Monday, May 20, 2013

Kiya by Katie Hamstead

I'm excited to bring you a blog post today by Katie Hamstead, author of the newly released Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh. She's here to tell us a little bit today about researching her book.

First up, thank you for having me! I’m really excited about my debut NA Novel, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh. It’s is a Historical Romance released by Curiosity Quills. It’s the first book in the trilogy following Naomi’s (Kiya) life. It’s set during the late 18th Dynasty of Egypt, and begins when she is taken to be a wife of the infamous heretic pharaoh, Akhenaten.

This story took a lot of effort to write. With most of the characters being real historical figures, like Kiya herself, Akhenaten, Nefertiti, Horemheb, Ay, the three Queen daughters and Tutankhamen just to name a few, I needed to do a TON of reading and research on each and every one of them. I then had to figure out a timeline of events and line all their lives up. There was a lot of math to work out ages and corresponding dates.

I read up on Egyptian culture, especially during the Amarna period and the tension which ensued. The Amarna period was an enormous upheaval from the traditional ways as they moved the capital and disposed of all the gods except Aten. So I needed to understand a great deal about their religion too, and which god each of the characters favored and had to keep concealed.

I also read about daily living, what they wore, ate, how they went to the bathroom. All the small details counted to make it believable. With Naomi being Hebrew, that culture needed to be researched as well. The contrast between the Hebrews and Egyptians was dramatic, and a great source of internal conflict for Naomi. Being a stark believer in Elohim according to her people’s traditions, living in Amarna under the strict Aten only regime is hard for her and causes her trouble.

After doing all this research I was finally able to begin. But as I wrote I found I needed to research more and more so I was in a continual state of shifting events to match which historical theories I wanted to slot into the plot line. Incredibly, I enjoyed every second of it. I’d recommend reading about the time period. Being more than 3000 years ago the history is in fragments, especially as later pharaohs (especially the 19th Dynasty kings) tried to erase the Amarna period from history, and tomb robbers desecrated the Valley of the Kings for its wealth. So historians often have contradicting ideas, but that was part of the fun of it! I could pick which theory I liked the most and use it in my plot.

Some books I used while doing my research are below:

  • Littleton, C. Scott. Mythology: The Illustrated Anthology of World Myth and Storytelling
  • Tyldesley, Joyce. Egypt’s Golden Empire: The Dramatic Story of Life in the New Kingdom
  • Hawass, Zahi. Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs

That’s only three books, but most of my research came from online journals, museum and university websites etc.

Oh yes, Kiya. Make him love you, make him hold you in his highest regard....

When Naomi’s sisters are snatched up to be taken to be wives of the erratic Pharaoh, Akhenaten, she knows they won’t survive the palace, so she offers herself in their place. The fearsome Commander Horemheb sees her courage, and knows she is exactly what he is looking for…

The Great Queen Nefertiti despises Naomi instantly, and strips her of her Hebrew lineage, including her name, which is changed to Kiya. Kiya allies herself with Horemheb, who pushes her to greatness and encourages her to make the Pharaoh fall in love with her. When Akhenaten declares Kiya will be the mother of his heir, Nefertiti, furious with jealousy, schemes to destroy Kiya.

Kiya must play the deadly game carefully. She is in a silent battle of wills, and a struggle for who will one day inherit the crown. If she does bear an heir, she knows she will need to fight to protect him, as well as herself, from Nefertiti who is out for blood.


mshatch said...

I enjoy writing history, too; it's fun making a period come alive in the pages. Congrats to Katie :)

Katie Hamstead Teller said...

Thanks mshatch! And thank you Krystalyn for having me!

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