I wish to thank Maria, again, for sending me her book( books – I still have to read her second book, The Eye Of Neferiti). This is an interview based on her book, The Pharaoh’s Cat. You can read my review for the book here.
But first, let me tell you a few words about Maria. She was born in Rome, Italy and lives in New York, USA. She has a degree in art from the City University of New York, and her artwork has been exhibited in New York galleries. She is an amateur Egyptologist. Her love of cats and ancient Egypt has inspired her to write two novels.
Informations provided by Amazon.com
1. What’s the story behind this book? What made you write it?
Because I’m fascinated by both cats and ancient Egypt, I wanted an ancient Egyptian cat to be my protagonist. I used the first person and the present tense so he would talk directly to the reader, and I gave him human powers so he could talk to the other characters. I imagined him first, then the two people who love him–the Pharaoh and the High Priest–and the ogre who hates him–the Vizier, the Pharaoh’s uncle. Out of their distinctive personalities came their relationships with one another, and the plot is the story of how those relationships evolved.
I loved reading it at the first person, to be honest.
2. Why cat? A cat, as a protagonist is not so often met. Also, I guess that you own a cat, is that correct?
I wanted to make ancient Egypt funny, and I’ve always felt that cats are natural comedians. I also feel they’re capable of deep love and close friendship with people as well as other cats, and would, if given the chance, express themselves honestly and often use sarcasm.
Having a cat as my protagonist and narrator, a cat magically transformed yet, may give the impression that my book is intended for a younger audience. My book is a fairy tale, yes, but a fairy tale for adults. I hope it will appeal to younger readers, even certain children. But I’ve always felt that only adults would fully understand and appreciate it.
No, I don’t have a cat, but I’ve known many, some quite well.
Unfortunately, I am a dog person. I live with two dogs in the house so, is understandable that I am not so fond of the cats. But, on my surprise, I didn’t have any problems imagining your cat and enjoying her company.
3. This is one of the questions I ask all writers : how hard it was for you to finish it? Did you get to that point where you would think:” I can’t do it! I’ll stop because no one will read it anyway!”?
I revised a great deal, adding, subtracting, fine-tuning the prose. Whenever I read over my manuscript, I found ways to improve it. This might have gone on forever if I hadn’t started planning my sequel, The Eye of Nefertiti. I began to focus more on it and less on The Pharaoh’s Cat. I got to the point where I had to let the first novel go entirely so I could devote all my attention to the second.
4. Why did you kill the Pharaoh? To be honest, I didn’t expect it.
I wanted my cat to grow psychologically, to experience the entire gamut of emotions. He had to know grief as well as joy. My favorite scene is the Pharaoh’s death. My cat’s reaction revealed a depth that surprised me. I ended up admiring him even more.
Me too, haha
5. Are your characters inspired from real people?
As I’ve said, my cat is based on real cats, but he’s also me in many ways. He has my sense of humor and my sense of justice. The Vizier, the Pharaoh’s uncle is my villain, and the first thing I reveal about him is that he hates cats. His hatred is the root of his villainy. Fortunately, I’ve never met anyone remotely like him. I invented him based on what I see as the worst in humanity. In creating the other major characters, I found myself thinking of particular actors. I heard James Spader’s voice in the cat’s, saw Winona Ryder in Elena, and a younger, shorter Sean Connery in the High Priest.
6. Do you have any advice for people out there who wish to write a book?
Don’t try to please an imaginary reader. It will only inhibit you and your writing will reflect that.
7. What do you think that makes a good story?
I think a good story should have surprises, so I’m happy you didn’t expect the Pharaoh to die. But an unexpected turn of events is just one kind of surprise. Another is finding very different things in close combination—such as, yes, a talking cat and ancient Egypt. A very surprising novel isn’t likely to fit into a single genre. I describe The Pharaoh’s Cat as adult comedy, fantasy, historical. Without the creative freedom comedy and fantasy gave me, I couldn’t have written the novel I wanted to, one not only set in ancient Egypt but reflecting my personality and my love of cats.
8. What was one of the most surprising things that you learned in creating this book?
Achieving simplicity is very complex, and great effort is needed to make everything seem effortless. I knew this already. The surprise was that I was never allowed to forget it.
Thank you for reading my interview! And don’t forget:
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