Justin Newland will be awarding one signed copy of the paperback (US or International) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Author Interview Justin Newland
Hi Danita, first of all, many thanks for hosting this stop on the Goddess Fish Promotions blog tour of my novel, The Genes of Isis.
How did you choose your genre? What made you write this book?
The Genes of Isis was my first novel. It’s mythological fiction. The title is suggestive of the word ‘genesis’, and the novel is a re-telling of the Biblical flood story from the Book of Genesis.
My interest in and fascination for Ancient Egypt has endured for decades and stems from my own interest in life and living. I guess that can be summed up in the questions:
Where did we come from?
How did we get to where we are today, as a society, a people, a civilisation?
Why are things as they are?
I wanted to answer these questions for myself, and am still trying to do so, even with my latest novel. But where Egypt is concerned, I wanted to conceive a story that offered the discerning reader a different entry point to these age-old questions.
So I went back to Ancient Egypt.
Why? Well, it’s the first ever civilisation, the world’s earliest recorded historical culture, so it makes sense that it had a huge effect on the world history that came after it.
Just as the upbringing of a child influences his or her growth, formation and development, as the oldest civilisation, Egypt influenced everything in world history that followed.
It’s for this reason that Egypt is known as the ‘Mother and Father of all Things’. For example, did you know that all games, including chess, originate from Ancient Egypt? In those days, chess was called the Intricacies of the Foxes and the Hounds.
Like many ancient civilisations, the Ancient Egyptians imagined their origins though creation myths, such as the myth of Isis and Osiris. In it, Isis is married to Osiris, whose brother is Set. Then Osiris is murdered by Set, who dismembers the body, and distributes the body parts all over Egypt. Isis gathers them back together and miraculously brings him Osiris back to life. This is a story of love and betrayal, life and death, procreation, rebirth and the struggle for power, all archetypal themes, that play out in the novel, The Genes of Isis.
I wanted to explore the meaning of the myth. What was it a metaphor for? Does it allude to something else, something that affects us all today? I believe it does, and that’s why I wrote the novel.
Egypt contains many secrets, and so does the novel, if the reader knows how to look for them. There are so many enigmas in Egypt, and that’s what drew me to it, and drew me to write the novel. For example, I include this enigmatic phrase at the beginning of the novel…
“Egypt knows you, but do you know the Egypt in you?”
To unpack this coding a little, how can ‘Egypt’ know you, or me, for that matter? Egypt is a country, a place through which the River Nile runs. So, a country can’t know you, can it? So, it must be referring to something else, but what? And what’s the ‘Egypt in you’? How can Egypt be ‘in you’ or ‘in me’? Again, it must be referring to something else? But what? Perhaps it’s revealed in the title, ‘The Genes of Isis’, or perhaps not? And this is just one of the many enigmas.
The story in The Genes of Isis centres around the love between two of the protagonists, but it’s a love like no other, and a love that was forbidden, but was then allowed, and sanctioned. Even in the love story, there was an enigma.
So, in answer to your original question, I wrote the novel because I wanted to find out the answers to these and many other questions for myself.
The Genes of Isis
by Justin Newland
GENRE: Mythological Fiction / Fantasy
Akasha is a precocious young woman who lives in a world where oceans circulate in the aquamarine sky waters.
Before she was born, the Helios, a tribe of angels from the sun, came to Earth to deliver the Surge, the next step in the evolution of an embryonic human race. Instead, they left humanity on the brink of extinction and spawned a race of monstrous hybrids.
Horque is a Solarii, another tribe of angels, sent to Earth to rescue the genetic mix-up and release the Surge.
When Akasha has a premonition that a great flood is imminent and falls in love with Horque, her life becomes an instrument for apocalyptic change. But will it save the three races – humans, hybrids and Solarii – from the killing waters?
The moonlight flooded through the window but Issa was still awake. Once the street cats grew tired of fighting and the hyenas and foxes stopped scavenging, she roused herself and began her descent. Clutching a glow lamp in one hand and Fryme’s package in the other, she crept downstairs and stopped in the middle of a corridor, beside a section of wall that would have appeared unremarkable to anyone else. She knew otherwise.
A few words, an arcane utterance, followed by a shimmer of light and the astral curtain disappeared, revealing the secret door. She stepped through it, into the corridor beyond. She was going to the God Crucible, an occult chamber beneath her house. Its astral protections were such that no one, not even Cheiron, suspected its existence. Her breathing was shallow. This was the first point of no return.
Her glow-lamp threw long shadows down the narrow, sloping tunnel. Divided in two, it had steps on one side and a slanting ramp on the other. In front of her on the ground was a piece of white bandage, accidentally torn off the mummified body of her son, which she’d dragged down the ramp before Cheiron had arrived. How heavy he had been. They didn’t call it a dead weight for nothing. She could still smell the musty odour of the dust particles she’d dislodged.
At the bottom of the ramp, the tunnel gave way to a dome-shaped chamber, the God Crucible. Her son’s cadaver lay on a bench, and she ran her hand over the embalming bandages. Beside it was a second, vacant bench. There, she would lie during the ritual she was about to perform.
The Anubis embalmers had washed Horque’s body, encased it in natron salt, and mummified it according to all but one of the traditions of the Jackal-headed God – the exception being that they had not removed any of his organs. On his chest, she laid out a scarab pectoral and into his mouth, she placed a length of straw.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Justin Newland is an author of historical fantasy and secret history thrillers – that’s history with a supernatural twist. His stories feature known events and real people from history which are re-told and examined through the lens of the supernatural. He gives author talks and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio Bristol’s Thought for the Day. He lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.
The Genes of Isis is a tale of love, destruction and ephemeral power set under the skies of Ancient Egypt. A re-telling of the Biblical story of the flood, it reveals the mystery of the genes of Isis – or genesis – of mankind. ISBN 9781789014860.
“The novel is creative, sophisticated, and downright brilliant! I couldn’t ask more of an Egyptian-esque book!” – Lauren, Books Beyond the Story.
The Old Dragon’s Head is a historical fantasy and supernatural thriller set during the Ming Dynasty and played out in the shadows the Great Wall of China. It explores the secret history of the influences that shaped the beginnings of modern times. ISBN 9781789015829.
‘The author is an excellent storyteller.” – British Fantasy Society.
Set during the Great Enlightenment, The Coronation reveals the secret history of the Industrial Revolution. ISBN 9781838591885.
“The novel explores the themes of belonging, outsiders… religion and war… filtered through the lens of the other-worldly.” – A. Deane, Page Farer Book Blog.
His latest, The Abdication (July, 2021), is a suspense thriller, a journey of destiny, wisdom and self-discovery. ISBN 9781800463950.
“In Topeth, Tula confronts the truth, her faith in herself, faith in a higher purpose, and ultimately, what it means to abdicate that faith.”
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