in ancient Egypt until 2011, when Carina Press put out a call for ancient world romance and I decided to go for it. That book, Priestess of the Nile, became my first published book. (I’m more well-known nowadays for my scifi romances but that’s another story…)
I’ve written a total of seven books in my Gods of Egypt connected series now, which all have the same Pharaoh and his court as the touchstone. But, being me, I can’t write straight historical romance because as soon I start the story, I want the gods to be involved and there to be magic and mystery. So I went with paranormal!
A particularly fascinating thing about ancient Egypt was how long the civilization endured, and how unchanging life was for the most part. Pharaohs came and went, there were invaders and wars, but for the ordinary citizen, life stayed pretty much the same. I started thinking about a lady of the court who’d allowed her own life to become as unchanging and realizes almost too late she’s trapped herself and might be missing out on things that are important to her.
Blurb for Lady of the Nile:
Tuya, a high ranking lady-in-waiting at Pharaoh’s court, lives a life of luxury, pageantry and boredom. Khian, a brave and honorable officer from the provinces temporarily re-assigned to Thebes, catches her eye at a gold of valor ceremony. As the pair are thrown together by circumstances, she finds herself unaccountably attracted to this man so unlike the haughty nobles she’s used to. But a life with Khian would mean leaving the court and giving up all that she’s worked so hard to attain. As she goes about her duties, Tuya struggles with her heart’s desires.
When Tuya is lured into a dangerous part of Thebes by her disgraced half-brother and kidnapped by unknown enemies of Egypt, Khian becomes her only hope. Pharaoh assigns him to bring the lady home.
Aided by the gods, Khian races into the desert on the trail of the elusive kidnappers, hoping to find Tuya before it’s too late. Neither of them has any idea of the dark forces arrayed against them, nor the obstacles to be faced. An ancient evil from the long gone past wants to claim Tuya for its own purposes and won’t relinquish her easily.
Can Khian find her in time? Will he and his uncanny allies be able to prevent her death? And if the couple escapes and reaches safety, what of their fledgling romance?
The excerpt wherein the goddess Mut issues a stark warning about Tuya’s life choices:
She stood on a hill, in the shade of a beautiful palm tree, watching groups of people walk along a path across the river from her. They danced and laughed and kissed and talked amongst themselves, as if going to a wonderful festival or special event. Men and women strolled hand in hand, oblivious to anything but each other. Families traveled in little groups, the babies in adult arms, toddlers and young children skipping and running ahead, only to rejoin their parents.
“How do I get over there?” Shielding her eyes with her hand, she searched for a path leading away from where she stood, or a bridge to cross the river.
“But you positioned yourself here, why do you now want to leave?”
Surprised, Tuya turned to the woman standing beside her whose presence she hadn’t noticed before, being so intent on the parade across the way. She seemed familiar, but no name came to Tuya’s tongue. “I didn’t choose to stand here.”
“Indeed you did. You worked hard and cleverly to achieve this elevated role. Don’t you remember all the times you chose the path of service over more demanding—and perhaps frightening—opportunities? Opted for the safety of the familiar?”
“You refused numerous offers for your hand, stating you couldn’t leave Ashayet early in her term as Royal Wife, or when she was pregnant or nursing or later as a young mother.”
“I was needed!”
“The Royal Wife has fifty ladies-in-waiting, with dozens more who’d relish the chance for the appointment for a year or two.”
“I also serve the goddess at the temple.”
The woman laughed. “As one of a hundred. Did anyone other than the goddess notice when you stopped singing today? Or started again?”
Feeling a chill, and a bit frightened at her unknown companion’s knowledge, Tuya searched again for a path to the river. A low wall surrounded the spot where she stood, and she got goosebumps when she realized there was no break, no exit. She could step over the rows of nearly laid bricks but fear made her pause.
“Where are they all going?” she asked.
“They travel the road of life,” the woman said. “With all the experiences, good and bad, you’ve chosen to shield yourself from. The highs and the lows of a life lived. Not merely observed, not simply drifted through, like a ship caught in the backwaters of the Nile. You chart a safe course going nowhere except the tomb.”
USA Today Best Selling Author Veronica Scott is the “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happy Ever After blog. She grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”