Today I am visited by Katie Hamstead, author of KIYA: HOPE OF THE PHARAOH, published with Curiosity Quills Press. I was introduced to this book via a Twitter post, and I’m happy to report what an intriguing read it was! My review of it can he found here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R2AZ2OM76Z7EQA/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm
Without further ado, I’d like to introduce Ms. Katie Hamstead.
S.M. Nystoriak: My main goal with my Writer’s Block interviews is to bring authors and readers together. To that end, let’s begin with a little bit about you. What would you like readers to know?
Katie Hamstead: I am Aussie, completely. I take life as it comes, surprises and all. I’m fairly easy going, but I work hard on my marriage, raising my child, and expanding my writing skills.
S.M. Nystoriak: Thanks Katie. Now for a bit about your book, KIYA: HOPE OF THE PHARAOH. I was impressed with your portrayal of palace life in ancient Egypt, but I have to admit, I didn’t know a whole lot about it to begin with. What was it that prompted you to write about this era and part of the world?
Katie Hamstead: I’ve always had an interest in Ancient Egypt, and while I was studying the Amarna period in school, I became fascinated by Kiya because so little is known about her. So, with the backdrop of a controversial period in Egyptian history, I built the concept around the contrasting but coexisting cultures that are both monotheistic.
S.M. Nystoriak: What was it like researching this novel? Have you travelled to Egypt?
Katie Hamstead: I’ve never been to Egypt, but I wish! I spent quite a while researching, many months as I lined up what theories I wanted to use in a timeline of events. I spent time in the library and searching university journals online to piece it all together.
S.M. Nystoriak: That sounds fascinating! I personally love researching while I plot a novel. For me it’s one of the best parts! But I digress. Back to Kiya! There are times during the novel where Kiya is faced with making some difficult decisions, especially regarding her faith. Yet, she holds true to her values throughout. Talk a little bit about that strength of character which Kiya has. Is she modeled after anyone you know?
Katie Hamstead: I’ve worked with youth a great deal, and I’ve noticed and I also remember how hard it is to stand up for yourself and your beliefs during that time. Even now as an adult I find it challenging. So I wanted to make a character who stood for something and never wavered, to be an example of keeping her integrity no matter what. Someone people could really make a role model.
S.M. Nystoriak: Also, when Kiya becomes a wife of the Pharaoh, you describe how torn she is between meeting the will of her husband and meeting the will of her God. The reader gets a real sense of her loyalty to faith and family, but in her reality, the two must never intertwine. Do you see a way for Kiya to achieve balance in those areas?
Katie Hamstead: Honestly, no, not while she’s married to Akhenaten. The two worlds are like oil and water. She has been taught to only worship her god, and she also believes in fidelity. The problem is, her husband has proclaimed all other gods false. So she can never let him know she remains loyal to her faith or she could be executed. The only way she can keep things balanced is to keep them separate.
S.M. Nystoriak: A comment: There were some very nice supporting characters in this book! I loved getting to know some of the other wives and concubines, as well as some of the male characters. And the interplay between the top wives and the others was downright nasty at times! I imagine that your portrayal of that is spot on.
S.M. Nystoriak: If you could take part in casting the characters for this book in a film, do you have any actors in mind? List a few characters and the actors who you would like to see portray them in a film version of this book:
Katie Hamstead: Hmm… this is hard. I always pictured Djimon Hounsou as the soothsayer at the beginning. He’s an incredible actor with a mysterious and sexy voice!
Joe Morton would look good as Ay, and Rose Byrne’s look in Troy matches Mordad.
The problem is, I have no idea who I would want for the big main characters. How Oscar Isaac looks in the nativity is similar to how I picture Malachi, except Malachi is much larger. But Kiya/Naomi, Akhenaten and Horemheb I’ve got nothing.
S.M. Nystoriak: As a musician, I use music on many levels during my creative writing process. Does music have a place in yours? What would be on a playlist for Kiya?
Katie Hamstead: Yes! I have a theme song for each of the three books. Kiya 1: Alanis Morissette, Uninvited Kiya 2: Plumb, In My Arms and Kiya 3: Rihanna, We Found Love. I also played My Name is Lincoln from The Island while writing all three.
S.M. Nystoriak: Excellent! Here are some links to those tunes. They are some great choices, and they give a great feel for the tone of Kiya!
S.M. Nystoriak: And finally, I understand that KIYA: HOPE OF THE PHAROAH is the first in a series. Are you able to give any hints as to where the next installment will take Kiya?
Katie Hamstead: Hmm well, without giving away too much, she ends up back in Thebes (Luxor) with her family for the next two books. By the end of the trilogy, about 20 years have passed since the beginning. So it covers most of that historical period of upheaval for the Egyptians, while also touching on life among the Hebrews before the exodus.
S.M. Nystoriak: I really appreciate you stopping by my Writer’s Block today. Your book focuses on such an interesting piece of world history, and it’s wonderful how you have brought it to light! I wish you lots of success with your Kiya series.
If any of you have read KIYA: HOPE OF THE PHARAOH, PLEASE CHIME IN! We’d love to hear from you! Additionally, Katie can be found online at the following places. Check out her blogs, and give her a shout out on Twitter and Facebook:
Katie Hamstead is giving away signed paperback copies of the first two books in the series! Click the link below to enter. Good Luck!