J. Lynn Else - Captivating Historical Fiction Set in Ancient Egypt
J. LYNN ELSE is a Minnesota award-winning author who's self-published two historical fiction novels set in ancient Egypt, "The Forgotten: Aten's Last Queen (2013)," which was named an Indie Editor's Choice book for 2016 by the Historical Novel Society, and "The Forgotten: Heir of the Heretic (2016)" as well as a sci-fi novella "Strangely Constructed Souls (2018)." Through Inklings Publishing, she's authored "Descendants of Avalon" (2018), "Lost Daughters of Avalon" (2019), and "Destiny of Avalon" (2021)." Her short story "The Girl from the Haunted Woods," won 2nd place in the "Journey into the Fantastical" Anthology contest. In 2021, she became the Indie Reviews Editor for the Historical Novel Society. She believes in unicorns and practicing random acts of awesome. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about Destiny of Avalon.
Please give us a short introduction to what Destiny of Avalon is about.
Destiny of Avalon is the third book of “The Awakenings” trilogy. For this book, I’m bringing in more magic and myth and really exploring the world of Avalon and its people.
What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything that made you want to tackle this?
For this book, while adding djinn to the story, I also wanted to add some ancient Egypt. I’ve always been fascinated by the ancient Egyptian culture, and self-published two books about the women from King Tut’s family. For this novel, our characters get to venture through Duat, the ancient Egyptian underworld.
Why did you decide to write about a banished djinn?
Since the previous two books were about an evil from within Avalon spreading outwards, this book goes the other way. A threat from the past finds a way to return to Avalon and regain his magic. There are many legends and myths in the world, and I wanted to bring in something beyond Arthurian legend.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Sketching. I’ve currently creating the illustrations for a children’s book I’m writing.
Interesting cover. Please tell us more about its design.
My publisher has a cover artist who designs things based on ideas from the book. I really liked how this cover brought in all the book’s new, intriguing elements.
Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?
Whit goes through a trial in the second half of the story in which she fully unleashes her powers. I wasn’t sure how she would handle things at first, but she went where she needed to go and let me along for the ride. I’m a very character-driven writer, so I love when the characters guide the story choices.
Destiny of Avalon is the third book of a series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in the series tie in with this one?
You will need to read the previous books to understand this one. The characters have grown and developed from book 1, and it’s a journey about finding the magic within yourself.
Where does your fascination with ancient Egypt come from?
I’ve always liked reading about ancient history. With ancient Egypt, they thrived for thousands of years! Think about this: the first great pyramid started construction circa 2550 B.C., Queen Cleopatra VII reigned from 51-30 BC. We in the present day are separated from Cleopatra’s last year by 2052 years. However, her last year is separated from the pyramid’s construction by 2520 years. If I have calculated that right (math isn’t my strong suit), it means her death is closer to our present time than to the pyramid’s construction. It’s crazy! This civilization was building pyramids without the use of construction vehicles, computers, calculators and it thrived for so long. Will any of our creations last as long as their obelisks and tombs, etc.?
What did you have the most fun with when writing Destiny of Avalon?
I enjoyed penning our new ancient Egyptian friends. A few you will meet include Anubis and Sekhmet.
Is there an underlying message you wish to relay about basic human nature through your characters?
Embrace yourself as you are. Each person is unique and amazing. Never hide your truth.
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
Establish my characters. I write mini bios for them. This eventually grows as the story goes on, but I like to have a base to springboard from.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I like to have the soundtrack to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” playing in the background. Not sure if that’s super interesting. Otherwise, its basically squeezing in writing whenever I can. Once my youngest gets her driver’s license, then I’ll have a bunch more time!
What are you working on right now?
I have a children’s picture book about a lovely little elephant who joins her first ballet class. Its about the beauty of dance despite not quite fitting into the typical mold.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
Here’s where I hang out online:
Website: http://www.teasippinnerdymom.com (that’s “tea-sippin’ nerdy mom”)