Today on the blog we have Katie Hamstead, author of Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh. I love historical fiction especially when it is set in Egypt. This book was a great read and I can’t wait for the next book in the series. Yes series! With further ado, Katie! Round of applause!
Tawney: How did you come up with the idea of Kiya? I know you had taken history classes in high school but what drove you to that particular era and dynasty?
Katie: During high school I did study the 18th Dynasty of Egypt. At the same time I also studied the old testament. (Then during my time at university, I found myself studying the old testament with a brilliant Hebrew major tutor) Anyway, so the combination of these potentially overlapping periods gave birth to my idea of a little Hebrew girl, (using the later period theory of the Hebrews fleeing Egypt during the reign of Ramses II) being taken to Akhenaten because of her virtue to give birth to an heir. It took several years of study and research to hash out the timelines and toss out my childish teenage ideas until it was finally what I wanted.
Tawney: What character was the most fun to write? Is this your favorite character?
Katie: I love Naomi/Kiya. She is like my best friend and holds a very special place in my heart. But Horemheb is a fascinating character in history, and the more I researched him, the more he came alive and seemed to scream at me to give him more attention. I was happy to oblige.
Tawney: I have to say I love Horemheb and can’t wait to see what happens next. I am so glad you decided to add more attention to him! Now when does the sequel come out? I can’t wait to get my greedy hands on it!
Tawney: I love how you incorporated your own story to Kiya’s! How did you come up with the storyline to correlate with the actual history of Kiya?
Katie: Very little is known about Kiya to start off with. She is in and out of history in a flash. So, I used the few things that are believed about her (except that she was believed to be a Mitanni princess rather than a Hebrew) and patched up the holes with fiction and Naomi’s personality. There’s plenty of debate around who she did and didn’t mother, and how and why she disappeared, so I used the theories which best fit where I wanted the story to go.
Tawney: I think it works! It’s such a great plot and I love when authors fill in the gaping holes of history. History is full of mysteries and I believe I shall think of your book as what could have happened!
Tawney: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Katie: I think when I was about eleven or twelve ad wrote a 30 page story about wild horses and a girl out to save them. It wasn’t great, but for a kid, I impressed a lot of people. Ever since then I’ve written in my free time on and off, but when I was preggers and had a newborn, I found myself with a ton of down time so picked it up full force.
Tawney: This is good to know! I want to start a family soon and worried my writing would take a back burner. I know kids are a full-time job!
Tawney: How long does it take you to write a book? A month I know. I am so jealous but I want to ask again. You rock!
Katie: Yeah a first draft takes a bout a month. But then I go back and refine and edit and add/delete scenes. You get the idea.
Tawney: What do you think makes a great story?
Katie: For me, the characters. If I hate the characters I won’t read the book, even if the plot is fabulous. That’s why I work really hard to give my characters heart and soul.
Tawney: How do you balance family and writing?
Katie: Nap time and bedtime. My sanity times!
Tawney: Love it! i shall take note of that!
Tawney: If you get writer’s block how do you combat it?
Katie: I go read something completely different. Clear my mind of the WiP completely and come back with fresh eyes. I often do CP work during writer’s blocks as it helps me see the small details I’m missing and flaws in my own style/MS.
Tawney: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Katie: Ahh… hmm… I don’t know. I guess how important CP’s are because they can teach you so much.
Tawney: Yeah, I never knew about CPs! What is the best way to find them?
Tawney: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Katie: Ah… let’s not count them. Right now my favorites are the Kiya Trilogy and the Cadence Books. Oh, and Dancing in the Athenian Rain is pretty good too.
Tawney: I can’t wait to hear more about these books!
Tawney: Can you share a line or two from Kiya?
Katie: Oh Horemheb has so many! Let me just find one….
“You are a compassionate woman, but sometimes the world is cruel and there’s nothing you can do about it. You just have to accept it, and do your best to try and change the small injustices you have an influence over. But this, Kiya, is not one of those things. This is one of the moments when you have to turn away and leave it be.”
Tawney: Oh Horemheb, how I love thee! *clutches heart*
Tawney: Tell us one thing we wouldn’t know already know about you.
Katie: I was one of the top sports girls in my grade in high school. Also, as a weird random contrast, I was one of the best singers too.
A singer? Nice!
Tawney: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Katie: Spend time with my hubby and daughter. I used to love doing sports and things, but that’s really hard to do here in AZ because it’s just so hot.
Tawney: That is so sweet! Yeah it is hard to do things in the heat. But the winters make it worth it!
Tawney: Do you have any suggestions to help aspiring writers better themselves and their craft? If so, what are they?
Katie: Things I’ve noticed doing submissions is info dumping, show vs tell, and passive voice. Spend some time with critique partners working through these simple mistakes and reading up on current style trends and techniques. Enter comps where you can get critiques, and always be open minded. I’ve found generally writers want to help other writers because we all have the same goal, so take the criticism as a helpful hand.
Tawney: These are great suggestions. And I shall admit that I do all the above. But talking to you and Darci have opened my eyes to my flaws. Thank you!
Tawney: Last but not least, what are you working on now?
Katie: Right now, aside from submissions I have been working on a NA Fantasy Romance. It’s in the duel perspective of twins, the sister who cares for their village while the brother is at war. They are both magical, and it all begins when two enemy soldiers stumble into the village and the sister takes them in to heal them and agrees to return them to the boarder. But the brother, knowing she is in danger by the a telepathic link they share, rushes to her aid. Yup…
Tawney: You had me at twins! I love fantasy and this sounds excellent! What drew you to right in POV of twins?Thank you so much for answering my long questions! hahaha. I loved Kiya and look forward to more of your work!
I love historical romance books. When it’s sent in ancient Egypt I am a happy reader! Set with the Pharaoh Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti. Our heroine of the story is Kiya, once named Naomi of the Hebrews. She is chosen to be Akhenaten’s new wife. Yes, new wife because he had many, not including his concubines! That man had stamina! She becomes most loved by Akhenaten but enemy of Nefertiti. She loathes Kiya and will stop at nothing to destroy her.
Kiya struggles to learn this new culture. She has a secret friend in Horemheb, hot Horemheb! He is the right hand of the Pharaoh. He was the one to find a new wife for the Pharaoh. I love this character. He is loyal to his Pharaoh He uses Kiya as his eyes and ears among the wives because he thinks that Nefertiti is up to something. And boy is she! What a hot mess of a Queen. I so want her to end up with him. But enter Malachi. A guard who is not what he seems. Kiya is connected to him and he is there to protect her just like Horemheb.
Kiya has many interactions with the other wives but it is Nefertiti and her daughters that cause problems for her. They don’t want her to succeed in birthing an heir. The lengths they go to stop Kiya is horrifying. Which
All through reading this I couldn’t put it down for each chapter I wanted to know what happens next. Katie has the ability in her writing to put me right in the center of the story with Kiya. The description let me picture the setting and clothes of that time period. I can’t wait for the next book because I must find out what happens with Kiya, her son Tut and Horemheb.
Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.
After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dog.
She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing. She is currently at school studying English and Creative Writing.
Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports and be a good wife and mother. She now works as a Clerk with a lien company in Arizona to help support her family and her schooling. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels
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And here are some inspirational artwork the book inspired!