As the Pages Turn Chats with Lynn Voedisch, author of “The God’s Wife”

Lynn Voedisch is a Chicago journalist and fiction writer with many years experience working for newspapers and magazines. She is a member of the America Society of Journalists and Authors and the Society of Midland Authors, where she is one the board of directors. She started out as editor of her college newspaper at Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa, and went on to work for WBBM-TV, Chicago; Pioneer Press in suburban Chicago, the Los Angeles Times, and spent a 17-year stint at the Chicago Sun-Times. She was an entertainment reporter and technology reporter there and helped develop the newspaper’s fledgling Web site. The site and staff won Best Innovation from the Inland Daily Press Association and the Dvorak Award for Web content.

She has been on television (“Chicago Tonight”) and radio (WBEZ-FM) talk shows, discussing arts topics that affect the city. After leaving the Sun-Times, she pursued a freelance career where she was published in the Chicago Tribune and in the Industry Standard, Grok and Connect-Time (all technology magazines). She also did arts stories for Dance Magazine and the Tribune. A short story of hers, “Wili,” was published inFolio literary magazine in Winter, 2001. She is now working on fiction. Her first novel, “Excited Light” (ASJA Press, $14.95) is available at Amazon.com, bn.com,booksamillion.com and can be ordered at any Barnes & Noble store. Her current novel, “The God’s Wife” (Fiction Studio Books, $9.99 e-book, $16.95 paperback) goes on sale Aug. 9.

Visit her website at http://www.lynnvoedisch.com/TheGodsWife-LV.com/Welcome.html

Q: Thank you for this interview, Lynn. Can you tell us what your latest book, “The God’s Wife,” is all about?

A: “The God’s Wife” tells the story of a 16-year-old girl who is chosen to become the God’s Wife of Amun, who in ancient Egypt, is a powerful priestess—second only to the pharaoh in power. However, she is poorly prepared for her role and finds herself mired in politics and sexual harassment. She begins losing her grip on her role. Meanwhile, millennia away, a young dancer in modern Chicago is dancing the role of an Egyptian and in over-reseaching her role begins to have fainting spells and vivid dreams of being in Egypt. She starts recognizing the world of the God’s Wife and soon the two start to see and speak to each other in an eerie dream world. What’s pulling these worlds together? Is it magic or science? And what does it mean to these two linked women?

Q: Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

A: Neferet, the God’s Wife of Amun, is strong and determined in her character, but is being pushed around by her bossy mother, Meryt. She needs the high goals that her contemporary twin, Rebecca Kirk, sends to her across the centuries. Neferet also has a lover, Kamose, who is strong and soothing and provides a place for her to vent her fears. Rebecca’s boyfriend, Jonas, does the exact same thing for her. I tried to create symmetry between the lives of the two female protagonists.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

A: They are totally from my imagination.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

A: I always discover things as I write, but I did have a general idea of where it was all going. For one thing I knew how it would end, and worked the plot toward that finish.

Q: Your book is set in ancient Egypt and in Chicago. Can you tell us why you chose these places in particular?

A: I picked ancient Egypt because I wanted to write about the God’s Wife of Amun, which was such a fascinating concept for me. A woman that powerful in an ancient culture is something I needed to explore. Chicago I picked because it’s my hometown and I love writing about the city and all its wonderful, character-filled neighborhoods.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

A: Absolutely. Egypt casts a spell on you, and I know because I’ve traveled there. The hot sun, the statuary, the long avenues of sandstone, the ever-flowing Nile, all fill you with a sense of a civilization built for eternity. There is a serenity there. Chicago is lot more busy.

Q: Open the book to page 69. What is happening?

A: Nefert’s evil half-brother tries to attack her in the holy chapel of Amun, but she dodges him and sends him off down the hallway. Then she calls the royal guard

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

A:“From the primeval nothingness, proceeded Amun,” was the chant. Fewer people waved them on this time, but she sat still, with her back erect on the unforgiving wood sedan chair, balancing the wig with expert grace. In her confusion, she hung on to what the priests had taught her over her weeks of training.

Door after door gave way to the procession until they faced a hut-sized entrance with a red door allowing passage for only one or two persons at a time. She and Nebhotep had permission to touch it. She descended from the litter, aided by the priests, and stood, legs quivering under her linen gown, before the portal. She pounded once upon the wood, and the priests all bent forward prostrate on the floor. The way opened. She drew herself up, steadied her breath and faced the blue icon of the god Amun. He sat, life-sized, on a granite pedestal. His eyes, of the most uncanny stones, followed her every movement, even the shift of her eyes.

As instructed, she placed an armful of flowers at the god’s feet. Priests, bent over and mumbling apologies to the great Amun, handed her food to lay at the icon’s pedestal. Then, at the door, they covered Neferet with a great, gold-flecked robe and crowned her wig with a diadem. They sang a song of matrimony, and Nebhotep joined her hand to that of the great statue. It was as cold as the night waters. The priest read a long statement, detailing the lands and properties that the temple afforded to her, now that she was the bride of Amun. Her mind swam. All through these declarations, the heady incense threatened to knock her out. The sacred drug didi had her head swimming, because now the room was full of blue – the same color as the faience beads on her full collar necklace. She relaxed and couldn’t take her eyes off the Amun effigy.

Like fleet-footed beings of the night, the priests left. Closing the door behind them, they abandoned her with this husband of rock. In the moment his jewel eyes fastened onto hers, she knew her life was no longer her own.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Lynn. We wish you much success!

A: Thanks. This was fun.

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