Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sandy Success Story -- Merrie Wycoff

Welcome to my new blog series highlighting the success of The Sandy Finalists. 
I developed The Sandy writing contest seven years ago for the Crested Butte Writers and have been delighted to see many of our finalists go onto publication.  I thought it'd be fun to follow up with them and see where they are now in their careers. 

Merrie Wycoff is a Sandy success story.  I am not much of a history buff, yet Merrie’s story captivated me.  Three things drew me in, Merrie lights up when she talks about her story and has such incredible passion for Egypt that it’s contagious.  She has the absolutely perfect voice to tell this story—I can’t imagine anyone else telling it as well.  I certainly couldn’t.  And thirdly, she’s a wonderful storyteller!

What year did you final, with what book and what place did you end up with?
I finaled in 2010 and came in third.

Are you published with a traditional publisher or are you an indie author?  
I am self-published through Rosa Mystica Publishing.

What’s your story about?
Jealousy, Lies, Betrayal, Murder…and Magic

A reign of terror has kept Egypt in shadow, even at the apex of her power and glory.  The greedy and corrupt priests of the dark god Amun maintain a tight grip on the people through the use of fear, superstition, brutality, and, when necessary, diabolical sorcery.

Now, there is the promise of a new hope, a new light, but that promise is not welcomed by all. When the ambitious Queen Nefertiti and her consort, the gentle King Akhenaten, introduce a peaceful--and revolutionary--form of Sun worship in the hope of bringing about harmony and unification, Egypt is instead torn into warring factions on all levels of society.

Into this deadly conflict is born the first Royal Daughter, Merit-Aten, whose ability to see vivid auras and converse with animals comes with a price. Before her birth, she entered into a sacred contract to save her family and restore peace to her country. But, with danger threatening from every side--even from within her own family--will she be able to honor her contract without destroying everyone she loves?  

You have a passion for Egypt and it shows in your writing.  What do you love best about it?
I love the mystery, and the untold story of Egypt.  I am an Egyptologist, which is a very left brain study of Egypt and the facts that we have discovered and uncovered so far. On my second trip to Egypt I studied with an Egyptian wisdom keeper who helped me understand the living African oral tradition passed from mother to child. This is experiencing Egypt through the right brain and has paranormal elements to it. My paranormal historical novel, Shadow of the Sun reveals the true Egypt.

As much as you love Egypt, would you have enjoyed living during that time?  Be honest!
There was a great deal of political and religious corruption. The royal family had to be constantly on-guard for their lives. I would have loved to journey through the mystery schools.  I adore what we imagine to be ancient Egyptian fashion and the jewelry was exquisite.

I believe that through the writing of a book, each story comes with its own lessons for the author.  Does that hold true for you?
That was very true for me. I thought I was telling the story. It turned out that my main character, the princess Merit-Aten had ideas of her own. My antagonist took me on a journey I’ll never forget and one I didn’t foresee.

What are you most proud of in your writing journey?
I learned that the historical elements of a story, while important to the author because we do so much research must be used to color the picture and not clutter the story.  Editing is essential to cut the fat.  As much as I loved certain chapters and tangents, I had to cut them because they weren’t essential to Merit-Aten’s journey. I am also proud that I had the courage to self-publish. I can’t tell you how many pitches I gave to agents who loved my story but didn’t want to buy ancient Egyptian paranormal historical fiction.

Can you give us a sneak peak at the next book in the series? 
My next book Stealing the Shadow of Death is about the tragedy of mummification and how it wasn’t as revered as we believe it was.  Akhenaten outlawed the practice and I will reveal why.


Sandra said...

Hey Merrie!

Enjoyed your interview and learning more about you. I didn't realize you'd actually studied Egyptian history. I thought you just loved it. Wow, you really can learn something new every day. Congrats on the book and good luck with the next installment. Sandra S. Kerns

Theresa said...

Hi Sandra,
Thanks for stopping by! Not only has she studied Egyptian history, she's got a phd in it! Merrie has an amazing, distinctive historical voice perfectly suited for writing this type of a story. Learning about these people was a real treat I hadn't expected!
See you at conference!