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Wednesday, July 18, 2018


by guest blogger Lisa Lowell
Thirty-odd years ago I found myself sitting in an Old Testament religious studies class, one whose professor loved the topic and could not understand why his pupils did not.  I dutifully read the required text, King James version of the Bible and a book titled Antiquities, by the Jewish historian Josephus.  It could be boring if you got bogged down in the politics and the lineage, but I did not.  I loved the stories.  I had been writing for several years at that time and had focused on fantasy writing.  However, some of the narratives in this class smacked of magic.  They included the tale of a Babylonian king killed by two of his sons while worshiping an idol, the explanation of how a dethroned Jewish king returned as a pauper to his native land after his people had been exiled, and most intriguing, the mysterious disappearance of the Ten Tribes of Israel.
Finding these stories sparked my love of Ancient Middle Eastern era historical fiction.  This was pre-internet so my sources were at the university library, Chronology of Mesopotamia and that wonderful professor.  I began to weave those three stories into one cohesive whole.  At first, I completely ignored the actual timeline and research in an effort to get a sensible plot melding those three tales.  After I had the plot complete, I went back to my source material and researched to make it seem real and not a fantasy.
The wonderful part about doing research on a time period no one but an archeologist understands is I can still pursue the fantasy elements.  I created a pharaoh out of three separate actual pharaohs.  I stretched the time between Hezekiah, Hosea, and Sennecherib, three historical kings from different lands, making them contemporaries rather than spreading them through a hundred-year span.  The elements that did not need stretching, like a trip down an underwater tunnel system, or the burial practices of the ancient Egyptians, are all the more effective because they are not fantasy. 
The culture of welcoming strangers, of purchasing wives to strengthen the empire, of superpowers like Egypt and Assyria constantly capturing each other's satellites, made for a stunning backdrop for the simple story of three strangers, thrown together and navigating the love they want to have, but cannot share.  Starting with three bible stories made it simple.  Adding the culture made it rich. Here is an image I used when I first tinkered with the story.

Lisa's web page is  and her FB page is

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