Anna Patricio is a lover of ancient history, with a particular interest in Egypt, Israel, Greece, and Rome. She is also intrigued by the Ancient Near East, though she has not delved too much into it but hopes to one day.
She undertook formal studies in Ancient History at Macquarie University. She focused mostly on Egyptology and Jewish-Christian Studies, alongside a couple of Greco-Roman units, and one on Archaeology. Though she knew there were very limited job openings for ancient history graduates, she pursued her degree anyway, as it was something she had always been passionate about.
Then, about a year after her graduation, the idea to tackle historical fiction appeared in her head, and she began happily pounding away on her laptop. ASENATH is her first novel.
Recently, she traveled to Lower Egypt (specifically Cairo and the Sinai), Israel, and Jordan. She plans to return to Egypt soon, and see more of it. In the past, she has also been to Athens and Rome.
Anna is currently working on a second novel that still takes place in Ancient Egypt, but hundreds of years after ASENATH.
Two Destinies...One Journey of Love
In a humble fishing village on the shores of the Nile lives Asenath, a fisherman's daughter who has everything she could want. Until her perfect world is shattered.
When a warring jungle tribe ransacks the village and kidnaps her, separating her from her parents, she is forced to live as a slave. And she begins a journey that will culminate in the meeting of a handsome and kind steward named Joseph.
Like her, Joseph was taken away from his home, and it is in him that Asenath comes to find solace…and love. But just as they are beginning to form a bond, Joseph is betrayed by his master’s wife and thrown into prison.
Is Asenath doomed to a lifetime of losing everything and everyone she loves?
Thanks for joining us at Romance Author Buzz. Anna, is their a back-story for your latest release?
The idea for my debut novel came to me sometime after my university graduation. I was wondering what to do with my life, when the idea to dabble in historical fiction appeared to me.
At first, I backed away from it, because even though I love history and historical fiction, I never thought to have a career in writing. Though writing is always something I have been relatively good at, I never pursued it ardently before as I did not feel inspired enough; I did not know what it was that I wanted to write about. And though I had been a fan of historical fiction for many years, I thought writing it was out of my league.
However, the writing idea persisted until I finally decided to give it a try. About 2 months later, the first draft of ASENATH was born.
I was not really intending to take it to the next level. I was just happy that I had written something so massive. But I kept returning to the manuscript for revisions. And I ended up working on it for 3 years
Afterwards, I spent a fourth year seeking publication. I submitted to agents. When I had exhausted all my options and still no luck, I submitted to small presses (as you may know, the big publishers do not accept unagented submissions).
Imajin Books was the very last publisher I subbed to. Like everyone else, they rejected me—but then invited me to revise and resubmit. I did thus, and then they became my publisher. And I am very happy with them.
As for why I wrote about Asenath: I have always loved the story of Joseph (of the coat-of-many-colors) and recently, I came to wonder why nearly nothing is known of his wife. When I looked her up, I barely found anything on her. Thus, I imagined what she might have been like. I have actually wanted to write about her for a decade but did not know how to go about it. Until the day, the writing idea came to me.
What is your routine?
I am very spontaneous. I write when the inspiration is there, I can’t when it’s not. When I write though, I’m usually in bed with my laptop. Also, I write better at night than in the daytime. For that matter, my writing self is totally dead during the day – but that is when I play around with ideas.
Also, I must have absolute silence when I write. I cannot write in coffee shops, airport lounges, etc. I could probably write in a cemetery, but then, I’d need a place to plug my laptop!
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
While writing your manuscript, research the publishing industry and make yourself aware of scams. There are unfortunately many scam agents and publishers who take advantages of newbies. Educate yourself on that.
What are you working on right now?
Another Ancient Egyptian novel which takes place hundreds of years after the events of ASENATH. It is currently entitled THE PRINCESS BY THE RIVER (this may or may not change). As you can tell from the title, it is about the princess who rescues Moses from the river. I already wrote a first rough draft of it, but it is still far from publish ability, as I still need to refine and research.
How do you build the relationship between these two characters so that it feels real?
I guess I try not to make them too perfect, and have them undergo realistic problems, which they will not be able to solve in an instant. In some romances I have read, the hero and heroine are too perfect and overcome travails too easily. I guess that is what some people would call “Gary Stu and Mary Sue.” I don’t like “too perfect” characters, it’s kinda sickening.
Do you identify with the characters you write about?
In a way. Well, my main character is sort of based on myself in the sense that her perspective on life is similar to mine. Plus, she loves animals as I do.
Tell us a little about your favorite “hero” type guy.
Selfless, kind-hearted, intelligent, compassionate, handsome (hehe)… well, who doesn’t like handsome anyway? And strong, both physically and emotionally. It’s nice if he has a history of overcoming travails—just like Joseph.
Would you please describe the heroines you love to write?
Just like the abovementioned hero—strong people, who endure and overcome life’s travails. I love novels like JANE EYRE and MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA wherein the heroines suffer so much before finding a happy ending. ASENATH was actually influenced by those two books.
In addition, I don’t like to make my heroines too perfect. Asenath, for instance, can be rather naïve at times (though her intentions are always good). Like I said earlier, I don’t like heroes/heroines who are too perfect.
How would you describe your life in only eight words?
Half in twenty-first century, half in Ancient Egypt.
How would you describe perfect happiness?
A world with no crime and violence. This is probably a cliché answer, but it’s true. Imagine being able to go places without worrying. Heck, I remember I met an elderly lady who told me that when she was young, it was so safe that she didn’t even have to lock the doors of her house! Now, if you don’t lock your doors, you’re asking for it.
What’s your greatest fear?
Hmmm, those Japanese horror movies like ‘The Ring’ and ‘The Grudge?’ Heh, seriously: it might have to be losing everyone dear to me.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
Egypt and/or Israel, without a doubt.
What are your most overused words or phrases?
Um, Hmmm. Some of my friends have also told me I also say a lot, “Er, what’s this I was gonna say again?” Or, “Hmmm, what was I gonna say?”
If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
Perhaps singing or drawing. I envy people who had those abilities.
What’s your fantasy profession?
Hmm.. Probably an Egyptologist, living in a houseboat on the Nile, works in the ancient tombs and temples. Though to be honest, being a novelist isn’t all that bad.
If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
Probably dark chocolate. Or maybe I should choose something healthy: mandarin oranges.
Anna, thanks for joining us at Romance Author Buzz. Where can readers find you?
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