The First Pharaoh, a work of historical fiction. It is available on Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, and all other major platforms.
Give us a one sentence synopsis.
The First Pharaoh follows the life, battles, court intrigues and loves of King Narmer, the man who united Upper and Lower Egypt into one nation in 3,100BC, a civilization that was to last for 3,000 years.
Who are the main characters and who would you like to see portray them in a movie?
There is King Narmer himself, who we get to know intimately, from his birth under the "wings of Horus" into his final years. I'd have to leave the acting decisions (since we see Narmer as a precocious child, an adult and an elderly man) to Steven Spielberg or Peter Jackson. There is also Anhotek, King Narmer's vizier and shaman. I imagine he would be played by a distinguished actor, like Ben Kingsley.
Tell us about the story, but please don't reveal too much.
We are all familiar with the Ramses Kings, as well as Tutankhamon, and Hatshepsut. They reigned during Egypt's heyday. But what has always intrigued me is the question of how did Dynastic Egypt start? The fact is that Egypt was a collection of small villages, with Upper and Lower Egypt constantly fighting with each other. In the span of a generation, one man, King Narmer, united both kingdoms into one mighty nation. It is that man and his incredible vision that always fascinated me.
From his birth under what Anhotek believes to be the protection of Horus, through his education and his painful relationship with his father, King Scorpion, we watch Narmer mature under Anhotek's loving hand. After he ascends to the throne, we follow Narmer's courtship and marriage to Neith-Hotep, as well as his internal Royal Court battles with his nemesis, Queen Mersyankh.
Finally, Narmer achieves the long-sought dream of Unification, yet all is far from well in the Two Lands, as Mersyankh plots to undo all he has done and to establish her own son on the throne.
What inspired you to write this book and how long did it take?
When I was a child, my father would take me to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, where I was fascinated by ancient Egypt. When I was a University faculty, I was a consultant to the Egyptian government. Despite all the marvelous ruins from later periods, I was always captivated by the Unification story that set Egypt on a path to greatness. So, I researched more and more and was fortunate to have two wonderful Egyptologist mentors to help with my research. Finally, after more than five years of research, I sat down to write, which took another year. I describe the process on my website.
I have written a sequel to The First Pharaoh, titled The Dagger of Isis. It follows the life of Meryt-Neith, King Narmer's great-granddaughter. She was, in fact, the very first female ruler of a united Egypt. She had to have been amazing, since her large tomb and its holy placement indicate she was revered. I am now in the process of writing the final book in that trilogy, about the last King of the First Dynasty, during a time of turmoil and transition.
I have also written two works of general fiction, which I have been told are more in the genre of women's fiction. The first is called Sargent Mountain, which concerns a woman who finds out years after the death of her husband that he had been unfaithful for fully half of their marriage. Worse yet, the affair was with one woman, as different from the protagonist as any two women can be. The book is a story of love, betrayal and the bonds of family and friends.
My other book of general fiction is called The Underground. It describes how Lisa, a New York Times reporter, finds out after the death of her beloved father, that her mother had been brutally murdered in a subway tunnel. But why did her father, who had adopted her from birth, hide this from her for her entire life? Who were her true birth parents? What were her roots? In her struggle to uncover the truth, Lisa uncovers one mystery after another. In the end she finds out the true meaning of family… and love.
Which authors inspired you, your style?
I was blessed to spend a day with John Steinbeck when I was 15 or 16. I always loved his writing. But there were also many others along the way who inspired me, as well as contemporary authors who I enjoy.
Where can we learn more about you and your books?
My writing website is: www.lesterpicker.com. My Amazon Author Page is: http://www.amazon.com/Lester-Picker/e/B009E6U9R0/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1356725668&sr=1-2-ent
How can we follow you? Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.
I am on Facebook and Twitter and Linked-In.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I am also an award-winning nature and wildlife photographer, with credits in National Geographic books and magazines, as well as dozens of others. In 2011 I was honored to receive the Canada Northern Lights Award for Best Travel Photography. My photo site is: www.lesterpickerphoto.com