I have been getting some questions about who was my favorite character in Salvation in the Sun. So, here is my answer in a true Behind the Scenes moment!
My Favorite Character is KIYA!
The most loyal friend, pure and innocent until the end.
Assumed to be the historical Mitanni bride named Tadukhipa and given the pet name "Kiya" by Akhenaten, this young woman struck a cord of admiration in me. So much so, I wrote her origin story as an offshoot prequel to Salvation in the Sun which then prompted the entire prequel collection!
I needed to answer the questions about her character: What made her be so loyal? Why was she so desperate for friendship? Why did she find solace in painting?
Read The Mitanni Princess to join me on this long-forgotten journey deep into the Mitanni Empire where a princess battles her father for a chance to live her own life. It's a FREE download with email sign-up!
Here are some other behind the scenes tidbits of Salvation in the Sun (for a full detailed look of what really happened or what we know happened during this time period and more cool facts about Ancient Egypt, read the A Look into the Past section at the end of each book of the series):
Additionally to get some more insight on the characters, family tree, map of the region, why I chose to end Book I were I did, my decisions behind the cover design and more, check out the free Reader's Guide to Salvation in the Sun.
Here is an example of what you can find in the Reader's Guide:
In Salvation in the Sun, Kiya is depicted painting with a reed brush, a papyrus canvas and "paints." This had caused some stir with my hard core Ancient Egyptian fan readers, and I had a few people email me telling me Ancient Egyptians did not paint...but from my research, I found that they might have. I also found conflicting information on if painting for leisure was restricted to the upper class and/or super wealthy elite, or if painting was solely a religious or pharaonic activity.
Archaeologists have found several paint boxes containing pigments that date back to the 18th-20th Dynasties which is when The Lost Pharaoh Chronicles takes place. Click here to go to an instagram post from the Cleveland Museum of Art displaying the paint box that belonged to vizier Amenemope of Amenhotep II (Amenhotep III's grandfather). If the Vizier, who I could not verify was also a priest, had a paint box, I felt painting then could have been done for leisure, and thought it was acceptable for Kiya to do so in the story. Additionally, click here to go to the RISD Museum website regarding an Ancient Egyptian paint box dated to King Tut, about 10 years after Salvation in the Sun.
If you thought these Behind the Scenes tidbits were cool - please help me spread the word about The Lost Pharaoh Chronicles on your social media accounts and leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads!
Many Thanks and Happy Reading!
I always get questions about how I choose the names for my characters.
So, here are my answers in a true Behind the Scenes moment!
For the fictional characters, Azti, Zolin, Tomantzin, Meztli, etc. in Blood of Toma, I went to several websites like www.BehindtheName.com and www.MexicaTribe.com and did a blanket search on names with a certain ethnic origin, so in this case, Aztec or Nahuatl. Nahuatl is the name of the language the Aztecs spoke. I found names ending with the "tzin" (pronounced simpleton style "seen") meant they were honored names signifying fondness, respect, or reverence but could mean a parent or an original if speaking about places instead of people.
I scrolled through countless names looking at meanings and names after certain gods/goddesses. I had an idea of the name of the book - Blood of Someone - and I wanted the name for the main character to flow with it. I found Tonantzin which was a male name after the Mother Goddess Earth and should only be used as a last name. (Author Confession: I really liked that name so I changed the "n" to a "m" and hoped it would pass for a female name.) The name Tomantzin was too long for the title but I loved her (his) name meant Honored Mother since the character was the New Fire Sacrifice (Author Confession: which was also usually a man not a woman). I gave Tomantzin the nickname Toma and presto! Blood of Toma became the title and Toma was the name her loved ones called her.
For the Conquistadors, I searched for names with origins in Spain. For Arrio's name, I knew I wanted it to have the lovely rolled "r" sound, and so I narrowed it down to names containing the double "r" and finally picked Arrio. I liked the way it rolled off the tongue :)
For the real historical figures during the time period such as Ixtlilxochitl II, Moctezuma/Montezuma II, Chaucomauc, Cacama(tzin) and Hernan Cortes, I simply googled their names and all the different spellings and picked one I liked with the exception of Chaucomauc - his real name was Tetlepanquetzal. I had no idea how to pronounce that name and could not find a pronunciation guide for that name, so I went with Chaucomauc instead which is a variation of the name of the temporary king, Cuauhtemoc. Cuauhtemoc stepped up when Moctezuma II was killed and ruled until 1521 when the Conquistadors finally overthrew Tenochtitlan.
For more cool facts behind this time period and the book in general, sign up HERE to get an email once a month for 12 months with a freebie linked. The first one is a map of the region the story takes place in a downloadable .pdf.
If you thought this Behind the Scenes tidbit was cool - please help me spread the word about Blood of Toma on your social media accounts and leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads.
Many Thanks and Happy Reading!
Lauren Lee Merewether – LLMBooks Publishing
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