Sunday, April 25, 2010

Author Interview: Charline Ratcliff (and Giveaway of her novel The Curse of Nefertiti)

Hello readers! Welcome to my first interview and giveaway! The giveaway details are at the BOTTOM of the post. **UPDATE: Ms. Ratcliff has generously offered to provide a personalized copy to the winner!**

Not long ago, I posted my review of The Curse of Nefertiti by Charline Ratcliff. Here is a little bit about this lovely author from her website:

Charline Ratcliff is a creative soul who loves adventure. She has lived in every state within the continental United States before the age of sixteen and she has also traveled extensively throughout Europe.

Ms. Ratcliff enjoys being an entrepreneur. She loves being a writer, photographer, artist and interior designer. She currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona and is working on her second novel which is based in Pompeii before its ultimate destruction by Mount Vesuvius.

Ms. Ratcliff was kind enough to answer some questions about her novel, her career and herself for The Bookish Type. Without further ado, please enjoy her fascinating answers!

What inspired you to write The Curse of Nefertiti?

All my life I have experienced unusually vivid and life-like dreams but I never took the time to write them down. On the night of November 14th, 2006 I had another such dream which seemed to center around Nefertiti and ancient Egypt. When I awoke the next morning I felt compelled to write this one down. Once the dream was typed out I just kept going and “The Curse of Nefertiti” was born.

Have you always had an interest in Ancient Egypt?

Yes. I love history but Egyptian history / mythology has always been my favorite. 

What kind of research did you do for this novel?

Believe it or not I really didn’t do much. As I wrote; the story took on a life of its own and I just allowed it to happen.

In what ways did you change the story of Nefertiti? What motivated you to make those changes?

Honestly, not much is known about Nefertiti other than that she was married to Akhenaten, she was the step-mother to Tutankhamen and she is credited with being one of the most beautiful women in the world. Consequently I wouldn’t say I changed anything about her. I imagine she would have been a very strong, independent woman and she is portrayed as such in my book. I also opted to use Egypt’s mythology in the story which is why Egypt was destroyed. We all know Egypt is very much “there” today so two of the major questions both asked and answered within the book are: What happened that caused Egypt’s ultimate destruction? How was Egypt restored to the way it was prior to its annihilation?

Reincarnation is a major motif in The Curse of Nefertiti. Do you believe in reincarnation? If so, who do you think you might have been in a past life?

I’m not sure I would say reincarnation is a “major” motif in “The Curse of Nefertiti” since it only applies to one specific person. One of the story twists is that the reincarnated person is not whom most people would presume it to be. As to whether or not I believe in reincarnation. *chuckle* I would say that yes, I do, but I’m not limited to just that belief.

An interesting fact is that during the writing of “The Curse of Nefertiti” I always had an amazingly easy time writing about the ancient Egypt timeline whereas I had difficulty at first with the present day timeline. I was told in no uncertain terms by a friend that I was “channeling” the Egyptian side of the story and I nodded and said “I know.”

Six months later, when the book was finished but the ending wasn’t quite right, her words to me finally sunk in. I remember standing in the shower thinking to myself “well, who did I THINK I was channeling??” That moment actually provided me with the final ending for the book and also left “The Curse of Nefertiti” open for a sequel.

As to whom I “might” have been in a past life… I prefer to just allow possible past-life experiences to shape my dreams and in turn shape my writings rather than try to pinpoint myself to a specific person or people.

What was your biggest challenge in writing this novel?

My biggest challenge was writing the present-day timeline. Like I mentioned earlier I experienced the dream; I wrote it down and the next three chapters just kind of came out. However, this book has two timelines; ancient Egypt and present day. While ancient Egypt was easy to write about; 20th century was not. I wound up having writer’s block for a year, a month, a week and about three days. Once I understood the “problem” of writer’s block I was able to overcome it. Things were grand! There was order in the universe once more and the words “flowed out” in much the same way that water flows from the tap when the handle is turned to the “open” position. *chuckle*

What was your favorite scene to write?

Honestly my favorite scene was the final “story” in the book which can be found in the last nine paragraphs. The final sentence is my absolute favorite and in my mind’s eye I can see her standing there as she says it.

If you were an Egyptian god or goddess, which would you be and why?

Definitely Isis. She is the “mother” of all and as such she fully embodies all known and unknown traits. Most other gods or goddesses have only a few specific traits they are known for. Isis is loving and wise. She is kind yet no one would ever be foolish enough to push her for she also carries a destructive side within her. Unlike Sekhmet she is not primarily dominated by that side. Isis also understands pain and heartbreak firsthand. This allows her traits like understanding, sympathy and empathy. For the record, Isis was worshipped in more countries and cultures than just Egypt.

If you could go back in time, like Kayla, to any period, when would you go and what would you do?

*chuckle* Here’s a shocker. I would travel back to the Renaissance period and ask Leonardo Da Vinci to take me on as a pupil. I love to learn…

How did your interest in writing develop?

Everyone always asks me that and my reply is that it was a “happy accident.” I never intended to be a writer. I had no idea I loved writing. In fact, it wasn’t until after I finished writing “The Curse of Nefertiti” that I figured out “what I wanted to be when I grew up!”

What are your favorite books? Why are they your favorites?

That’s a hard question for me to answer. Truthfully I wind up loving the majority of what I read and my tastes include almost every genre except horror. Each book has its own unique aspect and I would be hard-pressed to choose a favorite. It’s like eating twelve Granny Smith apples. Yes, they are all the same type but each one has its own particular flavor so how do you really choose which is best? And maybe you’re not in the mood for a Granny Smith today but it doesn’t mean you won’t be tomorrow. ;)

What is a random fact that readers probably don’t know about you?

Well, I love all animals but squirrels are my very, very favorite. What’s not to love? They are SUPER cute, extremely intelligent and each one has their own unique personality.

What can you tell us about any future novels that may be in the works?

I’m currently working on a new book based in Pompeii, Italy before the town’s destruction by Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. This book also started from a dream and yes, the Prologue is the actual dream. It’s written in the first-person and is a “biography” of a woman who was brought to Pompeii as a young child. Her fate was to be a slave but instead she was raised as the daughter of an influential town councilman.

Two days before the Vesuvius’s eruption there was a huge earthquake and Sonata (the main character) was trapped in the large storerooms beneath her parent’s house. She managed to live through the town’s annihilation but tragically she can’t escape the subterranean chamber she is trapped in. Days pass and her hopes of rescue fade so she decides to write out her memoirs in the hopes that maybe someday at least her words will be found.

The following is a rough draft of how the back cover will read:

Much of the world is aware of the tragedy which befell Pompeii in 79 AD. An eyewitness report details the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in letters from Pliny the Younger to the historian Tacitus. Even with this recounting set to paper, Pompeii faded out of history to become little more than myth. In the late 16th century Pompeii’s ruins, and those of her sister city Herculaneum, were discovered by architect Domenico Fontana. Pompeii reappeared as more than mere legend. The horror of seeing her citizens frozen in time, struggling against their demise has shocked and amazed the world ever since.

Years have passed and some are lucky enough to walk within Pompeii’s walls to uncover her history. The surrounding region which holds her firmly in its embrace is still volatile. Vesuvius slumbers, looking peaceful, yet anyone who has walked Pompeii’s streets understands the devastation that will rain down should it awaken again.

This past year has been quiet but several months ago Pompeii experienced a moderate quake. Afterward, I and my fellow archeologists were surprised to find the only damage centered at a remote section in the city’s northwestern region. We discovered a new chasm and entered a large, heretofore unknown subterranean chamber. Detailed exploration suggested we were in a storeroom belonging to an affluent city councilman. This hypothesis was supported when we later discovered remains of a young woman and the written account of her life.

There is some eeriness in the finding of this chamber. The superstitious among us wonder if the woman’s spirit remained trapped until finally breaking free causing the quake to pinpoint this spot.

However it happened… This is her story… Will you listen?



Thanks so much to Ms. Ratcliff for this fantastic interview! I’m definitely looking forward to her next Pompeii-centered novel!

So many readers have expressed an interest in The Curse of Nefertiti that I would like to host a giveaway of it in honor of reaching 111 followers! Thank you all so much for your support and comments!

Here are the giveaway details: **UPDATE: Ms. Ratcliff has generously offered to provide a personalized copy to the winner!**

I will be giving away a copy of The Curse of Nefertiti to one lucky reader!

The only requirement is that you must be a follower (via Google Friend Connect on the left-hand sidebar) to enter! You can also get extra entries for tweeting, posting in your sidebar, or blogging about this contest, as well as becoming a fan on Facebook, following via NetworkedBlogs, and following on Twitter.

The winner will be picked using Winners must have a mailing address in the United States (I’m sorry about that – for later contests, I’ll try to have them open internationally.) I will email the winner immediately upon selection and they must respond with their mailing address within 7 days or a new winner will be selected (via I will mail the book within 48 hours of receiving the winner’s address.

To enter, please fill out THIS FORM! Good luck! (Comments do not count as entries, but they are greatly appreciated :-))

Contest ends May 16th at midnight EST.

*This is an adult novel. Please do not enter if you are under 18 years old without your parents' permission. The Bookish Type is not responsible for the age of the winner.



angie said...

Congrats on hitting 111 followers! Thanks for the giveaway!

blueicegal said...

me like! very good and interesting interview keep it up girl!! :PPPPP

Cleopatra Egypt said...

Love Nefertiti!

Chas @ LLL said...

Congrats on your followers!!=)
I follow you with both my user names.

=)Thank for hosting!

Stella (Ex Libris) said...

Congrats on 178 followers! I would like to ask if the copy Charline Ratcliff offers is open for international entries or if that one is reserved for US residents too? Thanks! :-)

The Bookish Type said...

Thank you! Unfortunately, this giveaway is US only. My Monsters in May Giveaway of The Host is international, though!

KMichelleC87 said...

Thanks for the contest

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