Author Interview with  Justyna Plichta-Jendzio

Title:  Dark Children of Naor    

Reviewed by:  James F. Sadler, Pacific Book Review


                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                            
November 2012
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1.      The third story in the book,”Second wife” does a great job of adapting and blending elements from Egyptian civilization and mythology.  Do you have a lot of knowledge of Egyptian culture and, if so, what got you interested in? 

I fell in love in ancient cultures when I was 10 years old. First I was fascinated with myths and culture of Ancient Greeks. I read everything I could only find. Two years later I read a novel of Polish Noblest Boleslaw Prus entitled „Pharaoh”. And this was it. Since then I stay a great fan of Ancient Egypt. I am fascinated not only with a history and famous kings and queens like Cleopatra, Ramzes II the Great or Ahmosis I, but also love to find out the life of common Egyptians. I want to learn details of life of pharaohs' subjects like what they eat, what were works of peasants and townsmen, what was important in their everyday life, what was their world notion. All this is so fascinating for me because it is so different to our culture.

 

2.     My favorite chapter was the first, but it seems incomplete, with some story elements left hanging.  What are your plans for more stories about Arnoku. 

Yes, some elements of „The Hunter of the North” are incomplete. It is so because I intended to present the moment when Arnoku met the stranger woman and show events only when she was in his life. It was the main goal of the story. But Arnoku didn't born then and lived after she disappeared from his life. In that short time some cases remained unsolved. If I would explain everything it may seem not authentic. What I do not like in many stories is that authors try to pack them with many elements which suppose to happen in one time. Yet in life of common people many unusual events doesn't happen simultaneously. So was in Arnoku's life. And maybe in the future I will get back to his figure and write further adventures of this hunter.

 

3.     Was Namefer based on any historical or mythological woman, or maybe several such figures? Who were they? 

Namefer is a figure absolutely made up by me. Yet on her creation some famous Egyptian women had influence. One of them was Queen Hatshepsut, a woman-pharaoh, who ruled Egypt in the name of juvenile Totmes III. She was so powerful and great queen that she was worshiped like every pharaoh, a living-god. Nobody dared to question her throne rights. Hatshepsut reins was a time of Egypt prosperity. Other woman which I modeled was Nefertari, wife of Ramses II. Although she didn't give her husband any heir to the throne, she had a great influence on Ramses and rejoiced  many privileges. She was so important that several times her husband ordered to carve her statues the same size as his although it was Egyptian tradition that on family or any other portrait pharaohs figure was the biggest of all presented. I also used the fact that position of Egyptian women in society was much better than other women in those times. Egyptian women could own property, run a business and in case of divorce they received 1/3 of the family fortune. They were even free to choose their husbands, if family interest didn't required arranged marriage. Blending all this I created Namefer, a strong, independent woman, with a great respect of law and order.

 

4.     How do you create the names of your characters? I think one of a stumbling block for many fantasy authors is an inability to create original, believable names. Yet many of the main characters in your book have original, believable sounding names. 

Names are also some problem for me. I often modify original and historical names. I pronounce them aloud, then try to change it the way that they preserve the character of the culture from which it derives particular figure, but are absolutely new. They also have to fit the nature of the protagonist. What is very important for me is that the reader would be able to pronounce the names easily and remember it. This way I give a chance to identity with a figure. Also, very often I just play with letters. Whenever I construct some good name I write it down, even if I have no need to use it at the very moment. I have a whole list of names to use when needed.

 

5.     Each chapter appears to take part in a different world, or perhaps a different era or different location in the same world. Are the landscapes and cultures that each of the stories involve interrelated? If so, could you briefly explain where each tales takes place in the mythology that you are creating? 

All stories takes part on Naor, a world created by god Ulse, son of the highest and ancient god Onoris. I do not mention about the legend of creation because this legend will be presented in my other book, a trilogy with the working title “Ainara”. In those particular stories I give the name of only one country. It is because the case presented in the story concerns the royal family, so the reader must now which royal family I am telling about. Two other stories are not of highest social rank figures, so only features of environment, where events take place, are important. Names of countries don’t matter.

The whole image of Naor will be presented booth in those stories and trilogy. To know it all readers will have to read all of them. It is not to force readers to buy my books. It suppose to reflect the natural process of knowing our world, we live in. We slowly meet Earth by learning about it, by traveling or by watching TV or reading magazines. The same will happen with Naor. To know it all reader will have to travel through it.

 

6.     Do you plan to write only fantasy, or are you planning to write in other fields. 

To be honest, I don't know. I really love fantasy. I feel good in this kind, have proper knowledge to create quite authentic world. To enter areas which I'm not familiar with may be very risky. But never say never. My interest doesn't limit to ancient and medieval cultures. I am also interested in UFO mystery and origin of life. Lately I came up with idea of a book combining ancient myths, alien theories and our main religions. Maybe it is not revolutionary idea but I have some visions of ancient goods nature that may be interesting and quite controversial for readers. Yet to write such book I would need help of a person who is good in sf, also scientist examining old myths and tracking ancient aliens in them. So, for now I will keep my thoughts for me.