This post was first published in July 2017
Today I am honoured to introduce you to author and amateur Egyptologist Maria Luisa Lang who has written two interesting novels with a walking and talking cat. How curious is that?
She has been so kind to let us know more about her way of writing and about herself and with no further ado I let Maria introduce herself:
How would you describe yourself in one paragraph?
I was born in Italy and live in New York City. I have a degree in art from the City University of New York, and my artwork has been exhibited in New York galleries. I love all animals, especially cats, and I’m an amateur Egyptologist. I’ve published two novels, The Pharaoh’s Cat and The Eye of Nefertiti. The latter is both a sequel to The Pharaoh’s Cat and a standalone novel.
A fun fact about you?
I enjoy going to flea markets and thrift shops. So, not surprisingly, my cat visits a Bath flea market in The Eye of Nefertiti.
What made you write in the first place?
I’ve sketched and painted, and writing seemed a natural extension. Writing seems to be in my blood. My mother wrote a memoir of her experiences in Rome during the war, and one of my brothers is a noted Italian art critic and the author of several books and numerous articles. I’m fascinated by both cats and ancient Egypt and wanted to make an ancient Egyptian cat my protagonist. I also wanted to make ancient Egypt funny, and I’ve always felt that cats are natural comedians.
Which author has influenced you and why?
There are two actually: Kingsley Amis and Mikhail Bulgakov. I’ve been heavily influenced by Amis’s style of comedy and Bulgakov’s kind of fantasy. I describe my two novels as adult comedy, fantasy, historical. Without the creative freedom comedy and fantasy gave me, I couldn’t have written the novels I wanted to, one not only set in ancient Egypt but reflecting my love of cats.
What is your favourite book?
Again there are two: Amis’s Lucky Jim and Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita. One of Bulgakov’s characters is a cat who talks and walks upright, but the resemblance to my cat ends there. Bulgakov’s cat is a demon. Mine is no saint, but he has heroic qualities.
Your writing ritual (if you have one)?
I come up with my best ideas in the middle of the night. It must be the quiet.
Your secret “sin” when you write?
I often stop writing to count the pages I’ve already written. It gives me a break and reassures me.
Do you suffer from writer’s block, and if so, what do you do against it?
With me, it’s the opposite. My problem isn’t starting, but stopping. I revise a great deal, adding, subtracting, fine-tuning the prose. Whenever I read over what I’ve written, I find ways to improve it. With The Pharaoh’s Cat, this might have gone on forever if I hadn’t started planning The Eye of Nefertiti.
Your advice for apprentice writers?
The first chapter is the most important and the hardest. Don’t try to please an imaginary reader. It will only inhibit you and your writing will reflect that.
Thank you very much, Maria, for giving us a little insight into your writing experience. It was a pleasure having you on “The Bee Writes…”
You would like to know more about Maria Luisa Lang? Please have a look here:
Maria Luisa Lang on Goodreads
Maria Luisa Lang at Author Amy Shannon Blog
Maria Luisa Lang at Normandy’s Book Reviews
The cat must free Queen Nefertiti from a horrific curse
The Eye of Nefertiti is both a stand-alone novel and a sequel to The Pharaoh’s Cat. The time-traveling ancient Egyptian feline with human powers returns together with his beloved Pharaoh and his close friends, the High Priest of Amun-Ra and Elena, an Egyptologist’s daughter.
The cat is quick-witted, wise-cracking narrator as well as free-spirited, ever-curious protagonist, and the story he tells is an exotic, imaginative, spell-binding tragicomedy. The cat travels from present-day New York City to England, both ancient and modern, then to ancient Egypt, where he confronts a horrible demon and experiences a sublime emotion. Once back in England, he descends into a psychological abyss so deep only the Pharaoh can save him.
The Eye of Nefertiti interweaves feline and human, past and present, natural and supernatural. It contains numerous surprises, twists and turns, intriguing characters, both human and animal, fascinating revelations about ancient Egyptian history and culture, and an ingenious application of the Tarot and an Italian opera.