Since I published my first book, Hawk Divine, I have had a few frequently asked questions from those curious to know more. If you’re curious too, read on:
What is the book about?
Hawk Divine is a series of short stories written in the first person. Each story explores an encounter with an ancient Egyptian deity in a modern context. Themes delved into include near death experience, elation, heartbreak, wonder, enlightenment, despair and desire.
In the ancient world deities were often context specific, even to the point of having different forms in different places and different times. There was no ‘one true’ notion of such beings, they were living, evolving entities, with histories and agendas. They also tended to embody particular qualities and aspirations. Each story acts as a gateway to connect to those qualities and aspirations and provide a new time and place in which these mythic characters can express themselves.
Why is it written in the first person?
I have two reasons for this.
Firstly, one of my biggest inspirations for writing Hawk Divine was The Egyptian Book of the Dead. This is a collection of spells which, according to ancient Egyptian belief, enabled the soul of the deceased to navigate the afterlife. The title itself is a mistranslation, it would be more apt to call it An Egyptian Book of Life, as life after death was the aim, with the afterlife considered a continuation of life on Earth, and the journey there containing risks, friends and unexpected events, just as in life. The texts themselves are life affirming in their rich descriptions of particular encounters with, and reflections upon, life through the eyes of another, and each set of spells was written for a particular individual. Every translation of them I have read has been in the first person. So, in keeping with that, it seemed fitting.
My second reason is the more important though. I would like the reader to feel as though they have stepped into a part of someone else’s life. That is the effect I felt when reading The Egyptian Book of the Dead, a part of its magic. Hawk Divine attempts a kind of invocation of the reader into the story. Whether it works or not is up to you to decide.
Are all the stories about the same person?
They could be, but they are not intended to be.
Why did you write it?
Fans of my illustration work requested that I create a series of Egyptian deities, starting some years ago. As I worked on the images, researching each being thoroughly, the temptation to write about such fascinating and beautiful subjects was simply too strong to resist. I have been a writer for most of my life, but very shy to show, let alone publish, anything. This particular series inspired me to combine words and images, to show the writer in myself as well as the artist, and to express various compelling themes in a new way.
Have any other questions? Feel free to ask in the comments.