I like readers to find any interpretation they think of, although I probably lead them to some of my own ideas. ‘Universality’ is probably the overall message I thought about as I wrote. Throughout human history people have craved some form of worship of a divine being: some mighty god or goddess, or a plethora of them, who controlled human destiny. Most people do not want to believe that there is no ‘grand scheme’ or plan that they should try to find and fit into.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I am completely spell-bound when I read Kathleen Norris’ books about her resurgence into spiritual life after many years of doubt and neglect. Her way with words keeps me always interested and also satisfied.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Imaginative or creative thinking has always been an interest. As a child I invented elaborate ongoing stories and at times nearly lived in them.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I am preparing a new book, David, a historical novel about the ancient King of Judea and Israel. I am still working on the outline, which is the most detailed I have ever done, although the first chapter is starting to take shape. It’s pushing me to get it onto the page.
Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Writer’s block has never yet been a problem. I always have a strong plan, a map, for the book, and if something doesn’t go right, I move to the next step and then go back to the unfinished part. I do that all the time.
How did you develop your plot and characters?
I followed the historic time-line, choosing those places along the line that I could envision a set of characters and describe their actions within the events that happened then. I studied the characters I created, finally seeing them in the setting as whole people – at least I attempted to do that. Many of the characters are memories of people I have seen or known.
What are your goals as a writer?
To keep writing. A simple goal, but at age 74, a very realistic one.
What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
The dream of completing a book; of knowing when it is finished (although the editing is forever ongoing if I allow it to be). Sometimes that’s hard to determine.
If you could leave readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be?
Wisdom is probably not the best word for this, but I can say that I need to be satisfied with what I’ve done. I don’t want a word or an idea to remain in the story if it isn’t strong enough to pass my own scrutiny. As I say that, I know that I miss the goal at times, mostly because I haven’t really looked at it as searchingly as I should have.
What is the true age of the Great Sphinx of Giza? There is a lot of discussion and much controversy among Egyptologists concerning its origin, and no one has yet been able to find a date or inscription that will settle the dispute. The evidence, according to a large group of scientists, is the human visage of the statue. They believe it can be dated to the time of the Pharaoh Khafra (Khefren) who ruled about 4,500 years ago, by the style of the headdress the Sphinx wears. But the fact that the head is so much smaller in proportion to the body of the beast is, for many, a clear signal that the Sphinx was changed at that time, and the resulting theory is that the original appearance of the great stone lion was quite different. No one can determine the precise time the original statue was constructed. Some serious scientists have estimated that it may be 10,000 years or older.
The tiny colony of Nomo, far to the west of the Nile Valley, set out nearly 8,000 years ago to find a new home along the Great Water that some members of the tribe recalled from their young years. The Water lay many day’s distance across the treacherous sands of the Bab – the name they gave the Sahara Desert – and their exploration to find the water was a monumental task. But the explorers were successful and the tribe picked up all they could carry and resettled themselves beside the Great River, founding a village that grew into a town, and eventually into a nation, joining with many other tribes to form ancient Kmet, now called Egypt. They thrived there for millennia, growing and changing into a complex and sophisticated society ruled by Pharaohs, and became the builders of the mighty pyramids and temples that lie along the Nile, and creators of the greatest sculpture the world has ever seen: the mighty Sphinx of Giza.