Even since I was a small girl, I’ve been fascinated with Ancient Egypt. I was shocked when the main character in USA Today Bestseller Veronica Scott’s Song of the Nile: Gods of Egypt, Merneith, agreed to an interview. Here she comes now. Please give a warm welcome to her. *turns to Merneith* Welcome to N. N. Light’s Book Heaven. I’m Mrs. N. Please tell us a little something about yourself.
I’m a musician in Pharaoh’s court, dedicated to the goddess Hathor, and I can play the harp, the lute and the lyre. I also create songs although the stuffy master of music doesn’t like anything but the old standards. I come from a hidden city deep in the desert and so everything in Thebes is new to me and exciting, with a whiff of danger. I’m counting on Nikare, the handsome Medjai police officer, to help me find my way. He’s the man I dream of and write love songs for. If only he wasn’t away on an undercover assignment!
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I lose myself in the flow of writing or playing music. Especially on the occasions I’m asked to play for a god or goddess! Of course I could also be happy if I had Nikare all to myself for a few hours but his task for Pharaoh comes first at the moment.
What is your greatest fear?
I worry about being cast out from the palace because I don’t know anyone in Thebes. I’ve been promised over and over that my place here at the palace is secure, as long as I produce music that pleases the master of musicians, but there are so many ways to make a mistake at the royal court. Fortunately I am making friends among the other musicians and the queen takes an interest in my progress.
Which living person do you most admire?
Pharaoh of course, because he is a living god and the ruler and protector of all Egypt.
What is your greatest extravagance?
I love clothing! The queen was kind enough to give me a wardrobe when I came to court – so many beautiful dresses. And the gown I wear when playing for Pharaoh’s banquets is the finest I’ve ever owned, with golden thread woven into the fabric.
Which living person do you most despise?
There’s a certain noble whose name I won’t mention. He makes unwelcome advances to me and I suspect he’s also involved in crimes against Egypt.
When and where were you happiest?
I’m happiest now, at Pharaoh’s court, having the chance to play my music, earn my keep and explore the greater world of Thebes. With Nikare’s help, I escaped from a hidden city where there was little freedom and no future.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Truly the gods honored me by granting me the gift of music. I thank the goddess Hathor every day for my talent and the ability to express myself in this way. I desire no more than this. (Although if I could master the art of applying the intricate eye shadow the ladies of Thebes prefer, that would be nice. At the moment my best friend Isetemkheb does it for me whenever I must perform before the court.)
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I have been of service to Pharaoh and Egypt and have played music for the gods themselves. These things will be painted on the walls of my tomb for all to see. I can’t give more detail here because the scribe Veronica says we must not do ‘spoilers’.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
We don’t have a concept of rebirth in our beliefs. If my heart is weighed and passes judgment by the gods after death, I hope for a million years in the Afterlife. And may Nikare be at my side!
What is your most treasured possession?
My harp. As long as I can make music and express all the emotions running through my ka, or soul as you would say, I’m content.
Thank you for the time. I loved getting to know you and your time period. Readers, want to read more? Scroll down for more. . .
Title Song of the Nile: Gods of Egypt
Author Veronica Scott
Genre Paranormal Romance
Merneith, a harpist of rare talents, blessed by the goddess Hathor, has recently arrived in Thebes and joined Pharaoh’s court, but must hide secrets from her past. As she settles into her new life in the palace, the one man she can’t forget and followed to Thebes is unaccountably absent.
Nikare, a Medjai police officer serving under Pharaoh’s direct orders, is now deep undercover investigating high crimes against Egypt and forbidden to contact Merneith. Masquerading as a priest to deceive the plotters, he watches over her from afar and longs for the day he can approach her openly.
When an unscrupulous noble ensnares Merneith in the web of evil Nikare is pledged to bring down, the two must stand together against earthly and magical forces to save their own lives and protect Egypt.
How much help will the gods provide? Will the pair survive the final showdown between Pharaoh and the conspirators and find the happy future together they desire?
This is a standalone novel but is also a direct sequel to Lady of the Nile, which is where Merneith and Nikare were first encountered as supporting characters. Now they move front and center in the fight to protect Egypt from a new threat. Mild spoilers for Lady of the Nile.
The cymbal players and the wielders of sistra went first, to announce the group’s arrival and the drummers brought up the rear, pounding a beat to keep time for the ensemble. Somewhere in the middle with her fellow harpists, Merneith knew with foreboding her toes would be blistered by her new sandals well before the evening ended but, aside from the one minor problem, she was elated by her own appearance. She’d been fitted for and given her own dress, the harpists’ special costume, to be worn only for these performances for Pharaoh.
She wore a close fitting black sheath, with golden filaments woven through the fabric at intervals to provide flashes of brilliance as she and the others moved. The dress’s neckline was accented with golden beads in an intricate pattern. A sheer over dress of the finest material fell from her shoulders, leaving her arms free to play her instrument. Her wig was a marvel of glossy black curls, with golden links worked into the whole. The impression was one of richness and otherworldly beauty.
Each musician had been gifted golden bracelets inscribed with a prayer to Hathor and Pharaoh’s cartouche.
Atop the wig she wore a cone of specially treated fat containing a highly scented floral perfume. Over the course of the evening the perfume would permeate the room as the delicate fat melted, and she hoped she wouldn’t get a headache from being in the center of her own personal scent cloud. She’d never seen such things in the hidden city and at first hadn’t believed Isetemkheb when she was describing the practice.
Everyone but the harpists carried their burnished instruments as the band arrived at the banquet hall. She could have lugged her own harp but was happy there was no necessity for the extra labor. The music ensemble had servants to take care of the tasks. Merneith followed Isetemkheb to their place in a large alcove to the side of the tables, close to where Pharaoh and the Royal Wife would sit. She’d have a better view of the Great Ones than most of their guests. The idea was exciting. She was intensely curious about her new home and the differences between how royalty here behaved and the way the queen in the hidden city had conducted herself.
“Tune up quickly,” her mentor said, interrupting Merneith’s wondering admiration of the richly appointed chamber and the already groaning tables, set with platters of fruit and other appetizers. “We have to be playing as the higher ranking guests arrive and then we do the fanfare for Pharaoh.”
Once the royal couple arrived, the feast began in earnest. Pharaoh had spared no expense and there was a whole roasted ox, as well as countless platters of baked fowl and fish in savory sauces. A side dish of spiced stew, brimming with vegetables, arrived and the varieties of bread were too many to count. Wine from the ruler’s private stock flowed endlessly and the servants were kept running refilling the goblets.
In between songs Merneith watched the progression of dishes in astonishment. Truly the wealth of Egypt was on display here tonight. Yet the guests took everything for granted and many of the platters were carried away barely touched. The contrast to her previous life was stark and Merneith breathed a prayer to Hathor. Let me remain here, in comfort. Keep me from doing anything to stray from the correct path.
The musicians had been served their own hearty noon meal and would have a late supper after the banquet and the performances were concluded.
As she prepared to play for yet another set of dancers, Merneith wished Nikare was present. She’d love to have had him see and admire her in this amazing dress and wig. He’d never seen her at her best during their time of adventure together, not even in Isidu-Ur. Her finest robes there were as rags compared to the splendor at the Egyptian court, and she was just vain enough—she’d admit the flaw—to wish he could be impressed tonight.
The handsome Medjai was often in her thoughts. She felt as if there was an interrupted song between them, more to be said. If she ever met him again, of course. She worried about what kind of assignment he might be undertaking for Pharaoh and prayed to the gods to keep him safe.
Isetemkheb kicked her ankle sharply, and Merneith focused with a jerk of her head, finding her place in the new song and plucking the correct strings in time with the others. Enough dreaming, time to focus on my task here.
USA Today Best Selling Author
Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances!
She read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the official audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”
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